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Sure, it's a little silly, but the film stands out far beyond other movies of the age-old "juvenile delinquent" genre. Don't even think about sordid campiness here, because this is the real thing! It is dramatically interesting, and there's enough crude action to cause mass hysteria.. Although it now pales by comparison of today's films on a higher standard, the message on teenage violence still delivers to this day. As it is, the movie remains fun and entertaining.
Wow - this movie is unbelievable. The tone of the whole thing is so Jeckyl and Hyde - you have to laugh. The film opens with grave quotes from law enforcement experts on how teen gangs are the "corrosive acid to our society" and so on, and then the movie opens with a bunch teen gang members driving around to a song so non-threatening, so soft, so flaccid that it is unintentionally hilarious. The song "Baby, Slow Down" sounds like soft rock that even Firefall wouldn't sing.But the best part is the lead role - this guy is supposed to be this dangerous, seething guy capable of rape, murder, etc. and the "actor" who plays Cat looks like he should be singing Godspell or Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He's blonde, blue eyed and slightly effeminate - so its a riot when he's threatening black drug dealers or knife wielding Mexicans - this is the kind of movie where some of the supposed high schoolers are played by people who look thirty (like the guys in shower who are knifed). One interesting side note - a young John Ashton plays a high school coach who might have "seen something" - he's easily the best actor in the film (and there is plenty of bad acting) but Ashton went on to big hits like Beverly Hills Cop (he's Judge Reinholds, grumpy partner) and Midnight Run (where he's the sleazy bounty hunter competing with DeNiro). The film is filled with wimpy guys doing Grease talk, mixed in with Bowery Boys and yet some harsh violence. A mess. A weird mess.
Saw this movie one hot August day in Seattle in '76. Was drawn by the lurid
ad and the cheap matinee price. Instead of the chain wielding,
snarling,figure on the one-sheet imagine how surprising it was to find out
the lead actor was a skinny, blond-haired, blue-eyed pretty boy. The whole
movie is clearly awful, the lead actor wouldn't cut muster in a high-school
production and the others aren't much better including Steve Bond, latter of
General Hospital and Canadian Doug McGrath of the classic Goin' Down the
Road six years earlier. Understand that lead actor David Kyle became a
missionary, a complete about-face from his role here.
The movie was no better than the usual drive-in fare being produced at that time but at least it's storyline, about high school gangs was a little more 'meaty' than the usual teen hi-jinks comedies of the time. A guilty pleasure? Not really, but at least it may have been trying to convey something about high school violence and dysfunctional families. Or not.
Incidently this movie was released on video under the title Cruisin' High which made it sound like either the typical teen hi-jinks comedy or set in a gay high school. Either way it was misleading since very little of the action takes place in a high school and the cruising involves gang rumbles.
May hold some interest to those who love movies of the time and the differing attitudes of today.
This is a really fun 70's street gang film! I'm sure it's not good as far as editing goes (like that other reviewer said), but who pays attention to that(?); only nurd film majors! It's a violent gang b movie and it'll make you laugh out loud at it's cheesiness. Plus they cruise around in a cherry 57 buick! So watch it, it's a goodie! that's if you can find this rare gem at a old video store. Seriously this film made me laugh, especially when they let that kid who looked like he was 10 in the gang. Plus the music is pretty funny, with a cheesy garagey theme song "Slow Down Baby". My favorite line from the film is happens after this rival black pimp gang hassle with the all white silks about a drug deal gone bad they say "lets get out of here I feel like I'm in Disneyland".
Okay....I suppose there was never a time when CAT MURKIL AND THE SILKS
would have been called a good movie. It has become a camp-value
mini-classic with its 30-year vintage, yet the subject matter at hand,
although presented in a way we might see as naive today, retains
significance in modern times.
No-good, scrawny little punk "Cat" Murkil is the unlikely leader of a honky high school gang who wreak terror on anyone standing in the way of their juvenile-delinquent hijinks. Pitted against gangs of other races from various parts of town, they find themselves in a revolving door of violent paybacks in a blood-soaked kiddie gang war.
With performances ranging from awful to adequate, and rather poorly paced, this low-budget curiosity piece is best viewed by patient bad movie fans. While far from the worst film I have ever seen(with a few pretty good moments), this ranks a meager 4/10, offered with hesitant charity.
