Tuesday, 10 January 2012

I watch movies so you don't have to #8 - Getting Even aka Deadbeat aka Tomcats (1977) - contains spoilers

OK...here we go...another revenge movie. This one has had so many different titles I have no idea what the original was or which one is the "official". The title screen on the copy I watched was Getting Even, but imdb lists it as Deadbeat. However, the only poster art I could find was with the title Tomcats.

Let's start with this title. The dictionary definition of Tomcat is "To be sexually active with more than one partner. Used of men.". That would suggest a film involving handsome men and loads of willing ladies. But, with this actually being a rape-revenge movie, it's just highly inappropriate. And not just that...there's also some hideously misleading poster art.


But, but...anyway...I have no idea how long-lived that title was and as I said, the version I watched was called Getting Even. Sure, that's a really rubbish title, but at least it is relevant to the story of the film.


Getting Even aka Deadbeat aka Tomcats aka Avenged (1977)
Directed by: Harry Kerwin
Starring: Chris Mulkey, Polly King

That's right...Chris Mulkey...you might remember him as Hank from Twin Peaks...or from Mysterious Skin. He's a pretty cool guy.

Let's see what it's all about, shall we...

We start off in a diner, where pretty blonde Wendy is just finishing up the night shift with her friendly boss Harry.

Harry has a big date on and is eager to get out of the place. Wendy, being nice, tells him to leave and she'll finish up on her own.

Harry's a bit hesitant. You don't really leave a young lady on her own in a slightly dodgy-looking diner at night, right? But, she insists, is very persuasive and eventually he gives in.

We know something they don't, however. Throughout the opening scene we've been treated to some seriously spooky music, suggesting that this is not a good night to be alone in that diner. A POV shot slowly tracking towards the diner, combined with some heavy breathing voiceover isn't helping much either. Someone is coming...and he doesn't sound too friendly!

Harry leaves and just as Wendy is about to lock the front door, the phone rings. She leaves the keys on the counter and goes to answer.

It's her dad...she promises to be home shortly.

She hangs up...

...turns around...



Not just one baddie...a whole gang of them...and they're armed!

They take the till money, then turn to Wendy, tear her clothes off and rape her.

But...what they don't notice is that someone is watching through the window!

It's obvious that there's some tension within the group. They're arguing a lot...and they're fighting with each otehr a lot...but not about whether they're going too far or not...oh no...these guys are all assholes...each as bad as the other.

Not sure of his name, but old beardy is obviously the leader. He waits for the others to finish with Wendy, then takes the shotgun and...

There's a bit of a hint that the others might not approve of this...but it's not really developed any further.

"It's like old Buffalo Bill gets another knock on his gun"
"You tell that to him you'll be one too"

They take off, still unaware that the fat guy has been watching through the window. He even gets a view of their license plate.

So, our baddies have been introduced...we need a good guy. Enter Cullen Garrett, a young man living with his girlfriend, Tracy. They're in the middle of a "private moment" when the phone rings.

"It's Wendy, Tracy. She's dead"

Oh no! Turns out Tracy was Cullen's sister.

We also find out that the fat man watching through the window was Old Red, the town drunk. The police pick him up as he's been saying some highly suspicious things abouth murders and rapes.

Cullen and Tracy attends the funeral. The baddies? Well, they're just relaxing...playing cards...treating a girlfriend like shit...general bad guy stuff.

At the station, the police manage to bribe Old Red with some booze and he tells them what he can remember. It's not much, but at least they know they're dealing with a group of males, driving a truck with out-of-town number plates.

Understandably, Colin is finding it difficult to concentrate. He's an aspiring prosecutor and should really be getting into his course work, but with the murder of his sister and all that...he just can't focus.

I'm not quite sure how Ben and Tom are related to Cullen (and Wendy). Uncle and Grandad maybe? Anyway, Ben is a s retired policeman and Tom is one of the detective's in charge of the investigation.

Later on, the gang heads out on another "mission"...and it's another diner...with another lone waitress.

This time they kidnap the waitress, throw her in their truck, where they rape her and eventually shoot her. It's really not pretty.

It's all getting a bit too miserable, but there's some light on the horizon. Thanks to old drunken Red, the truck is spotted and the gangis pulled over...

...not only that...they are also completely wasted, giving the cops all sorts of abuse as they get patted own.

