I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a proud member of Generation X and that my formative teenage years were spent watching MTV -- back when they actually used to play music videos. Perhaps this is the reason that I simply can't tolerate boring movies. If the story doesn't keep moving, I get very antsy. This doesn't mean that I'm partial to only the Michael Bay school of fast-moving films. Dramas and comedies will easily hold my attention just as long as something is happening and we aren't treated to useless scenes of characters walking, driving, or simply staring off into space. Due to my disdain for slow-moving films, I tend to rate them rather harshly. Conversely, if a movie can show the initiative to constantly update the story and introduce fresh ideas, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. Wish brings us to They Call Me Macho Woman, a terrible movie which is anything but boring.
As They Call Me Macho Woman opens, we meet Susan Morris (Debra Sweaney), a widow who wants to buy a house in the mountains. She travels to a remote location with real estate agent Cecil (Lory-Michael Ringuette). As they are traveling the back roads, their car is forced off the road by a mysterious SUV. While seeking help, Susan stumbles upon a secluded cabin which houses a group of drug dealers, lead by businessman Mr. Wilson (J. Brown) and muscleman Mongo (Brain Oldfield). The group captures Susan and tortures her, but she is soon able to escape. Lost in the wilderness, Susan decides that the only thing to do is fight for her life.
In 1991, They Call Me Macho Woman was nominated for "Best Film" at the Fantasporto Film Festival. I can only assume that there weren't many films submitted to the festival, as this is one of the worst movies that I've ever seen, technically speaking. The movie is incredibly underwritten, as we learn next to nothing about anything that's going on. We learn that Susan is a widow who wants to buy a house and that is it! I gathered that Mongo and his crew were sadistic drug dealers and apparently that's all that I needed to know. The acting in the movie is atrocious, and Sweaney behaves as if she's never heard half of the words that she is saying. No one has any emotion in their delivery and J. Brown's delivery had me convinced that someone was off camera with one-word cue cards. The last section of the film is simply ludicrous as Susan becomes a fighting machine a la Rambo, a bit that would have felt very tired in 1989. The score is one of the most annoying that I've ever heard, as the composer apparently fell in love with the clanking sounds of The Terminator soundtrack and thought that filling the film with only those sounds would be a great idea.
Despite the fact that They Call Me Macho Woman looks as if it were made in order to be shipped directly to the Satellite of Love so that the MST3K crew could slam it, I do have to admire it for one reason -- it's never boring. At the 10-minute mark, Susan and Cecil are harassed for the first time, and after that, it's non-stop action. This isn't the kind of film where Susan is captured and then escapes to hide in the woods for an extended period of time. If anything, Mongo's men are tenacious and chase Susan throughout the film. (How do they get any work done?) For the film's 79-minute running time, things rarely let up. Now, let's be honest, the movie is rarely suspenseful or exciting, but at least something is always happening. The movie's finale takes on an especially interesting angle, as Susan fights her way through the villains. As mentioned above, we have no idea how she's doing this, but it's fun to watch every borderline comical slaying.
Exploitation film fans should note that They Call Me Macho Woman is relatively tame. At first, I thought that the film would be a take on I Spit on Your Grave, but it never gets anywhere near that intense. There is no nudity and while there is violence, there is little gore.
They Call Me Macho Woman retaliates on DVD courtesy of Troma Team Video. The film is presented in a full-frame format. I have no information on the movie's original aspect ratio, but I noticed no extreme panning-and-scanning, and the image didn't looked stretched. The picture is sharp and relatively clear, showing little grain. There are some noticeable defects from the source material, such as fine scratches and white dots. The colors have a somewhat washed out look, reminding me of a much used VHS tape, and the image is slightly dark at times.
The They Call Me Macho Woman has a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track. This provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Unfortunately, the awful musical score comes through fine. I didn't notice any outstanding stereo effects, but the audio is adequate.
The only special feature on the DVD directly related to They Call Me Macho Woman is a trailer for the film. We also get trailers for Lust for Freedom, The Rowdy Girls, and The Chosen One. "Troma's Sapphic Hall of Fame" is 1 minute and 40 seconds of lesbian shots. What?!
When I first heard the title They Call Me Macho Woman, all that I could think of was Ben Affleck from the Chasing Amy commentary saying, "Who? Who says that?" Now I think of it as the mess of a movie where the filmmakers wisely decided to keep the action moving, no matter how much of the story they had to sacrifice.