SAVAGE STREETS (1984) reviews and overview

 

‘Don’t mess with my sister’

Savage Streets is a 1984 American action crime film in which a teenage vigilante seeks revenge on a group of violent thugs in Los Angeles. Previously, the thugs attacked her deaf sister and killed her best friend.

Directed by Danny Steinmann (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning; The Unseen) and (uncredited) Tom DeSimone (Angel III: The Final Chapter; Hell Night) from a screenplay co-written by Norman Yonemoto, Danny Steinmann and (uncredited) John Strong, the movie stars Linda Blair (Grotesque; Hell Night; The Exorcist and Exorcist II), John Vernon (Killer Klowns from Outer Space; Curtains; The Uncanny), Robert Dryer, Johnny Venokur and Linnea Quigley.

New release:

On January 5th 2021, Savage Streets is re-released on Blu-ray by Code Red via Kino Lorber. Special Features:

Audio Commentary by Actors Robert Dryer, Johnny Venocur and Producer John Strong
Audio Commentary by Actors Robert Dryer, Sal Landi and Cinematographer Stephen L. Posey
Audio Commentary by Director Danny Steinmann
Isolated Music Track
Interview with Star Linda Blair
Interview with Actress Linnea Quigley
Two Interviews with Producer John Strong
Two Interviews with Actor Robert Dryer
Two Interviews with Actor Johnny Venocur
Interview with Actor Sal Landi
Interview with Actor Scott Mayer
Kat’s Scratch Cinema Intro with Hostess Katarina Leigh Waters
5.1 Surround (Original 2 Track Mag) and 2.0 Lossless Audio
Reversible Art
Theatrical Trailer
Dual-Layered BD50 Disc
Region A/B/C

Plot:

Brenda (Linda Blair) is the vivacious leader of the “Satins”, a fun-loving group of pretty high school girls. The Satins are in for trouble from the first moment they play a harmless prank on the “Scars” — a vicious gang who runs loose on the Hollywood streets.

The Scars and their malevolent leader, Jake (Robert Dryer), take their revenge seriously — first with Brenda’s deaf-mute sister (Linnea Quigley) and then her soon-to-be-married best friend.

Caught up in her rivalry with the cheerleaders, Brenda is at first unaware of the Scars’ involvement, but she soon finds out the full truth. Shocked… full of hate… in a skintight black suit… Brenda searches for the gang members and she takes them out one by one with deadly vengeance…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …the film stubbornly holds together with a cohesive center and it is easy to understand why it has a cult following. Apart from the unsympathetic high school principal played by John Vernon […] the lack of adult/authoritative intervention makes the teenagers’ world almost completely insular and, much like Larry Clark’s Kids, the events unfold within their limited world.” 10K Bullets

“This is pretty much the quintessential 80’s exploitation movie, in that it tries to operate within just about every single exploitation subgenre that was active at the time simultaneously! At its core, it is a Death Wish-style vendetta flick, but it also has features that the experienced bad-movie connoisseur will recognize from the slasher, gang war, post-apocalypse, women’s prison, and high school nudie genres.” 1,000 Misspent Hours and Counting

Savage Streets is better than it should be, not totally deserving of its classic reputation, momentarily ethereal, sporadically disturbing, and seldom boring. Will it work for you? Who knows? All I know is that Linda Blair is hot, the revenge is cold, and the violence occasionally feels like a fat right-cross after a sweet soft kiss.” Bloody Good Horror

“What is especially unsettling about Savage Streets is the easiness with which it switches into a hyper-violent mode and then remains comfortable with the nasty material. It is true that this infuses the film with a certain trashy quality, but the end product is anything but kitschy and devoid of authenticity. In fact, exactly the opposite is true — the nastiest visuals feel borderline dangerous.” Blu-ray.com

” …it is the copious amounts of sizzle and a leading lady with a loyal following that has earned Savage Streets its cult status. Linda Blair’s Brenda is a character with no fear and proves to be a real bad @ss throughout the movie. So with the kind of motivation the story provides her, it isn’t a stretch that Brenda goes full vigilante by the end of the film…” Bulletproof Action

” …a solid gang picture that spirals into violent revenge and murder very quickly. Sure, it doesn’t stack up to The Warriors or even Switchblade Sisters, but for a wannabe it sure does pack a punch with some gorgeous women and primo eighties kitsch. And you know this is an eighties film when the angelic faced Linda Blair does her finest in conveying a new tough girl image scantily putting on display her rather impressive bust…” Cinema Crazed

Savage Streets is a neat little exploitation movie indeed. It simply oozes the eighties; in a way it’s the alternative coming of age flick in contrast to all those John Hughes movies. But instead of moping around for lack of love, teenage angst and broken hearts, this one channels on the hate, magnifies the frustration and builds up to that revenge climax in all the right ways.” Cinezilla

