DVD Review: Roger Corman Cult Classics: Naked Angels

Roger Corman understood the outer biker genre. His Wild Angels set the high bar for Hell’s Angels in cinema. He also helped set up Easy Rider. When he broke with AIP as his main distributor, Corman didn’t give up on two wheeled excitement. He knew biker movies had a loyal audience since they appealed the young and scared old people. Naked Angels was made before he started New World. He didn’t distribute or put his name on the film, but it would influence the early years of his studio.

Mother (Michael Green) gets out of the hospital and returns to his outlaw ways by swiping a motorcycle. He arrives at his gang’s old clubhouse ready to pick up where he left off. Trouble is the gang has moved on without him. But they do like the idea of going down to Las Vegas to stomp the Hotdogger motorcycle gang for what they did to Mother. Who wouldn’t want to bust up a Hotdogger? Fingers (Richard Rust) has taken over the leadership position including Mother’s old lady Marlene (Women In Cages‘ Jennifer Gan). But he’s not up for a power struggle. They’ve got to save their strength for stomping Hotdoggers. Mother gets back his leadership role and lover. They arrive in Las Vegas only to discover the rival bikers are hiding out in the desert. Before they hit the road to nowhere, the Angels hit Vegas to party hard. This leads to a nightlife montage that mixes film with still images. The technique looks good even if its inspiration is shooting without permits. The motion picture camera appears to have been set up in a van to sneak shots. The still photography allowed them to get close ups of the gang members on the sidewalk with the local cops thinking they’re on a movie set. After a fun night, the gang heads out to the desert with a fierce garage band sound from former Mothers of Invention member Jeffry Simmons.

Mother isn’t a sweetheart of a guy. He isn’t that bright when it comes to battling his rival. Things go really wrong on the trip. He wants his old lady to be punished by the rest of the gang. They don’t seem to hip to his ways anymore. He might end up in the hospital before the Hotdoggers get their chance. But don’t fret that this journey will be fruitless. There’s a massive fight when they get to the Hotdoggers hideout.

The biker genre’s noted for not having tight plots. Movies about outlaws didn’t have to obey the cinematic rules. Naked Angels is a big meander with action, sex and groovy guitar solos to keep the audience watching. But it doesn’t tease the audience. There’s a big time battle. There’s even a woman with “Property of the Angels” on her rump as promised by the poster. When Corman started New World, his first theatrical offering was a biker film called Angels Die Hard. He knew their was an audience ready for more Angels action.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer is from an older video master. The film looks like it was made in the Nevada desert with dirt specks. But that might be from sand kicking up from the Harley tires. The audio is mono. It’s rough soundtrack for the location action. The music is the best element of the mix.

There are no bonus features.

Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: Naked Angels delivers on the biker action. There’s plenty of riding, loving and fighting. The DVD is a Shout Select release. You can buy it directly from their website or a third party dealer on Amazon.

Shout! Factory presents Roger Corman Cult Classics: Naked Angels. Directed by: Bruce Clark. Screenplay by: Bruce Clark. Starring: Michael Greene, Richard Rust and Jennifer Gan. Running Time: 84 minutes. Rating: R Rated. Released: August 21, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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