Directed by Henning Schellerup
Something Weird VHS
You can make a successful statement through research, planning, and communication. You can also make a successful statement through bottomless karate.
The last line of decipherable dialogue in The Black Alley Cats is: “That’ll teach ‘em not to fuck with The Black Alley Cats!” That makes sense. Because it is a true statement. This movie is invincible trash. It is un-fuckable-with. It is vigilante costumes consisting of black leather jackets, no pants, and nylons without panties. It is a soundtrack that is mostly a drum solo. It is social reform in the guise of black boobs being pushed into white faces. It is the rare no-budget 1970s sexploitation movie that encourages expectation, surpasses it, and destroys the need for explanation.
Four women wearing identical outfits walk down the street. Thirty seconds later, they’re getting raped-through-the-jeans by a roving gang of thugs. One of them is a fat guy with a small knife who is only slightly more menacing than Lou Costello. Immediately after the gang leaves, one of the girls says, “We’re gonna learn how to fight back!”
Cut to a karate dojo.
Cut to a shooting range.
Cut to someone yelling, “Ripping the groin away!”
The girls inexplicably receive their leather jackets, which are complete with yellow “Black Alley Cat” logos on the back. They track down the rapist gang, gently beat them with planks of wood, and strip them of their clothes. Revenge is complete.
Ten minutes of this movie are down.
From there, The Black Alley Cats either continue to punish criminals or rob innocent people. Or hang out and watch people have sex. It’s hard to tell exactly what they’re doing because most of the dialogue is incomprehensible. Meaning, it was recorded badly. So badly that someone could have swapped out the soundtrack for one from a third generation bootleg of Last Year At Marienbad and I’d never know the difference. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the rest of this movie features a nude fight in a shower, a lesbionic headmistress who gets turned on by bloody wounds (P.S. The Black Alley Cats live in a boarding school), a doctor and his wife who rape and blackmail one of the ladies, the “humiliation” of a rich black man at gunpoint by calling him “pink toes” and making him have sex with Uschi Digard, a French maid outfit, two or three gunshots, lots of boob-licking, and some cops failing to pull apart the rapist doctor and his wife after they’ve been given an aphrodisiac that will force them to have sex until they die.
The Black Alley Cats falls somewhere between the no-fi production values of Road Of Death and the over-the-top sexuality of Deadly Weapons. But it’s spicier and grimier than both of those movies. And even less sensical. It’s plotless, shapeless, and without structure, feeling like four reels of highlights without a through-line. This type of presentation in obscure softcore isn’t unique — The Great Hollywood Rape Slaughter is structured the same way. But watching Rape Slaughter was like watching an eighty-year-old man paint the exterior of a two story house. Black Alley Cats is relentlessly entertaining. It’s constant nudity, stupidity, and fun-loving pessimism. The dialogue is incredible (“A bunch of fucking gamblers are running number games and such — let’s stop ‘em!”). Plus, writer Joseph Drury and director Henning Schellerup, who would go on to shoot Curse Of The Headless Horseman and Silent Night, Deadly Night, made an attempt to imbue their sleazy rape-revenge movie with a socially responsible core. They also imbued it with someone saying:
“Look how free my breasts are. Touch them.”