Unholy Rollers

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“A locker room look at the toughest broads in the world!”
Grease your wheels for this hard-jamming, body-slamming, rink-ramming peek at the sordid world of ‘70s roller derby chicks, starring 1970 Playboy Playmate of the Year Claudia Jennings (Gator Bait) as a tough-n-sexy (and possibly psychotic) lady skater who rolls her way to the top of the derby pack where she not only loses her cool, but most of her clothes as well! Released hot on the heels of the major studio roller derby flick Kansas City Bomber starring Raquel Welch, Unholy Rollers was the low-budget, sleazy kissin’ cousin to that mainstream box-office hit, featuring all the gratuitous nudity, bone-crunching violence and general unwholesomeness that only a true slice of drive-in cinema such as this could offer. And better yet, it’s all wrapped up in a titillating package of then-fashionable, Charlie’s Angels-esque ‘70s feminism that celebrated tough and independent women doing their thing, as long as they flashed some serious skin every 20 minutes or so. When Karen Walker is sexually harassed by her chauvinist pig-of-a-boss at the factory where she works, she walks out of her job and tries out for the roller derby. She quickly lands a hot spot on the team and rises to the top, intent on ignoring the violence and grandstanding and concentrating on winning games. Although her teammates dislike her, Karen quickly becomes the Queen of the Derby and a big hit with the rough-and-tumble derby fans. But soon, her all-consuming need to win at any cost becomes a nasty (and highly entertaining!) obsession, and once she’s on top, there’s naturally someone waiting to knock her back down. Can Karen keep her wheels, her crown AND her dignity (not to mention her bra), or is she headed on a one-way trip to Loserville? (Dir. by Vernon Zimmerman, 1972, USA, 88 mins., Rated R) Digital