Friday, June 22, 2018

The Muthers (1976)

Aw shit yeah, Enamaniacs.  I have a very good feeling about this week's B-Movie Enema.

Looking back on Black Friday 2017, I excitedly took advantage of a massive sale on the Vinegar Syndrome website.  One of the movies I was excited to pick up was The Muthers.  The reasons were plentiful.

For one, it looked like a pretty sweet action movie with ladies takin' over boats and blowing shit up and stuff.  I felt it was likely going to have a blaxploitation slant, and I think you all know how I feel about that sub-genre.  It also was starring some pretty hot ladies.  I think you all know how I feel about that topic too.  That's not all, I think almost all these chicks have been in Playboy.  So, there's that too.  It's also a "women in prison" flick that was pretty popular in the 70s and into the 80s.  But it allowed me to cross another thing off the ol' checklist - Filipino sleaze.

Yes, this was directed by the anointed "Master of Filipino Sleaze" Cirio Santiago.  He made a shit ton of movies in his lifetime.  One of which, TNT Jackson, was mentioned in my Policewomen article as it stars the lovely Jeannie Bell who is also in this movie.  He also made the 1980s Expendables movie that I've seen featured here and there on various other sites and YouTube shows.  He also did another movie I will be eventually getting to - a little shitty ditty called Vampire Hookers.

This isn't just a sleazy Filipino movie (and I hope only the first of many many Filipino movies I'm gonna do on this blog).  It isn't just a seemingly sexy lady action movie.  It doesn't just cross some lines into blaxploitation.  It's also a pirate movie.  That's right.  This movie features lady pirates fuckin' up some slave trades in the jungle.

Well, holy shit, what am I waiting for?  It's time to get balls-deep into this business.


Get that boat, Jeannie!
What's the best way to show your title?  By having it be the name of your fucking Vietnam-style river gunner boat as it sails past the camera.  Our heroines are following behind a fancy boat that looks to have a bunch of high class people hanging out with a bunch of ladies.  So the Muthers pirate the shit out of the fancy pants yacht/party boat and sail on like no big whoop.

What exactly they took, I don't know, but I'm into it.

When they dock, Kelly (Bell) and her #2, Anggie (super hot Rosanne Katon), look for someone who can help them unload and look after their cargo - whatever it may be.  They work with the police captain to try to sell everything but the boat.  While on the island, they decide to take on a rival pirate named Turko.  Just for funsies, they decide to pirate the shit he pirated.  You know, as pirates do.

Admittedly, I'm not sure what's going on, but I can say I'm enjoying it more than a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

I want a woman who looks at me like Rosanne Katon looks
at everything while holding a giant knife like she's gonna cut
my balls off.
The Muthers return to their home base.  Kelly shows her heart of gold by giving a girl with a bum leg a gold coin from the stuff they took from Turko.  The friendly Sancho tells Kelly her sister Sandy has run away from the island.  Initially, she takes a hard stance saying she's tired of babysitting a disrespectful girl like that, but Sancho and Anggie convince her to go looking for her.

They go to a bar in Santiago and when the owner tries to get a little action from Kelly, shit hits the wall.  Kelly and Anggie fuck everybody up in the bar.  However, back at home, Turko shows up at their home and start killin' peoples left and right demanding to know where Kelly is.

This dude from the Justice Department recruits Kelly, Anggie, and Sancho to help him in exchange for the information that Sandy has been kidnapped by some slavers.  He is willing to let Kelly and her gang off the hook if they help him with the slavers.  The Justice Department dude helps get Kelly and Anggie into the camp where the girls are taken after being kidnapped.  There, they meet Marcie (played by Trina Parks from Darktown Strutters).  They quickly make friends, and Marcie tells them a bit about what's going on around the camp.  Kelly thinks she sees her sister, but it isn't.

No, Marcie tells Kelly and Anggie that Sandy escaped a couple days before they got there.  Unfortunately, her chances of survival isn't very good at all.  You see, the camp is in a pretty dangerous place and the guards always find those who escaped.  Indeed, one of the girls that Sandy escaped with was found, beaten up, and brought back for punishment - which involves hanging her up by her hair.

It's here where Kelly and Anggie spot Serena (Jayne Kennedy) - an exceptionally pretty girl brought here for work in the fields until she got set up as Monteiro's arm candy.  Monteiro is the man who runs the slave camp.  Marcie tells the girls that Serena is actually pretty cool.  She slips them some stuff on the side like smokes and some slightly better food than what they normally get.  Kelly and Anggie aren't so into her though seeing her a bit of a traitor for getting to live high the hog with the guy everyone is slaving away for.

Despite the consequences, Anggie and Kelly decide they are going to escape.  Sancho shows up to let them know that Turko's been looking for them.  Unfortunately, they don't get too far before Sancho is shot by the guards and killed.  Even though they are able to hold their own for a bit, they get recaptured.  When they are brought back into camp, Kelly sees her sister dead and strung up in the center of the camp.  She flips the fuck out and starts karate kicking the fuck out of everyone.  Anggie joins in but they get restrained and tossed into a hot box as punishment.  They tell Marcie they are going to kill Monteiro for what they did to Sandy.

