She-Devils on Wheels Film Details
Overview: An all-female motorcycle gang, called ‘The Maneaters’ hold motorcycle races, as well as terrorize the residents of a small Florida town, and clash off against an all-male rival gang of hot-riders.
Tagline: See! Female Hellcats Ruling Their Men With Tire-Irons As Their Instruments Of Passion!
Review: ***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Ahh… It would be no exagerration to liken “She Devils On Wheels”, an epic HG Lewis tragedy, to the writings of Shakespeare. It is quite possibly the “Godfather of Gore”‘s masterpiece, his “Hamlet” and his “Romeo and Juliet” in one. The plot revolves around the Maneaters, a gang of motorcycle riding women, bent on smashing their gender roles, treating their menfolk like slaves and riding hard on ‘the strip’ (they may ride hard but certainly not fast… the girls’ bikes move at a leaden, snail-like pace – no doubt a sly metaphor to represent that although the girls may appear to be riding fast, their lives are, essentially, going nowhere). There are many deep-running conflicts within the Maneaters, too complicated to go into here in full detail, but most notably the feud between leader Queenie and fairly recent member Karen is the one that creates the most tension. It’s obvious that Queenie is jealous of the younger, more glamorous Karen and when Karen keeps winning the Maneaters’ races, Queenie decides to put her in her place with a scene easily as devastatingly powerful as anything from Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus”. Karen, it seems, has fallen in love with one of the ‘Studs’ (a group of highly inbred-looking ‘men’ that the Maneaters keep at their shack as sex slaves) and when Queenie finds out, she ties him to the back of Karen’s bike and issues the ultimatum – either Karen rides across the strip with her lover tied to the back of her hog, or Queenie rides across the strip with Karen in tow! As the bewildered Karen drives across the strip, her lover turning to a bloodied pulp in gruelling detail, I swear there isn’t a dry eye in the house. It tugs at the heartstrings, readers, let me tell you that… Christ, I’m choking up just writing about it. As the plot unfolds from this pivotal scene, a rival gang, led by the evil misogynist Joe-Boy, get into a fierce argument with the Maneaters over who owns ‘the strip’ which escalates into a war of violence, betrayal and eventually, murder in clearly a homage to Shakespeare’s Montague/Capulet feud. What makes it more complicated is that one of the male gang’s brothers is Karen’s ex-boyfriend who still holds a flame for her and is heartbroken to see her throw her life away with the Maneaters. As I say, we’re talking a seriously tangled web of complexed, strong emotions here – the parallel to the Bard’s work is especially hammered home as a variety of scenes are delivered using poetry and verse. Whilst Shakespeare will be forever renowned for his masterly sonnets, Lewis prefers to use the more unorthodox, less highly rated poetic technique – the limerick. Witness one Maneater recount a slightly modified version of a classic, as Lewis pays tribute to great limericks of a forgotten age – “There was a young girl from Calcutta / Who covered her (cough cough) in butter / She thought it too greasy / But it slipped in easy / It’s a trick that she learnt from her mutha”… ahh, the greats. Despite being rife with stark imagery (who can forget the sight of the seemingly endless footage of the girls “trippin'” down a single carriageway at 30mph in a zone clearly marked 55mph?) and clever, sharp dialogue (“We ain’t no daisy pickin’ broads, we’re the Maneaters!”), Lewis’ film is ultimately nihilistc, carrying a very dark tone as it explores the fractured psyches of its tortured lead characters. It touches on the emptiness of sexual relations; a recurring theme enforced by the clever directorial trick that no-one even gets into any state of real undress, let alone actually has sex, despite constantly talking about it. Again, it reinforces the point that the shallow goals which drive the main characters to their actions will essentially be disappointing and leave them with nothing – the sheer futility of it all is presented as bleakly as possible with the stunningly grim finale – a horrific centrepiece in the form of a surprise decapitation followed by an ambiguous ‘ending’ which makes us ask the question: “WHY!?” WHY, DAMNIT, WHY!? There is no triumph of good or evil; no heroes in this film… Two of the girls return, post-credits, with what may well be the answer, in the form of a limerick, naturally. Truly one of the great classics of 20th century cinema, “She Devils on Wheels” holds its own easily against the works of Kurosawa, Godard and Bergman.
Country: United States
Duration: 82 min
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Also known as: She-Devils on Wheels,Symmoria thilykon angelon tis Kolaseos,Дьяволицы на колесах