Sunday, September 23, 2012

RAPE SQUAD (1974)




Linda, wearing supertight daisy dukes (camel dukes), is being chased by a creep wearing a hockey mask.  She puts up a solid fight but, alas, is no match for a rapey Voorhees (although, in fairness, even most men wouldn’t be a match for a rapey Voorhees).  The rapist seems to have a high opinion of himself, as he repeatedly tells her that she should be grateful, even forcing her to say “thank you Mr. Rapist for choosing me”.  God’s gift to women, ladies and gentlemen.


He rips her shirt off (no bra, as that would impede things), punches her in the face, and forces her to sing “Jingle Bells”.  I guess we’re supposed to assume that this guy didn’t get that hockey stick he wanted for Christmas one year and snapped, but that’s no excuse.  Maybe you shouldn’t have foisted such weighty expectations upon St. Nick’s tubby shoulders, you asshole. 

Linda walks into a police station, not only cowering from dirty rapiness, but also flat out beat to shit.  She is handed a book of mugshots, which is pretty useless considering the guy was wearing a hockey mask, unless the rapist happens to be the goalie from the Ottawa Senators.  The cop insensitively asks her blunt questions in front of all the other cops, implying that she might have been asking for it because of her outfit.  She rightfully points that she is the victim here, screaming in glass breaking fashion “I HAVE BEEN RAPED AND I WANT SOMETHING DONE ABOUT IT!!!”.  


She then has to get her vagina swabbed for semen, which is also humiliating, but in a more clinical sense.  They don’t find any, so she is apparently shit out of luck, as only sperm is evidence of rape, according to the cop.  Even if that’s the case, surely it’s illegal to punch and kick a woman in the face.  I guess the police figured the outfit she was wearing had her begging to get her ass kicked as well, maybe a since discarded baseball cap that read “PUNCH FACE BELOW”.  Anyway, on the way out, Linda overhears a cop quip that he wishes a hot chick would rape him sometime.  Linda wittily replies “someday I hope you run into a big, mean 300 lb. faggot killer, and I hope that faggot rips off your clothes and sodomizes you right in your big fat ass!”.  You go girl.

Even Linda’s scummy boyfriend doesn’t believe that she was actually raped, asserting that “maybe you were playing grab ass and things got gruff.”  God knows I’ve played some grab ass in my life, and god knows I’ve let a game or two of grab ass get out of control, but never ever has a game of grab ass escalated to the point where somebody ended up brutally beaten and raped.  Frankly, I don’t think people would even play grab ass if they knew that type of violence could result.  Grab ass is about fun after all, not about hurting others.

Anyway, partially thanks to an ineffectual justice system, the rapiness continues.  “Mr. Rapist” enters a woman’s apartment and practically knocks her out with a punch, but he wakes her up because “I can’t have you sleeping through this”.  Classy.  He then cuts off her dress with a pair of rusty scissors (again, no bra), saying “I’m gonna open you up like a Christmas present”.  There’s that Christmas motif again.  This guy has a pretty messed up idea of Christmas spirit.  I thought Christmas was about sitting around trying to tolerate relatives, hopefully escaping with one’s sanity intact and a fistful of gift cards. 

You may have noticed a pattern with the lack of bras.  You could attribute it to 70’s women’s lib, that these are strong women free from the tyranny of proper support.  However, it is common in the world of exploitation films to have a woman not wear a bra if her shirt is going to be ripped open at some point.  I guess it’s a lot more cinematic to see someone rip off a woman’s shirt and have her tits plop out, rather than watch someone rip off a shirt and fiddle with a bra for a while.  I don’t make the rules folks. I’m just pointing them out. 

Linda and the other victims view a lineup of potential rapists wearing hockey masks, like they’re auditioning goalies for the Hartford Whalers.  It turns out this lineup was just a ruse by the cop to point out that they’ll never be able to catch the guy because he wore a mask.  Fucking useless porkers.  While women are being raped all over the greater metropolitan area, these pigs are sitting around trying to see how many donut holes they can shove into their mouths at one time.

