OUCH! by MR.E.

OUCH! by MR.E.

Friday, September 18, 2015

FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE: MINI-SKIRT MOB (1968) A.I.P. Ross Hagen Jeremy Slate Diane McBain Harry Dean Stanton

“Disregard their good looks/They’re just a bunch of dirty crooks/With skirts showin’ plenty of knee/That’s the Mini-Skirt Mob/On another spree.”

Thus begins the 1968 exploitation oddity "The Mini-Skirt Mob," with a jaunty theme song sung by Patty McCormack, former child star ("The Bad Seed") turned B-movie actress, who plays Edie, the kid sister to Shayne, the villain of the piece, played with bouffant-haired menace by Diane McBain ("Surfside Six"). McBain and McCormack had co-starred with Fabian in "director Maury Dexter's infamous "Maryjane" earlier that year.


Written by James Gordon White ("The Glory Stompers," "The Thing with Two Heads"), it's a strange combination of biker movie and western revenge drama – McBain's character is reminiscent of Mercedes McCambridge in "Johnny Guitar," albeit a lot better-looking and a bleach blonde – with the plot consisting of Shayne's single-minded, psychotic vengeance against her former lover, rodeo champ Jeff Logan (Ross Hagen), who has had the gall to marry another woman (Sherry Jackson). Shayne enlists the aid of her sister's boyfriend, Lon (Jeremy Slate), his rodeo tramp sidekicks Spook (Harry Dean Stanton) and L.G. (Ronnie Rondell), and redheaded bimbos Fran and Bea (Sandra Marshall and Barbro Hedström) in her quest to win back Jeff's love through extreme violence. Shayne is the leader of "The Mini-Skirts" motorcycle gang ("They're hog-straddling female animals on the prowl" according the tagline on the film's poster art), and soon proves that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as she pulls out all the stops to achieve her evil goal, from a wild catfight with the bride to tossing Molotov cocktails at the newlyweds' trailer.


McBain is pure malevolence as the unhinged biker chick, even if she looks more like a slumming débutante than a badass motorcycle mama. Speaking of which, the bikes in the film are closer to scooters than choppers, which significantly undercuts the intended menace and adds to the overall absurdity of the film. After starting out as a contract player with Warner Brothers, McBain went from movies to TV (she memorably guest-starred on "Batman" as "Pinky Pinkston") to grade Z schlock like "I Sailed to Tahiti with an All-Girl Crew." Her performance in "The Mini-Skirt Mob" is pretty freakin' awesome, as she gives her all despite the mediocrity of the material, elevating the movie in the process.

Jeff Logan, rodeo star, is honeymooning with his new bride in a camper when his old gang shows up. Miffed that Jeff has decided to quite, and fueled by the Mob leader’s jealousy of the new wife, the gang picks a fight and ends up beating up the happy couple. Jeff runs them off with a shotgun. All seems settled, and the bride and groom plan to continue on to the ranch. Unfortunately for them, the gang has other plans. In classic horror film style, the gang begins a tirade of attacks and after the death of LG (as a result of trying to run the camper off the road with the bikes) sabotage the car, and end up with the couple trapped like sitting ducks in the camper, while they keep watch from a hilltop…


There are some unexplained bits, like a Cub Scout troop that witnesses the murder, and illusions to the cops being hot on the trail, but really these never pan out, and it all culminates in the propane tank exploding on the camper from beer bottle molotov cocktails, and a pretty fun motorcycle chase down of the couple on foot at the end, where Spook gets taken down, and the mild mannered bride chooses to let Shane fall to her death, rather than saving her.


“What is this any how? We was going on a party, now two of us is dead.” 
Spook (Harry Dean Stanton)


Producer/Director Maury Dexter

Ross Hagen as Jeff

Jeremy Slate as Lon

Diane McBain as Shayne

Sherry Jackson as Connie

Patty McCormack as Edie

Harry Dean Stanton as Spook


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