"What are you, some kind of faggot?"

This is not really the recommended kind of language or behaviour when you're being busted by the cops.

And they find the shotgun! Hooray!

It's off to court for the shitheads!

Justice at last, right?


Unfortunately, despite all the evidence against them, the court decides that it was all gathered unlawfully. The judge has no choice but to let these scumbags go.

Cullen can't believe it. Horrible beardy man even confesses as he's leaving the court room.

"Hey, your sister wasn't half bad"

Cullen gets pretty pissed off...and fed up with the justice system he's been working hard to serve.

He goes to the shooting range.

And then he starts on his mission. It's a pretty good lesson in how to freak out or scare the shit out of people.

He waits outside a toilet.

His first "victim" arrives and takes up position by the urinal...Cullen moves in and stands next to him...

...then he urinates on him!

They guy gets suprised...then annoyed...and Cullen punches him in the face!

Go, Cullen, go!

"Remember this, cause I'm gonna get you. And you'll never know what's gonna happen, so look behind you every night."

Oooh...he doesn't even kill him. That would be too easy.

But, these guys don't actually seem that worried. Maybe they don't realise how serious he is.

"He's gonna get us, huh? Not if we get him first!"

Uh oh!

Back at Cullen and Tracy's house, Cullen is heading out...and he's armed.

"Where are you going with that gun?"
"It's broken. I'm gonna have it fixed."

Seriously, Cullen...that is a terrible lie...and Tracy certainly doesn't buy it.

"If you love me, you won't go"
"I do love you and that's exactly why I have to go"

"Where are you going?"

Oh yeah! Cullen's on his way! And Johnny (the guy from the toilet) is first on the list. He's also getting pretty damn nervous at home. He tries to get some help from his "friends", but they just laugh it off.

Cullen gives him a call...

"You've got about five minutes to live. How does it feel?"

Johnny freaks out and decides to leave. The nice guy he is he tries to use his girlfriend as a shield. He makes his way to his car...


There's Cullen!

And Johnny is no more...

The rest of the gang still don't seem to worried. They're too busy playing pool and bullying each other.

"Hey Billy, you live alone now. You're probably next"

Now Billy's getting a bit a jumpy, so he decides to go home. And sure enough, Cullen's watching for him. He gets him!

Cullen decides that the knife would be too fast, so he drags Billy into the kitchen and tries to push his hand down the waste disposal grinder thing. Unfortunately (actually...that's a horrible thing to say, but anyway) the rest of the gang have caught up and burst through the door. Cullen runs off, but it's really not Billy's day...

In the ensuing confusion he is shot by his own "friends".

Word of the shooting reaches the police. Ben gives Tracy a call to see if Cullen's around.

"He's not here. He's not been here for two days!"

Ben and Tom visit the crime scene and Ben finds Cullen's knife on the couch. He pockets it before anyone else spots it.

Later in the car, he tells Tom about his discovery.

What to do...

"First we find him before somebody else do."
"Then what do we do?"
"Something we can live with."

Next day...our remaining two baddies are getting pretty nervous. They're hiding out in a motel with two prostitutes.

"Give me some wine"
"What do you gotta be drunk for?"
"Look in the mirror, huh"

Oh yeah...things are getting tense...

Finally, one of them makes a move for it. Cullen's waiting outside!



And there's just one baddie left!

There's a big chase along the beach. Ben, Tom and the rest of the police force are on their way as well.

Finally...Cullen gets the last guy.

"You killed me, asshole"

Haha....I love that line.

Mission accomplished! Cullen tries to give himself in...but Ben and Tom are having none of it.

Instead...they all hug! Awww.

OK...so Deadbeat might not be one of the better rape-revenge films I've seen, but it kept my attention for 90-odd minutes. Sure, it looks pretty cheap and feels a bit sloppy at times, but for a low-budget flick with no real plot to write home about it's pretty well put together. It's a bit confusing and doesn't make a whole lot of sense at times, but that's all part of the charm of these films, right?

The obligatory nudity, over-the-top violence and gore is there, but director Harry Kerwin doesn't overdo it and he manages to differentiate between good and bad violence...even if it's often as simplistic as rape=bad, revenge=good. Still, there's not a chance in hell that anyone would feel any sympathy for the baddies here.

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