Saturday, 25 September 2010

She Wolves of the Wasteland (1988)

Director: Robert Hayes

Apocalyptic movies warn us of how the future might turn out if humankind doesn’t change their self-destructive ways. Take She-Wolves Of The Wasteland, which suggests if we let Armageddon happen, the world will turn into a matriarchy run by stacked extras from a Motley Crue music video with action figure names like “Chainsaw” and “Neon” and “Rattail.” A chilling vision is thus presented with sub-par Playboy Playmates going all Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, scouring the desert plains with plastic machine guns that only fire one round at a time, tattered threads that titillate, and new wave hairdos that suggest plenty of crimping irons are still available despite civilisation collapsing.

Yes, men have died out and women are at war, or so the hastily cobbled together narration explains. A cloaked crone sits in a chair hooked up to a machine experiencing psychic visions and wearing the worst make-up since the guy in the Nightmare video board-game. She needs the mind power of a chosen one, a male boy, to become powerful again or something. It’s all very Willow, but with an upswing on the jiggle factor – hallelujah! One of the women from Breeding Control has escaped, Keela (Peggy Sanders), and is being hunted by Cobalt (Persis Khambatta) the evil warrior princess witch woman. Thankfully the wandering nomadic hero, Phoenix (Kathleen Kimont) steps into the picture, saving Keela from two henchwomen by throwing an apple in the air and drawing down on them, capping them off with her machinegun and fucking catching the apple that's been suspended up in the air for 45 seconds, all of which is a very Clint Eastwood move (but with more arse-cheek exposed). Keela explains the situation as they run through the desert: “I have male seed. I’m with child. A male child!” Hope for humanity lies in the resumption of a male heir: did I mention this is a very feminist movie? As one Amazonian warrior decries, “Men! They screwed up the world once! They’ll screw it up again!” Sing it, sister!

Speaking of feminism, Phoenix and Keela stumble across a secret colony of boobs, by which I mean a clan of friendly women showering bare-breasted under waterfalls. Before people cry foul, “This is exploitative!”, hey, this is what would actually happen if the apocalypse occurred and women formed into sexy cliques: in certain scenes this movie was very similar to Koyaanisqatsi (but with less Philip Glass and more 1980s-synthisers from composer Dan Radlauer). They also perform bare-breasted dancing for the birthing ritual Keela undergoes. Yes, that’s right, she’s suddenly giving birth even though there has been little sign of a baby bump beforehand! The movie works like an edited highlight reel of a 22 episode action TV show called Warrior Woman or something as after the next action sequence, which has scantily clad babes experiencing delayed reaction shots to their blood-packs going off (a trademark of an Action International Pictures production), the child has already grown up into a five-year-old Mowgli type! Meanwhile, another classic line of dialogue from Phoenix: “God, I hate being hunted!” Amen.

So, they’re still running around the desert until they find a deserted shack, which strangely has a skin-mag (the whole movie is a skin-mag, for chrissakes!). The masked owner returns and what do you know? It’s a man! And what a man? A balding, moustached sub-par Bill Paxton-type douchebag who cares more about his dune buggy than making the sign of the one horned beast with any of these babes (well, initially). He, and his name is Guy by the way, is knocked out by Phoenix who grabs at his crotch and decries that it’s not working: “The last man on Earth and I broke him!” Ah, he’s not that broken: eventually he makes the beast with two backs with Keela after some pleading and they snuggle up in a sack by a night-time fire. The next day in the dune-buggy, Phoenix gets wind of what went on with Guy nearly falling asleep at the wheel: “Why are you so exhausted?” Ha ha, they boned! Priceless bit of comedy. Enough of the battle between the sexes, how about more battles between the same sex, which you receive when Phoenix is captured and forced to fight in a Female Gladiator bit, clashing against punkish babes who wear nothing but electrical tape for upper body support.

What else does this great polemic on the Time of Women provide for viewers?
  • Heels are apparently in fashion when you’re a She Wolf wearing nothing but underwear. Apparently they’re the best type of footwear to sport when clomping around the desert.
  • Nothing enlivens up a movie like girl-on-girl grappling! And you can set your watch to how many times the film relies on a cat-fight to pique the viewer’s interest.
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior reference where a dumb-head hench-woman plays with a wind-up music box in Guy’s abandoned shack and he sets off a very slow moving fuse that eventually turns her into an explosion.
  • A mysterious race of nuclear damaged people called Razhuls who are misshapen zombies that worship the spectre of television in the film’s most biting piece of “satire.” Chaining Phoenix and Keela to flimsy crosses and reading from their bible, the TV Guide: “At the hour of the prime-time, we will cancel them!”
  • A night-time raid on the evildoers’ fortress, which is basically a caravan and two shanty town shacks. A face-off between Phoenix and Cobalt that ends explosively, providing a useful piece of fashion advice for women in the wasteland: don’t wear grenades on your belt.
  • Keela saving the day by escaping the psychic power of the evil witch woman by basically cutting HER CHORD, yes, to what – her psychic box? – and rescuing her son. Concluded by a symbol of hope and purity with Phoenix on a white horse riding along a beach front.

She Wolves of the Wastleland (also known as Phoenix The Warrior) is another triumph from the Action International Pictures assembly line, the motion picture equivalent of a outdated calendar of Red Sonja-styled babes hanging on the wall of a mechanic’s change-room. Mankind, yes, you men of the world... you are thus warned: prepared to be enslaved by sexy babes in tacky fashions!

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