A Week In Film #434: Zombied out

Vigilante Force title screenVigilante Force

Batshit mid-seventies grind house type fare, with director George Armitage (later of Grosse Pointe Blank fame) liberally borrowing elements from Westerns, Seven Samurai, thirties gangster movies and blaxploitation cinema for this barely concealed Vietnam War allegory.

A Californian boom town’s elders, faced with boisterous oil workers smashing up their community, hire a local bad boy (Kris Kristofferson) and his buddies (all Nam vets, should the allegory be too subtle for you) as police auxiliaries to shake things up. It isn’t long before they are causing more mayhem than they are stopping; a Good Brother (Jan-Michael Vincent) must then step up and make things right again.

Bernadette Peters is great as a kooky bar room singer, Paul Gleason (from The Breakfast Club) has an early turn as a sleazy hood, and Brad Dexter is wheeled out as the town’s push-over mayor, and possibly to MAKE EVERYONE REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED IN THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Sheer lunacy.

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