Switchblade Sisters [AKA The Jezebels] (1975)

The Principals: Jack Hill (director), Robbie Lee, Joanne Nail, Monica Gayle, Asher Brauner, Chase Newhart

The Premise: Maggie, a tougher-than-she-appears street chick gets wrapped up with the local batch of gang princesses, the “Dagger Debs.” Led by Lace, girlfriend to the leader of their male gang counterparts the “Silver Daggers,” the group helps run the town and keep the cops in check. When a new gang in town starts treading on Dagger turf, and internal jealousies threaten to tear the gangs apart, Maggie does her best to keep them on top.  

Is It Good: It’s awesome. Jack Hill at his exploitative finest shaped a Shakespearean tale of teen melodrama that make the rounds through a number of grindhouse genres.. woman’s revenge, women in prison, and blaxploitation –all with the wonderful sheen of teenage sex and gang-violence to keep it energetic.

I don’t call the film Shakespearean lightly- Switchblade Sisters (or The Jezebels before the questionable promotional decision to change the title) takes a lot of cues from the bard’s Othello, most directly with an eye-patch-wearing Iago character, Patches, that would pave the way for Elle Driver in the Kill Bill films. It all leads up to an off screen shadow-play of a climactic battle that keeps it classy and would make any Shakespearean theater troupe proud.

There are a ton of memorable scenes mixed into a well-paced and constantly interesting film. Among exploitation films this is definitely “one of the good ones” and proves that not every cheaply-made piece of drive-in schlock has to make you suffer through an hour of boring to witness a few cool moments. Whether it’s the brawl against the lesbian prison warden and guards early in the film, the roller-rink massacre, or the guerrilla-revolutionary street battle, there will definitely be a scene that impresses you with it’s effectiveness, unabashed humor, and style.

Is It Worth A Look: Absolutely. Lovingly released through Tarantino’s grindhouse DVD company, you should definitely get yourself a copy of the film and put eyes on it. Great entryway into Hill’s other films as well.

Random Anecdotes: 
A bunch of Jezebels ask for Muff’s help to pop Crabs.


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