209. The Hellcats (1968)

Two wheels, long hair, wind in your face, riding motorcycles opened doors to a larger world. Freedom, control, moving state to state, the life appealed to a generation and burned bright by the 60s. The Summer of Love competed with the open country. It was all a rush. Leather, tattoos, the smell of gas, Fonda and Hopper were two in a crowd. Bad Colds, Sign Language Translator, NOOOOO!, Servo’s Journal, Crow’s Journal, Gypsy’s Journal. “I wonder why they didn’t bury him in a sidecar, you know, they’re bikers”, “Look, there’s Yasser Arafat in his teen days”, “Walk like an Egyptian, man.” “I’ll give you an emotional memory!” or “That’s for putting me in the movie!”?

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The Day The Music Died.

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Taco Run.

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On Route 66.

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Best of 209.

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The Bike Song/Mass Confusion.

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The Hellcats (1968) Trailer.

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Davy Jones & The Dolphins - Hellcats

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Somebody’s Chyldren - I’m Up

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I Can’t Take A Chance

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The Sunrays - Hellcats

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Another biker film, though rather different in tone from the previous two. For one thing, it dials back on the death and despair, which helps make it more watchable. The more upbeat tone gets emphasized by this peppy theme song played during the opening credits. The membership of the gang also has a more even male-to-female ratio in comparison, with the prior biker movies having had only one biker chick each to share among themselves.

However, a big minus for Hellcats concerns the plot. As ugly and depressing as they were, The Side Hackers and Wild Rebels had mostly comprehensible storylines that could be followed. Hellcats is more of a bunch of random happenings. While the bikers occasionally work as drug mules for some local gangsters, mostly we see them indulging in sex and drugs and rock and roll. There’s also a subplot about the brother of a cop who was killed for investigating the connections between the bikers and the gangsters (the cop was killed, not the brother). He and his brother’s fiancée go about infiltrating the biker gang. But this meanders rather pointlessly and never resolves in a satisfactory manner. Plus, we have an odd scene with a guy dubbed as Kooky the Biker Clown by Joel and the Bots trying to swipe a drug stash hidden in an impounded motorcycle.

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As observed by the title track done two ways, the mood acts somehow lighter even if the plot is just as dark and even more incomprehensible. Wild Rebels (1967) stays the most watchable of the three biker experiments, Sidehackers (1969) the bipolar wildcard first one thing then another, and The Hellcats (1968) seemingly breezy before the story wears it down.

Exactly. Hellcats’ episodic nature and absence of any meaningful arc to anyone in it washes us in one-off scene after one-off scene as we are bathed in the biker lifestyle which has no life cinematically. There’s almost a TV Movie vibe to it at times particularly when the mobsters are onscreen. Relationships are superficial and interactions are entirely for the betterment of individual scenes not the movie as a whole.

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By technicality, the last episode we’d ever see the Season 1 set, and the last episode until more modern times J. Elvis would be on the show.

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Oh. I don’t remember there was an eyepatch “biker mama” in this one…I don’t remember anything about this one!

That could be good for (re)watching! Not the other biker movies, mind you — I’ve salted the earth in my mind as far as they’re concerned — but I can watch this!

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The two Ross Hagen biker movies are the same movie and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

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Hagen’s character lives at the end of Hellcats IIRC. That’s a point against your statement.

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I don’t care. They’re the same movie. He’s like Schröedinger’s Biker.

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Both solid reads. So much flux in Season 2. Nearly every show altered this or changed that. The tweaking is visible from episode to episode. Sets, nature of the program, costumes, look of the bots, Joel and his jumpsuit, nearly every uncertainty of MST was worked out during this season.

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What strikes your interest? Is it just the eyepatch or the fact you can’t remember it?

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