Simply put, it's male bikers vs. female bootleggers. And if that ain’t a perfect example of drive-in-style High Concept, nothing is! With a cast that reads like a Who’s Who of Sixties exploitation. The Girls from Thunder Strip is also one of the very first films to exploit the biker craze that came in the wake of German’s The Wild Angels the same year. But in the hands of director DAVID L HEWITT (who would dazzle the world three years later with The Mighty Gorga), the result is... well, rather disturbing. With the bikers played as psycho killers, and the backwoods beauties played for laughs, the end result feels like a rollicking, family-style action/comedy... with ten murders. All to jovial banjo music. It’s a rather unexpectedly cruel collision of genres. Sort of like Hee-Haw with death.
Bad-ass biker Teach (GARY KENT, the hero of Satan’s Sadists but the nastiest of the bunch here), stops a hitchhiker before joining his miserable pals, Animal and Todd (whose jacket reads "Hell’s Chosen Few," the name of a 1968 Hewitt biker flick), at a small-town gas station. There, they go to attack the attendant and end up stabbing their biker mama instead. Sheriff JACK STARRETT (director of Cleopatra Jones and Race with the Devil) and Deputy Orville (BRUCE KIMBALL of The Pig Keeper’s Daughter) throw the bastards in jail, then join hot-shot federal agent CASEY KASEM in raiding a moonshine still run by three sisters, Red, Lil, and Jessie (MEGAN TIMOTHY of The Mighty Gorga and Russ Meyer’s Good Morning and Goodbye!), which ends with Casey getting blown up and standing there looking frustrated in comically burnt clothing. Haw, haw, haw!
Though Red and Lil get away, Jessie is thrown in jail where she poses in her black bra for the bikers. But Red and her shotgun soon bust Jessie out of the jail — as well as the bikers who offer her fifty bucks for their release. Animal, the craziest biker of the bunch, celebrates his freedom by promptly strangling Deputy Luther. Then they all hole up at the home of Aunt Tilly and Pike (JODY McCREA, son of Joel, and one of the AIP "Beach Party" gang), until Teach casually shoots loveable Aunt Tilly between the eyes. What follows is a mad chase over country roads — complete with shooting up cops, beating an old man bloody, and playing target practice with the old man’s wife — as Pike tracks down the bikers who have taken the girls hostage....
With GARY GRAVER’S usual excellent-on-a-shoestring photography, The Girls from Thunder Strip is the kind of film that symbolizes the murder of a major character by showing a roll of toilet paper unspooling on the ground. Nevertheless, the film is too much sick fun to have remained obscure and unseen for so long, and we’re glad to have finally found a 35mm print... in 2.35:1 widescreen Techniscope, no less.
— Frank Henenlotter
Starring: Jody McRea
Co-starring: Maray Ayres
Other cast: Gary Kent, Casey Kasem, Jack Starret
Directed by: David L. Hewitt
top of page
bottom of page