” …director Steinmann manages to retain some classy touches in numerous sequences as well as generally getting some fine performances out of the main performers. The best and easily the most memorable of the few films he helmed, the violence level is very high and may disturb more squeamish viewers more accustomed to the slightly less grim antics of Death Wish (1974). If you like your vigilante movies with an imposing nasty streak, then this one is for you.” Cool @ss Cinema

“Despite the unevenness resulting from the multiple rewrites, production shutdowns, and the input of multiple directors, Savage Streets delivers the R-rated goods with bouncy, unenhanced nudity, a lot of grisly violence, and some highly-quotable dialogue […] Brenda’s take-down of the majority of The Scars is a bit too short and swift to be satisfying, but Steinmann and Strong are smart enough to linger on the final showdown between Brenda and Jake.” DVD Drive-In

“With key dramatic moments transformed into laugh riots thanks to the outrageously duff disco-dancing taking place in the background, Savage Streets is never less than gaudy fun. It shows as many perky boobs and unshaved beavers as possible, the girls are hot in an 80’s kind of way, and the obligatory communal girlie shower scene segues neatly into the inevitable hair-pulling catfight.” Eat My Brains

“If you like this subgenre then you’ll like Savage Streets. If you don’t then, well, maybe you’ll still find something to enjoy here. It veers between the grimy and the hilarious in a way that creates a surprisingly enjoyable end product, although you may find yourself viewing it more as a comedy than a straight thriller.” For It Is Man’s Number

” …Savage Streets is a piece of pure 80’s exploitation. Reminiscent of the Blaxploitation movies of the 70’s such as Cleopatra Jones and Pam Grier’s films Foxy Brown and Coffy, they all featured a strong female star who used sex and violence to get revenge on the men who wrong them in the same way Brenda does.” Love Horror

Savage Streets is loads of fun even when it threatens to all fly off the rails at any moment. The gaudy parade of neon-highlighted clothes, post-disco pop music (highlighting John Farnham, of all people), and amped-up sleazy dialogue ensure there’s never a dull moment, and of course, it’s fun to see Blair strut her stuff (including a much-loved bathtub scene) and reuniting with Chained Heat costar, John Vernon (who gets some great one-liners as the school principal).” Mondo Digital

“Steinmann wisely keeps the violence and sleaze coming at a pretty quick pace meaning that the quick succession of these scenes ensures that we don’t pay as much attention to the clichés and plot holes as we might otherwise. The end result is a fairly trashy work of gritty exploitation…” Rock! Shock! Pop!

” …in its attempts to be shocking, harrowing even, it simply came across as ridiculous, as if to sneer, yeah, this is really edgy isn’t it? Admit it, you’re quite taken aback by how far we’re going, aren’t you? The passage of time has rendered the film no less ludicrous, and if you’re keen on seeing how movie tough guys and gals dressed in 1984, then look no further than the fashions on display here.” The Spinning Image

“Director Danny Steinmann for the most part does solid work behind the camera.  Although he botches a couple of opportunities for genuine suspense and lets many scenes go on a lot longer than they should […], when it comes down to dealing out the trashy exploitation goods (girls’ shower room scenes, blouse ripping catfights, etc.), Steinmann is a master. ” The Video Vacuum

Savage Streets is a brutal, revenge-fueled good time. The revenge sequence is inspired, and Linda Blair is amazing; even the supporting cast is great. If you haven’t seen this often overlooked grindhouse classic, it is absolutely worth checking out.” Wicked Horror

Cast and characters:

Linda Blair … Brenda
John Vernon … Principal Underwood
Robert Dryer … Jake
Johnny Venokur … Vince (as Johnny Venocur)
Sal Landi … Fargo
Scott Mayer … Red
Debra Blee … Rachel
Lisa Freeman … Francine Anne Ramirez
Marcia Karr … Stevie
Luisa Leschin … Maria
Linnea Quigley … Heather
Ina Romeo … Stella
Jill Jaxx … Waitress (as Jill Bunker)
Mitch Carter … Greg
Richard DeHaven … Richie
Bob DeSimone … Mr Meeker
Susan Dean … Nurse
Joy Hyler … Brenda’s Mother
Brian Frishman … Wes (as Brian Mann)
Catherine McGoohan … Store Manager
Sean O’Grady … Fadden
Rebecca Perle … Cindy Clark
Paula Shaw … Charlene
Kristi Somers … Valerie (as Kristi Sommers)
Troy Tompkins … Bobby
Perla Walter … Rita (as Perle Walter)
Judy Walton … Ms Young
Carole White … Ms Jenkins (as Carol Ita White)
Louis Zito … Vince’s Father (as Louis P. Zito)
Helen Kelly … Girl on Hollywood Blvd (uncredited)
Suzee Slater … Fadden’s girlfriend (uncredited)
Brinke Stevens … High School Girl in Shower (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Burbank, California
Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Inglewood, California (cemetery scene)

Technical details:

93 minutes
Audio: Mono
CFI colour
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Films by Danny Steinmann:

FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING (1985) Reviews and overview

THE UNSEEN (1980) Reviews and overview

Trailer:

YouTube reviews: