Distributed by the Tiffany's of cheapjack sleaze, Troma Inc., SAVAGE INSTINCT wears its shoddiness on its sleeve, with results so absurd it borders on camp.
Young, attractive and recently widowed Susan Morris (Debra Sweaney) decides upon a day trip into the countryside in order to check out homes suitable to a widow's pension. While house-hunting, Susan witnesses an unsavory drug transaction, conducted by a nasty gang of reprobates, headed by Mongo
(Olympic medalist Brian Oldfield), who immediately tags her as an uncooperative witness. Mongo and the gang pursue her, capture her and attempt to torture her, but Susan, like Harry Houdini, is always good for a last minute escape. After one particularly harrowing confrontation, Susan zips to a
backyard toolshed and after minimal gnashing of teeth suddenly becomes a martial arts expert and begins to practice her newfound craft upon recalcitrant gang members.
Writer-director Patrick G. Donahue grandly holds up the distinguished auteurist tradition of Edward D. Woods, Jr. and Hugo Haas. Donahue creates a senseless idiot world in SAVAGE INSTINCT--a world in which cause and effect do not matter. Oblivious to character development and narrative meaning,
Donahue blithely leaves unexplained how a trip to the woodpile can transform a former merry widow into, not only a martial arts expert, but, also, a killing machine. Donahue also errs in portraying Mongo's gang as vile and reprehensible cutthroats in order to maneuver Susan into dangerous and
exploitative positions, only to become suddenly an inept bunch of lunkheads so that she can find a way out of their clutches at the last possible second.
Donahue's world in SAVAGE INSTINCT is a world of cartoon terror. Men are depicted as slobbering beasts with only one thing on their minds--a hat. Women inhabit this world on the assumption that they will almost surely be attacked, raped or killed. When Susan is picked up by a group of guys out for
a joy ride, it is an even bet that before the car makes a stop at the next red light, she'll be fighting off their slobbering and leering mugs. And even though this world of sexual horror may not be too far from the truth, Donahue uses his exaggeration of reality for the purposes of quick
exploitation, so that when Susan discovers her thunderball fists, the solution is so far-fetched that it becomes no solution at all. But in Donahue's ridiculously dangerous world, it is little wonder that Susan subliminally knows the secrets of martial arts. Women have to have this knowledge
encoded in their DNA in order to survive.
Unfortunately, Donahue lacks the joie de vivre that would permit SAVAGE INSTINCT to cross the fine line between campiness and dreadfulness--bargain basement production values and subterranean acting do not a camp movie make. Donahue's unmitigated incompetence lends the film a funereal air that
cannot be overcome. Instead, SAVAGE INSTINCT hold's the viewer's attention solely by its sheer, gape-jawed amateurishness. It was originally produced in 1989 and has more aliases--"Edge of Fear", "They Call Me Macho Woman"--than a thug on the run. (Excessive violence, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: NR
- Review: Distributed by the Tiffany's of cheapjack sleaze, Troma Inc., SAVAGE INSTINCT wears its shoddiness on its sleeve, with results so absurd it borders on camp. Young, attractive and recently widowed Susan Morris (Debra Sweaney) decides upon a day trip into t… (more)