Monday, 20 April 2009

The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968)

The surprising thing about The Mini-Skirt Mob isn’t that it’s a bad movie. You kind of expect that a movie with a title like that is going to be a bad movie. But it’s such a bizarre bad movie. It’s as if someone decided to make a bad western, then changed their minds and decided to make a bad biker movie, then thought no what I’ll do is make a bad juvenile delinquent movie, or perhaps a bad movie about rodeo riders, and then just before they started shooting they finally settled on making a bad thriller. So it’s all those things combined. Combined very badly.

Jeff Logan is a rodeo star. He used to hang around with other losers who were rodeo riders, and he also used to hang around with a gang of girl bikers called The Mini-Skirts. As far as I can make out The Mini-Skirts are rodeo groupies. I had no idea that rodeo riders attracted miniskirt-wearing motorcycle-riding girl groupies with bleached blonde hair but apparently they do. Which I guess explains why guys would take up rodeo riding. Jeff has decided to put all that behind him though, and he has married a nice middle-class girl called Connie. Why she would be interested in such a loser is never explained, but that’s just one of the many many things that are never adequately explained.

Jeff’s old girlfriend Shayne, the leader of The Mini-Skirts, has no intention of accepting this situation. She is determined to get Jeff back. So she does the obvious thing that anyone would do that in that situation - she instigates a campaign of violent intimidation against Jeff and his new bride. Jeff’s old buddies from the rodeo and the rest of The Mini-Skirts join this campaign of terror. His best friend Lon goes along with this because he is pathetically desperate to take Jeff’s place in Shayne’s bed, and figures the best way to do this is to help Shayne to win Jeff back. Spook and L. G. go along with it because they’re dumb rednecks and don’t know any better. The other Mini-Skirts tag along because they’re Bad Girls Who Live For Kicks.

Why this situation should escalate into murder, gunfights and the hurling of Molotov cocktails at Jeff and Connie’s trailer is a question that only the scriptwriters of this movie could answer.

If the insane plot isn’t enough for you, there’s the acting. Diane McBain’s performance as Shayne has to be seen to be believed, and even after you’ve seen it you still don’t believe it. Cult movie legend Patty McCormack (Rhoda from The Bad Seed) plays her sister, a bad girl who isn’t all bad. The rest of the actors are simply atrocious, including Harry Dean Stanton as Spook.

This is a movie that has everything wrong with it, but everything is wrong in just the right way and the results are outrageously entertaining. Shayne is one of the all-time great bad girls. If you love movies about evil miniskirt-wearing motorcycle-riding girl rodeo groupies (and frankly I can’t imagine how any right-thinking person could not love such movies) then you simply must see The Mini-Skirt Mob.

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