Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Doll Squad(1973)

Charlie's Angels, like much of the primetime program of the 70's, is a memory for me, but to a degree where I can't remember a single episode. Like the Incredible Hulk and Welcome Back, Kotter, I can remember watching the show religiously, but there is very little I remember about any single episode. I can remember the love I had for these shows, but haven't the foggiest why. Many times I've wanted to obtain all the shows I remember loving on DVD, but if I went and bought everything television program I thought was magical from the 70's, I would never have time for movies and modern programming. This, in part, would make this blog entirely useless, and we can't have that.

Recently I learned that the Father of Old Horseface, Aaron Spelling, was actually accused of being a premise thief by one Ted V. Mikels. You might remember Mikels as being the director of such golden Z-Grade classics as Astrozombies(1968) and The Corpse Grinders(1971). The Auteur of Trash Cinema claimed that Spelling stole idea for Charlie's Angels from a film he wrote and directed back in the early 70's called The Doll Squad(1973). Naturally, after hearing this, I felt this would be a perfect film for me to substitute my desire to one day watch the Charlie's Angel's series in full.

As one who has a pretty in-depth knowledge of exploitation cinema of the 70's, it is really hard for me to believe that The Doll Squad was the soul inspiration for Charlie's Angels. Sixties and Seventies grindhouse/drive-in culture is littered with James Bond/Mod Squad exploitation rip-offs that were less about cool gadgets and more about cashing in on sexual innuendo and showing as much skin as possible(The Girl From S.I.N. being one of the first that comes to mind). I don't feel that Mikel was doing anything original with this idea, besides working his aging "cash cow"(albeit fare from being a cow), Tura Satana, into another craptacular trash film. I have no problem with this either. Any early movie with Tura Satana moonlighting as a burlesque dancer, pasties and all, is always going to be worth the watch. At this point she was in her mid-thirties and really was approaching the end of her "base emotion" sexy.

I am assuming that most of you reading this review know the stipulation behind these types of movies and shows. If you don't, IMDB has a great description, no matter how brief - "An elite army of female a race against time and death to save the world from a hideously diabolical mass destruction at the hands of a madman no one had ever seen!" doesn't that make you want to run out and buy a copy ASAP?


Despite what can be misconstrued as a lack of enthusiasm for The Doll Squad, there were elements that brought me joy in watching it, besides Tura Satana. For one, the action sequences were steps-above-decent and completely supported by a non-stop funky soundtrack. Based on the fashion and hair-style, I was assuming more of a go-go soundtrack, but instead got surprised with "wanka-wanka" bass grooves and bongo drums. Good thing Mikel had an decent understanding of popular music at this juncture. As I just said, the action sequences were just how I like them....over the fuckin' top. There wasn't a gunfire in the flick the wasn't accompanied by liberal usage of blood pellets, and there was more than enough gunfire. Sure, the Japanese cinema of this time were steps ahead in the gore department, but I wasn't expecting a movie as great as Lady Snowblood. It was enough to keep my eyes open and on the screen.

I enjoyed The Doll Squad and would have no problem watching over and over again, as long as I had crew and the drinks were flowing like a waterfall. This would be the perfect background movie for a loud-as-fuck dive bar, and I'm sure it exists in several bar collections, especially here in NYC. If you are more interested in viewing it on based on it's history in the era of exploitation or supposed inspiration for a certain popular 70's show, it's also going to be a fun watch if you chose to see it solo, sober, or both.

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