Dynamite Double Feature By Rich Osmond.
I don’t know if just two movies make up a subgenre, but I do know that the concept of pissed-off Southern women blowing shit up with dynamite is good enough for a dozen movies, if not a 24 hour specialty cable channel! In Lee Frost’s 1975 Dixie Dynamite, sisters Dixie and Patsy live an idyllic existence in backwoods Georgia, helping their daddy brew moonshine and hanging out with their motocross-racing buddy Warren Oates...
I don’t know if just two movies make up a subgenre, but I do know that the concept of pissed-off Southern women blowing shit up with dynamite is good enough for a dozen movies, if not a 24 hour specialty cable channel!
In Lee Frost’s 1975 Dixie Dynamite, sisters Dixie and Patsy live an idyllic existence in backwoods Georgia, helping their daddy brew moonshine and hanging out with their motocross-racing buddy Warren Oates. But things turn grim when crooked fat millionaire Dade comes to town and tries to steal everyone’s land for the natural gas deposits. Daddy is killed during a high speed chase with the corrupt local cops, the bank auctions off Dixie and Patsy’s house to Dade, and Patsy is raped by evil Deputy Frank (co-writer/co-producer Wes Bishop). The only thing left for the sisters to do is steal motorcycles, shotguns, and a truck full of dynamite and start kicking the ass of everyone who has wronged them, becoming the saviors of their little town in the process.
Dixie Dynamite is rated PG, not a typical seventies-style PG (which would usually be an R today) but a nudity, gore, and basically profanity-free PG. This is about a tame as a drive-in movie could be and still be considered exploitation. Warren Oates is the only real name in the cast and his presence always raised a movie up another level. Add to Warren the likable heroines and a nicely twisted escape plan during the climax and you’ve got a decent rural timekiller; one with the greatest exploding toilet scene in movie history. Would you expect anything less from the creators of the classic The Thing with Two Heads?
Michael Pressman’s The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (also from ’75) may not have had Warren Oates, but it boasts its own brand of star power in Claudia Jennings, Playboy’s 1970 Playmate of the Year and the most ass-kickingest white woman in drive-in history. Jennings plays Candy, a recent prison escapee who robs a bank by threatening the employees with a lit stick of dynamite, all to save her Daddy’s farm. During the heist she meets teller Ellie Jo (Jocelyn Jones, the hitchhiking terrorist from the opening of The Enforcer). Since Ellie Jo’s being fired at the moment, she has no problem helping Candy with the robbery. After replacing Candy’s dud "honkey dynamite" with the good stuff, the duo embark on a hell-raising crime spree through Texas, blowing safes, engaging in high-speed chases, and seducing the stunned (but always willing) dudes they stumble across.
For most of its running time, The Great Texas Dynamite Chase plays more like a softcore sex comedy than an action movie. Not a complaint, believe me, but it does make the gory violence in the last act a bit jarring. Jocelyn Jones is great (check her out in the seventies horror obscurity Tourist Trap) but Claudia Jennings is the undisputed star; just as she was in every other movie she made. One problem, though, Jennings was at high-energy best when her character had some edge, like the sneaky white trash daughter in Truck Stop Women or the crazed roller derby queen in Unholy Rollers. Dynamite Chase’s Candy is a sweet, honorable gal (except for robbing banks, I guess), but I get the feeling that Jennings was a bit bored with this character, as she never cuts loose like she did in the aforementioned movies. But, that’s a minor criticism; anything with Claudia Jennings in it is worth a look, even the infamous "Johnny Bravo" episode of The Brady Bunch, featuring Jennings as the hippie talent scout.
Article revised and available in the Impossibly Funky Collection
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