The Violent Years Reviews
"The Violent Years" is a film written by the infamous Edward Wood, a screenwrite and director whose flims only redeeming qualities were that the passion he had for filmmaking managed to show through the cheap sets, bad acting, and incompetent direction, and the quirky sort of poetic cadence that was present in his dialogue. (Of course, also present were awful lines like, "It's hard for an old friend to sit in judgement of an old friend.") Although one might think that another director at the helm of this movie might elevate above Ed Wood's usual low standards, but it happens that William Morgan is about as skilled a craftsman as Wood.
That said, this film still has has its decent points. First off, it has a message that is equally valid today. Parents need to do more parenting--as in, they need to set aside their own interests and desires for the years when they should be focusing on guiding and nurturing the young lives they've brought into this world--if we're to pull American society out of the tailspin it's been in for the past 50 years. It's delivered in so hamfisted a fashion that it makes "Reefer Madness" seem subtle, but it's a message that I wish would reach reach the appropriate ears and one that I wish would be heeded. It also features a nice reversal of the oft-featured gang-rape scene in these sorts of youth crime films, and perhaps one of the most creative executions of a car crash in a film where the budget didn't allow for a car crash. Oh... and just about every female character who you might want to see in tight clothes is indeed wearing tight clothes. If only real life had so many firm bosoms in tight sweaters!
On the downside, we've got some pretty horrible acting that's matched only by the film's horrible casting. The teenage wild things, who are around 15 or 16 years old according to the film's story, are played by actresses who are obviously in their late 20s or early 30s, something which lends an air of rediculousnesses to the story. Further, we once again are treated to some of the cheapest looking homes of rich people that have ever been put on film. (Ed Wood kept writing about fancy homes, but the sets in his movies never rose to even being close to believable on that count.)
Of course, there's also plenty of "so bad they're good" moments in the film, such as the pajama party, the shoot-out, and the aforementioned rape scene which is on one hand as creepy and disturbing as it needs to be, but undermined by an illogical simultaneous escape scene.
Like Ed Wood's other message picture, "Glen or Glenda?", "The Violent Years" delivers a point that is worth taking to heart--while the previous film asked for tolerance of those who are different, this film calls for parents to live up to their responsibilities and presents us with an over-the-top example of the consequences of parental neglect. This film isn't quite as strange as "Glen or Glenda?", nor as poetic, but it's still a decent story. It's also a film that will brighten the line-up of any Bad Movie Night while delivering its message wrapped in tight sweaters.
The Violent Years (aka "Female", "Girl Gang Terrorists" and "Teenage Girl Gang")
Starring: Jean Moorhead, Barbara Weeks, Joanne Cangi, Gloria Farr, Therea Hancock, Timothy Farrell, Arthur Millan, I. Stanford Jolley, and Lee Constant
Director: William Morgan
Fans of Ministry keep an ear out for sampled dialogue.