Mad Foxes (1981)

Rating: B-

Dir: Paul Grau
Star: José Gras, Laura Premica, Peter Saunders, Andrea Albani
a.k.a. Los violadores

This is certainly… a movie. Its reputation heavily preceded it – and, probably inevitably, exceeded it. Based on hushed reports, I was expecting something somewhere between Last House on the Left and Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS. It’s nowhere near as excessive, and barely moves the needle in terms of disturbing, being far more silly than shocking. However, as soft-core biker revenge badfilm movies go, it’s probably one of the best. It certainly does not hang around. Less than two minutes after the opening credits, Hal (Gras) and his newly-turned 18-year-old girlfriend Babs (Albani) have already been hassled by Nazi bikers, driven one off the road to die in a fireball, and gone on for a night’s fun at the local disco.

Several drinks and some gratuitous swing dancing later, Hal + Babs stagger back to his Stingray shagmobile, but the bikers are waiting to extract revenge. Hal only gets roughed up a little; it’s Babs who takes the worst of it, being raped before the gang ride off, cackling manically. Hal isn’t going to stand for this, so calls up his kung-fu buddies, and they attack the bikers while holding their friend’s fiery funeral in an amphitheatre. As you do. After one of the worst-choreographed fight sequences I’ve ever seen, the gang’s leader (Saunders) has his dick cut off and fed to him, presumably without onions and mustard. The bikers return this humiliation in kind, taking it out on the kung-fu gym, with machine guns and a grenade.

They then seek to pay a visit to Hal, who lives in an apartment building with a guy whose job is apparently to sit at an office desk in the middle of the garage. While the gang are dealing with him, a conveniently passing urchin notices them and warns Hal, who whizzes off in his Stingray. Babs entirely forgotten, beyond a casual mention of her being in hospital, he picks up Silvi (Premica), fresh off a nude beach, and takes her to his parents’ mansion in the countryside. Mom is in a wheelchair, because she “fell from a horse and now she’s paralytic.” Given her fondness for sherry, this makes some sense, but I suspect the enthusiastically terrible dubbing probably meant “paralysed.”

The bikers manage to locate the house – a running theme throughout this, is that nobody ever has any difficulty finding anyone. Mom, Dad,  and all the servants are slaughtered, while Hal is out horseback riding and having sex with Silvi. He does that a lot. Having sex, I mean- when not firing his shotgun at passing jet aircraft. The most infamous scene involves the pair bonking in a bath which I suspect had bubbles in it at some point. But filming took so long, the end result has them simply sloshing about in water that’s a concerning yellowish-green colour, making it look like some obscure subsection of water sports fetish. When he discovers his dead parents, Hal emotes in a way which neither his performance nor the dubbing is able to do justice.

It’s time for him to take on revenge personally, and he works his way through the gang one by one, with a laudable sense of single-minded purpose. Probably the best killing is the biker he surprises on the toilet, finishing him off by dropping a grenade into the pan. With everyone disposed of, we get the film’s only genuinely good moment, of Hal plodding up the stairs to his apartment, weighed down by all the violence, while “Celebration” by Swiss hair-metal rockers Krokus plays ironically on the soundtrack. It’s the sole point where the apparent message of violence begetting violence, serving no purpose, actually comes through. It lasts until he reaches his flat, where one final nasty surprise awaits Hal.

This Spanish-Swiss hook-up was produced by an uncredited Erwin C. Dietrich, better known for a lengthy partnership with Jess Franco. That he opted not to have his name present on this, probably tells you a lot. Outside of the middle chunk when Hal and Silvi are simply hanging around the country estate (which is kinda dull), this is a lurid and generally entertaining slab of exploitation, though only occasionally teeters into genuine bad taste. Probably the nadir is the biker leader roughly fingering Babs pre-rape, then smearing his blood-stained fingers on her nose, and sneering at his captive, “Well, what a surprise – you’re still a virgin, doll.” Though there is also a surprising amount of male nudity, albeit of the entirely floppy kind.

The film made it onto Section 3 of the Video Nasties list in the UK, reserved for films which were liable only for confiscation, rather than prosecution. The BBFC had passed a cut version in 1982 for cinema release, running 75:04. Even that appears to be cut, though still is likely considerably better than the version previously sitting on Tubi, which is listed at only 69 minutes. The uncut version viewed here appears to be 80 minutes, though the whole PAL/NTSC running time thing probably clouds the waters there. It doesn’t appear anyone has bothered submitting it for a certificate in the video era, which is a little surprising given the affection for it in cult circles. I think the film would probably escape more or less uncut at ’18’.

IMDb’s trivia states that real Hell’s Angels bikers played members of the gang. Based on the end result, I’m a bit dubious, as they exude only trace amounts of genuine menace, and are barely able to ride their hogs in a straight line without crashing into something or falling off. “Hogs” is probably pushing it too, since there’s not a Harley in sight, just shitty trail bikes. It’s yet another way in which the ambitions of the movie vastly exceed what it is capable of delivering. However, that’s half the fun, and for once, the dubbing probably helps things, enhancing the borderline surreal nature of proceedings. It’s probably not a movie I have much interest in revisiting – yet I can’t deny, I was entertained well enough.