“Disregard their good looks/They’re just a bunch of dirty crooks/With skirts showin’ plenty of knee/That’s the Mini-Skirt Mob/On another spree.”
Thus begins the 1968 exploitation oddity "The Mini-Skirt Mob," with a jaunty, awful theme song sung by Patty McCormack, former child star ("The Bad Seed") turned B-movie actress, who plays Edie, the kid sister to Shayne, the villain of the piece, played with bouffant-haired menace by Diane McBain ("Surfside Six"). McBain and McCormack had co-starred with Fabian in "Mini-Skirt Mob" director Maury Dexter's infamous "Maryjane" earlier that year, and neither film did their careers much good.
Written by James Gordon White ("The Glory Stompers," "The Thing with Two Heads"), it's a strange combination of biker movie and western revenge drama – McBain's character is reminiscent of Mercedes McCambridge in "Johnny Guitar," albeit a lot better-looking and a bleach blonde – with the plot consisting of Shayne's single-minded, psychotic vengeance against her former lover, rodeo champ Jeff Logan (Ross Hagen), who has had the gall to marry another woman (Sherry Jackson). Shayne enlists the aid of her sister's boyfriend, Lon (Jeremy Slate), his rodeo tramp sidekicks Spook (the great character actor Harry Dean Stanton) and L.G. (Ronnie Rondell), and redheaded bimbos Fran and Bea (Sandra Marshall and Barbro Hedström) in her quest to win back Jeff's love through extreme violence. Shayne is the leader of "The Mini-Skirts" motorcycle gang ("They're hog-straddling female animals on the prowl" according the tagline on the film's poster art), and soon proves that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as she pulls out all the stops to achieve her evil goal, from a wild catfight with the bride to tossing Molotov cocktails at the newlyweds' trailer.
McBain is pure malevolence as the unhinged biker chick, even if she looks more like a slumming débutante than a badass motorcycle mama. Speaking of which, the bikes in the film are closer to scooters than choppers, which significantly undercuts the intended menace and adds to the overall absurdity of the film. After starting out as a contract player with Warner Brothers, McBain went from movies to TV (she memorably guest-starred on "Batman" as "Pinky Pinkston") to grade Z schlock like "I Sailed to Tahiti with an All-Girl Crew." Her performance in "The Mini-Skirt Mob" is pretty freakin' awesome, as she gives her all despite the mediocrity of the material, elevating the movie in the process.
Despite playing on the second half of drive-in double bills when released, the film has gained cult status over the years, and served as the inspiration for the all-female garage band of the same name.
"The Mini-Skirt Mob," currently streaming on Netflix, is not art, but it is worth checking out for lovers of '60s flicks and bad movies in general.