Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fight For Your Life: Racism Revenge

aka Getting Even
aka I Hate Your Guts
aka The Hostage's Bloody Revenge

Director: Robert A. Endelson

Cast: Robert Judd, Catherine Peppers, Lela Small, Yvonne Ross, Reggie Rock Bythewood

Blue Underground / NTSC R1 / Unrated / 1.85:1 Widescreen / English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) / 86 minutes

EXTRAS: Audio Commentary with Writer Straw Weisman and Director of Photography Lloyd Freidus / Trailers / TV Spots / Photo Galleries


Robert A. Endelson only directed two movies in his very short career; the X-rated comedy The Filthiest Show In Town and one of the most notorious exploitation movies ever filmed, Fight For Your Life. It is rumored that Mr. (nay, Dr.) Endelson is now a dentist in upstate New York and it makes me wonder why his life took such a u-turn. Obviously I don't know his story, but it wouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine that after making such a powder keg of a movie on his second try he was drummed out of the movie industry, or had so much public backlash that he just decided to hang up his camera. Or it could be something as boring as he decided that the business just wasn't for him and decided to go dig around in stranger's mouths for a living. All I know is that Fight For Your Life is in the Top 2 most offensive movies I have ever seen along with Goodbye Uncle Tom, which not coincidentally, is also put out by Blue Underground. Both of these movies are uncut and chock full of gratuitous goodness!

Meet Jessie Lee Kane (William Sanderson, from Newhart's "Larry, Daryl and Daryl" fame), Chino and Ling. Three escaped convicts looking for a good time and the means to get out of the country. All violent and unhinged in their own way. But don't let their similarities fool you, Kane is a Caucasian racist whose hate doesn't discriminate. According to him, Chino is a "spic" and Ling, a "chink". You get the feeling that if the situation was different, he wouldn't hang out with these fellas. Now meet the Turner family; Ted Turner, a good old-fashioned, God fearing preacher-man. Mrs. Turner, a bitchy wife and mother with issues of her own. Feisty Granny. Sexy daughter, Corrie. And finally the scrappy young son, Floyd. A wholesome black family just trying to have some dinner. When Kane and the boys meet the lovely Turner daughter at the local grocery, they decide the she may just be their ticket to freedom.

So after shooting the store owner multiple times and robbing him, they kidnap Corrie and take her back to her house to lie low until the sun goes down and they can run for the border under the cover of darkness. Upon arrival they greet their new captives with all the love any pack of murderous convicts would. They proceed to rough them up to show them who's boss and Kane throws around every racist word for a black person in existence. But the degradation doesn't stop there, no. He makes them dance and sing, sit in a pile of wood ("nigger in a woodpile"), and of course, they take turns with the virgin daughter. Unknown to the escapees, Lt. Reilly, a by-the-book detective, and the head of the local police, Captain Hamilton, are hot on their trail and will stop at nothing to bring these psychopaths to justice. When they get a tip that leads to the criminal's whereabouts, they surround the house and that's when the fun begins as the family get the upper hand and violently turns the tables on their captives with the whole police force right outside!

This highly regarded race/revenge grindhouse classic lives up to it's billing as "incendiary", "shocking" and "depraved". Even the most jaded of exploitation fiends should be offended and taken aback by the racist content alone. The odd things is, I didn't really feel sorry for the family. There seemed to be some underlying—and some not-so-underlying—hate for "whiteys" and "honkeys" in the belly of this middle-class family. BLACK POWER! Director Robert A. Endelson and writer Straw Weisman wrote and created characters that it's hard to feel sorry for. Yeah, Kane was one of the most despicable, white-trash racist fucks in cinema history, but didn't the family, on more than one occasion use words like "honky" and the phrase "white girl" in a dismissive, hateful manner? I won't over-think and get into social issues concerning this hateful masterpiece, but it's something to think about while watching. Do yourself a favor, and watch this while you're hanging out with your black best friend.

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