Almost 20 years ago, a friend handed me a duped VHS tape with the words MAD FOXES hand-scrawled on the spine. “You’ve gotta see this,” he stated without further explanation. Based on the title, I thought I was in for some sort of eighties’ made-for-cable softcore porno. Although I was right about the vintage (1981), I soon discovered the VHS in my hands was far more than a flaccid coked-out skinflick. This was Euro-sleaze of the highest order, with the most bizarre sense of logic and pacing I’d ever seen in a film which made it far more entertaining than the usual sleaze. Though what kind of entertainment it was meant to be I’m not quite sure of… and I think the filmmakers had the same dilemma.
Hal (played by José Gras AKA Robert O’Neal from Bruno Mattei’s NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES aka ZOMBIE CREEPING FLESH) is your average disco-suited Spanish playboy who drives a boss Corvette Stingray. The film opens with Hal and his cute date on the way to the disco to celebrate her 18th birthday (Gras is clearly in his thirties here) when they encounter an unpleasant bunch of dirt-bike riding (!) Nazi bikers. As usually happens in such situations, harsh words are spoken and a road-chase entails, ending with one of the bikers being fatally driven off the road and exploding (!). Later at the disco, Hal pushes booze on his barely-legal date so he-can put his moves on her (this is pre-roofies, mind you). It is conveniently (for the screenwriters anyway) announced that not only is it her 18th birthday but that she’s also a virgin. In the exploitation-film universe, this is a sure sign of big trouble ahead. And whaddaya know? As they leave the club, they’re ambushed by the vengeful bikers who beat the Jesus out of Hal and gang-rape his date. Hal then solicits the help of the local kung-fu school to help exact his revenge on the bikers, which ends with the biker-gang leader getting his pecker cut off and fed to him (!!). Then the bikers cook up a plot to get even, Hal retaliates and so forth in a cycle of nasty back-and-forth revenge scenes that continues through to the end of the film.
I don’t want to give away too much of the film’s surprises, as all the fun is in seeing how low this movie can sink for yourselves. But a few key scenes deserve mention here to illustrate how insane this film is.
* Exhausted after the above-mentioned biker battle, Hal returns home to find a naked woman already in his bed (!), leading to innocuous porno-style music and obligatory soft-core groping. Keep in mind this happens immediately after Hal gets home from castrating someone to avenge the gang-rape of his 18-y.o. virgin girlfriend who by this point has been completely forgotten and never mentioned again for the rest of the film!
* Shortly thereafter, Hal is again pursued by the bikers. Once he’s shaken them off, he picks up a female hitchhiker and offers to take her home to meet his parents, informing her “My mother is an invalid. She fell from a horse and became paralytic.” (!) This line apparently works wonders and they begin to suck face, having known each other for probably less than two minutes of screen time. For the rest of the movie, they wind up constantly having sex, including a tryst in his family’s bathtub. (You can just feel the dubbing actor rolling his eyes for having to read lines like “Come and sit on me”.) I mean, I respect Hal’s technique with the ladies, but it’s safe to say he’s not the nurturing, unselfish lover that women desire – just ask his gang-raped and forgotten date from the night before!
Alternately known as LOS VIOLADORES, STINGRAY 2, and THE BIKERS AND THE DISCO KID (!), this is a Swiss-Spanish co-production from the ouevre of prolific Swiss producer Erwin C. Deitrich who brought us many Euro-sleaze feasts, like WANDA THE WICKED WARDEN, SWEDISH GAS PUMP GIRLS, LOVE LETTERS OF A PORTUGUESE NUN and ME, A GROUPIE. Compared to those sleaze feasts, MAD FOXES is the 99-cent all-you-can-eat Vegas buffet of Euro-sleaze: atrocious dubbing, even more atrocious dialogue, buxom Euro-babes losing their clothes at the drop of a hat, tasteless over-the-top violence, rampant continuity errors, loud fashion and a fist-pumping soundtrack by Swiss hair-metallers Krokus. FOXES alternately plays like a teen sex comedy (I’m sure the title misled many a pubescent boy at the local mom-and-pop video shop) , brutal grindhouse thriller, and car-fetish action movie with the story taking almost random twists and turns. I recommend wearing a chin-guard while watching this movie, as your jaw will keep hitting the ground about every 5 minutes or so. Oh, and I won’t give away the ending… suffice it to say that when the words “The End” abruptly appear on the screen you’ll wonder “What the hell just happened?” At 77 minutes, this film doesn’t mince words – perfect for today’s hyper-stimulated ADHD-afflicted teen audiences.
If there’s a scene that for me best sums up what makes this film so special, it’d be the kung-fu students vs. bikers battle, which has to be one of the worst, most awkward, unchoreographed fight scenes ever committed to celluloid. (You can actually see people falling over from blows that missed them by a mile.) I think the only direction the actors got before the cameras started rolling was “Okay, just fight”, a vibe that resonates throughout MAD FOXES. In every scene you get the feeling everyone involved in this film was just winging it – from the director and writers to the actors themselves- sort of like “Let’s throw this against the wall and see what happens.” Well, I could’ve told them what happens… shit happens! Glorious, amateurish but always entertaining shit.
Don’t take my word for it – experience the magic yourself here.
P.S. I have since upgraded by duped VHS copy of MAD FOXES to a pristine, digitally mastered from the original negative DVD straight from Erwin C. Deitrich’s company VIP Films who own the original negative.