Starring Elizabeth Kaitan, Cindy Beal, Brinke Stevens
"Something tells me there's more in this jungle than meets the eye."
First of all, we're going to need to issue an All Points Bulletin for director Ken Dixon. Where could this fever-dream visionary be? Mr. Dixon had his hand in soft-X back in the 70's (Erotic Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, 1975), but is most well-known for a quadrilogy of truly epic clip-comps: The Best of Sex and Violence (1981), Famous T&A (1982), Filmgore (1983), and Zombiethon (1986). All four are must-have collections of best-bits from 70's and 80's grindhouse flicks that anticipated YouTube's only-the-good-parts approach 20 years ahead of their time. Slave Girls was Dixon's only narrative feature of the 80's, and his trail, shockingly, runs cold from there. So if anybody's seen him, please tell him to call/write immediately. Because we have a lot of questions about this one.
Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity arrived smack-dab in the middle of a dizzying wave of post-apoc/space opera/sexploitation mash-ups that blew minds and dampened crotches for much of the mid 80's. Other notable titles in the cycle include Robot Holocaust (1986), Roller Blade (1986), Hell Comes to Frogtown (1987), and Creepozoids (1987). I'm pretty sure every movie in this micro-genre utilized the same Corman knock-off sets and the same leather bikinis, because they all start to blur into one hallucinogenic gang-bang of tits, robots, and laser-blasts after awhile. Slave Girls has all of those in abundance, and may very well be the apex of 80's Leather Bikini Cinema.
The film opens with a hot, big-titted blonde in a leather cave-girl outfit running, barefoot, through some underbrush.
A mutant - he looks like the Gwar dude with an octopus on his head and a hookah attached to his arm - lumbers awkwardly behind her, in not-so-hot pursuit. He shoots purple lasers at her, but is zapped (with blue lasers) by a dude with a crossbow.
Cut to: Slave ship in outer space. Daria (Elizabeth Kaitain) is in some sort of dank pit, chained to the floor. She tugs on her shackles, trying in vain to pull them loose.
"Don't bother," says Tisa (Cindy Beal), the other hot blonde in cavegirl leather chained to the floor, "I've already tried. The only chance we've got is no chance at all."
Determined, Daria eventually yanks her chain right out of the floor, than helps Tisa pull hers out as well. Daria tells her that all they need to do is "reverse the polarity" on the cell's lock, and they can escape. Then they can take over the ship. She's a very industrious slave girl. They reverse the polarity, climb out of the cell, bash the guards with pipes, and goddamn it, they take over the ship and fly the fuck out of there.
A word about Elizabeth Kaitain, before we continue. One of the more memorable shlock-queens of the 80's, Liz was a European import known both for her exquisite beauty and her earnest acting style. It did not matter how stupid the scripts got, she'd play them straight, as if irony was for lesser actresses than herself.
While it is impressive to watch someone act their hearts out, she needn't have bothered. Every film she was in required skimpy outfits that emphasized the almost impossible roundness of her breasts and ass, so who, I ask you, was paying attention to her acting? Still, she gave it her all, and for that - and for the cleavage - she deserves a round of applause. Her last film was the Gary Graver directed Veronica 2030 in 1999. She apparently got married and quit the biz soon after. We miss her. And not just parts of her, either.
Anyway, back to the space madness. The girls zip around space for awhile and then end up in a tractor beam which crash-lands them on a mysterious planet. Daria wakes up on the beach and notices a clunky robot staring at her. She follows him to a castle with animal heads and zebra-skin rugs on the walls.
Zed (Don Scribner), a Christian Bale-looking dude with greased-back hair and tight leather pants dramatically descends a staircase and introduces himself. Tisa's already there, and Zed's got a dinner party planned. Turns out he's got a whole bunch of 'guests' who have 'accidentally' crash-landed on his planet. He gives Daria a slinky black dress to wear, and she cleans up nicely.
They go downstairs and meet the other guests - wiseguy Rik (Carl Horner) and his sister Shala (Brinke Stevens). Shala informs Daria that their ship is being 'worked on', and they won't be able to get off the planet/island/jungle-bound fortress/whatever it is until it's fixed. Zed starts yapping about how awesome hunting is, which creeps everybody out a bit. There's taxidermied animals all over the place, so he apparently does a lot of it. Rik asks Daria if she wants to go for some air. She agrees, and they walk approximately 10 feet to the other side of the room and start gossiping about Zed.
Rik tells Daria that there were originally four people in their group, but that Zed took the pilot and the navigator into the 'trophy room' (a large door that appears to be covered in black contact paper), and they were never seen from again. He also says that he knows the ship has already been fixed, but Zed's lying to them about it, because he wants to keep them around to hunt them.
Everybody retires for the evening, but Daria is woken by sounds of lasers and a man screaming. She hears someone rushing towards her room and picks up a vase to bonk the intruder with, but it turns out to be Rik. He tells her Shala is missing, and he thinks Zed has taken her to the 'trophy room'. They slink downstairs to investigate. While they walk around, a bassoon plays on the soundtrack. You don't hear that everyday.
