Teenage Gang Debs (Sande N. Johnsen, 1966)

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A devious girl from Manhattan moves in on a gang from Brooklyn and soon has them fighting amongst themselves and rumbling with rival gangs needlessly in an attempt to sate her unquenchable thirst for power.Teenage-Gang-Debs-25282-2529

Not a lot of meat here to be sure. You have the new girl, Terri (Diane Conti; Heat of Madness) basically banging all the higher ups in the gang and making them do what she wants. She’s ok looking until she opens up her mouth, and to be fair both Nino (Joey Naudic; 1000 Shapes of a Female) and Johnny (John Batis; TV’s Freddy’s Nightmares… jesus, I hope he wasn’t trying to get work between 1966 and 1989 and that’s all he could manage), the gang’s leaders, are both dumb as posts so this probably wasn’t a particularly trying endeavor. Mayhem of course ensues as Terri gets too big for her little britches and subsequently pays the price.
Shakespearean tale of tragic morality, or reason to have idiots in leather jackets pontificating about how tough they are? You decide. There’s really not a great deal else going on. Padding out the story involves a lot of laughable dialogue and guys with greasy coiffed hair (that HAS to involve lard at some point in the process) trying to be cool and menacing in sweater vests and turtlenecks, and a bunch of ugly girls dancing like they’re having seizures and swinging their pointy tits about in their tight sweaters (but not in a hot way) while random idiots twitch about in front of them (The “Black Belt” dance scene is appallingly bad as was the decision to include the song in its fucking entirety). There are a handful of amusing scenes of note, mainly one where a couple of guys from the greasy coif gang hook up with these bikers outside a burger joint (watch the one biker try to eat on film… he clearly fails at life) and proceed to beat a guy and his car into oblivion for having his headlights on, and a scene or two of awkward switchblade fighting plus the obligatory “rumble”. Honestly I’m just glad they didn’t break into song a la West Side Story – I’d have had to kill myself then and there. Oh I forgot to mention the two rape scenes… nothing graphic, but they’re both surprisingly alarming compared to the rest of the film. Besides, this wouldn’t be The Church of Splatter-Day Saints if we didn’t dissect even the tiniest chunk of sleaze, would it?Teenage-Gang-Debs-25283-2529
I’m not familiar with the handful of other films Sande N. Johnsen had directed, this being his sixth feature (The Beautiful, The Bloody and the Bare is another of his films released on Something Weird Video), but it is important to note that he did work in the Art Department and as Production Manager on Olga’s House of Shame and Olga’s Girls respectively so he does come from good breeding (The Olga films are fucking awesome. DO check them out). I think Teenage Gang Debs took itself a little too seriously and would have benefited by amping up the sleaze factor and maybe taking out some of the pointless scenes of dialogue (amusing as they are). It’s not that the film isn’t enjoyable to watch – I can’t honestly say I was bored through the whole thing – it’s just that it’s not really interesting in any way. I could go on about how Teenage Gang Debs is merely a metaphor for the class struggle of 60s America and a tale of folly and subsequent loss in a bourgeoisie society… but really it’s just catfights and switchblades (and again, not in a hot way).


Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:

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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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