On the Search for The Man Eaters – She Devils on Wheels with some Newspaper Ad History – Part One

CHI7-5-68HGLEWOS-SHEDEVILS

7-5-68. Chicago

One of the best parts of HG Lewis’ film career is finding a trend then adding his own spin to it quick enough before things get crowded, and She Devils on Wheels is one of the finest examples of this. After The Wild Angels created room for the Biker Movie, most of the films were led by Actors with women mainly being accessories or the small Dramatic story diversions to the action. Lewis had to do something different and won with his low budget ways – 1) Put the Women in front of the action (Besides, they look more cool!), 2) Make sure they can actually ride (Hey, Marianne Faithfull in Girl on a Motorcycle was on a Flatbed Truck with her machine…looks good, but not for real!), 3) Get the music written by yourself or one of your own gang (No payments to some in-demand music writers or Studio Musicians!). With some help from Co-Producer Fred M. Sandy with this idea and Writer Louise Downe to fill in the story with some twists and turns, She Devils on Wheels turned out to be one hell of a happening.

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The film follows the adventures of the Man Eaters, a rough tough Female Biker Gang, through the small town of Medley, FLA in an area that looks like the industrial part including a small air field (disused, I think). They encounter an inner-gang problem with Karen (Christine Wagner) always choosing Bill at the After-Race Orgy/Party which results in a grisly finish for him and fight the rival guy gang, led by Joe-Boy, who abduct the just-inducted Honey Pot (Nobel). At the end, Joe Boy gets what’s coming to him and the viewer is treated with Biker Poetry at the end.

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9-13-68, Toledo including the JD-flick friendly Indoor Palace (soon to close)

The Cut-throats Division of the local Iron Cross Motorcycle gang was used for most of the leading cast, with Betty Connel very good in her performance as the Tura Satana-like Queen, the leader of the pack. Nancy Lee Nobel from The Girl, the Body, and the Pill was the young member of the bunch, on the road to Lewis’ JD epic, Just for the Hell of It. Several of the guys that populate this world were possibly locals from a Drama Club, but two, Robert Wood and Robert Morrisson  are connected to How to Make a Doll. Very familiar faces include Roy Collodi has a bit as a Bartender and Steve White (also in Just for the Hell of It) as Doodle.
After a 5-7-68 reported opening things started to roll in a good way, with some areas with a connection to the local AIP branch pairing it off with one of their Biker films – sometimes with Born Losers, the first Billy Jack film (I’m sure some would say the only classic Billy Jack film…but that’s in the opinion of the viewer). As you can tell, it even paired it off with a Horror film, in Chicago’s case, The Conqueror Worm.

SALISBURY-MD-5-30-68

Salisbury, MD 5-30-68, with the Delmar using the ad for The Hellcats as the visual (and, yes, I decided to leave in the showing of Poor White Trash and Common Law Wife for the Something Weird video fans).

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CHI9-17-68HGLewis

9-16-68, at The Blood Shed, renamed Le Cinema Bizarre. This was Lewis’ short lived cinema in the Old Town district before the Riots led to the theater down.

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9-20-68, Lumberton, NC at a spot where Lewis’ films would play on a regular basis.

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ALAMOGORDO-NM-10-4-68

10-4-68, Alamogordo, NM – The Yucca Drive In was the screen where Exploitation would rule.

SEDALIA-MO-11-6-68

Sedalia, MO, 11-6-68 – A Double Feature On Wheels!

GARDEN-CITY-KS-10-25-68

10-25-68, Garden City, KS – The “On Wheels” Double Bill is kind of odd with that smiling flower logo, but there you are!

ABILENE-TX-11-16-68

11-16-68. Abilene, TX

ABILENE-TX-11-13-68

11-13-68, Abliene, TX, the full ad.

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EL-PASO-12-4-68-HGL

12-4-68, El Paso, TX

By the end of the end of the decade, the Gruesome Twosome/Something Weird show will be playing more, but She Devils on Wheels seriously made it’s mark in Exploitation film history and has proved to be one of Lewis’ best flicks in his history. Still, if you think that this is “The End” of this story, then you don’t know Screen 13 – more later!

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~ by screen13 on September 29, 2015.

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