Realizing that the law is a worthless bureaucracy run by male pigs, the women decide to team up and create a “Rape Squad”.  They cover the city with flyers in an attempt to enlist women who have been sexually harassed (or worse).  One of the ladies is pelting every single car in a mini-mall parking lot (which seems awfully presumptuous, but maybe I’m naïve).  While she is spreading the word about the violent objectification of women, two slob workers on their lunch break ogle her ass and make fun of the flyer, saying “rape is my favorite sport!  A little rape once in a while makes life more enjoyable!”.  She overhears them and reads them the riot act, yelling “I’VE been raped, and believe me, IT WASN’T ENJOYABLE!!!”.  Who says feminism is dead?

Of course, the ladies take a rape-themed karate class, where they apply ancient Eastern principles to the art of kicking a man in the balls.  All of this ball crushing causes them to work up a sweat, so they get naked and relax in a whirlpool.  This also doubles as an impromptu Rape Squad meeting, where the women discuss the plight of living within a patriarchal society where rape is a way for men to let females know that they are not human beings, but rather, sexual objects that need to be controlled.  If this conversation sounds boring, keep in mind that the ladies are all naked and hot.  Boy, the seventies were pretty awesome. 


Anyway, a woman walking by overhears the conversation, and she mentions that she was also raped, but the rapist got off when it was revealed in court that she once had an abortion.  I guess the pig law believes that a woman who accidentally gets knocked up must be a slut, and you can’t really rape a slut since they want to get laid all the time anyway.  Regardless, thus begins the first official Rape Squad mission, where the ladies put on the most revealing dresses in their respective wardrobes and head down to the club where the rapist works and jiggle about.  Hopefully, he’ll try to rape one of them so the other ladies can team up and beat the shit out of him, teaching him the lesson that rape is, you know, bad and stuff. 

I’m all for preventing rapes, but I don’t know that this is the most efficient way to go about it.  Perhaps they could write their congressman or something, but he’s probably just as much of a pig as the rest of the men in the film.  In the world of Rape Squad, every man is either a rapist or a facilitator of rape.  Men are inherently rapey, it’s just that some aren’t actually man enough to act on their inherent impulses.  The women of Rape Squad fight back any way they can, but they are no match for an entire society steeped in female-hating attitudes.     

In closing, Rape Squad is undoubtedly the most quotable rape movie ever made.  It’s tempting to simply transcribe the entire movie, as the dialogue incongruously combines sleazy camp hilarity with bluntly stated feminist issues, all pitched as a trash symphony of sledgehammer hysterics.  The entire movie exists in a state of unease, where women who fight against being objectified are being presented as sex objects to the viewer.  While some may view this dynamic as hypocritical or self-defeating, a sophisticated audience might be able to appreciate it as a Brechtian dichotomy, two disparate approaches fused together in order to call attention to the differences between the two.  There’s a chance I could be wrong on that one.

Either way, I’m glad to see an exploitation movie come equally with the feminist ideas AND the tits, and doing so in balls-out entertaining fashion.  God bless you Rape Squad.  In fact, you’re so awesome, I promise not to rape anyone ever.  Not even an animal.  Now that I think about it, those panda bears sure are adorable.  You know what, I can’t promise anything, but I’ll try my best.  

 

P.S. This post was written as part of the Camp and Cult Blogathon over at She Blogged By Night!  Click here to get in on the shenanigans. 

P.P.S. This is movie was later retitled as "Act of Vengeance", probably because "Rape Squad" wasn't classy enough.  It's currently available on Netflix Instant in the U.S. under the "Act of Vengeance" title, and also available as a burn on-demand DVD through MGM under that title.

6 comments:

  1. Oh. Mygod. Great writeup, Thomas! I've heard of this film before but honestly, I don't know what I'd do with it if I saw it. The fact that many in the audience wouldn't understand there was an essential contradiction or two would probably make me pretty ARGHDHSRBWRBLE.

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    1. I HAVE NEW BIG WORD FOR BETTER MY SPEAKING.

      It's hard to be taken seriously when you force in boobs where they don't belong. If Bob Dylan had had a stage dancer jiggling her boobs for no reason, he would not have been taken seriously.

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    2. Now, you don't know that. He could have been seen as a satirical force of nature, both exploiting and celebrating the female form at the same time. But he still would have gone completely bazoo in the mid-70s and alienated his fans.

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    3. You're right, Dylan gets a pass. Bad example.

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  2. Netflix Instant you say? Equally feminist and tits you say?

    Well, I know what I'm watching later.

    zombiehall.com

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    1. That's value for your entertainment dollar.

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