She Wolves of the Wasteland

Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

How in the world did I stumble across this movie ‘She Wolves of the Wasteland’? That, my friends, leads us to ‘worthless story time’ which is one of the things I do best in the world. So I go see the new ‘Star Trek’ movie and then for reference I bum a copy of the first Star Trek movie off this cat I work with since he possesses all things Sci-Fi no matter how crappy this thing might be. As most of you know the late Persis Khambatta is in that movie, may she rest in peace, and clicking on her filmography brings up a list of somewhat suspect titles including this one, ‘Phoenix the Warrior’ or ‘She Wolves of the Wasteland’ as it is now known. Who are we kidding? No one, that’s who... and this is why I made haste to secure my own copy of ‘She Wolves of the Wasteland’ to enjoy some truly putrid 1980’s alleged exploitation goodness.

I don’t know what year it is but it is the future and apparently The Man has finally gone and destroyed the earth turning everything into dust. We put the emphasis on the word Man because now the world only consists of rag wearing rogue women who were created by and work to serve the all-knowing Reverend Mother (Sheila Howard). It would appear to me that the Star Trek movie First Contact totally ripped off the Reverend Mother’s look for Alice Krige’s Borg Queen. Litigation shall follow. Anyway some stuff happens of which I’m not quite sure of which results in a big dune buggy chase headed by the Reverend Mother’s right hand woman Cobalt (Khambatta). Again I’m not completely sure why they wanted this woman but it has something to do with some other woman who is pregnant with a very, very rare male child, a child who the Reverend Mother needs to sustain her life and also make her all powerful. Or something.

This woman Keela (Peggy Sanders) was just about to get snatched up by Cobalt’s crew until she is saved by heroic sand trapper Phoenix (Kathleen Kinmont) who has now taken it upon herself to protect Keela and her unborn child… errrr make that

Keela’s newborn child… errrr make that Keela’s five year old child as director Robert Hayes showed very little interest in conveying to his audience the concept of the passage of time during his film. Despite this sudden passage of time Reverend Mother is still looking for this child as she can ‘feel’ him which helps nobody because Cobalt and them need the bitch to ‘see’ him and ‘tell’ them where it is. Keela and Phoenix have also stumbled upon the last man on earth, appropriately named ‘Guy’ (James McEmery) who they promptly check his junk to see if it’s functional. I guess this isn’t all that surprising considering these women have never seen a man before. Unfortunately his junk is not functional. Because they knocked him unconscious first.

Finally, at long last, Cobalt and her crew of skanks capture the crew. The child goes to get his life sucked out by the Reverend Mother, the dude goes into some kind reproductive tank in which he will be masturbated 24-7 by some mechanical device until the day he dies and our girls are left for the TV guide reciting mutants of the Badlands to do with as they please. No my friends things are not looking good. Not looking good at all.

Imagine ‘The Road Warrior’ meets ‘Naked Warriors’ minus that pesky Mel Gibson and those bothersome high production values and you have yourself ‘She Wolves of the Wasteland’. Now if I had seen this movie on television or God forbid in a theater some twenty plus years ago I probably would’ve sought out the nearest light fixture and hung myself from it, but that was when I took stuff way too seriously and thought that life actually had some meaning. And while it is true that ‘She Wolves of the Wasteland’ could actually be worse today than it was in 1988, there were nuggets of joy to be unearthed in this wacky ass flick. True, you will be hard pressed to find a worse collection of actresses than the ones in this movie with the late Persis Khambatta chewing up scenery like its Bubblicious and Miss January 1990 Peggy Sanders taking the phrase ‘reading her lines’ to a whole new level. Note that Miss Sanders did NOT get naked in this movie. I’m going to assume that Hugh Heffner saw this movie and disgusted by this oversight made a then 29 year old woman, absolutely ancient for a playmate, Miss January to correct that heinous oversight. Despite the fact that most of the women in this movie wore next nothing there was a surprising lack of exploitativeness in this flick with the only nudity coming from some blessed young woman relaxing under what was apparently the worlds most pleasure inducing waterfall and a sista doing some faux Alvin Ailey gyrating dance. In fact there were two black women in this movie and both were doing a faux Alvin Ailey gyrating dance even though I don’t think any music was playing. They were also the only ones dancing. The naked one couldn’t stop dancing even while she was getting murdered up. It appears that director Robert Hayes knowledge of Black people in 1988 consisted of ‘they like to dance don’t they?’ Outstanding.

Despite the glaring flaws of this movie, what you will get is a lot of action. I mean a lot. It’s almost non-stop. Shootouts galore, explosions, cat fights, sword fights, car chases, gladiator battles… you name it, this movie has it. Sure it’s not all staged that great, but what do you want for a movie that cost roughly 80 bucks to make? Kathleen Kinmont with her long legs and lithe frame made for a heck of a heroine, and we loved the scene at the end that showed her riding off on a horse in the sunset. We don’t know where in the hell that horse came from or where she was going, but that would simply be another stupid question that’s not going to get answered anytime soon. We can easily see what Lorenzo Lamas saw in the girl when he made her his wife for a minute back in the early nineties. And if the TV guide chanting mutants don’t put a smile on your face then there is nothing we can do to revive your rotten soul.

Yes, in the grand scheme, ‘She Wolves of the Wasteland’ was pretty bad. So bad that Persis Khambatta pretty much packed her bags and headed back India and with characters called Ginsu, Snapper and Rat Tail it had no chance from the get go. But in 1988 it premiered at Cannes for the love of all that’s holy so somebody thought something of it back then, and twenty years later I’ve got to say its damn near must see TV.

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