Director – William Morgan (Mercy Island, Secrets of the Underground)
Starring – Jean Moorhead (Death Valley Days, The Amazing Colossal Man), Barbara Weeks (Gun Girls, School for Girls), and Art Millan (Battle Hymn, The Man Behind the Gun)
Release Date – 1956
Rating – 2/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Tagline – “Teenage killers taking their thrills unashamed”
Ed Wood is a filmmaker that had a huge impact on me growing up. Like many people my age I discovered Ed Wood thanks to Tim Burton. I had watched the film when I was younger with my grandmother and soon after discovered he was the same man behind the films Night of the Ghouls and Plan 9 from Outer Space which I had already seen with my grandmother.
Sometime ago the folks over at AGFA released the 1956 crime drama The Violent Years which was written by Ed Wood. I had seen several movies directed by him but how would his brand of filmmaking be handled by a director that wasn’t him? I couldn’t wait to see and thank you MVD for sending this one my way to review.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a teenage woman who is neglected by her wealthy parents. To kill time she forms an all female gang who rob and beat innocent people all over town. They are instructed to trash a local school but the police catch wind of it and try to stop them. A shootout ensues and a cop is killed before they are all caught bringing the blame back to the neglecting parents. **Spoiler Alert**
This was one of the films I was excited the most to review but it actually ended up being the first one so far that I was not a fan of. The movie was honestly a chore to finish and the title, at least when compared to modern horror, was not that violent.
The acting in this one is great. The cast is consistent and no one cast member outshines the other. They work very well together which does make some of the scenes a little easier to swallow.
The story for this one is not really that violent. I’ve seen movies from around this time and this film is nothing new or groundbreaking. The movie moves at a snails pace and the “action” we do get is so lackluster that the viewer will find themselves playing on social media while ignoring the film. The cheap and cheesy dialogue, acting, and sets that make Woods’ films so much fun are nowhere to be seen leaving behind a boring experience.
Finally, if you want blood and gore you will need to go elsewhere. There is a gun death but it is cheaply done with no effects. Overall, The Violent Years is not the experience I was expecting. The movie looks great but is not that enjoyable. Fans of Wood will want to grab the blu from AFGA but if you are looking for something different to check out I can recommend several other films.
New 4K scan from the original 35mm camera negative!
Commentary track with filmmaker Frank Henenlotter and Ed Wood biographer Rudolph Grey!
Gutter-noir trailers from the Something Weird vault!
Bonus Movie: ANATOMY OF A PSYCHO, new 2K scan from an original 35mm theatrical print!