Savage Streets Review

Movie: Savage Streets
By: Maniac E
Date: July 23, 2012

They raped her sister and killed her best friend.

It’s tough growing up in the industry, but nothing asserts your jump to adulthood than playing a tough broad from the streets. Both Linda Blair and Tatum O’Neal were getting Oscar nominations in 1973 as tots, but eleven years later they were taking it to the streets and exacting revenge on their own terms. Tatum teamed with another Oscar has been, Irene Cara for Certain Fury, while Blair went full out exploitation with Linnea Quigley hand in hand for Savage Streets. In the end though, the low brow won out, and we’re here today with a brutal rape, double jointed one-liners and a crazy leather jump suit, while Certain Fury languishes in VHS hell. Grab your crossbow and let’s take aim at this cult rape revenge flick with a pinch of slasher.

The story:

It’s tough growing up on the streets…especially when your sister is deaf. Brenda’s (Linda Blair) a tough girl, but she’s going to have to get a lot tougher to compete with the Scar gang. Led by Jake (Robert Dryer) they make the streets their slaves…and women their victims! After Brenda and her posse trash the Scar’s car, they make it their mission to make them pay…again and again and again! They rape her deaf sister (Linnea Quigley), murder her best friend and then turn their sights on her. But armed with crossbow, Brenda seeks vengeance. It’s an eye for an eye, because these aren’t your ordinary streets…they’re Savage Street!


The screenplay is a veritable catalogue of cliché characters and situations. The dialogue strains hard to be quotable, but it’s so enjoyably cheesy and over the top, it hardly matters (“Go f*** an iceberg” comes to mind, as does Linda Blair’s immortal quip, “Too bad you’re not double jointed, so you can bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.”) just to name a few. It may not be Shakespeare, but let’s level here – this is hardly an Art Film, and the filmmakers are only too well aware of it. If the film has a major defect, however, it’s simply the fact that the revenge angle lacks a sufficient emotional charge. Blair has gone on record as saying that some good character-building material between her and 80s schlock queen Linnea Quigley was axed, and one can only regret that this was the case. While it’s easy to sympathize with Blair’s plight on a purely superficial level, it does come off as a little arbitrary in the long run; had more time been devoted to the relationship between the two sisters, this would have elevated the drama a notch or two.


Blair is clearly having the time of her life as the rebellious tough girl-turned-vigilante, and fellow exploitation vet John Vernon steals every scene he’s in as the no-nonsense high school principal. The film gives the typically 80s reactionary view of high school as a cesspool of sleaze, drugs and debauchery, the few ‘decent’ characters invariably come up against more than their fair share of grief, while the rebels manage to breeze through while still reacting with palpable rage when they’re threatened with being suspended (the horror!). It may seem a bit old fashioned at some points but some movies just age better than others.


Director Danny Steinmann does a good job of keeping the action moving. He doesn’t bring a great deal of stylistic élan to the picture, but he manages to hit all the right notes. Indeed, the troubled production was apparently marshaled in by a number of different hands, with Steinmann receiving full credit in the end. Production values are adequate, though the low budget origins are plainly apparent. The film makes good use of its gritty locations, and the soundtrack helps to seal the deal for fans of 80s exploitation cinema. Savage Streets is the eighties revenge movie at its finest, there’s nothing clean about these streets, but scattered around is great, great trash.



Savage Streets


Savage Streets


Danny Steinmann






Linda Blair, John Vernon, Robert Dryer