Savage Streets (1984) is an amazing piece of grindhouse cinema. It's easily accessible for newcomers to the genre but it's satisfying enough for die-hard fans. It's one of the more well-known movies from the era but it was certainly never a mainstream success.
There is a great interview with Linda Blair on the DVD version of Savage Streets that gives such a great insight into the background and making of this movie I certainly recommend watching if you have the time.
The movie itself is a product of multiple changes throughout production that literally created a monster. It was originally supposed to be directed by Tom DeSimone - who directed the last film we covered, Chatterbox! (1977) - but he left after creative differences.
I was actually hired to direct Savage Streets and that’s how Linda Blair and my brother came onboard. I brought them to the project. However, well into production, the script kept getting re-worked and re-imagined by one of the investors who fancied himself a writer. It soon became clear to me that the picture was heading off in a different direction than where we began and I was unhappy with where it ended up. Frustrated over all the changes I felt were bad, I walked from the project and that’s where Danny came in.
What the original film intended to be, nobody really knows. What we do know is that once Danny Steinman came into the production the script was re-written and it became a different movie. Half way through production the film was shut down due to funding issues. Some of the actors even left to pursue other roles while the producers tried to gain extra cash to finish the film. During this time producer John Strong was brought in and one again the script was changed - this time he apparently added the humorous one-liners heard throughout the film. Finally they were able to secure the funding and finish the movie and what we see now is basically a Frankenstein monster that wasn't originally intended to be anything like this. However, the end product we have is insanely entertaining.
NEXT WEEK'S FILM
Director: Ed Forsyth
Stars: Joyce Jillson, Louis Quinn, Thomas Reardon