The Violent Years
|The Violent Years|
|Directed by||William Morgan|
|Produced by||Roy Reid|
|Written by||Ed Wood|
|Cinematography||William C. Thompson|
|Editing by||Gerard Wilson|
|Distributed by||Headliner Productions|
|Running time||65 minutes|
The Violent Years is a 1956 American exploitation film starring Jean Moorhead as Paula Parkins, the leader of a gang of juvenile delinquent high school girls. The film is notable for the input of Ed Wood, Jr. as author of its screenplay.
Paula Parkins, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do newspaper editor father and a socialite mother, gets her kicks by organizing and directing a gang of bored young women like herself. The gang dresses in men's attire, robs gas stations, and terrorizes habitués of a local lovers' lane—even raping a young gentleman (off camera) after tying up his girlfriend.
As a newspaperman, Paula's father has some inside information on police plans to capture the gang, so the girls are able to avoid capture with Mr. Parkins' unwitting complicity. After a make-out party with a few local gangsters, Paula and her pals agree to wreck a few classrooms — and destroy the American flag — in a public school at the behest of a female crime boss. (It is implied that this is part of an anti-American Communist plot.) The girls perform the job with gleeful competence until the police arrive and a deadly shootout takes place, claiming the lives of two of Paula's gang while Paula shoots and kills a policeman. Paula is captured, convicted, and dies in the hospital giving birth to the child she conceived during the rape. The judge in Paula's case denies her parents custody of their granddaughter, based on the neglectful way they raised Paula.
The cynical tag line "So what?" is used repeatedly by the girls to underscore their uncaring, nihilistic attitude.
- Jean Moorhead as Paula Parkins
- Barbara Weeks as Jane Parkins
- Arthur Millan as Carl Parkins
- Theresa Hancock as Georgia
- Glen Corbett as Barney Stetson
- Joanne Cangi as Geraldine
- Gloria Farr as Phyllis
- Lee Constant as Sheila
- I. Stanford Jolley as Judge Clara
- Timothy Farrell as Lt. Holmes
- F. Chan McClure as Det. Artman
- Bruno Metsa as Manny
- Harry Keaton as Doctor
- The screenplay, originally titled Teenage Girl Gang, was written by Edward D. Wood, Jr., the director of Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 from Outer Space. The Violent Years was the most financially successful film with creative input from Ed Wood.
- Star Jean Moorhead was the Playboy Playmate for October 1955.
The film was mocked on a 1994 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Subjects for jokes included the occasionally wooden acting, the same car-on-road shots being repeated, and the judge's rambling closing monologue.
The film was also released on DVD as part of a large box set of vintage exploitation films called Girls Gone Bad.
- The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1996), documentary film directed by Brett Thompson
- Rudolph Grey, Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1992) ISBN 978-0-922915-24-8
- The Violent Years at the Internet Movie Database
- The Violent Years is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]