Savage Streets (1984)
By: Devon B. on September 1, 2015 | Comments
Code Red | Region Free | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD MA 5.1 | 93 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Danny Steinmann
Starring: Linda Blair, John Vernon, Robert Dryer, Linnea Quigley
Writers: Norman Yonemoto,Danny Steinmann
Country: USA
Linda Blair is older than I am, but because I really only know her from The Exorcist I've always tended to think of her as a teenager. This mindset made the idea of sexualising her creepy, so I wasn't sure how I'd go with Savage Streets, but I figured a sleaze classic from the greatest decade cinema has ever known was worth investigating. It took about three seconds of having Blair on screen to realise I'd been foolish because she'd been all grown up since at least 1984. Also I quickly realised she's not much of an actress.

Blair plays a tough chick who has an innocent and naïve sister, played by Linnea Quigley. Blair and her clique get into some trouble with a group of hooligans, and the guys take revenge when they catch Blair's sister on her own and use the opportunity to get Quigley down under. When Blair learns about the assault she vows to get the bastards what done it, and feels this is best achieved while wearing a tight black suit.

Savage Streets is packed with the sort of subtlety that makes me a fan of 80s exploitation. Early on there's a window shopping scene that foreshadows the vengeance to come with all the refinement of a dinner with Rodney Rude. The women are mostly shrieking bimbos, the guys revved up juvenile delinquent clichés. Best of all, there are frequent gratuitous displays of flesh. Whether it be an easily removed top in a car park or a lingering shot of a shower scene,Savage Streetshas something for every smut fan. Unfortunately the more is more tactic backfires for Quigley's rape, which is disturbing. Most of Quigley's acting is to her usual standard, but she conveyed some believable and harrowing distress in that sequence. Thankfully virtually everyone else in the movie is cheesier than Liberace's fondue fountain. The ridiculous dialogue helps steer every performance into tacky territory, with the amazingly tactless "burgeoning delinquent" subplot leading to some of the most magnificent scenery chewing I've ever seen. The overblown acting combines with the over-the-top set pieces and gives the whole movie an almost surreal tone and creates an environment that's only one mutated superhero away from Tromaville.

Any movie that feels a shower scene is not enough, that there must also be a shower fight where the combatants wear white so the scene feels like a wet T-shirt contest meets a sequence fromCarrie, well that movie is okay by me. Savage Streets has all that and more, and I loved it from the start to the appalling theme song that plays over the finish. I think the song's sung by John Farnham, who I don't think I'd ever heard before but I spotted his name in the credits. I guess now that I've heard him I'm finally ocker?
The Disc
I haven't seen Savage Streets in any other format, but I'd assume this is the best it's looked, which is pretty damn good. It's not eye candy or anything, but for a low budget 80s exploitation film it looks much better than I anticipated. There are specks and spots, but the print is mostly clean. Grain can get heavy in places, but I prefer that to an overly scrubbed image. The film's original ratio was 1.85:1 so this release is cropped slightly. The audio is available in 2.0 or 5.1 tracks. The 5.1 has a higher bit rate, but I thought the 2.0 mix sounded better because the dynamics within the mix seemed more natural. Dialogue was clearer in the 2.0 and the 5.1 didn't seem to widen the soundscape that much, so I stuck with the 2.0 for most of my viewing. The extras on the disc are an isolated music track for those that can't get enough 80s music and the trailer.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Fans of the film won't be throwing away their DVDs because most of the extras haven't been ported over from previous releases, but for those just wanting the film in HD this release fits the bill nicely. Because it has the film in HD, and that was the entire bill. I've docked the disc half a point for the lack of extras, but for those that don't care about supplementary materials that shouldn't be a concern.
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