Is a picture "lost" if no one ever bothered to buy it? Probably not. You'd think a Nazi biker flick would've been an easy sell for the drive-ins, but The Tormentors (1971, 78 minutes) sat in a garage along side musty National Geographics and rusted paint cans until TransWorld Entertainment decided to put it on video in 1986. That's 15 YEARS after director David L. Hewitt completed the film using B. Eagle as an alias. James Gordon White penned the script, did a bit of acting in the flick, and would later go on to type up the screenplay for Lee Frost's racially-charged Thing with Two Heads. Now, 30 years after Tormentors' failed bid for big-screen glory, the film rises once again from obscurity on DVD.
The movie: They're the world's most clean-cut looking biker gang with their Junior League haircuts and khaki uniforms. Looks are deceiving, though, as they roar into town, hold up a bank in broad daylight and motor away with a screaming blonde as a hostage. These fellas aren't just bad dudes -- they're NAZIS!!! They haul the poor girl into the woods, rip off her top and hold her to the ground while the head goose-stepper B. Rockwell Kemp rapes, then strangles her with his blood-red swastika armband. For this they must pay! Anthony Eisley is her fiance who vows to exact vigilante justice by infiltrating the "Fourth Reich" when the cops are hesitant to do anything. He gains their confidence by craftily redecorating his one-room apartment in Hitler paraphernalia and acting real smarmy on Nazi orgy night. Meanwhile, it seems recruitment is down and Kemp -- who slips in and out of a cartoonish German accent -- is getting pressure from above to expand his roles. But all the impressionable young minds are too busy going to hippie love-ins (with tunes by Rudy & The Love Slaves) and listening to a peacenik yahoo who calls himself The Messiah -- and actually dresses the part. So, Kemp plots to assassinate Mr. Sandals, making things extra dicey for Eisley's character as he's the lucky fella tapped to pull the trigger. CineSchlockers will love Chris Noel as the Hitler chick who falls for the wrong Nazi and pays the price. Ms. Noel was actually an all-American gal who selflessly performed for servicemen in Vietnam.
Notables: Three breasts. Seven corpses. Gratuitous dream sequence. Brawlin' hippies. Bitch slapping. Sunbathing. Car chase. Multiple shootouts. Bazooka blasting. Cigarette butt to the bosom. Head banging.
Quotables: Even rednecks hate Nazis, "You think you're pretty damn smart running around the country side with them fancy uniforms on!" Slack-jawed fascist yelps, "We shot him GOOD!!!" A spoonful of sweet talk does wonders, "Beg! Squeal like a pig with its throat cut!"
Time codes: Most shocking scene of the film (3:00). The Messiah arrives from yonder hill (7:33). Fourth Reich meeting gets way out of hand (23:30). Johnny Law faces firing squad execution (1:03:10).
Audio/Video: Presented in a mostly clean fullframe print. Utilitarian mono tracks in English and French.
Extras: Animated menus with audio. Trivia game. Cast bios. Trailer. Keepcase snobs may balk at the Super Jewel Box.
Final thought: Scan discount bins for this terrifically WEIRD revenge gem that'd be darkly sinister if it weren't oh-so ridiculous. Recommended.
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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.