Savage Dawn (Simon Nuchtern, 1985)

posted in: Jocelyn, Review | 4



A motorcycle gang takes over a small desert town until they piss off the wrong man! Lance Henriksen kills someone with a snake!





Let me set the scene here, folks.

William Forsythe – “Pig Iron” the leader of a nazi-ish & oh-so-pro-rape motorcycle club “The Savages.”

Lance Henriksen – “Stryker” former bad-ass military dude.

George Kennedy – “Tick” former bad-ass military dude & weapons expert, now confined to a wheelchair.

Richard Lynch – “Rev. Romano” Uber creepy & ever-sinister Dick Lynch is a fucking lecherous man of the collar & it’s so hot!

Karen Black – “Rachel” A crazy bar-slut that gets off on poking the beehive.

PLUS!! A sweet euroriffic soundtrack by none other than Pino Donaggio!

This is clearly already a recipe for MUST WATCH but throw in the fact that Lance & George have to fight back against outlaw bikers intent on demolishing their town?!  A once robust mining town that’s now dilapidated, dying & corrupt?!  A place where cops abuse the mentally deficient, where joy comes from pain, where salvation is found only in the pants of the reverend?

Oh, hell yes. This shit is on!




And before you even say it, I know what you’re thinking. “I like Lance Henriksen (Stone Cold, Aliens) as the bad guy!”  While being for all intents & purposes a “good guy” he does so by way of the tortured-ex-military-tired-of-leading-innocents-to-their-death…so yea. He’s still got loads of grit & grime. You don’t have to worry about watching him make passionate love or petting a kitten. He doesn’t toss a ball with a kid or ruffle the shiny golden locks of his doe-eyed daughter. He’s rough around the edges, prickly.




He also has impeccable timing because he moseys into town at the same time as The Savages! Obviously, being a roughneck, 80s-era outlaw motorcycle club they are proficient in raping, drinking, fighting, riding their motorcycles indoors and the general terrorizing of locals.  This town being what it is (read: aberrant shithole) their entertainment is fist fighting for profit at the local bar of which the sheriff’s deputy is reigning king. Well, just imagine what happens when you mix the long arm of the law with a crazed motorcycle club whose leader is none other than William “Motherfuckin” Forsythe (Out for Justice, Dear Mr. Gacy)! Now, is it just me or does everyone want to fuck & be fucked by William Forsythe? Cause I am so in! He looks great in this too, a tough young buck just this side of crazy & fucked up enough to blast a hole through your Daddy which is what all girls want in a man! This is also where we’re introduced to wild-eyed Karen Black (Five Easy Pieces, Cut and Run) who’s mastered nothing in life aside from stirring shit & slinging beer. I dig Karen, she has done some great work but she winds up on the arm of William Forsythe & I found myself jealously hating her. (Shut up, I know it’s stupid!)




Anyway! Savage Dawn is LOADED with character actors & people you will recognize from tons of other avenues.  Looking for a Mickey Jones (every TV show in the 80s, a bazillion movies) fix? We got you covered! He plays Zero, the beefy biker who fights the deputy which sets all the plot bullshit into motion. Keen eyes will recognize Robin from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Andrea from American Nightmare, The Mad Bomber from Alligator, the gym teacher from “The Library” episode of Seinfeld, Sam Kinison as a barber who gets murdered, veteran character actor Leo Gordon who was in every TV show from the 50s on but who you might not know also wrote many successful films such as The Wasp Woman and Attack of the Giant Leeches.




But wait!! Guess who the best, most awesomely surprising cameo ever in the history of the universe is?! Aghhh!! I’m actually so super excitedly tapping my feet as I type this!! Her name is Wendy Barry but she goes by “Lip Service” (You know how she got that name! I love cocksuckers!) in the movie – she’s the hottest biker slut ever but you will most likely recognize her as the pentagram-shooting goddess of lust in Motley Crue’s  Looks that Kill video!!!

AGHHHHH!!!!! I was so excited to see her! Not only is she super sexy with her big hair, makeup, long nails, short skirt & perfect big-little-titties (that’s the clinical term for someone who has perfectly sized large “small” tits…I’m looking at you robust B’s) but she is the object of lust for the nefarious reverend! Richard Lynch (God Told Me To, Bad Dreams) engages in dirty religiously based sex talk with her! “Contact with a sacred vessel will purify you” AS HE REMOVES HIS COLLAR & SHE TAKES OFF HER DRESS!!! I almost came in my pants!




