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Rockin’ Rollers

June 11, 2014, 4:00 am


t’s a tale as old as time: A desperate young woman, fed up with the hum-drum day-to-day of life as a cat food cannery worker quits her job in a spectacular blaze of glory and runs off to join the roller derby.

Once there, she scoffs at the sponsors-first notion of pre-scripted derby scraps and scrapes and sets about her rise to superstardom through any brutal means necessary.

That’s right, ’70s camp fans; we speak of The Unholy Rollers! The 1973 film seems to hinge the bulk of its allure on Playboy’s Playmate of the Year for 1970, Claudia Jennings, in the starring role of Karen. She’s poor, she’s tired, she’s kind of a jerk. But since Karen is totally a babe, we still want to feel for her, despite her inability to follow directions and her sick willingness to attack her own team members.

We are given minimal back story and led to believe that Karen simply likes being the bad guy. To be fair, however, who among us hasn’t harbored fantasies of just being a badass? Just look at modern-day roller derby as a sort of guide to the visceral nature of the sport. And if the promise of nudity on the semi-big screen wasn’t enough for you sports fans, The Unholy Rollers is additionally notable as Martin Scorsese’s first job as film editor, as well as Vernon Zimmerman—the writer who would go on to bring us such fine films as Teen Witch—providing the screenplay to the oh-so-ridiculous tale of life in the only kind of fast lane of 1970s derbyin’!

The Unholy Rollers
11 pm Friday June 13 and Sat. June 14.
$7 Jean Cocteau Cinema
418 Montezuma Ave.,


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