Despite being the secret, forbidden room, they manage to walk right in and search the joint. There's a bone throne in there and more dead animals on the walls. Tisa's Scooby-Dooing around in there, as well. She's wearing fetching white lingerie at this point. Says she snuck into his room and stole the key, which explains why the door was open. Daria asks what's down an unseen corridor, and Tisa says "He's got an escape hatch stashed back there." Rik wants to jump down it and bail, but Daria won't leave without Shala. They hear Zed coming back from the jungle with his robots, and scurry back upstairs.
Zed's robots dump a bloody sheet on the floor, and Zed picks up a dude's severed head. Tonight's trophy, apparently. Meanwhile Daria starts barking orders for the escape plan, which involves her and Rik going outside and booby-trapping the jungle. Or something. She talks an awful lot, this one.
So, Zed has Shala chained to a wall. Then, as far as I can tell, he strips her, shackles her to a slab, and then rapes her. Afterward, his robot gives him a back massage.
While he enjoys a post forced-coital smoke, he tells his robot to go upstairs and make sure everybody are in their rooms. Tisa intercepts the 'bot and tells him she wants to go skinny-dipping, and he should come watch.
Despite being a robot (and a very femme-sounding one, at that), he cannot resist the allure of a naked Tisa, so he follows her out. While Tisa strips down and frolics on the beach, the other robot shows up and yells at the first one for not following orders.
Meanwhile, Rik and Daria take a little time out to fuck. When they're finished, Rik says he's the happiest guy in the world. Considering he just banged Elizabeth Kaitain in her prime, that sounds about right.
Later on, Rik gets konked on the head by one of the robots, and when he comes to, he's out in the jungle. Zed gives him a gun and tells him that it activates in ten minutes. He has to survive the night in the jungle - with Zed hunting him - to win his freedom. And so off he goes.
Almost immediately, Rik gets caught in a giant spider web, and Zed blasts him with his laser crossbow. And then the robot cuts him up into bite-sized chunks.
At some point later that evening, the girls wake up. They are all in the leather slave girl outfits and chained to the wall. Zed points out his new trophy - Rik's head. This upsets Shala quite a bit.
"There was no need for you to show her that," says Daria.
"We all have different needs," explains Zed. And then he spouts a bunch of gibberish about the meaning of life before getting to his point.
"I intend to hunt you," he hisses.
He lets all three girls loose, and tells them that there's a tower on the other side of the jungle with laser cannons that they can use against them if they can reach them. As they're about to split, he also gives them a warning: "Try not to get lost in the phantom zone."
That's always good advice, really.
Shala wants to just wait in the bushes for Zed to show up so she can stab him, but bossy Daria makes them trudge through the jungle instead. She entrusts Tisa to hold the map. Tisa shoves it into her bikini top, and when Daria asks for it later, Tisa realizes she dropped it somewhere along the way.
"I should have known better," says Diara, staring at Tisa's tiny tits. "I should have just held it myself."
So that was pretty mean.
Jungle hijinks ensue. Poor Shala gets crossbowed to death - does Brinke Stevens ever catch a break in these movies? - and Zed gets a spike through the leg, which at least slows him down. Daria and Tisa make it to the laser-cannon tower and try to figure out how to get in. Daria says something about "the other panel must be adjacent to this one", which made me laugh. Slave girls from outer space say 'adjacent'? Anyway, it works, and they make it inside. When they get in there, there's a lot of smoke, and their voices echo.
"This must be the phantom zone Zed warned us about," Daria points out.
"I get the feeling the normal laws of time and space no longer apply."
Then they both get attacked by dudes in chintzy zombie masks. And then one of those mutant fuckers from the beginning shows up and attacks Tisa.
But by this point, Daria 's got the laser cannon, and all hell breaks loose.
Turns out, though, that the girls aren't so good at wielding laser cannons. Tisa gets caught and nearly raped by Zed back at the castle before Daria shows up wearing armor and a brandishing a shield and sword. Can our plucky, leather-bikini clad warrior-women defeat this evil monster, his robot henchmen, and that mutant dude and blast off this accursed planet/island/b-movie set?
Clearly, that's for me to know and you to find out.
Although there are no truly jaw-dropping scenes in Slave Girls, it is nonetheless a joy to watch from the first frame to the last. Part of this is due to Tom Callaway's cinematography. It's as if he wasn't actually given any direction from Dixon, and so he just naturally follows Katain's mesmerizing ass wherever it wiggles. I can't think of another movie that spends so much time behind the actresses. Carl Dante's score is also amazing, a fully orchestrated wonder full of flittering flutes and flatulent tubas. It's much more ornate than need be, and the sound track is peppered with incessant 'jungle sounds' that appear to be ripped right from an old Tarzan serial. The script is a mouthful, and none of the actors ever quite come to grips with it, especially Hungarian beauty Kaitan, who is forced to spout crazy bullshit about "off-beam quadrants" every five minutes. The mutants and zombies are laughably cheap, the jungle is somebody's backyard, and the space footage is from another film entirely.
In other words, it's awesome.
Availability: Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity is available on DVD.
- Ken McIntyre