my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Unholy Rollers
Director:   Vernon Zimmerman
Year:   1972
Genre:   Sports
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   09.17.06

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
09.17.06Alamo Downtown Now this is more like it! THIS is what I wanted from a roller derby movie! Here we go!

For starters, after Kansas City Bomber (which didn't even take place in KC) ended, I spotted a glimpse of a most heated debate between Lars and Kier-La... It was a little bit of the parents fighting thing, I certainly didn't want to budge in so I deliberately paid unattention, but my guess it was about whether or not to throw out the rollergirls. It's a tough question to ask because on the one hand, this whole thing is with the roller derby league here in town, and the proceeds benefit a rollerderby-picked charity (some main rollergirl got up on stage and told us, then said "yay, battered women!" in her very un-womanly voice to match her very womanly figure) and so it was like a real TXRD "thing," but on the other hand we're at the Alamo and like the number one rule at the Alamo is no talking... So this was one night where I didn't envy their predicament. So Lars got up again for his intro and, in the nicest way possible, told people to shut up. Then QT got up and reiterated to not talk... And here's the thing I'm taking a complete guess at with Quention... usually, at least for the two festivals I've been to of his, he'll lay the "don't talk at the movie, it's ok to send energy toward it but don't take from it" spiel like once a night, maybe once every other day and people get it. I've never seen him have to give it twice in a night... but I also think that he went to a lot of grindhouse theaters growing up where talking is a constant... and when I got into his crew screenings there was lots of talking going on there too (although that was a private screening so all rules are off then)... so I bet he's actually pretty neutral on the subject of movie talking. I mean, I'm sure he appreciates it that the Alamo enforces the rule, but it wouldn't be the first time he's watched movies like this with crowds like that.

Well, whatever. I like it when I can hear the movie.

So as both Lars and QT were telling us to shut up, people were still talking. Then all these hot Claudia Jennings trailers played (oh yeah, there were like 12 Raquel Welch trailers.. no kidding it was like a half hour of trailers before the first movie... only 3 or 4 before this one), people were still talking... so after the trailers Tim hopped up on stage and, as I've seen him do many times before, managed a pitch-perfect announcement and third-times-the-charm reiteration to shut the fuck up. He was funny, he threatened violence, he compared movie talkers rapists... all with a beer in his hand and an unassuming demeanor that managed to say "look, I like you guys, I recognize that you like to get rowdy, but tonight we're not in the rink we're in a theater so give the movie, the people, and the theater a little respect." Not a peep through the whole movie.

Well, maybe it was Tim's intro and maybe it was the fact that the movie kicked about 20x more ass than the first one.

First off, as Lars said afterward, I think a lot of people became Claudia Jennings fans tonight. She was good to look at and filled her role nicely in Group Marriage a few weeks ago, but I think this is the first time I've seen her take on a lead role in a film and play the feisty spitfire redhead that apparently she's known for. There are MANY things I love about this... first off I love hot women who don't mind getting naked. Secondly, I love that this particular hot girl didn't take any shit. She didn't have any sort of uptightness or reserve that some hot chicks get just because they're used to getting things easily due to their hotness. These are women I always just assume are crap in bed because they've never had to work for anyone's affection... but not this girl. I bet this is one of those lets-do-it-in-public-because-im-so-horny women, and that's pretty cool. Thirdly, unlike Raquel's meaningless ennui, this girl is flat-out crazy. She's being spirited... she just wants to kick some ass. The plot sort of follows the standard rise-and-fall storyline, but it's like she was in her crazy downward spiral of decadence and hysteria right from the beginning, she just wasn't rich enough to have anything to lose yet.

So yeah, it's safe to say I was taken with Claudia Jennings in this movie. I really want to see Gator Bait now; a movie I missed when it played Weird Wednesday last year before QT6 and that I've read is inspiration for Craig Brewer's upcoming Black Snake Moan. Lars says it's out on VHS and rentable.

The other people in this movie are good as well though. The people Jennings sort of lives with in the beginning of the movie, a stripper and auto thiever couple, are both hilarious. Especially the boyfriend who's about as happy-go-lucky as Henry Silva in Chained Heat... he like his job, likes his woman, and that's that. The roller derby athletes, managers, and patrons are all less serious than the previous movie's as well. Whereas the inbred-looking Kansas City crowd was just scary, this inbred-looking crowd was mostly funny.

Through the innuendo spread across both films, I'm guessing that roller derby was like a precursor to WWF wrestling... sort of a sport entertainment program where certain elements are false and planned, leaving just enough realism to sell the yokels on it. It's also interesting to watch NASCAR and note how similar their presentation is to modern-day WWE... both enterprises make huge money... big sigh for the state of humanity... Idiocracy here we come.

So yeah, just about every aspect of this movie was better than the last. From the supporting characters like the mumbling old guy in charge of putting on the star spangled banner to the adulturous mexican guncrazy love interest to the roller derby footage itself, this film is built far more successfully in the exploitation vein. It may not be high art but damn if it isn't entertaining. You can also see glimpses of Martin Scorsese's hand in some of the sport sequence cutting... I think they actually dressed the cameraman up in the team's costume at one point because there's a POV shot of skating and the dude falls down and you see legs and arms flopping around. Kind of surprisingly visceral and stimulating to the eye in ways that Raquel's chest just can't do, especially trapped underneath huge 1s for like 80% of the movie.

In the end, Jennings just goes completely shithouse and starts rollerderbying in the streets, cruising for a random death scene to end the picture with. Indeed she does get hit by a car, but she's too tough to die. Instead she gets up and flashes her fore-arm tattoo (weirdest tattoo placement ever) at random onlookers and we freeze and iris in. Classic.
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