Director – Jack Hill (Coffy, Foxy Brown)
Starring – Robbie Lee (The Get Along Gang, Big Bad Mama), Joanne Nail (The Visitor, The Gumball Rally), and Monica Gayle (Pinocchio, Nashville Girl)
Release Date – 1975
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Jack Hill was a filmmaker that ruled the 70s exploitation scene. His blaxploitation films Coffy and Foxy Brown are damn near iconic but his career is more than that. His contributions to exploitation and horror are legendary after helming such films as Spider Baby, The Swinging Cheerleaders, The Terror, Alien Terror, and so many more. When I was in college I snagged a few DVDs from a vendor at a pop culture convention. The pop up event was for comics and collectibles but someone had set up a table full of DVDs that were clearly boots. A lot of them were titles I had never of before but when I saw Switchblade Sisters was directed by Jack Hill I had to snag it.
When I mentioned it on a horror forum I discovered that most fans of the film had seen it on boots with no quality release of it around to snag. A few weeks ago I caught word that Arrow Video was finally giving this classic Jack Hill exploitation film a blu release and MVD was kind enough to send a review copy over. Thanks for giving this film the attention it needed and allowing me the opportunity to review it!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a group of female gang members who are known as the Dagger Debs who are part of a much bigger gang known as the Silver Daggers. A new girl in town shows promise and is brought into the Debs but soon causes ripples among the group when the leader of the Daggers shows a liking to her while dating the leader of the Debs. She betrays the Debs to get even with the new girl but in the process killing her boyfriend and Dagger’s leader. The power vacuum of his death allows the new girl to take over the gang. **Spoiler Alert**
I’m not going to be like those guys in these forums and pretend like I grew up on this film. I didn’t know it even existed until I found a piss poor boot at a random pop up event. However, I’ve watched it a dozen times since then and I absolutely fucking love it. Some of my college friends didn’t care for it so most of the time I was watching it alone but I swear this is my favorite Jack Hill film right next to Spider Baby. Every viewing of this film is like the first but watching this spectacular blu is like watching some of these scenes for the first time especially when you compare it to the shitty DVD. This is, by far, my favorite Arrow release to date.
The acting in this movie is questionable at times but the characters are legendary especially among fans of exploitation. The cast does struggle in a few scenes which is common of films of the time with this sort of budget. However, the characters they bring to life are iconic. When I think of exploitation movies of this decade I always think of Patch, Lace, and Crabs. The entire cast does a great job at creating characters instead of just acting.
The story for this one is so much fun. We get a dash of blaxploitation, some fun gangs, and a lot of action and drama. The character development and story progression is what makes this one so much fun. Without the cast and the amazing characters this story would fall apart. The drama flows very well with the story and the action scenes are just the icing on the cake.
Finally, the film has some fun kills that mostly involve gun wounds. The effects are minimal but they work for the film. I really enjoyed the shotgun blast and the aftermath of that scene. Overall, Switchblade Sisters is a must see for Jack Hill fans and movie lovers who enjoy exploitation flicks. This release from Arrow Video is essential for movie fans. I can’t recommend this enough.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary by historians/critics Samm Deighan & Kat Ellinger
We Are The Jezebels, an archival documentary featuring director Jack Hill, producer John Prizer, casting director Geno Havans, production designer B.B. Neel, stunt coordinator Bob Minor, and stars Joanne Nail, Asher Brauner, and Chase Newhart
Gangland: The locations of Switchblade Sisters, an archival documentary in which Jack Hill and filmmaker Elijah Drenner revisit the shooting locations of Switchblade Sisters
Jack Hill and Joanne Nail at the Grindhouse Film Festival, a 2007 archival interview with the director and actor
Interview with Jack Hill, Robbie Lee, Joanne Nail, an archival 1990’s interview with the director and stars in conversation with Johnny Legend
Galleries of behind the scenes stills, international posters, video covers, and lobby cards
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil