15th Mar2014

‘The Doll Squad’ DVD Review (88 Films)

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Francine York, Sherri Vernon, Tura Satana, Leigh Christian, Michael Ansara, Anthony Eisley, John Carter | Written by Ted V. Mikels, Jack Richesin, Pam Eddy | Directed by Ted V. Mikels

the-doll-squad

A rousing cocktail of bombs and bikinis, topped with a slick 70s score, The Doll Squad (ask Seduce and Destroy) was produced, directed, written and edited by low-budget exploitation mogul Ted V. Mikels, the man responsible for The Corpse Grinders (1971) and Blood Orgy of the She-Devils (1974).

Pre-dating the likes of Charlies Angels (which was clearly influenced by Mikels’ feature), the film sees a group of female special agents brought together by the CIA for a special mission after a space shuttle launch is sabotaged by the megalomaniacal Eamon O’Reilly. The titular Doll Squad are tasked with bringing down O’Reilly and his private army which has warned that if its demands are not met it will strike again. Closing in on the group the agents must act fast before a face from the past enacts his diabolical plans which could the world to its knees.

Never one to miss a trick, Ted V. Mikels taps into the 60s spy craze and the likes of The Avengers, James Bond, Our Man Flint et al., for his own “feminist” spin on the genre with The Doll Squad – only Mikels does it with a quarter of the budget and with a cast of women that would give The Avengers’ Emma Peel a run for her money – including lead agent Sabrina (Francine York), librarian (Sherri Vernon), stripper (Tura Satana) and swimmer (Leigh Christian).

What surprises about The Doll Squad is just how far removed it is from Mikels other, more infamous, work such as The Corpse Grinders and Blood Orgy of the She-Devils both of which (filmically) book-ended this, shall we say, more salubrious, flick. Whereas those films were firmly entrenched in the grindhouse scene, replete with boobs and buckets of blood, The Doll Squad is all martial arts and gunfights. Yet despite it’s lack of budget, TV movie feel and overly-long running time, the film is also Mikel’s most polished – sitting somewhere alongside the 60s/70s oeuvre of Roger Corman and Russ Meyer.

A tame exploitation flick that screams kitsch rather than cult, The Doll Squad is released on DVD on March 17th, courtesy of 88 Films.

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