“The trick is staying alive!” That’s one of the taglines for one of my favorite exploitation films, Vice Squad. “Trick” in this case also means hooker in this nasty piece of trash from 1982 starring Wings Hauser and Season Hubley. It’s definitely a film that would not be made today. And that’s not a bad thing. This is a true piece of gritty cinema. Beloved by horror and exploitation fans alike. It’s a chilling film that is definitely not for the squeamish. I remember seeing it when I was just a kid and being absolutely terrified of Wings Hauser If the film didn’t have such an extreme subject matter (and graphic violence for that matter) he probably would have been nominated for quiet a few awards. Its definitely a film you won’t forget.
Hauser stars as Ramrod a mean vicious pimp who likes wearing a cowboy hat and driving around in his Bronco that says “RAMROD” right on the side. He had no problem keeping his girls in line by beating them half to death. Actually he has no problem not only beating them but anyone who crosses him. He beats random Johns, other pimps, even a cop if they get in his way. One of his girls is Ginger makes the mistake of trying to keep some of his cut so her tracks her down to a seedy motel and talks real sweet to her through the door until she lets him in. Well once he is in things go from bad to worse fast as Ramrod grabs Ginger, givers her a beating, ties her up, gags her, then proceeds to “Pimp Stick” her in a very bad place. Not surprisingly she dies a few minutes later.
Ginger had a good friend on the streets named Princess. She’s also a hooker and she is devastated to learn that her friend has been murdered. She also knows that Ramrod did it and fingers him to the cops. Problem is there is no witness. Luckily Detective Walsh )Gary Swanson in a great role) has a plan. He’s been trying to bring Ramrod down for a long time and convinces Ginger to wear a wire and get Ramrod to confess. They figure he will need a new girl and Ginger would fit the bill. The plan works pretty well and Ramrod gets busted. Problem is he escapes while in custody and proceeds to hunt Ginger down so he can kill her.
I cannot stress two things enough. This is a chilling movie. Not for the faint of heart, and not for everyone. Its also a great film with an amazing performance by Hauser. Sure he’s playing a vile disgusting pimp but he plays it to such perfection he ended up being type-cast as a bad guy for tons of films to follow. The cinematography is fantastic as well. Taking place at night in the seedy underbelly of the big city with flashing light and sirens and wet streets throughout. Everything about this film is dark and sinister.
Scream Factory has once again stepped in to give this classic the collectors treatment it deserves. This is an amazing transfer from top to bottom. The picture is done so well. Everything is still dark and dirty looking but all the other colors from the red and blue police lights, to the water on the streets, to the lights on all the marquees around the strip are vibrant. Avoiding that dreaded blue tint that haunts many transfers of dark films Scream Factory has done this one perfectly. The audio is amazing as you can hear every little bit of background noise from people yelling, to cars, to screams everything feels like its coming to life. It also boasts a stellar amount of special features.
NEW 4K Scan Of The Negative
NEW Audio Commentary With Director Gary Sherman And Producer Brian Frankish
NEW Tracking The Beast – An Interview With Actor Gary Swanson
NEW Of Poltergeist And Neon Lights – An Interview With Director Gary Sherman
NEW Hollywood Magic – An Interview With Producer Brian Frankish
NEW The Roots Of Reality – An Interview With Actress Beverly Todd
NEW Catching A Killer – An Interview With Actor Pepe Serna
NEW Princess Driver – An Interview With Actor Michael Ensign
NEW Hollywood Streetwalking – A Look At The Locations
Audio Commentary With Director Gary Sherman
Still Galleries – Poster And Lobby Cards, Publicity Stills, Press Kit
Hands down this is one of the best exploitation films ever made. I saw it for the first time on HBO and I never forgot it. Hauser is absolutely terrifying and this transfer is just immaculate. Like I said its not for everyone but if old school Drive-Inn style films are your thing this is a must own. Scream Factory pulled out all the stops and made this one a must own.
Overall 4out of 5 Stars!