This is definitely a "so bad it's good" entry. First, the title. I saw
this as "Cruisin' High," and while definitely a better title than "Cat
Murkil and the Silks," hardly any of this takes place in a high school
(what little is in the high school of the enemy gang) and if they mean
"high while Cruisin' in cool 60's cars," well OK they do a little bit
The film is bad, but a blast. The Silks are run by Punch, who always comes down on Cat. But Cat sees a unique opportunity to become the leader of the gang, and grabs it. Tough-guy and badass Cat is, yes, a skinny blond semi-pretty boy (ok looking but nothing spectacular) who gets tough and gets in the faces of, among others, old teachers, blacks and Mexicans. He tosses the word "nigger" and "mammy" to one black drug dealer, then tries not to cry and save a little face when the dealer's "connections" confront Cat. It's a great scene! His main man can only be described as a "young Bowzer from Sha Na Na," and Cat has a brother about to be released from prison who he idolizes. Cat is also in love/lust with his brother's wife, who is indeed very, very hot.
The Silks pull things like murder and terrorize people, and actually some of the violence is pretty nasty. But sometimes you have to laugh, I mean, sure it's cruel when the newest Silk, some little kid, is racing an old lady in a wheelchair around her home, but it's done in such a hokey way you get a kick out of it, even if you feel guilty later on. (It's only a movie anyway.) The wheelchair lady definitely can't touch Grandma in "Fight For Your Life" but she's not bad. And all throughout Cruisin' High, even during nasty scenes, the goofiest music is playing, as if it were a cartoon. It's incredible to think that all this was put together so seriously.
Some of the actors are definitely recognizable, like from episodes of "Shazam" and other 70's stuff. Steve Bond and Derrel Maury, who both are pretty decent in my opinion, would soon be reunited the next year in "Massacre At Central High," a vastly superior film. And the top cop is Rhodes Reason, who most viewers will remember from the classic Toho film "King Kong Escapes!" This is by no means a "sought-after" flick, as most probably don't even know it exists, so it can be bought for cheap. It is definitely highly recommended as a fun blast from the past.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Conniving little weasel Eddie "the Cat" Murkil (expertly played to the sniveling obnoxious hilt by David Kyle, who later quit acting to become a youth minister!) is a cunning adolescent psychopath who ruthlessly bumps off Punch (a nifty, albeit brief appearance by Derrel Maury of "Massacre at Central High" fame), the leader of the teenage hoodlum gang the Silks. Cat makes it look like the rival Latino gang the Ruedas did it. This leads to a violent gang war. Pretty soon the body count begins to pile up at an alarming rate (the definite highlight occurs when two scrawny 14-year-old members of the Silks sneak into a high school locker room to shiv two members of the Ruedas in the shower!). Clearly intended as some kind of grim cautionary tale about teen gangs and adolescent violence on the rise in major cities, this unjustly overlooked 70's drive-in juvenile delinquent exploitation item qualifies as a real campy hoot. Director John Bushelman takes the whole silly story very seriously, which in turn gives this goofy marvel a certain endearingly clunky charm. Bruce Logan's polished cinematography gives the film a sharp, glossy look. Better still, both the amusingly insipid soft-rock theme song "Slow Down Baby" and especially Bernie Kaai Lewis' funky garage rock score are hilariously cheesy. Popping up in snazzy supporting roles are Rhodes Reason and Doug McGrath as two hard-nosed police detectives, Steve Bond as Murkil's incarcerated older brother who's struggling to go straight, Doodles Weaver as a gas station owner and "Beverly Hills Cop" film series regular John Ashton as a high school football coach. Good dumb fun.
So okay, I'm biased; they filmed this at my high school (Santa Maria High School) in '75, and I was one of the $15-a-day extras that walked up and down the corridors carefully not looking at the camera. Still...there *are* others who have seen this movie?! If you saw this movie, please send me a note, I'd love to know why..........
This is without doubt one of the worst films I have ever seen. Almost everything about it is awful, especially the editing. This is no exaggeration. Watch something like Nosferatu, which was made in 1922, and then watch this, made over 50 years later and wonder why editing technology hasn't advanced in such a large period of time. The only thing this film is good for is that it's so bad you may have wet yourself by the end (which is crap, as if you had to be told). One of the worst films ever.
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