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A Smack Down on Dope Street

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Posted 23rd June 2010 at 08:22 PM by Sam@Cult Labs
Updated 13th July 2010 at 12:24 AM by Sam@Cult Labs


Year: 1972

AKA: Lucky Girls Die First / Dead Inside / Shoot Up at the Shooting Gallery

Tagline: "They raped her Sister. They killed her Parents. They Left Her to Die"

1972's A Smack Down on Dope Street represented a new low in the seamy world of the Grindhouse quickie as Hal Manciano stepped surefootedly over the line of acceptable taste, never to return.

Linda B. Hennessy (Sins of the Hoof / Born Wrong / The Erotic Adventures of Dr. Watson) is Lydia Plain, an uptown New York rich kid whose life is torn asunder when a gang of jonesing low-life junkies invade the Upper East Side apartment where she lives with her family.

The twisted, strung-out thieves bring bloody chaos into Lydia's life, as they gun down her father, sending him tumbling eight stories off the balcony, leaving his mangled corpse to bleed out on the midday sidewalk.

Her mother's gets her throat cut, spraying a crimson torrent of blood across the living room carpet, while two of the wild eyed thugs take turns on her younger sister, who dies of shock without either of them realizing.

Finally, they turn on Lydia, who can't fight all of them off as they beat and kick her to the floor, leaving her with a fractured skull. As a memento, the leader, Skull (Brick Edam - Forward to Yesterday / The President is a Hippy! / Chocolate Switchblade), takes her hand.


Six months later... Lydia awakes in crisp clean hospital sheets. She sees the blurred forms of her family. Darkness envelopes her once more.


Twelve months later... A training montage mixed with other scenes.

Lydia withdraws a large amount from her trustfund. Lydia learns the ancient Shaolin arts. Lydia practices evasive action in a series of muscle cars. Lydia sews up a wound on her arm in the depths of the wilderness. Lydia buys a large shipment of finest A-Grade China White Heroin from a dubious contact. Lydia sharp shooting at beer bottles. Lydia has an fourteen inch telescopic hypodermic needle grafted to the bloody stump where her hand used to be.

What follows is a masterclass in scuzzy Rape-Revenge action. With all emotion drained from her psyche by the harrowing toments that Skull, his gang and by association, all the denizens of the Bowery, have inflicted on her and her family, she sets about seeking hot vengeance on those who wronged her.

Striding down the street in a skin tight leather jumpsuit with two revolvers on her right hip, a lethally sharp knife in her boot and enough smack to wipe out every filthy junkie, mugger, rapist, pederast, smut peddler and sex killer in the city, Lydia is no longer a women... SHE IS DEMON!

The furious pace of the final twenty minutes more than compensates for the entertaining but somewhat rambling middle section, which, along with all the choice training scenes also wastes a good, unrelated ten minutes in a rough and ready nitespot.

This odd curveball is an excuse to get in some live footage of 'Melvine Pendleton & Boogie Chocolate', a strangely camp and rather oily jazz-funk group that had recently signed to Hi-Tone Records, a company he owed a favour to after welching on royalty payments for earlier soundtrack work. Nostalgia fans may remember their 1978 Disco Smash "Tropical Facial".

Meandering middle acts aside, when Lydia finally confronts Skull after slaying his entire gang and most of the neighbourhood in a series of horrific set pieces, the pay off is well worth the wait as she sits astride the bloodied and broken criminal and shoots a lethal dose of Heaven straight into his eyeball, sending him directly to Hell.

Fans of nasty urban thrillers of the era will be in their oils as they sit down and let A Smack Down on Dope Street ooze over them. Watch out for the pale UK edit under the title 'Taste the Needle', which removes a great deal of the violence, replacing the footage with another couple of numbers by Boogie Chocolate. Avoid at all costs.

Back in New York, a town with which the director seemed to have a hate-hate relationship, Manciano professed to loathing every second of the shoot despite the vast profit he made on the back of the film. The movie was an international success with the Lydia character proving so popular in Japan that a range of action figures, clothing, baby equipment and contraceptives were launched among other products along with a very successful animated series "Go Go Junkie Killer Lady".

Early shot of Linda

from the Dachshund Detective TV show

Linda B. Hennessy Selected Filmography

1968-70 Dachshund Detective (TV Show)

1970 The Forbidden Cravings of a Catholic Wife

1970 Four Dead in Delaware

1971 Tintin Unbound

1972 A Smack Down on Dope Street

1972 She Wore My Skin...

1973 Yellow Brick Road to Hell!

1973 The Erotic Adventures of Dr. Watson

1974 Tight Buns

1974 Tight Buns 2: Tighter

1975 The Machine Guns of Shoalin

1975 Tight Buns 3: Tighter Still

1976 Lady Taxi Driver

1976 Rasputin in New York

1977 Sins of the Hoof

1978 Blade of the Rigorous

1980 Born Wrong

1981 Born Wrong 2: Revenge of the Twin

1981 Born Wrong 3: Triplets of Satan

1982 Slasher Academy

1984 Born Wrong 4: Death Quads

1985 The Deafener

1986 Born Wrong 5: Quins of Evil*

* Linda quit acting in 1987 to devote more time to her cats and blocking out the memories of her career.

Soundtrack Selections

A Smack Down on Dope Street Main Theme - Boogie Chocolate

Spiral to Vengeance - Boogie Chocolate

Chasing the Dragon - Boogie Chocolate

Tripped Out on Dope Street - OKB Music Library San Diego

Opium Den Nightmare - OKB Music Library San Diego

Melvine Pendleton & Boogie Chocolate Discography

1970 Criminally Funky

1972 A Smack Down on Dope Street OST

1974 Funky Black Egypt

1975 Nubian Cosmos

1977 Dance Floor Numerology

1978 Tropical Facial 12'' Larry's Uptown Bathhouse Mix


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  1. Old Comment
    pedromonkey's Avatar
    spot on, it's death wish meets, Thriller a Cruel Picture with shade of Kill bill thrown in. Awesome.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 23rd June 2010 at 08:32 PM by pedromonkey pedromonkey is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Sam@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Cheers mate! I like the cute dog best.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 23rd June 2010 at 08:36 PM by Sam@Cult Labs Sam@Cult Labs is offline
    Updated 24th June 2010 at 08:58 AM by Sam@Cult Labs
  3. Old Comment

    Love it

    Good Work!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 5th July 2010 at 08:42 AM by Kenny Lee Lewis
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