Crankenstein Review: Bare Knuckles (1977)

This film has a bad reputation as being one of the worst Blaxploitation films ever made, but that’s really unfair, because it should really be known as one of the worst whiteploitation action films (or just a dumb ass fun time), for those that dig sleaze and their action heroes to hang out in Pizza Hut parking lots. Don Edmonds, the brains and fingers behind the type writer for Ilsa She Wolf Of The SS now has a whole new character for genre fans to fall in love with, Zack Kane! He’s a madman on the skin flute and looks like a stunt double for 80’s porn veteran Joey Silvera. We first find him on a railroad track pummeling a Robert Carradine looking dude and meeting a classy lady at his favorite restaurant, Pizza Hut!


Did I mention how much Pizza I can cram down my gullet?

 I remember in 1977 when they had a line of Bare Knuckle tie in glasses to promote the film (in my dreams)! A vicious killer is on the loose and only Zach Kane and his black partner Black (!?) can stop them! A girl is hacked up on the street by a killer that yowls like a cat, Fulci was obviously influenced by Bare Knuckles to make his ode to the big apple: The New York Ripper’s psycho quack like a duck (possibly? no one can be sure). Some people were confused into thinking this was a Blaxploitation film, because Gloria Hendry is in it, it’s not at all. Badazz Mofo gave this turkey a Jerri Curl rating and I tend to agree, but I love stupid trash and when I first saw this, I hadn’t read the review yet, so it didn’t discourage me from appreciating it’s shitty quality.

Ron Burgundy Eat Shit

Ron Burgundy Eat Shit

Kane walks around Bail Bonds places and meets a fake Divine, he also shows up at one of the sleaziest gaybars ever. There’s a fake Anton Levay and Sonny Bono, this place is happening! He picks up his partner Black! played by John Daniels (Flesh Eating Mothers, Black Shampoo) and they cause a ruckus. Knuckles is not a total sausage fest though, there is some naked female flesh, but sadly anytime that happens it gets slashed with a knife.


A stubby guy in a catmask with a mother fixation is the culprit that Kane and Black are looking for. He looks a lot like Radar from M.A.S.H. Edmonds can really pour on the sleaze, nothing even remotely like Ilsa shows up in the film, but the killer’s incest treatment of his mother makes my skin crawl and it all has that deranged episode of CHIPS quality.
Bare Knuckles is one of those trash classics that’s incredibly entertaining and hard not to enjoy (at least for me). So dive into this Knuckle sandwich already, in the grand tradition of Gymkata and White Fire add this junk to your list of new trash favorites. Actually go and watch Terror On Tour and see how much better this one is in comparison to Don Edmonds non Ilsa titles!
Available at Netflix


About Crankenstein

Gore Nerd and Film Fanatic who likes Metal, Pizza and hanging out with his dog Jack.