This little flick is a genre lover’s dream. It’s not great by any real standards but it’s entertaining as hell to watch. You don’t really get bored because there’s enough action to keep you invested & little moments like the one I just described tent your pants sufficiently to keep your eyes peeled for more. From a strictly sexual standpoint it succeeds in being entertaining (at least to a scuzz-bucket like me) because there’s so much greasy business – filthy bikers, shady characters, testosterone flowing like wine on Sunday and hot, horny women sopping it up like gravy. Delicious! There’s a decent chunk of violence for the action junkie – lots of fist fights, gang fights, shootings, some rocket launching, explosions, MacGuyver-y type traps and there’s even a big ol’ tank that makes an appearance & does some serious damage.




Bottom line – it’s a good time whether you’re a sex fiend or lover of 80s action and all those recognizable faces make it a real treat to watch.  The director’s first flick was The Girl Grabbers  so if you’re a Something Weird Video aficionado there’s a lil tidbit for ya. He also directed Silent Madness which Duane & I tried to review forever ago but it’s so painfully inept we couldn’t bring ourselves to write anything worth reading. The man is clearly more comfortable with the sleazier side of things so if that’s your cup of tea check out New York Nights – it’s an erotic anthology comprised of 9 vignettes set in that delectably deviant early 80s where it was anything goes, cocaine-fueled casual sex & excess! (Excellent makeup & lingerie too!)

That’s all folks. If anyone needs me I’ll just be adding to my collection of Taija Rae & Trinity Loren vintage erotica. (Ok, possibly some German pussy pumping vids, maybe some bukkake stuff, I’m open minded)

*wink wink nudge nudge*

Official COSDS Nunspank Rating: NS-3








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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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4 Responses

  1. Großartig! I loved reading this! Now I got to get SAVAGE DAWN!

    • Jens! Thanks so much! It’s totally worth tracking down! The dvd I have was sourced from VHS so the quality isn’t great, but maybe it will get a proper release one day! I was hoping you’d read this, I added the ‘German pussy pumping’ bit just for you! Ha!

  2. Nice write-up Jocelyn. This seemed to run on cable constantly back in the nineties. It seemed like every time I came home late and flicked on Showtime about 2 AM or something this was on. It’s pretty amazing how many people show up in it. Seems like every time I watch it now days (which is a way more then a sane person should) I spot somebody new. It’s really fun to watch with a bunch people and/or liquor.
    Karen Black had a pretty amazing career from stuff like DAY OF THE LOCUST, FIVE EASY PIECES etc. then on to INVADERS FROM MARS and cranking out stuff like this seemingly every other week in the 80’s and 90’s.
    I got the chance to go to lunch with her around ’95 and she’s pretty much exactly like you’d expect- really nice but slightly spacey and bizarre. She seemed genuinely surprised that someone was interested in things like IT’S ALIVE III, KILLER FISH & INVADERS FROM MARS (although I didn’t have the balls to bring up CUT AND RUN).
    I would love a proper release of this. Somebody told me once there was a nice German DVD released about 5 years ago, but I never been able to find it.
    BTW, Karen Black in 1985 did a pretty cool little (and bat-shit crazy) Canadian horror film called THE BLUE MAN (aka ETERNAL EVIL) that’s worth tracking down. THE PYX is also a neat little film..

  3. Thanks, Dick!
    Agreed on Karen Black…she did totally seem like she would be a lil spacey/bizarre but that’s what made her great. In the right role she was amazing, other times she was a bit too much/poorly utilized. You’re very fortunate to have met (& dined with no less!) her, I certainly wish I could say the same!
    I know there’s a triple feature dvd put out by Image but it appears to be sourced from a VHS.
    I have a weird hate/hate relationship with *most* Canadian horror films. There have only been a very few handful that I really enjoy. I own The Pyx but couldn’t get through the intro of Karen singing…just. had. to. press. stop. Ha!
    One of these days I’ll watch it! & ty for the heads up on The Blue Man, I’m wholly unfamiliar with that one!
    Thanks for the share, Dick, baby! You rock!

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