Unholy Rollers is an action-packed drama, spotlighting the sport of Roller Derby. When this film was released in 1972, Roller Derby was at the zenith of it's popularity with the public.
Be forewarned, this definitely doesn't qualify as a P.C. movie, by any means. Like most B movies from the 70s, it's chocked full of stereotypical characters; lecherous male chauvinist pigs, dumb blond women, a lust-crazed lesbian, negligent store clerks, etc.
The film has B movie queen Claudia Jennings in the starring role, as Karen Walker. Karen is a gorgeous, buxom young woman, working at a dull job in a cat food cannery. For fun, Karen loves going to see her favorite local Roller Derby team, the LA Avengers.
Meanwhile, Karen gets tired of fending-off the unwanted sexual harassment, of her sleazy supervisor. Fed-up, she throws a can of cat food in his face, then quits in disgust. Without any other job prospects lined-up, Karen decides to try out for the LA Avengers team.
Karen makes the team, then reports to the team doctor, for her physical. The doctor turns-out to be mainly interested in ogling Karen's bod, after she strips-down to her undies for the physical. The doc gives Karen a clean bill-of-health. She then gets her Avenger uniform, and reports to the rink for her first game.
Karen gets off to a rip-roaring start, during her first game as an Avenger. She displays lots of colorful showmanship. The team Owner, Mr. Stern, likes Karen's skating style. In the locker room after the game though, Karen's teammates caution her to skate according to the team rules.
The Avenger's star skater, Mickey Martinez, gleefully teases Karen about her skirt that she wears. Mickey eggs-on the others, including the team's coach, to join in. Karen takes offense. But she's told by another teammate, Jennifer, not to take it seriously. Jennifer then invites Karen to join the rest of the team, for drinks at a local seedy bar. Wanting to be accepted by the others, Karen goes along.
Once at the bar, Karen is approached by Mickey again. Mickey is the lesbian character, and she makes amorous advances towards Karen. Karen gets belligerent with Mickey, telling Mickey to get lost. Feeling insulted, Mickey wants to 'teach Karen a lesson'. So, Mickey and some of the other Avengers, pin Karen to a pool table, tearing off all of her clothes. Naked and furious, Karen gives them all a brutal tongue-lashing. Especially Mickey, who she vows to get even with.
With vengeance, and a thirst for fame driving her, Karen quickly rises to the top of the Avengers team roster. Karen even beats Mickey's scoring record, eclipsing Mickey to become the Avenger's new number one skater. But fame and glory go to Karen's head. She refuses to be a team player, or follow orders by the team's Owner. Soon, Karen is headed for a fall. And she learns the hard way that, star or not, she's as expendable as any other skater in the league.
This film is jam-packed with lots of flashy skating footage, ribald humor, violent fights on the track, and an overall sense of raunchy debauchery. The bitter rivalry between Karen and Mickey, is the meatiest plot-line in the film. There's just not much else about the movie, that holds the viewer's interest.
Claudia Jennings performance as Karen Walker, is brilliant. Claudia had a wholesome, all-American cheerleader kind of beauty. Yet she manages to make the violent, ruffian qualities of Karen Walker completely believable.
Betty Anne Rees, was the perfect choice to play Karen's nemesis, Mickey Martinez. Betty was born with the face of a villain. It has lots of severe, razor-sharp angles, and looks like an abscessed tooth feels-painfully evil.
Unholy rollers is wild roller-coaster ride, through the rough-and-tumble world of 70s Roller Derby. It's destined to go down in history, as one of the biggest cult B movies, of all time. It's a must-see, for any 70s B movie fan.
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