THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS

PrintE-mail Written by John Townsend

In 1974, exploitation filmmaker Jack Hill was on a roll. With The Big Doll House in 1970, the Tarantino-inspiring auteur began a successful four-year run that included The Big Bird Cage and Foxy Brown. That run ended all too quickly in 1975, with Hill having virtually retired by the end of the decade, but prior to that he released arguably the film that most signifies his personal vision.

An unusually dark comedy/drama, The Swinging Cheerleaders is a film that selects the choicest clichés from the exploitation buffet and combines them with a flourish to produce a film that is inherently fun while still striving to satisfy the feminist agenda so symptomatic of Hill’s better films. How much it succeeds at the latter is open to interpretation, but undoubtedly this is not a film quite as subversive as some from the era.

In order to write an exposé of their world, Kate (Jo Johnston) poses as a cheerleader for the college football team. As she investigates, she discovers a corrupted betting ring run by the school principle while embarking on an affair with the star quarterback.

At its core, The Swinging Cheerleaders is everything you would expect from a 1970s exploitation film, and more-so from Hill. There is plenty of sex and nudity, with sporadic bouts of violence and overly dramatic campness, but there are some notable differences. The strong female characters that populate Hill’s films are here, but in this instance initially principled heroine Kate quickly moves on from the studious journalist boyfriend to the hunky jock without so much as an ironic nod to camera. Said journalist then turns into the misogynist of the piece when he drugs the “innocent” virgin cheerleader and casually invites some friends over for a gangbang. Instead of being shocking, Hill’s film comes across as simply good fun, with the good guys, and gals, getting the best of the bad guys in the end. The gangbanger gets a good slap, the gangbangee falls back into the arms of her true love, and the betting ring all get their comeuppance. A little bit of darkness, but everything turns out fine.

By modern standards, much of what happens in The Swinging Cheerleaders may seem surprising, but that is in essence the point of an exploitation film. These are films of a time, films that tap into the extreme trends of the period and push the boundaries of taste through lurid, and often offensive content. Approached in the right frame of mind, though, there is great fun to be had and Jack Hill is one of the greatest exponents of the genre.

Special Features: Audio commentary with Jack Hill / Interviews / Q&A / TV spots

THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JACK HILL / SCREENPLAY: JACK HILL, DAVID KIDD / STARRING: JO JOHNSTON, CHERYL SMITH, COLLEEN CAMP, ROSANNE KATON, RON HAJAK / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW


Suggested Articles:
Harking back both to anthology and calendar-related horrors of the past, Holidays sets a task for ea
Forget whether or not you’re an avid gamer, someone who’s spent hours of online time exploring t
Norway, the early 13th century. Civil war rages, neighbouring countries attack, and plots within the
Following the release of Pedro Almodóvar's latest critical success Julieta, Studio
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

THE EVIL IN US 27 September 2016

CONSUMPTION 27 September 2016

DARK MATTER SEASON 2 27 September 2016

MINISCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS 26 September 2016

HOLIDAYS 26 September 2016

WARCRAFT: THE BEGINNING 26 September 2016

THE LAST KING 26 September 2016

THE ALMODOVAR COLLECTION 26 September 2016

YU-GI-OH! 5D'S 21 September 2016

BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP – THE COMPLETE SERIES 20 September 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner