She-Devils on Wheels

June 27, 2010 at 6:46 am (6 Heads, She-Devils on Wheels) (, , , , )

She-Devils on Wheels – 1968 – United States

It’s impossible not to compare She-Devils on Wheels with Herschell Gordon Lewis’s juvenile delinquent flick, Just for the Hell of It. Shot in the same year, She-Devils features the same actors and themes. While Just for the Hell of It is more interesting, with better style and shocks, but She-Devils is still intriguingly raw, strange, and funny.

She-Devils follows a female biker gang (the Man-Eaters) in a plotless romp as they sneer at cops, battle other gangs, ball dudes, and talk tough (”We ain’t no daisy pullin’ bunch of broads!” and their mantra, “Sex! Guts! Blood! And all men are mothers!”). There’s a bit involving a girl whose straight arrow boyfriend wants her to quit the gang, but it’s barely developed and arbitrarily resolved. The real focus is the roaring motorcycles and chicks making brash, awkward innuendo.

Like Just for the Hell of It is about sadism, She-Devils is about sex. The Man-Eaters race for first pick from their entourage of “studs”. The stud selection process is good for laughs as a bunch of redneck guys swagger or grovel for attention.  It’s meant to titillate domination freaks, but since the Man-Eaters are a homely bunch and the sex is pathetically tame (no one even takes off their drawers), there’s sexier after school specials.

But occasionally the She-Devils’ sexual morals reach a darker place. In one disturbing scene, Honey Pot (played by the small cute girl from Just for the Hell of It) is left alone with the whole stud line to “run train” on her initiation night. She is genuinely eager as the dudes rush her. Covered in pancake syrup (?) and laughing, she shrieks, “Come on and have a taste of honey!”

She-Devils’ premise promises extreme content, but for every scene where the Man-Eaters piss on a gang they’ve subjugated or decapitate someone with a wire, there are endless scenes of cruising through bleak rural Florida, driving too slowly and following too many traffic laws. But there’s just enough action, humor, and weirdness to keep things moving, and a few moments of greatness that make it all worthwhile. Certainly the catchy theme song is not to be missed—“We are the hell cats nobody likes—man eaters on motorbikes!”

After an hour of chugging engines and promiscuity, the Man-Eaters are unexpectedly hauled off to jail and the movie ends. A title card reads, “Whoever calls this THE END doesn’t know the Man-Eaters”. Then, after the credits, in the most compelling scene, two ladies (the loud-mouthed queen and a muscular fat dame) shout a tough limerick at the audience in a direct address close-up. It’s hard to explain how, but their confident sarcasm completely sells me on the characters, changing the whole movie from ludicrous to cool in a single nonsensical instant. While Just for the Hell of It’s ending is cynical at best, nihilistic at worst (“The moral of this story is there’s no moral at all.”), She-Devils’ empowers with its punk sensibility.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. Like most Herschell Gordon Lewis flicks, there isn’t anything quite like it. And you’ve got to love those sweet bikes.


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