Unholy Rollers

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The Unholy Rollers
Directed byVernon Zimmerman
Screenplay byHoward R. Cohen
Story byVernon Zimmerman
Howard R. Cohen
Produced byJohn Prizer
Jack Bohrer
StarringClaudia Jennings
Louis Quinn
Betty Anne Rees
Roberta Collins
CinematographyMichael Shea
Edited byMartin Scorsese
George Trirogoff
Yeu-Bun Yee
Music byBobby Hart
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures
Release date
  • November 10, 1972 (1972-11-10)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Unholy Rollers is a 1972 American action comedy film directed by Vernon Zimmerman and starring Claudia Jennings.

The film focuses on a team of roller derby skaters whose members are hostile to each other.



Karen wants more action out of life and quits her job at the cannery to become a skater in the roller derby. She encounters friction from the other skaters—especially Mickey, the current star of the team. Karen proves herself a feisty competitor but refuses to be a team player. As she skates her way to stardom, she incurs the wrath of jealous team members and the owner of the team.





The film was made to cash in on publicity from MGM's roller derby film, Kansas City Bomber. Roger Corman agreed to produce the film for AIP, even though he had established his own studio, New World Pictures. This was one of the last times Corman collaborated with AIP.

There were several other competing roller derby films announced in early 1972. They included Jam produced by Al Ruddy starring Mama Cass and George Hamilton and directed by Steve Inhat, and Wipeout with Lois Nettleton and Ina Clair. The Corman project was known as Leader of the Pack. However Jam and Wipeout where never made.[1]

The movie was the first screenplay credit for Howard R. Cohen who went on to have a long association with Corman.[2]



Due to delays in editing Kansas City Bomber was released first to cinemas before Unholy Rollers.[3] Martin Scorsese, who had directed Boxcar Bertha for Roger Corman and AIP, was called in to supervise editing. He said the delay in releasing the film caused it to be "destroyed" commercially.[4]

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette called it "a poverty row version of Kansas City Bomber."[5]

Take One magazine said Jennings "carries the film. Her characterization of a woman so angry that she becomes, in some strange way, an all-avenging Kali figure, is fascinating."[3]


  1. ^ "All jammed up". Oakland Tribune. 4 May 1972. p. 48.
  2. ^ Howard R. Cohen Papers at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  3. ^ a b "Unholy Rollers". Take One. Vol. 3, no. 4. September–October 1971. p. 25.
  4. ^ Scorsese, Martin (1989). Scorsese on Scorsese. Faber & Faber. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-571-14103-6.
  5. ^ "Stage and Screen". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1 December 1972. p. 31.