Rumor has it that the parents of talented teen starlet Thora Birch (Clear and Present Danger, American Beauty, Ghost World) are allegedly former porn stars: buck-toothed blonde CAROL CONNORS (The Erotic Adventures of Candy) and muscle-stud JACK BIRCH. They’re also the leads of Road of Death, a marvelously rock-bottom, R-rated, shot-in-Florida biker/revenge flick that’s so cheap and sleazy and amazingly godawful that it’s a sick delight from beginning to end.
Top-billed Miss Connors — best known as the naughty nurse of Deep Throat, also shot in Florida the previous year — plays good-girl Lisa, the girlfriend of Frank, a guitar-player in THE JOE BANANA THING, a truly terrible four-man house band for a local dub. Frank is played by Mr. Birch who has an odd face dominated by bad skin and gigantic cheekbones. Perversely, he’s so unphotogenic you can’t take your eyes off him. He also has an extremely muscular body and loves taking off his shirt every couple of minutes to prove it. Lisa and Frank are best friends with JOE BANANA, lead singer of the group, and his girl Dena (LEA VIVOT) who speaks with an incomprehensible Euro accent All four are apparently such good friends that they not only live together in the same house, but have sex in the living room in front of each other, and all sleep Bob-and-Carol-and-Ted-and-Alice-style in the same bed!
But when these Seventies Swingers go on a picnic — which translates as dancing around and making out in some Floridian field — they’re quickly surrounded by a bunch of bad-boy bikers: "Let’s get us some of that turkey ass, man!" Shiftless Frank tries to wallop ’em but is no match for five thugs and a couple of chains. Four of the slobs then dive on Dena while a bearded degenerate takes out a hunting knife and carves his name in Lisa’s ass! Happy with their day’s work, the gang rides off after — get this — their leader accidentally leaves his wallet and I.D. on the ground (I!!). Armed with the wallet, a bullet-proof vest and a .44 magnum, Frank quickly goes biker hunting ("I’ll get ’em, Lisa! I’ll get ’em for this!"), all of which culminates in an action-packed climax so lame as to be almost dazzling....
Wow. Road of Death is, hands down, one of our newest favorite Bad Movies of All Time. The other big hits from director RENE MARTINEZ, JR. were the blaxploitation films Guy from Harlem (1976) and The Six Thousand Dollar N** (1980, starring Wildman Steve). Producer JOSEPH FINK released a handful of still-obscure regional rarities in the Sixties (such as The Devil’s Sisters and Hell’s Chosen Few) through his company Thunderbird Pictures. And Carol and Jack... well, they went on to do the 1979 pornos Candy Goes to Hollywood and Sweet Savage (with Aldo Ray!) before getting hitched. We hope the rumors about them and Thora are true because we love the idea that the Jack Birch who manages Thora’s career is the same Jack Birch seen going berserk here, and hope he kicks some executive ass at his next Hollywood meeting.
From an extremely rare 35mm Birch-bashing print.
Starring: Carol Connors
Co-starring: Jack Birch
Other cast: Joe Banana, Lea Vivot, Robert Bourassa
Directed by: Rene Martinez, Jr.
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