Sunday, January 8, 2017

Naked Vengeance (US/Philippines Rape Revenge, 1985)

1985 - Naked Vengeance (D.S. Pictures/M.P. Films/Westbrook)

[US/Filipino co-production shot around Baguio, with second unit in New York and possibly Los Angeles; production supervised by Roger Corman's Concorde-New Horizons company, who retained the US theatrical rights. Also released on Danish VHS as "Ra Haevn", on Swedish VHS as "Hamnd Utan Nad", and in Turkey as "Intikam". IMDB lists "Satin Vengeance" as an unconfirmed alternate title]

Director/Producer Cirio H. Santiago Story/Second Unit Director Anthony Maharaj Writer Reilly Askew Dialogue Supervisor Joseph Zucchero Executive Producers Anthony Maharaj, [uncredited] Roger Corman Cinematography Ricardo Remias Music Ron Jones Theme Song "Still Got a Love" Writer Michael Cruz Singer Deborah Tranelli Editors Noah Blough, Pacífico Sánchez Sound Mixer/Production Sound Mixer George E. Mahlberg First Assistant Director Jose Mari Avellana Second Assistant Director José Torres Production Coordinator Dick A. Reyes Production Manager Honorato Perez Art Directors Boyet Camaya, Ronnie Cruz Location Manager Glenn Parian Casting [Manila] Henry Strzalkowski Construction Supervisor Ben Otico Special Effects Jess Sto. Domingo Makeup Artists Teresa Mercader, Norma Remias Wardrobe Stylists Gloria Garcia, Remia Mendoza, Elvie Santos Stunts Ronald Asinas, Tony Beso, Greg Rocero, Carlito Varca Camera Operator Johnny Araojo First Assistant Camera Romeo Onofre Second Assistant Camera Jun Del Rosario Boom Operators Vicente Dona, Dalmacio Dumigpi Assistant Sound Recordist Bing [de] Santos Gaffer Proceso Lázaro Production Assistants Trinidad Sagarbarria, Paula Stein Post-Production Supervisor Ernesto Bontigas Assistant Editors Rudy Cabrales, Pat Abad Apprentice Editor Joe Gutt Account Supervisor Christopher R. Santiago Production Accountant Octavio Mabilangan Assistant Accountant Armando Lacsamana Production Secretaries Marivic Ramas, Cathy Schroeder Script Clerk Nonette J. Garcia Title Designer Robert Ulrich Still Photographer Nilo Odiaman

Cast Deborah Tranelli (Carla Harris), Kaz Garas (Fletch), Carmen Argenziano (Detective Russo), Bill McLaughlin (Sheriff John Cates), Ed Crick (Burke), George E. Mahlberg (George Butch), Nick Nicholson (Sparky), Don Gordon [Bell] (Arnie), David Light (Ray), Terrence O'Hara (Mark Harris), Steve Roderick (Timmy), Joseph Zucchero (Dr. Fellows), Helen McNeely (Mrs Olson), Doc McCoy (Mr Olson), Henry Strzalkowski (Deputy Frank Winston), Bill Kipp (Deputy Reilly), Rosemarie Gil (Jesse), Barbara Peers (Estelle), [uncredited] Nigel Hogge (Investigator), Steve Rogers (State Trooper), Phil Morrell (Mark's Killer), Mathew Westfall, Mike Cohen
Mini-review by Andrew Leavold

Deborah (Dallas) Tranelli plays Carla Harris, former actress and now rich housewife forced to witnesses her husband's brutal murder by a gun-wielding psycho. She flees to her parents' home amongst the pine tree-lined Californian hills of Silver Lake (actually Baguio, north of Manila!), only to become the object of her former home town's envy and lust. Having caught the unwanted sexual attentions of a repellent, utterly convincing pack of sociopaths, she is raped repeatedly, her parents are shot, and she is left for dead in a catatonic trance, only to snap into vengeance mode and track down each of her attackers ("Drown, bastard!") in satisfyingly gruesome ways. 

Equal parts I Spit On Your Grave and Ms .45, Naked Vengeance is exploitation cinema in the purest sense of the term, an intriguing and superbly paced riff on the familiar rape-revenge scenario, and arguably Santiago's finest work from the Eighties, with effective performances from his regulars: Nick Nicholson as rapist mechanic Sparky and a suave Don Gordon Bell playing ice worker (and soon-to-be ice cube) Arnie are in top form, as is David Light, the barkeep transformed by Carla into a human flambee. Joining the familiar faces are Henry Strzalkowski as a deputy, Joe Zucchero (with toupee) as Carla's befuddled doctor, and an uncredited Nigel Hogge as an investigator and Steve Rogers as a State Trooper. Carla's blood-drenched butcher shop duel with lead rapist Fletch (Final Mission's Kaz Garas) can be seen in its entirety in the unrated US version boasting 20 minutes more footage than the R-rated version sold to the rest of the world, along with the controversial in which Burke (Ed Crick) has his balls cut off and his body hooked to a moving speedboat - economically splicing I Spit On Your Grave's bathtub castration and boat scenes - and a harrowing rape montage that recalls Straw Dogs' grotesque carnival atmosphere rather than the documentary realism of I Spit… Cirio's best? Certainly with the three collaborations between Santiago and West Indian producer and writer Anthony Maharaj (see also Final Mission and the loopy Future Hunters), they scored a solid three out of three. Essential. 

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