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The Violent Years

1956

A newspaper publisher's daughter suffers from neglect by her parents. She and her friends turn to crime by dressing up like men, holding up gas stations, raping young men at gunpoint, and having makeout parties when her parents are away.


The Violent Years is a 1956 American exploitation film starring Jean Moorhead as Paula Parkins, the leader of a gang of juvenile delinquent high school girls. The film is notable for the input of Ed Wood as author of its screenplay.

Plot

Paula Parkins, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do newspaper editor father and a socialite mother, gets her kicks by organizing and directing a gang of bored young women like herself. The gang dresses in men's attire, robs gas stations, and terrorizes habitués of a local lovers' lane—even raping a young gentleman (off camera) after tying up his girlfriend.
As a newspaperman, Paula's father has some inside information on police plans to capture the gang, so the girls are able to avoid capture with Mr. Parkins' unwitting complicity. After a make-out party with a few local gangsters, Paula and her pals agree to wreck a few classrooms — and destroy the American flag — in a public school at the behest of a female crime boss. (It is implied that this is part of an anti-American Communist plot.) The girls perform the job with gleeful competence until the police arrive and a deadly shootout takes place, claiming the lives of two of Paula's gang while Paula shoots and kills a policeman. Paula is captured, convicted, and dies in the hospital giving birth to the child she conceived during the rape. The judge in Paula's case denies her parents custody of their granddaughter, based on the neglectful way they raised Paula.
The cynical tag line "So what?" is used repeatedly by the girls to underscore their uncaring, Nihilism attitude.

Cast

  • Jean Moorhead as Paula Parkins
  • Barbara Weeks as Jane Parkins
  • Arthur Millan as Carl Parkins
  • Theresa Hancock as Georgia
  • Glen Corbett as Barney Stetson
  • Joanne Cangi as Geraldine
  • Gloria Farr as Phyllis
  • Lee Constant as Sheila
  • I. Stanford Jolley as Judge Clara
  • Timothy Farrell as Lt. Holmes
  • F. Chan McClure as Det. Artman
  • Bruno Metsa as Manny
  • Harry Keaton as Doctor

Production

  • The screenplay, originally titled Teenage Girl Gang, was written by Edward D. Wood, Jr., the director of Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 from Outer Space. The Violent Years was the most financially successful film with creative input from Ed Wood.
  • Star Jean Moorhead was the Playboy Playmate for October 1955.

Response

The film was mocked on a 1994 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Subjects for jokes included the occasionally wooden acting, the same car-on-road shots being repeated, and the judge's rambling closing monologue.

The film's soundtrack was sampled by the industrial metal band Ministry (band) in the song "So What" from the album The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste.

Home media

The film was also released on DVD as part of a large box set of vintage exploitation films called Girls Gone Bad.

See also

  • Girls with guns
  • Edward D. Wood, Jr. filmography
  • The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1996), documentary film directed by Brett Thompson
  • Rudolph Grey, Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1992) ISBN 978-0-922915-24-8


Category:1956 films
Category:Films featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes
Category:1950s crime drama films
Category:American films
Category:English-language films
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:Exploitation films
Category:Teen films
3.80
Roy Reid

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