Blu-ray Review: Fugitive Girls

Contrary to the biopic, Ed Wood Jr.’s film career didn’t end after the premier of Plan Nine From Outer Space. He kept working as an indie filmmaking in the 60s and 70s before his death in 1978. Although he wasn’t a solo auteur for quite a few films. Wood found the perfect collaborator in director Stephen C. Apostolof for his later years so he didn’t have to do so much heavy lifting. The duo first hooked up for 1965’s Orgy of the Dead. Stephen (who went by A.C. Stephen in the credits) directed Ed Wood’s script, but also had Ed to make it a joint project. The film went so well that the duo worked together another five times. Fugitive Girls (a.k.a. Five Loose Women) was their penultimate collaboration that gets a major upgrade on Blu-ray.

Dee (The Dirty Mind of Young Sally‘s Margie Lanier) is having a romantic night with her boyfriend (Miss Nymphet’s Zap-In‘s Joe Pepe) when he wants to get a bottle of booze. He has a special place across town where he gets credit so they get dressed. They get to the liquor store where she quickly discovers he doesn’t have credit with the owner, but a gun. At the end of the stick up, Dee finds herself caught by the law. Even though she’s a bystander, her crummy lawyer gets her sent off to the women’s prison out in the desert. Bad things happens fast when she gets to know Kat (Candy Tangerine Man‘s Tallie Cochrane). She’s a hooker who had to kill her pimp when she got too much into making love to the ladies. And she prove she’s not all talk as she takes Dee as her new girl. Life at the prison doesn’t last long because Kat’s busting out. One of the other girls was part of a bank robbery and the cops never found the loot. They jump the fence and head out into the wilderness with the law in hot pursuit. The girls take refuge with a bunch of free love hippies camping out to avoid society. There’s a lot of tension between the escapees especially since Dee has no desire to spend her life on the run with them.

Fugitive Girls is one of the best of the Wood and Apostolof collaboration. The film has a decent amount of action to accompany the carnal exploitation moments. The scene where Kat claims Dee is played for maximum extreme discomfort. There’s nothing seductive about the moment. Dee plays it for a complete repulsion effect with her of saying no to her murdering new friend. The film doesn’t get too stuck in the women prison world with the big bust out coming at the right time. The hippies look realistic. Ed Wood even pops up on the screen in a cameo to make his mark in the film. This is an entertaining exploitation tale of crime, punishment and escape. Fugitive Girls shouldn’t escape your Blu-ray player.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The folks at Vinegar Syndrome has made this film look better than when it originally played drive-ins and cinderblock cinemas across America. The audio is Mono. The levels are fine so that you get to hear the dogs creeping up on the escapees. The movie is subtitled.

Commentary track with Frank Henenlotter (director of Frankenhooker) and Rudolph Grey (Ed Wood biographer) gives so many details about the man and the movie. They point out the women’s prison was really a boy scout camp. Wonder if any Order of the Arrow Members recognized the place when they snuck into the theater to see Fugitive Girls.

Archival audio interview with Tallie Cochrane (Kat), moderated by Casey Scott reviews her life in low budget filmmaking.

Original Theatrical Trailer (4:53) is like a condensed version of the film.

Original Promo Trailer (0:30) keeps it short.

DVD with movie and bonus features.

Vinegar Syndrome presents The Fugitive Girls. Directed by: Stephen C. Apostolof. Screenplay by: Ed Wood Jr. & Stephen C. Apostolof. Starring: Rene Bond, Jabie Abercrombe, Tallie Cochrane, Ed Wood & Margie Lanier. Rated: R. Running Time: 96 minutes. Released: January 30, 2018.

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