Marcie tries to recruit Serena to their cause.  Serena arranges for Kelly and Anggie to be released from the hot box, but despite how much Marcie tries to convince them that she's cool, Kelly and Anggie still don't fully trust Serena.  In a strange twist in the movie, Serena discovers Monteiro is fooling around on her...  With one of his young soldiers.  Serena is hurt - I think it is revealed that she actually cares for the cruel slaver.  He warns Serena needs to stay out of his way.  He even mentions that he knows she hopes he would "change" but that they were never going to "make it".

I... I think Monteiro is actually gay.

*snicker*  Oh, yeah, sir...  That shirt... *snicker*
makes you look totes manly... *snicker*
I mean, no duh, right?  Like they lay it on pretty thick with the wording in that scene and he's fucking around with a dude.  It makes me wonder about the "progressiveness" of this movie.  In a lot of movies in the mid-70s, gays or bisexuals would have been treated super fay.  They would have been prancing about and saying things with lisps and whatnot.  Here, not so much.  Granted, there's lots of evidence that people in Southeast Asia and the islands like the Philippines and Indonesia often swung in multiple directions for kicks and for money.  Could it be that it was actually acceptable enough to have a character like Monteiro be bisexual (at the least, gay at the most) and have it just be part of his overall character?

Serena is also somewhat complicated. She has real conflict over her loyalty to Monteiro and seems frustrated (at the least, outright pissed and scornful at the most) over Monteiro fucking around on her.  That's something to be kind of proud of in a female character who is not much more than the bad guy's whore.  The James Bond franchise had already played around with this sort of stuff by the time this movie came out, but normally that morality shift and complication came after Bond laid them.  This doesn't have that.  There's no romantic tug of war here for Serena.

But whatever, enough of that shit.  I didn't mention there was a shower scene earlier for Jeannie Bell so let's take a look at that real quick...
Nice.
Monteiro's men snatch up Kelly and Anggie and take them to his house.  Monteiro reveals that he knows exactly who they are because, as all good bad guys do, he knows all.  Oh, and he killed the dude from the Justice Department.  He threatens that they need to remember their place or they will end up like that dude from the Justice Department and Kelly's sister.  To make examples of them, they string them up in the square by their feet.  Finally, Serena has had enough.  She lights some of the bunks on fire creating havoc and allowing for a lot of the girls to run interference on the guards.  She and Marcie cut Kelly and Anggie down and work on their plans to escape.
My word, never mind how that sexy little plaid shirt stands out among the drab worker clothes, Jayne Kennedy would
stand out in a basket of rainbows.
So now the four main girls are in the jungle hoping not to be hunted down by Monteiro's men or, I suppose, be killed by some sort of jungle beast.

Oh, and Jeannie Bell decided that she wasn't all that cool with my ogling of Jayne Kennedy above, because she decided to let them tittaes poke.
My word.
The girls brave the dangers of the jungle on their way to the coast for escape.  When they get close, the rest of the Muthers reveal themselves to help them get on the boat to finally get away.  Before they can get to the boat, though, they are surrounded by Monteiro's men on one side, and Turko's men on the other.  Realizing that Serena set them all up, Marcie attacks and uses her as collateral to escape.  This leads to a good old fashioned cat fight.
Say it with me now...  My word.
Serena ultimately gets the upper hand and holds Marcie at gunpoint, but breaks down from all she's dealt with in her time at the camp.  Kelly and Anggie continue the fight against the combined might of Monteiro and Turko's armies.  As Marcie and Serena catch up, Monteiro calls for Serena.  She tells Marcie to go, but when Monteiro shoots to kill Marcie, Serena stands in the way and takes pretty much all the bullets.  The Muthers make it back to their boat and use their heavier artillery on their ship to hold off Monteiro's men, but they are pinned in by Turko's ship.  Anggie takes a few of the men to take on Monteiro while Kelly uses the ship to take out Turko by blowing ship to fuck.  On shore, Anggie takes out Monteiro's men, he gets shot by Kelly while getting a knife stuck in the back by Anggie.

I kinda think Monteiro ended up having one of those days where he might have wished he just slept in.

This movie is awesome in just the right ways.  It's surprisingly not as sleazy as most other exploitation and women in prison flicks of the time.  Okay, yes, there are a couple shots of Jeannie Bell's tits that didn't do much for the story other than to see some boob - which I very much appreciate.  But the movie is surprisingly kind to our main ladies by actually giving them arcs and stuff to do.  Jeannie Bell and Rosanne Katon are really believable as kind of tough women who can lead a boatload of pirates and handle themselves.

Sure, the plot itself is a bit paper thin, but the characters are there.  The motivations are enough there, and the ladies, particularly Anggie and Kelly, are tough, but likable.  Okay, maybe it is still a little sleazy but I can't imagine any modern woman not appreciating how our main ladies handle themselves and prove to be every bit an action star as most guys in that era.  Kudos to the movie at least making you care about the girls beyond superficial looks, but because you know they will kick your ass and feed you your own testicles backwards through your anus.

Next week, we have a little more sleaze for ya as I return to the slasher genre, as well as cheerleaders, with the 1988 horror flick Cheerleader Camp.  Be back here in 7 days!

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