Allow me to cut straight to the chase: if you're looking for an ultra-sleazy rape-revenge movie where a particularly nasty rapist deservedly gets a three-foot machete stuffed straight up his ass, this film is a must-see!
The rape-revenge movie is in no way a feel-good genre and is responsible for many of the nastiest moments in film over the past four decades, including such "you will need a shower after sitting through this one" classics as LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972), I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1979), MOTHER'S DAY (1980), MS. .45 (1981), and SAVAGE STREETS (1984), each plumbing the narrative depths of one of the worst things that can happen to a human being, dragging the viewer along for the horror in question, and finally allowing a catharsis of vengeance that does not necessarily grant the story's protagonist anything resembling peace of mind. These films are definitely an acquired taste and are understandably reviled by most women, but those women who do champion the genre are a tough breed and it is to them that I recommend RUN! BITCH RUN! without reservation.
With RUN! BITCH RUN! director/co-screenwriter Joseph Guzman has crafted a welcome throwback to the sleazy grindhouse thrills of yore, and the movie wears its influence like a badge of honor. One of the things that made grindhouse movies from back in the days so much fun was that they knew their audience very much enjoyed being shocked by all manner of sleazery, preferably spiced with copious amounts of nudity, graphic violence, gore, and creative use of profanity, all of which Guzman remembered and shaped into a sometimes knowingly tongue-in-cheek entry into the genre (well, about as tongue-in-cheek as a rape-revenge movie can get, anyway). The movie is a classic cautionary tale (AND HOW!!!) involving two Catholic schoolgirls (pay attention, fellow parochial school uniform fans) who travel from town to town selling bibles to benefit their school. Ultra-pious and virginal Catherine (Cheryl Lyone) does not approve of partner Rebecca's (Christina DeRosa) healthy teenage sexuality (and very kind lack of anything resembling modesty in front of the camera) but puts up with it because Rebecca's basically a nice girl, but when the pair enter a remote backwater town and pick the exceedingly wrong house at which to attempt to peddle their wares, their fates are sealed.
American squalor: (L-R) skanky and psychotic crackhead/lesbo/whore Marla (Ivet Corea), seated Alpha male/pimp/drug dealer/recreational rapist Lobo (Peter Tahoe), and stuttering Omega wolf/alky/nun porn addict Clint (Johnny Wincher, seen here in the midst of molesting Christina DeRosa as the ill-fated Rebecca).
The poor girls unknowingly walk into the squalid home of Lobo (Peter Tahoe), a creepy drug dealer/pimp, and his pals Clint (Johnny Wincher) and Marla (Ivet Corea), the former being the wimpy and stuttering Omega to Lobo's Alpha wolf, while the latter is easily the most balls-out hostile and psycho dyke crackhead to come down the pike in quite some time. Once in the hands of this pack of human filth it's only a matter of time until something really, really bad happens, and while veterans of this genre may think they've seen some pretty vile and sadistic treatment handed out to unfortunate innocents in any of this film's antecedents, this flick tops several of those flicks by virtue of its motivation-optional psychos. All three of the creeps are in serious need of immediate death applied with extreme prejudice, but Marla reeeeeally takes the cake, and you know she's gotta be horrific if she's worse than her two male companions...
- Damned near every woman in the movie "breaking out the twins," thankfully a half hour before things get evil, so such visual splendor could be enjoyed. Extra points go to a just-out-of-the-shower and utterly full-frontally nekkid Christina DeRosa, who compounds the generous display of her lush Eye-Talian nudity by slipping into her Catholic school uniform. Oh, yeeeeeaaah...
- The full-on, in-your-face vileness of Lobo and his housemates. These guys are the most loathsome pack of human vermin seen onscreen since Krug and company in the original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, and if you've seen that one you know how strong a statement that is. Lobo's a complete turd, what with his apparent allergy to shirts and his affectation of an oily Jim Morrison-esque "stud" persona; the guy's favorite activity is "find 'em and fuck 'em," a twisted version of Hide & Seek in which, well, the name tells you all you need to know, and the worst part of it is that he genuinely considers it a game and that the forcible taking of a girl's virginity is a "special honor" that his victims will cherish because he's just so awesome. Oh, and he adds to the indignity by howling like a wolf during said violation.
- As previously noted, skanky crackhead/lesbo/'ho Marla is a real piece of work who, among other moments of sheer class, slashes the throat of a hapless John who makes the mistake of calling her a whore (she considers herself "a companion" who is given money as a gift), sits on a toilet seat and masturbates with a toilet plunger handle, forces poor "bad" girl Rebecca to go down on her at to-the-head gunpoint (Rebecca may be randy, but a lesbian she is not), after which she forces the girls to play Russian Roulette with her, a situation that turns out badly for Rebecca...
- Following the expected and awful results of a game of "find 'em and fuck 'em," a left-for-dead and majorly shell-shocked Catherine is found and hospitalized, eventually getting herself together enough to go on a single-minded hunt for Lobo and his piss-poor gang after stealing a nurse's outfit since she was found unconscious and naked in the middle of a remote road. Decked out in what would otherwise have been gear familiar from a million pinup fantasies, only this time ironically adorned with the rosary of the god who did not protect her despite her staunch belief and purity, Catherine proves utterly merciless (if a tad zombified) in her vengeance, shooting Clint in the chest at point blank range with a shotgun as he takes a dump at a bargain basement titty bar, engaging in a vicious catfight with Marla that leads to the crackhead skank's welcome beheading, and gloriously dropping Marla's bloody noggin into bed with Lobo as he's in the process of consensually fucking a nurse who scores him drugs from the local hospital (it's the kindly nurse who tended to Catherine when she was found and admitted). A startled Lobo swiftly regains his composure and tries to explain to Catherine that she has no reason to be mad, in fact she should be thanking him (!!!), but our avenging angel ain't having it and promptly shoves her three-foot machete straight up his naked ass.
Like I said, a feel-good genre this ain't. But while RUN! BITCH RUN! ends up a total downer, it comes from out of nowhere to represent as one of the better entries in its grubby little niche. Definitely not a date movie and certainly not recommended for those unmoved by the frisson (Ooh! High-falutin' film-fuck word!) of seeing a hideously wronged individual hand out hard-earned retribution, this one is best ventured into by hardened grindhouse veterans, exploitation-fan feminists, and those who simply want to see that magic moment when anus meets a good length of very sharp steel. It's the perfect second bill for a double-feature with Disney's THE COUNTRY BEARS! (More on that one tomorrow. No, I'm not kidding.)