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  Fugitive Girls Ladies On The Loose
Year: 1974
Director: Stephen J. Apostolof
Stars: Jabie Abercrombie, Rene Bond, Tallie Cochrane, Donna Young, Margie Lanier, Harvey Shain, Nicolle Ridell, Douglas Frey, Sunny Boyd, Gary Schneider, Maria Arnold, Armando Federico, Janet Newell, Con Covert, Edward D. Wood Jr
Genre: Sex, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dee (Margie Lanier) had hit a run of bad luck recently, starting after she finally went to bed with her new boyfriend and after the deed was done, he realised they were out of alcohol so suggested they both visit the local grocery to fetch some more. She agreed, but once they had driven to the place and he had approached the shopkeeper, Dee was horrified to witness her boyfriend produce a gun and hold up, then shoot dead, the man behind the counter. He then booted her from the vehicle and took off, leaving the woman he supposedly loved lying in the street in a daze, ready for the police to arrest her. Now she is in a prison out in the middle of nowhere, wishing she wasn't...

Fugitive Girls, known under a number of titles depending on the cut you're watching - Five Loose Women is its other common title - was a film like many others from the nineteen-seventies in that it was a sexploitation effort designed to titillate men, and more importantly, part them from their hard-earned cash. These were ten a penny in the grindhouses and drive-ins of the decade as nudity was proving a big draw, so much so that even mainstream movies would feature it, but what made this little item stand out was one of the participants, a certain ex-director named Edward D. Wood Jr: that's correct, the man who gifted the world Plan 9 from Outer Space was involved.

That enterprise was the last he made in the hope he could carve out a legitimate career in Hollywood, as after that a terrible realisation hit Wood, that he was a failure. This led him to abandon the world of cinema in favour of the world of pulp paperback books, where he would pen nearly a hundred such disposable pageturners, often with a transvestite flavour, and that was how he spent the nineteen-sixties. Well, that and the copious drinking, which would eventually ruin his liver and indeed his matinee idol looks, and see him into an early grave in 1978, just as his filmography was about to be the focus of an interest he would never have dreamt of enjoying.

But those fifties projects were not the close of Wood's ambitions in the film industry, for he did team up with Bulgarian refugee Stephen J. Apostolof, a similarly impoverished talent, for a series of movies like this one. Their most celebrated collaboration would be Orgy of the Dead, which Wood wrote and Apostolof directed, halfway through the sixties, but come the seventies Wood appeared to rediscover his fervour for celluloid, even if it was in porn, both softcore and hardcore. Of course, this was the only work he could get in the industry, and even then he was participating not for the glory, more to pay for his drinks bills. Therefore this output has not enjoyed the same interest from cult fans, since it was a lot more depressing to watch than his obliviously ridiculous fifties productions.

Nevertheless, Fugitive Girls in particular has attracted the most attention of this era in what was in essence a sad, wasted life which was only redeemed after Wood had passed away, and even then had most people laughing at his lack of talent. Starting as a Women in Prison flick, with a jail that apparently houses five inmates, not in cells, either as they look to be at a summer camp, the plot left this angle behind pretty sharpish when the five women in question escaped, forced on by the lesbian Kat (Tallie Cochrane, one of a number of porn actresses here). Also in the cast was Rene Bond as the racist convict who knows where her stash of cash lies and promises the others a cut, Bond being another porn star who like Wood, died of alcoholism. Every so often there was a spot of lunacy that marked the man's writing: the hippy commune which insists on discussing the benefits of health food before swapping clothes, the female-on-male gang rape or the A Clockwork Orange rip-off staged with a lesbian twist; Wood appeared, too, in dual roles and looking frankly wasted - he did not have long to live. But outside of the faithful, casual interest should be directed to his fifties canon.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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