Monday, February 19, 2018

FUGITIVE GIRLS (Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray Review)

Directed By: A.C Stephen
Written By: A.C. Stephen, Ed Wood
Starring: Rene Bond, Tallie Chochrane, Jabie Abercrombie
Color/96 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Limited Edition of 2,500

The Film
After being wrongly convicted of a robbery and murder who boyfriend committed Dee is sent to prison and shares a room with four more hardened convicts who have concocted a plan to break out and retrieve a stash of money one hid before being incarcerated. Dee quickly learns that prison isn't just sitting around waiting to be released as the leader of the group forces sex upon her and then forces her into joining them in their jailbreak which leads the entire freedom starved group on a bloody sex fueled rampage across the state in search of the stash of cash before the police can track them down.

Known for making sexploitation films, FUGITIVE GIRLS aka FIVE LOOSE WOMEN may be director A.C. Stephens' least sexually and nudity driven film but that's not to say we're left high and dry. The film opens with a scene of Dee and her boyfriend rolling around in the sheets before he decides he needs a bottle of booze which is the event that landed her in jail. Then on her first night in jail Dee is forced into a lesbian affair in a fairly length scene. FUGITIVE GIRLS may not be driven by skin but our group of women live up to their alternate title name being loose, willing and ready. As the group makes their escape they encounter various groups who they use and abuse starting off with a group of hippies partying and camping out that they are totally disgusted by because of their Earth loving ways and end up getting lice from the clothes they steal from them. I'm not sure if this scene was meant to be humorous but I got a few good laughs at the hippies' expense. The girls' cruelty and do-whatever-it-takes attitude begins to show here but becomes more apparent when they encounter men that they tempt with their bodies before hurting and killing them to get what they need from them.

Stephen and Ed Wood do a nice job giving each of the five girls a distinct personality and relationship to the rest of the gang so that it's not just the same character five times over. The group has a collective goal but each has their own motive and tactics to get there. There's racial tensions and sexual tensions that keep the movie grounded in a harsh reality. It's not Shakespeare but it is a pretty well written exploitation film. And then there are moments that remind you this is a B-movie such as when Kat (Tallie Cochrane) clearly instructs one of the girls to go do something to which she agrees and moments later it is another girl returning from the task. Whoops! A minor fault with no real implications in anything but this isn't perfect filmmaking. Much like the story it's showing it's down and dirty but totally competent and believable. I love these girls and I love this movie.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome delivers this exploitation classic to Blu-ray with a brand new 2K restoration from the original 35mm negative giving way to a beautiful picture throughout. The image is clean with a natural grain structure and healthy and vivid colors. Detail level is high giving from facial close-ups to clothing, textures and various surfaces. Black levels are deep with no signs of compression issues. The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix sounds crisp and clear and is pleasing to the ear. The soundtrack meshes well with dialogue as to not overpower it but remain present in the mix. There's no issues with distortion, crackling or popping. English SDH subtitles are included.

The Extras
-Audio Commentary with Ed Wood biographer Rudolph Grey and famed exploitation filmmaker Frank Henenlotter
-Archival audio interview with star Tallie Cochrane, moderated by Casey Scott
-Original Theatrical Trailer
-Original Promo Trailer
-Reversible "Five Loose Women" Artwork

The Bottom Line
Exploitation fans and Ed Wood followers need FUGITIVE GIRLS in their collection. It's not only another film written by the infamous director but it's a highly entertaining and exciting slice of 1970s genre fare.


No comments: