BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Schoolgirls in Chains (1973) - Blu-ray Review

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Schoolgirls in chains (1973) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

4 beersEven primal therapy was never this raw.

Produced and directed by Don Jones, the opening montage of china dolls set to a really cheesy song that, simply put, is beyond tortuous for its audience is just about the most disquieting way to begin this lurid tale of madness and murder brought about by two demented brothers.  Schoolgirls in Chains is an engaging cellar dweller of a flick that, due to real confinement and bizarro music cues that include a chorus of voices screaming “RUN! RUN! RUUUUUN!”, remains an insane experience.

Frank (Gary Kent), and Johnny (John Parker) love their abusive mother.  They also love the women they kidnap, torture, and keep in the cellar of their isolated farmhouse.  Frank is tough and mean.  His dimwitted brother Johnny has an intellect rivaled only by garden tools and is always getting the two of them into trouble with their victims.  They want to play, he argues.  And so they play…until it ends in another death.

Psycho-like in its execution as the mother barks out commands, Schoolgirls in Chains is surprisingly well-acted thanks the LA Theater Group involved in the film and, thanks to Jones’ playfulness behind the camera, the drive-in flick benefits from a strong use of wide and long lens throughout the various scenes.  This adds a dimension to the b-movie that many will definitely not expect. 

Our schoolgirl motif comes from the college girl, Bonnie (Cheryl Waters, Macon County Line), that Johnny has his eyes on.  He peeps in on her bedroom activity with the professor of psychology she’s banging one night and Johnny, who can’t help but want to play doctor with her, returns to the farmhouse with all sorts of “feels” for her. 

Poor Ginger (Suzanne Lund), that night, Johnny, feeling all sorts of randy after seeing Bonnie get it on with her teacher, opens up Ginger’s blouse in the cellar and plays “examine the patient” with her instead.  Not as satisfying, even if he does give his victim a shot in the ass (with a needle).  Cue the “Mary had a Little Lamb’ music.  Really?

So very strange indeed; there’s even a wicked saxophone blowing during a very lurid scene of rape when Frank has one of the kidnapped and tortured girls, Sue (Merrie Lynn Ross, Bobbie Jo & The Outlaw) brought into the house for a closure examination.  Even his incestuous mother wouldn’t approve of her sons’ actions.

Made for less than $50,000, Schoolgirls in Chains is best when it remains engaged with its immediate surroundings.  Consider the farmhouse in absolute seclusion.  Even the interiors – including the homeowners’ doll collection that kicks off the movie – are damn spooky.  The surrounding orange grove, sprawling and twisting, is even threatening.  It loses focus when it trades seclusion for college campuses and dirt roads for highways. 

Schoolgirls in Chains is a nasty slice of b-grade entertainment.  It stays within the parameters of R-rated entertainment, especially in the 1970s, but it is rather candid in its confession of incest as one mother loses control over her brood of bad boys.  It’s disturbing as it lays out the truth of mothers, their sons, and all the pretty young girls who come in-between.

Schoolgirls in Chains is now available on blu-ray thanks to a brand new 2K scan from the original negatives from Code Red.

 

Film Details

Schoolgirls in chains (1973) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 86 mins
Director: Don Jones
Writer: Don Jones
Cast: Gary Kent, John Parker, Stafford Morgan
Genre: Horror
Tagline: They were abducted and violated... but the worst was yet to come.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You take off all your clothes and I'll examine you."
Theatrical Distributor: International Film Distributors
Official Site:
Release Date: No U.S. theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: February 7, 2017
Synopsis: In a remote country house, a malevolent form of sleaze and terror is being bred. A crazy mother encourages her two sons – raving lunatic Frank (Gary Kent) and his not-all-there brother Johnny (John Stoglin) – to kidnap young women and chain them up in the basement. The girls are treated like animals and then subjected to games that grow increasingly sinister and depraved. When the brothers tire of their playthings, the girls must be replaced.

 

Schoolgirls in chains (1973) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray - February 7, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: None
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Code Red presents Schoolgirls in Chains on 1080p thanks to their new 2K scan of the original camera negatives.  Framed in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and featuring a crisp DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 audio track, Schoolgirls in Chains has never looked as crisp as it does here.  The 1080p transfer is all sorts of saturated and pristine as the countryside of Los Angeles comes to life for its viewers.  The leafy greens are impeccable; the film looks and sounds pretty solid.  It is filled with fine grain textures as a few pops appear here and there.  Overall, this is as satisfying brand new HD widescreen master from Code Red.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There are three fantastic commentaries included with this release, adding to the film’s history.  One features features writer/director Don Jones and R.A. Thorburn, another features Jones and actor Gary Kent, and a final one involves Jones and cinematographer Ron Garcia.

Special Features:

  • A 12-minute conversation, filmed in 2008, between Jones and Kent as they discuss the film, its beginnings, and all the times the boyfriend of actress Cheryl Waters, who tried to interfere with her nude scenes.  A theatrical trailer rounds out the collection.
  • Jones and Kent Interview (12 min)Original Theatrical Trailer

 

Schoolgirls in chains (1973) - Blu-ray Review

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