Savages from Hell (1968)

“Makes the Hell’s Angels look like Boy Scouts!”

Alright, I’m confused.

Director Joseph G. Prieto* — that’s who IMDB says made this — has the kind of resume we love around these parts. He wrote and directed Shanty Tramp, plus was behind the camera for Fireball Jungle and Miss Leslie’s Dolls, a movie that is all about a young college professor and three of her students hiding from a storm in the farmhouse of a mannequin obsessed woman. Under the name José Prieto, he was the assistant director of Alfredo B. Crevenna’s Santo and Blue Demon vehicle Las Bestias del Terror and the William Kerwin-scripted Six She’s and a He.

However, plenty of Letterboxd reviewers and The Grindhouse Database list  Joseph P. Mawra, the director of White Slaves of ChinatownAll Men Are Apes!Olga’s Girls and Olga’s House of Shame as the real director of this.

So after doing some research — I learned from this The Rialto Report interview with Mawra in which he claims to have directed Fireball Jungle and this movie. However, right there in the comments, Daniel Griffith — who has directed tons of documentaries that show up as DVD extras — writes “Thank you for tracking down and interviewing Mawra! However, Mawra did not direct Shanty Tramp or Savages from Hell. Both of those films were directed by the actual José Prieto. He was Cuban. I know this because I filmed hours of interviews with the cast and crew of Savages and Shanty as well as tracked down behind the scenes photographs from those films. I also believe he directed Miss Leslie’s Dolls, but I cannot confirm this.”

Man, these guys were just trying to make money and crank out films. Did they ever expect a maniac to be sitting in his basement, surrounded by DVDs, pounding away on his laptop trying to track down the facts on a movie that so many people — including those that made it possibly — have forgotten?

But I digress.

Biker movies are cheap and that’s probably why I love them so much. All you need is some outdoor scenery, a biker gang that will turn up just to be in it — and they’ll bring their bikes — and a script that throws morality out the window. This does that and ups the ante by having the bikers make fun of Mexicans, who are more than willing to rise up and fight back.

Another reason to love this movie is by looking at who wrote the story and produced it: K. Gordon Murray. Yes, he’s nearly a patron saint around these parts, thanks to his bonkers remixes of Mexican films and frightening children’s cinema that he produced.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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