DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews
 
PUNK VACATION (director: Stan Lewis; screenwriters: story and screenplay by Lance Smith & Harvey Richelson; cinematographer: Daryn Okada; editor: Dan Cogan; music: Ed Grenga/Ross Vannelli; cast: Sandra Bogan  (Lisa Kemper), Karen Renee (Sally Kemper), Raymond Fusci (Mr. Kemper), Stephen Fiachi (Steve Reed),  Roxanne Rogers (Ramrod), Rob Garrison (Billy), Gary Ratmeier (Karl), Wayne Chemma (Venny),  Delta Giordano (Florence), Pat Briody (Shirley), Don Martin (Deputy Sheriff Don), Louis Waldon (Sheriff Virgil), Patrick Allen Reynolds (Deputy Sheriff Duane), Bill Palmieri (Feggy), Carlos Rio (Special Ed), Todd Anderson (Robespierre), Kevin Lewis (Coach); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Stephen Fusci; Windjammer Productions/Vinegar Syndrome; 1990)

"The uneven exploitation biker film veers between comedy and thriller, but worked better as comedy."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

One-time director Stan Lewis does only a so-so job on this off-beat obscure punk biker gang exploitation thriller despite not having a clue about anything 'punk.' The story and screenplay is by Lance Smith and Harvey Richelson. It pits the misfit anti-establishment punk-attired and punk hair-styled mixed gang against the locals, made up by members of a gun club, rednecks and the police. The film scores high marks for getting laughs over its dumb portrayal of both groups of antagonists.

A punk biker gang of around 12 members from L.A., while on vacation (yikes, punks on vacation!), invade the quiet small town of Tehachapi, California, which is around a hundred or so miles east of the big city. The gender mixed gang is led by the fierce vixen Ramrod (
Roxanne Rogers). When the kooky biker Billy (Rob Garrison) loses his money at an outdoor soda machine and starts punching it, the gruff diner owner, Kemper (Raymond Fusci), points a shotgun at him and shoos him away. Billy's biker gang returns to gang rape Sally (Karen Renee), the diner owner's youngest teenage daughter, and leave her in a catatonic state of shock, and they also stomp her dad to death. In the ensuing mayhem the police arrive late and a squad car hits Billy. The gang stays in a ranch hideout in the hills planning to free Billy from the hospital, where the injured oddball remains under arrest and  chained to his bed. Sally's impulsive older sister Lisa (Sandra Bogan) tries to stab Billy to death in his hospital room but fails because her cop boyfriend Steve Reed (Stephen Fiachi) stops her. Later she overhears a phone conversation at the police station and learns where the gang is hiding from a tipster. The not-too-bright Lisa goes after them alone with a pistol and is kidnapped. But her cop boyfriend Steve and the black deputy officer (Don Martin) come to her rescue, as she's left tied up in her undies.

When Ramrod fails in an attempt to free Billy from the hospital, she organizes a plan to stop the inept police and bumbling redneck civilian posse who are raiding the hideout. A violent clash between the rivals takes place, but comedy overpowers the gore.

The uneven exploitation biker film veers between comedy and thriller, but worked better as comedy. Though a bad film it was still a fun watch mainly because it was bad at all the right moments for it to go off the tracks.


Some minor characters of interest are the following:

Louis Waldon
plays the ignorant of military history cartoonish sheriff, who believes the bikers are pinkos and should all be wiped off the face of the Earth. In this film, make of it what you will, the criminal murdering bikers come out looking more human than the locals--which initially seemed not possible.

One of the most colorful characters is Bill Palmieri, who plays the befuddled biker who won't go anywhere without his cage of rats.

The film's highlight, though, might be the conversation between two ditzy punk bikers Flo (Delta
Giordano) and Shirley (Pat Briody), that goes like this:
“This gang stuff is going nowhere. Maybe we should go to stewardess school or something.”
“No electronics training, that’s where it’s at.”
“What? Electronics training?”
“The computer revolution took off without enough people to repair computers.”

REVIEWED ON 6/20/2017       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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