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It takes many elements to make a great film in most instances. Genre pictures sometimes are given high marks because of a standout "moment" in what might be an abysmal other 80 minutes. Well, TRUCK STOP WOMEN may be never referred to as a great film but almost 30 years after its release it damn sure has many of the elements it takes to get there.

Mark Lester co-wrote and directed TRUCK STOP WOMEN at the ripe old age of 27 just a year after chronicling nutcase daredevil Dusty Russell in the strange time capsule, STEEL ARENA, which isn't a documentary but a "drama" starring Dusty and his crew, which included the real Buddy Love! Quite a career that Mr. Lester was seeding and Truck Stop Women may not be Lester's finest hour, but as a testament to a young director with some tricks up his sleeve, you will do TRUCK STOP WOMEN, you will do.

In early 70's America was in somewhat of a transition, Gerald Ford took over the White House after Tricky Dick had to go. He watched his popularity plummet overnight when he pardoned Nixon. The country was trying to wash Vietnam out of its hairy ass whilst conditional draft-dodging pardons were being offered. Stagflation should have been the catchword due to the oil embargo and da USA was heading into a big recession. On the rise were Women's Rights, hell, even a couple chicks tried to pop a cap in Gerry. Roe v. Wade was being debated, the economy stunk and politics and such were on the typical Joe's mind more than usual.

During 1973, at the height of the so-called Arab Oil Embargo, the masses were buying, installing and using something called Citizen Band Radios by the millions. These radios were at first used by truck drivers to help each other out by directing their fellow commades to which gas stations were open and who had the cheapest gas going. The government had gone as far as telling station owners to close at dark to help the public curb its appetite for petrol. CB's were a way for truckers to share information and with that information sharing came a fair amount of bitching about the state of affairs in this great land. It wasn't long before the general public caught on to this and for about $50 Americans were joining into this form of communication and the catharsis of pushing the microphone button and yakking with a total stranger with a handle like Greasy Granny or Polish Pickle became a daily activity, and with this daily activity the media did stories, before long everyone was at once enamored with CB culture and the longing romanticism of the Long Haul Trucker…Hollywood, exploitation filmmakers and artists in general, always with the finger somewhere near the pulse of the public's consciousness began the feeding frenzy to cash in on what was quickly becoming a fad.

So from this mindset, TRUCK STOP WOMEN was born. Part sexploitation flick, part tribute to trucking, part anti-organized crime flick and all feminist fuck-you to the big boys traditionally thought to run the trucing biz TSW is slightly ground-breaking. A fairly simple plot which involves a female truck stop owner, Anna, played to the hilt and believable to a creepy extreme by Lieux Dressler, best remembered for a few minutes in the Shatner classic KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS, as she is trying to keep her business of ripping off truckers of their cargo and of their trucks from being taking over by the mob after her boss and mentor is gunned down in a giant bathtub while getting his feet rubbed before the opening credits. Anna's daughter Rose, brought to life in all her glory by former Playboy Playmate of the Year and perennial b-movie thump-rag fave, Claudia Jennings is in on the take as a hitchhiking bait substance that lures truckers to the side of the road and her partners clock them upside the head and make getaway with their rigs. The trucks are repainted and sent on down the road usually hauling stolen TVs or something that Anna's boys have stolen out of trailers while Anna's whores service them in the rooms behind the truck stop. How realistic is this scenario, only real truckers know for sure, but there is no doubt some truth to the wanton sluts that hang around truckstops offering up hand jobs, blow jobs and the like for the ephedrine fueled long hauler.

All is well and good till the smooth talking mobster woes Rose over to the dark side and a mysterious old pal of Anna's shows up wanting to screw the mob and get in on the take. Paul Carr, classic character actor par excellence, delivers a strange performance as Seago, a hacking, coughing man with a secret or two. He shows up at Anna's stays in a room alone, refuses any truck stop women loving, professes his love for Anna, coughs up a lung, tells her about a big score of trucker loot and wins her over or back or something.

