|HIGH SCHOOL HELLCATS (director: Edward L. Bernds; screenwriters: Mark and Jan Lowell; cinematographer: Gilbert Warrenton; editor: Edward Sampson Jr.; music: Ronald Stein; cast: Yvonne Lime (Joyce Martin), Jana Lund (Connie Harris), Bret Halsey (Mike Landers), Suzanne Sydney (Dolly Crane), Rhoda Williams (Trudy Davis), Don Shelton (Roger Martin), Viola Harris (Linda Martin), Robert Anderson (Lt. Manners), Martin Braddock (Rip), Heather Ames (Meg); Runtime: 69; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: James H. Nicholson/Samuel Z. Arkoff/Buddy Rogers; MGM (AIP); 1958)|
|"A dim-witted exploitation
1950s high school drama about the pressure of
joining an all-girl gang."
by Dennis Schwartz
dim-witted exploitation 1950s high school drama
about the pressure of joining an all-girl gang.
Director Edward L. Bernds ("Joy
Ride"/"Alaska Passage"/"Return of the Fly") keeps the
dumb AIP juvenile delinquent story as inane as
possible. It gets revved up when it closes as a murder
mystery. The uninspiring screenplay is by Mark and Jan
child Joyce Martin (Yvonne Lime) transfers to a new
suburban high school when her homebody mom (Viola
Harris) and lawyer dad (Don Shelton)
buy a new house. On her first school day, the Hellcats
hostile gang leader Connie Harris (Jana Lund)
confronts her and tells her to wear slacks to school
tomorrow, like the Hellcats will, if she wants to join
the gang. But Joyce is pranked, as no one else shows
up in slacks. Since it's against the school's dress
code, the chagrined Joyce cuts. At the coffee shop she
meets the nice counter worker, Mike (Bret
Halsey), who is an orphan and is working his way
through night college. They begin a cautious romance,
as he gives her good advice about staying clear of the
gang. But Joyce doesn't listen because she has a need
to fit in.
drama turns to a crime mystery when gang leader Connie
is found dead in a locked house, apparently pushed
down a flight of stairs after a wild party. Joyce
confronts the crazed killer in an abandoned movie
theater, the gang's secret meeting place. Things work
out and Joyce begins to seriously date the stable
It's a bad film that makes for a less than scintillating watch.
REVIEWED ON 5/7/2016 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