February 23rd, 2008

SAVAGE ABDUCTION (1973) * ½

A depraved mannequin-collecting psychopath (Joe Turkel from The Shining) who gets his kicks by slow dancing with women, stabbing them to death, THEN having sex with them (off screen) blackmails his lawyer into finding him two young playthings.  The lawyer farms the task out to a trio of greasy bikers led by a dude named Chelsea (Steve Oliver from Werewolves on Wheels) who live in a dilapidated shack.  The bikers pick up two virginal schoolgirls hitchhiking and they take them back to their homestead where they lock them in a closet, make them smoke grass and force them to strip down to their undies.  When Turkel finally shows up the torment the girls, the lone decent biker in the bunch turns his back on his gang and helps the girls escape. 

 

The set-up has all the making of an exploitation classic, but sadly Savage Abduction is way too tame for it’s own good.  If it was released today it would probably get a PG-13 as all the baser aspects of the plot (like necrophilia) are all implied.  The nudity is non-existent and I’ve seen more blood from a paper cut. 

 

The performances are rather weak.  Even the usually reliable Turkel fails to make much of an impression as the bug eyed maniac.  Oliver (who looks a little like Hugh Jackman) is the de facto standout of the cast if only because he gets the best dialogue.  (“White slavery is as old as the hills!”)  

 

Ultimately Savage Abduction wastes a potential premise by playing things too safe.  There’s nothing I can’t stand more than an exploitation movie that doesn’t have the balls to actually exploit it’s subject matter.  I mean what’s the point of abducting two girls wearing cut off shorts in a 70’s drive-in movie if you AREN’T going to strip them down and violate them? 

 

In the end, there’s nothing very Savage about this Abduction.  I guess that’s what you get when you leave the abducting to a biker named “Chelsea”.  I did like the theme song (by The Salt Lick), “Rolling” though.    

 

AKA:  Cycle Psycho.  AKA:  The Abduction of Sarah Ridelander.