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Vice Squad (1982)


Vice Squad VHS

Gary Sherman’s scuzzy cop thriller has one major special effect in its arsenal - Wings Fkn Hauser in probably his greatest role as unstoppable cowboy pimp Ramrod. Hauser eats up the screen, shits it out and then eats it again for good measure.


The setup is simple - the titular vice squad force prostitute Princess to entrap Ramrod after he leaves one of his girls hospitalised. It all goes turd shaped and Ramrod is both chasing Princess and being chased, leading to a series of tense and violent standoffs.


It’s been said before but Ramrod is a Terminator, a seemingly unstoppable force of nature who tears through the streets of LA, killing anyone who gets in his way, stealing cars & beating the shit out of everyone, including Princess in number of shocking scenes. There’s stories about Hauser auditioning for the role where he grabbed one of the studio heads by the throat & scared the shit out of him & you can see why they cast the former soap star. His first scene where he charms his way into the hotel room of Ginger, a woman hiding out from him is a perfect summation of the character. Hauser is all Southern charm one minute & psychotic hellfire the next & it’s chilling to watch.


If Hauser is the electricity then Season Hubley as Princess is the heart of the film, a mother who turns tricks by night to make ends meet. The Vice Squad, led by Tom Walsh (Gary Swanson) forces her to help them catch Ramrod & then struggle feebly to keep her safe in the face of his rampage.


This film is a white hot blast of sleaze & violence but never feels exploitative somehow. The tension never lets up & when Ramrod finally goes down, there is a palpable sense of relief that this maniac has been stopped. Also Hauser howls the song Neon Slime over the credits, proving he could’ve had a second career in a bluesy punk band if he wanted to.


4.5 Hausers out of 5.

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