All the standard devices of cheap exploitation flickage are explored but the film by no means looks cheap. We do get over dubs, screeching tires on gravel, and jump cuts but on the flip side we get good performances, tons of nudity, great truck stunts, crane shots and tons of nudi…never mind I said that already, but I haven't mentioned Uschi Digard, yep she's there, nekkid, handcuffed and well, stacked, as usual. One of the more interesting notes about the film's budget, Texas Senator, presidential hopeful and all-around dipshit, Phil Gramm got into a little predictiment in his 1996 campaign when someone outed him for helping line up financing for Truck Stop Women. For some reason I like him a little more than I thought I did…can you imagine not getting elected because of helping to finance a trucker movie? Neither could Gramm, I'm sure.

Another thing that makes TSW an omelete among scrambled eggs is the tuneage. Big Mack and the Truckstoppers is the name of the band credited with the work on the Red Sovine-like country power ballads featured throughout. But upon further inspection many of the tunes were penned by no other than the REAL Monkees themselves, Bobby Hart and Tommy Boyce, the talent behind a string of hits in the 60s and the fellas picked to write and perform the songs for the Monkees, of course after the shows demise they paired up with Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones and hit the road trying to recreate the magic. The pair were responsible for Last Train to Clarksville, arguably one of the greatest pop songs from that era. Tommy Boyce eventually killed himself after a long battle with depression. Depression won, for those keeping score. Hart suffered a fair amount of tragedy himself. His lovely girlfriend was killed at an early age, she was 29. She was a former Hefner gal, she made it as far as Playmate of the Year, she was Claudia Jennings. That's right the one and the same, they were a pair, probably starting on TSW.

TSW really heats up for the final act when all the plot twists kick in, the murders start mounting up and the double-crossing takes over. Also the song "Big Bull-Shippers" rolls along on the soundtrack. This song and a montage sequence smack dab in the middle of the film really help sell some of the reality of trucking. "I'm a Truck" bellows Big Mack as footage and stills of real trucks, real truckers, real truck chicks, real trucker chick tits and real truck stops are edited together travelogue style as an homage to the numb-assed, white socked, Vitalis wearing, modern gladiator known as truck driver. It works, don't knock it.

The finale involves chase sequences, a cattle trouncing, and tommy gun wielding chicks in an all out battle royale of diesel fuel, cow-shit and go-go boots. Do the mooks fall, you ask? Well, you just have to wait and see for yourself. TSW is available from Video Screams and a few other places. Do yourself a favor, if you thought all trucker movies involved a hound dog, a chimpanzee and Jerry Reed you are in for a surprise. As I stated, TSW may not be a great film, but it sure tries to get there and if I had to pick a better true trucker movie, it would be harder than a wedding night prick.

I'm a Truck Stop Woman, and I live all over the road.
I got coffee and doughnuts and lots of things to lighten your load...
DooDooDootie, DooDooDootieDeDo!

Mother and daughter discuss whoring.

Whoring is not pretty.

Anna Hauling Ass!

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I don't know, would you help out these hitchhikers?

Anna's, I wonder if they have good gravy?

Trophies for the lucrative business of trucking. Sign-ups?

This is a mobster, can't you tell?

This is another trophy of the trucking biz, getting shot by the mob!

Ahhhhh Anna, my mom had this same doo, that shirt too I think.

Uschi Digard shows up just in time to get nekkid and cuffed.

And frisked....was there a better body in motion pictures? Ever?

No that is not a transvestite trucker!

No lights used creatively for this coughing scene.

Stunt trucking....

Claudia Jennings, prrrrrrr!

You couldn't make a trucker flick without this facial expression.

Negotiations for a rest stop corn-holing? Nah just some trucker talk in a bathroom.

Pink semis, foreshadowing today's glut of lavendar trucks littering the highways.
Brains On Film 2003