Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Switchblade Sisters, Girls' Rule

The most vicious war lost by America was The War on Poverty.  Keystone of President Lyndon Johnson's domestic policy, legislation eagerly embraced by both political parties (...as it is today), was domestic spending focused on keeping people out of work.  This spelled the permanent ruination of our urban centers.  Our government's main purpose switched from adherence to the Constitution to addicting it's citizens to entitlements. Today we look at 1975's "Switchblade Sisters." Every aspect of this film, and it is a gritty one, represents the decay of our once beautiful and thriving cities.  This movie is not an easy one to watch as there are no good-guys (...or gals).  Even among the gang members, the protagonists are sordid and sociopathic.
The plot:  The Debs are a female, juvenile gang who align themselves with their male counterparts, The Daggers.  Lace (Robbie Lee, pictured above right) is their bad-a** leader.  They bully the weak and terrorize local businesses.  In one such instance, they clear out a burger joint, except for Maggie (Joanne Nail, above left), who refuses to be bullied.  The gang makes a move on her, but she fights back and disarms a couple of The Debs.  The cops arrive and arrest the lot.  Lace's main squeeze is Dominic (Asher Brauner), who leads The Daggers.  In juvey hall, a trio of lesbian guards tries to gang rape Maggie.  Again, Maggie fights back, but the guards are too strong.  Impressed with her spunk, Lace orders The Debs to come to her aid, and they do.  Maggie now has earned Lace's admiration, but other gang members are suspicious.  Maggie is released first and Lace has her deliver a letter to Dominic.  Maggie obeys and is then violently raped by the heal....but she kinda likes it. Once released, Lace is slow to learn that Dominic (pictured below) is tired of her and has moved on to Maggie.
Lace and Maggie remain friends, but when other gang members fill Lace in on Maggie's extra-curricular activities, Lace contemplates her demise.  What happens next is incredibly violent and uncomfortable.  A rival gang makes a move for turf, and the results will be bloody.  Lace endures humiliations which up her proclivity for homicide.  Maggie sets her sights on replacing Lace as gang leader and Dominic's main-squeeze.  Alliances are formed and betrayals abound.  Gang members start falling, and an inevitable confrontation between Lace and Maggie approaches.
The urban setting is bleak and hopeless in this film...as so many of our urban settings are.  The characters aren't sympathetic figures, and the ending is hardly "feel-good."  However beautiful the actresses are in this film, their portrayals as gang-members make them frightening.  As our federal and state governments have ruined once beautiful cities, The Debs and The Daggers filled the voids created by the absence of morality and justice.  Maybe in 1975 "Switchblade Sisters" delivered a warning...but in 2014, this film will be viewed as prophetic.  Available on Netflix, enjoy.  

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