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Savage Sisters

Kino // R // June 7, 2022
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted June 14, 2022 | E-mail the Author

The Movie:


Directed by Eddie Romero in 1974 and shot in the director's native Philippines, AIP's Savage Sisters looks and sounds, on the surface at least, like a rough and tumble mix of women in prison high jinks and jungle movie action. While it definitely contains elements of both of those tried and true drive-in genres, the fact of the matter is that the film is more often than not played for laughs, and sometimes those attempts at comedy don't always work.


Set in an unnamed Banana Republic during a revolution, the sinister General Balthazar (Leopoldo Salcedo) plans on leaving the country with a million dollars in US cash being transported through the jungle of the country he rules with an iron fist. What he doesn't count on was being beaten to the punch by those pesky revolutionary guerillas. What those guerillas didn't count on, however, was being shot dead after the robbery by a gang of local banditos lead by Malavael (Sid Haig) and his partner, One-Eye (Viz Diaz). These guys are bound and determined to hire a boat or a plan and get out of the country as soon as they can to spend the rest of their lives living the good life. Complicating matters is the presence of a female prison officer named Lynn Jackson (Gloria Hendry) who winds up teaming up with two ladies who were involved with the revolutionaries - Jo Turner (Cheri Caffaro) and Mai Ling (Rosanna Ortiz). Together they're going to get the money no matter the cost, and possibly leave a trail of bodies in their wake - unless their complicated past together tears them apart before they can pull off their plan.


Played with tongue placed firmly in cheek from start to finish, this could have been a funny parody of the genres that it borrows from (and which most involved with the production happen to have toiled away in) but most of the comedic elements come across as very forced and fairly pathetic. A scene involving the General and his tryst with Jo's commanding officer (Rita Gomez and her rather impressive cleavage) should be amusing and kinky but is played so safe that you wonder why they didn't just cut out a few F-bombs and go for a PG rating. If sex and violence are what the audience wants, well, give it to them, but aside from a couple of moderately squibtastic shoot outs, this one only teases us, it doesn't really ever deliver the sleazy goods it hints at. Aside from a near nip-slip courtesy of Hendry's bath scene, there's nothing even really close to nudity here. Perverts of the world, you have been warned.


What makes the movie worth a watch when you've got nothing better to do and maybe a few beers in you ahead of time is Sid Haig. Here he is running around in a poncho and a sombrero speaking in possibly the most offensive Mexican accent you've ever heard. He's basically playing a tail, hairy version of Speedy Gonzalez, and it's bizarre enough that, even if it doesn't really 'work' in the 'good' sense of the word, you can't help but be amused by it, it's just wrong. Vic Diaz gets a pretty sizeable supporting role here as his one-eyed pal One-Eye and they have some amusing scenes together. John Ashley, who serves as a narrator/bridging character named J.P. Billingsly is also amusing here as he's a bit of a wannabe hustler, but all in all this is a movie that rises only slightly above the bottom of the barrel. It should have been great given the combined awesomeness of the three female leads, but they don't get to do much except spout of cliché tough talk and the end result is a pretty limp exploitation picture. It is kind of interesting to see how the ending resembles a certain segment in Creepshow, however.


The Video:


Kino brings Savage Sisters to Region A Blu-ray framed in 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. The picture doesn't appear to have undergone a major restoration and is likely sourced from an older, existing master and uses up 21.1GBs of space on a 25GB disc. Detail definitely stomps the old MGM DVD-R release but it still leans a bit on the soft side. Minor print damage in the form of the occasional scratch and small specks is fairly common but it's never distracting. Colors and skin tones look good and black levels are pretty decent as well. This looks good, just not amazing.


The Audio:


The only audio option for the feature is a 24-bit DTS-HD 1.0 Mono. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. Quality of the track is decent if, again, not reference quality. Dialogue remains clear and easy to follow throughout though it can sound a little thin in spots. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and the levels are properly balanced.


The Extras:


Extras start off with a new audio commentary by Horror-Fix.com's James G. Chandler and Ash Hamilton. It covers pretty much all the bases: the exploitation filmmaking scene that existed in The Philippines during this period, background info on the different cast members that appear in the movie, what sets this picture apart from other women in prison pictures, the soundtrack, the stunts in the film, the tamer aspects of the production, the few moments where the movie does try and push things into an R-rating, the wardrobe in the film, how you can create a drinking game based on the number of wardrobe changes the ladies go through and more. These two are clearly having a good time with the movie and the track is a decent mix of humor and information on its history.


Finishing up the extras are a trailer for the feature, bonus trailers for Trouble Man, Trick Baby, Busting and Golden Needles, menus and chapter selection. Kino packages this release with a slipcover and some slick reversible cover art.


Overall:

Savage Sisters is no masterpiece but it's entertaining enough. It benefits from a strong cast of B-movie veterans and a few moderately amusing action scenes but those looking for oodles of trashy nudity and/or a good story will be disappointed. Sig Haig is pretty fun in this though, definitely one of the goofiest roles of his career. Kino's Blu-ray offers a decent upgrade in the presentation department and the commentary adds some value making this a decent double dip for those who love the movie and a fine rental for anyone else.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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