The Dirt Gang/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
In 1966 American International Pictures kicked off their highly profitable series of biker gang movies with Roger Corman’s The Wild Angels. In 1972 they released ‘The Dirt Gang’ which proved to be the company’s final chopper opera.
After a bungled attempt at robbing a gas station, which leaves one of their party shot and a cop car set ablaze, a typically unwashed gang of ‘dirt bike gypsies’ led by a silver eye-patch wearing psycho named Monk decide to hightail it cross country towards Mexico. Mad man Monk lost his eye in a bike crash and is obsessed with finding the guy he holds responsible. Cue the jaunty ‘We’re The Dirt Bike Gang’ theme song.
Mexico is gonna have to wait though as the gang stumble across the set of a Western being shot in the desert. Filming grinds to a halt when the hogs tear into town so the director agrees to allow the gang a free lunch in the catering tent on the understanding that they take off once they’ve had their fill. The hog jockeys proceed to do exactly what biker gangs always do in every biker gang movie: pour booze over themselves.
A stunt man named Zeno, who’s dressed as a native American Indian, warns script girl Mary that there’s gonna be trouble. And trouble is what they get when Monk recognises Zeno as the dude who caused his eye-popping injury. It seems that some years back, when Zeno too was riding with a gang, the 2 of them had faced off in a bike dual. This savage ceremony involves opponents driving at each other at full speed while swinging chains like a motorcycle version of a medieval joust. Monk has been itching for a rematch ever since and now, with the entire film crew effectively held hostage, he will stop at nothing to provoke the peace-loving Zeno into another dual where the winner will be the only one left alive.
Biker movies are often compared to Westerns, with motorcycles taking the place of horses, so basing ‘The Dirt Gang’ on the set of a Western in progress, and climaxing with a knights-on-horseback style showdown, makes for an interesting collision of genre iconography.
Michael Pataki takes the award for grimiest goon in the gang playing Monk’s henchman Snake. Pataki has had a long and varied exploitation movie career which includes appearances in such warmly cherished grindhouse fare as The Bat People, Delinquent Schoolgirls & Zoltan, Hound Of Dracula (aka Dracula’s Dog).
Blink and you’ll miss an appearance by grindhouse uber-frau Uschi Digard (Supervixens) as one of the motorcycle mommas. Disappointingly Uschi’s famous double features are not given much screen time in the film’s drunken naked orgy scene. We have to be content with Pataki wobbling about in nothing but a neckerchief and a pair of soiled white Y-fronts like a B-movie Bad Lieutenant.
Although by no means the sleaziest or most exciting biker flick ever ‘The Dirt Gang’ still packs in enough of the expected ingredients; biking, boozing, broads n’ brawling to make it a fun addition to the genre.
Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.