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Big Bad Mama

USA 1974
produced by
Roger Corman for New World
directed by Steve Carver
starring Angie Dickinson, William Shatner, Tom Skerritt, Susan Sennett, Robbie Lee, Noble Willingham, Dick Miller, Tom Signorelli, Joan Prather, Royal Dano, William O'Connell, John Wheeler, Ralph James, Sally Kirkland, Wally K.Berns, Shannon Christie, Charles Pinney, Rob Berger, Jay Brooks, Paul Linke, Georgia Lee, Mickey Fox, William F.Engle
written by William W.Norton, Frances Doel, music by David Grisman, second unit director: Paul Bartel

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Somewhere in rural South Texas, circa 1920's, Angie Dickinson prevents the wedding of her daughter Robbie Lee literally at the last moment, fleeing with her, her other daughter Susan Sennett and their alcohol-smuggling uncle from a crazed backwoods-mob.  The uncle is shot though, leaving Dickinson & the girls in charge of alcohol-smuggling, which they do quite successfully until they have a run-in with the law - they buy their way out of it of course, but lose all their money in the process. 

Dickinson then decides on an easier way to get to riches - robbery. The concept of mother & daughters works out, & soon they take up robber Tom Skerritt as their helping hand - both in their hold-ups & in Mama's bed -, & later also con-man William Shatner - only for Mama's bed, he doesn't prove all that skillful in robbing -, relegating Skerritt to do some work on the daughters (Angie Dickinson, Robbie Lee & Susan Sennett all do nude scenes, in case you wondered).

Of course 2 men in a mixed group spell trouble, & that Skerritt impregnates Robbie Lee is just the tip of the iceberg, with inner group-tensions growing by the minute. The hold-up business of the gang runs successfully, though, with them soon mingling with high society to get to the real money, & they even start branching out into kidnapping - not a good idea, since Shatner soon loses his nerves, flees the gang & squeals to the cops (led by all-time favourite Dick Miller). In the final shoot-out everyone but the 2 girls die.


One of these rural gangster movies that, after the success of Bonnie & Clyde, were hugely popular in the late 60's/early 70's, this one actually based on the success of producer Corman's self-directed Bloody Mama. Big Bad Mama doesn't live up to the standards of that movie though, missing much of its grittiness & roughness, in many a scene director Steve Carver seems indecisive in which direction to take his movie, throwing in comic scenes rather at random (often at the least fitting moment), or building up strong psychodrama only to take the film in a whole different (even contradictory) direction only one scene later, thus leaving many loose ends untied in the end. 

William Shatner, who in his post-Star Trek-era only rarely gave inspired performances, is great in this one though as the slimey but cowardly con-man, which is more than a little reminiscent of his great performance in Intruder.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD