Switchblade Sisters

This cover is tame compared to its contents.

Switchblade Sisters is possibly the most epic girl gang movie of all time. Made in 1975 by exploitation director, Jack Hill, it pulls no punches. This movie is trashy, politically incorrect, overdramatic, and almost perfect. I attempted to write a plot summary a few times, and failed. Either, I like this movie too much to cut anything out, or it really is infinitely crazy. I’m going to do my very best to give you the lowdown, without writing a novella.

The movie opens with Lace, girlfriend to the leader of the Silver Daggers, sitting in her mom’s rundown apartment. Clearly, the family has no money, and no father. So, it’s not surprising when a repo man in a polyester suit comes to confiscate the television. Lace’s mother is up in arms, and pleads with him to be merciful, while Lace stands cold and resilient. As the repo man boards the elevator, a hand reaches in to stop the doors from closing. It’s Lace, and she’s looking at him like he’s a pig at a barbeque. She basically licks her lips at him, and as the rest of her girl gang enters the elevator, you realize the sleazy jerk is in for it.

It's a bad day to be a repo man.

In the next scene, the gang parades into a fast food joint. They’re meeting up with their superior male counterparts. The Silver Daggers, run by Italian worthy Dominick, is there to give Lace a kiss and some attitude. The girls are in the Dagger Debs, more or less the property of the Silver Daggers. However, the kink in their spokes is about to appear. Minding her own business, Maggie, a girl who resembles Elizabeth Shue in a weird way, is eating her burger and fries in peace. Lace informs her that the table belongs to them and she has to move. It’s amazing! Maggie jumps up, and whips off her metal belt, which is some sort of deadly whip, and is ready to rumble.

I lost my eye for this gang!

Let’s talk about characters. Lace’s number 2 is basically a frustrated girl with a rockin’ eyepatch. Cleverly, her name is “Patch”. She’s twisted and manipulative, and is a bit obsessed with her ruthless leader. My favorite character might be Donut, played by Kitty Bruce. Yes, she’s a bigger girl, and Lace tortures her about her appetite constantly. I find myself automatically shouting, “Leave Donut alone!” Maggie isn’t a push over. When Patch tries to make her leave, Maggie throws pepper in her eye. It’s the first time you hear Patch shout. I don’t mean to be rude, but Patch’s acting seems a little special…

Even the boys are mean to Donut. I'm going to kill them, personally.

Dominick is quickly taken with Maggie, and you can tell what’s going to happen. In five minutes the girls are rounded up and sent to prison for attacking sleazy repo dude. Because, she’s in proximity, Maggie is taken to the pokey too. Alright, now get ready… here comes the lesbian prison guards. Uh, they’re over the top… WAY OVER… Lace and the girls attack them with a plunger, among other things. There’s even random farting noises! I giggle with glee as Lace takes her down. Of course, this isn’t politically correct, but Lace doesn’t insult her too much, and recognizes that the warden has a cute girlfriend on the outside.

Maggie... about to sexy the medallion right off of Crabs... anyone else grossed out?

Maggie is officially a Dagger Deb, but Patch points out that she needs to pull a job to prove herself. The rival gang, run by a guy named “Crabs”, I know… are the mortal enemies of Dom and company. Patch informs Maggie that she has to bring back the medallion that Crabs wears around his neck. She accepts, and off she goes to the rival headquarters. Man these guys are silly. All of Crabs’ guys are dressed like disco nightmares. I mean, like clown disco dudes. Creepy.

Hollah! Dyke Warden!

The more Maggie succeeds, the more Patch can see Lace slipping away. She’s being replaced, and isn’t going down without a fight. Although, Dom pursues Maggie, she fends him off. She wants to remain loyal to Lace, and warns Dom to stay away. Ugh, enter… the rape scene. We all have our own opinions on this kind of stuff. It’s disturbing, and awkward.  After that, Lace is out to get Maggie. It’s that weird thing where the girlfriend blames the rape victim, instead of her evil rapist boyfriend.

Maggie's ready to fight.. for her right.. to eat French fries.

Dom rejects Lace, and the war begins. Man, when Dom is killed through not so friendly fire, Maggie decides the men in the gang are useless. They oust the boys, and change their name to “The Jezebels”. Jack Hill almost titled the film The Jezebels, but Switchblade Sisters seemed more popular in the first run. She takes over while Lace is in the hospital, and from here on in, this movie kicks ass! Everything happens. Maggie takes the girls across town to illicit the help of an all Black female gang. They’re amazing! Most of them are portrayed as revolutionary lesbians, and the political materiel they quote is awesome!

They build a freakin’ tank. They’re going to take out Crabs once and for all. Meanwhile, Maggie is uncovering the truth about who really killed Dom. The end is a magic rollercoaster of knife fights, and the meaning of true loyalty is taught to plotting Patch.

I swear to all ****! You better leave Donut alone!

Thank you Quentin Tarantino for resurrecting this movie. He might not be my favorite, but he’s done awesome things to preserve exploitation films. They’re necessary, culturally. Although, stereotypes portray our racism, sexism, and homophobia, they also bring attention to the issues. I mean, if you can get a bigoted person to laugh at a crazy prison scene, they’re dropping their guard. It’s hard to hate the things that make you laugh, and comedy has always been a thought provoking part of activism.

These ladies come equipped with heat. They're gonna tip the scales for the Jezebels.

One of the warden’s lackeys is played by stuntwoman, Jeannie Epper. She plays the reverends wife in vol. 2 of Kill Bill. Her daughter, Eurelyne, went on to be in Death Proof, one of my favorite Tarantino projects. Two of the girl gang members, Robbie Lee and Janice Karman, went on to do voice work in popular children’s cartoons like: Rainbow Brite and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Basically, I’m not sure how all of these ladies didn’t grow up to become superheroes… yes, even you Patch. You could be my superviillain any time!



Holy Crap.

Here you go.. watch this movie in quality definition FOR FREE! Never say I gave you nuthin’. Now SCRAM! Before I think better of letting you go.

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