August 25th, 2008

THE ACID EATERS (1968) **

Three hippie couples leave their 9 to 5 routine behind to drive their motorcycles out to the middle of nowhere and take a lot of acid.  Once completely wasted, there is topless swimming, nude body painting, girls sinking in quicksand, a topless knife fight, run-ins with Indian pimps, and sex on a pyramid.  Things begin to get weird though once the couples actually go inside the pyramid and the acid really starts to kick in.  Suddenly Buck (Gymkata) Kartalian turns into the Devil (complete with pointy goatee) and pokes people with a plastic pitchfork while they have sex and dance around topless.

 

The Acid Eaters is nothing more than an hour of plotless, drug-fueled, softcore nonsense courtesy of director Byron (The Bushwhacker) Mabe.  It’s obvious that the budget was nonexistent as the sets were crappy (the “pyramid” was just a bunch of cardboard boxes stacked really high and painted silver) and the costumes were pretty awful (the Devil outfit is nothing more than red pajamas with a hood).  One good thing to be said for the costumes is that most of the girls don’t stay in them for very long.  The flick only runs one hour long, which is a plus, but too much of the film is padded with pointless scenes of people riding around on motorcycles.

 

The ladies, who include Pat (Orgy of the Dead) Barrington, Bambi (Hell’s Bloody Devils) Allen and Sharon (A Smell of Honey, A Swallow of Brine) Carr, are gorgeous and look even better when cavorting around topless and gyrating to thoroughly wretched hippie music.  The presence of a real actor like Kartalian helps somewhat, but he isn’t really given a whole lot to do except be the comic relief and say shit like “What’s your pleasure, treasure?”

 

If you watch movies SOLELY for the purposes of seeing tripping topless chicks dancing aimlessly while out of work character actors go around mugging constantly for the camera, consider this your Citizen Kane.  For any other sane person, it’s got plenty of titties, but little else. 

 

AKA:  The Acid People.

WEED (1972) **

Porno filmmaker Alex (Pretty Peaches 3:  The Quest) de Renzy makes a foray into the documentary world to show us all how marijuana is shipped illegally into the country, used by hippies, and cracked down upon by drug enforcement officials.  De Renzy also travels around the world to such countries as Vietnam, Mexico and Nepal and shows how much more lenient they are with the mass production (and consumption) of pot. 

 

The biggest problem with Weed is de Renzy himself.  He’s in almost every scene, conducting interviews in the same snore-inducing matter-of-fact way.  He doesn’t have much screen presence and films the proceedings with little variety or pizzazz.  Weed moves at a snail’s pace; almost as if de Renzy went out and smoked a big old Bob Marley fattie before letting the cameras roll.  It also doesn’t help when most of the interviewees are totally square authority figures who like to hear the sound of their own annoying voice a lot.  The scenes of de Renzy in war torn Vietnam acquiring Vietnamese Cataract Cannabis are revealing, it’s just too bad that too much of the documentary is so damn boring. 

 

Not informative enough to be truly worthwhile and not unintentionally amusing to be put in the same category as Reefer Madness, Weed is a curiosity piece at best.  Stoners may want to check it out as a dated relic of a pro-pot perspective, but it will ultimately be too tedious for their drug-addled brain to handle.

WHITE LIGHTNING (1973) ** ½

Burt Reynolds stars as Gator McKlusky, a good ol’ boy who is released early from prison to nail a bunch of moonshiners for Uncle Sam.  His real intention though is to get revenge on the crooked sheriff (Ned Beatty) who murdered his brother. 

 

Burt Reynolds’ patented good ol’ boy charm helps to carry this flick a long way.  Any Burt fan would be remiss not to catch him in a flick that features moonshine, fast cars, and a handful of decent stunts (like Burt jumping his car onto a garbage barge).  Reynolds’ personality is mostly in his moustache, which is unfortunate since he isn’t sporting his trademark flavor saver in this flick.  Luckily, he still has his original head of hair in this one (it’s stuck in comb-over mode) and gets a lot of chances to flash his pearly white smile and infectious laugh. 

 

Reynolds is aided by a colorful cast that includes Bo (Time Served) Hopkins, Diane (Wild at Heart) Ladd, and R.G. (Predator) Armstrong, all of whom lend fine support.  Director Joseph (Jaws the Revenge) Sergeant films the action scenes with panache but his pacing is far too lackadaisical to make White Lightning really cook. 

 

The short of it:  It’s no Stroker Ace, but it’ll do in a pinch.

 

Three years later, Reynolds returned in the sequel, Gator (which he also directed).    

 

Naturally Burt gets all the best lines like:  “You’re more fun than going to an all night dentist!”

 

AKA:  McClusky.

THE WIZARD OF GORE (2007) *

 

Herschell Gordon Lewis will always be one of the greatest horror filmmakers of all time in my book, even though he made his fair share of turds.  This remake to his 1970 classic is just about as bad as some of Lewis’ worst offerings.  While recent sequels to Lewis’ work such as Blood Feast 2 and 2001 Maniacs have been inspired updates of the originals, this one is a complete mess. 

 

The plot involves a reporter named Edmund Bigelow (Kip Pardue, who looks and acts like a low rent Matt Damon) becoming increasingly obsessed with a bizarre magician named Montag the Magnificent (Crispin Glover) who seemingly murders women live on stage.  Sadly after this promising set-up, the remake begins to deviate from the original source material and takes a turn for the worse when it starts focusing on a handful of totally unnecessary subplots involving (but not limited to) murdered call girls, a sleazy herbal remedies dealer (Brad Dourif) and Bigelow’s inability to remember anything immediately after Montag’s performances. 

 

Director Jeremy (The Attic Expeditions) Kasten drowns the movie in a bland Hot Topic inspired set design and uses more Dutch camera angles than the entire run of the 60’s Batman series.  I guess he thought he was being “edgy” or something.  But it’s screenwriter Zach Chassler who has to shoulder most of the blame.  He cumbersomely tosses in a lot of inane “plot twists” that are so predictable that a toddler could’ve guessed them.  Chassler thinks he’s a “magician” by misdirecting the audience, but he only succeeds in giving them a headache as he futilely piles on contrivance after contrivance and stretches their patience to the breaking point.    

 

Kasten had the right idea of hiring The Suicide Girls as Montag’s victims because the world needed more eviscerations of heavily pierced and tattooed starlets who aren’t afraid to wear any clothes.  Thanks to him, we can now groove to seeing naked Goth chicks having their guts ripped out, getting decapitated by bear traps and being barbecued alive in an oversized Weber grill.  The fact that they are being dismembered by none other than Crispin Glover adds to the appeal.  Glover cranks things up to about a 12 on the Weirdo Meter and is easily the best thing this shitfest has going for it. 

 

Now I know what you’re thinking:  How can a movie that is primarily about Crispin Glover hacking up The Suicide Girls suck balls?  The answer is simple:  Way too much plot. 

 

Listen up potential screenwriters, there is no reason on Earth why you have to tack on a bunch of gratuitous “twist” endings that only add to your film’s annoyance factor.  You’re not writing The Usual Suspects here.  You were hired to write a fucking direct-to-DVD horror flick.  Get over it.  No one cares about your little plot twists.  The audience paid to see Crispin Glover dismember naked Goth chicks, not to sit through 12 false endings of pointless twists and turns.  Lewis knew this when he made the original.  It might not be the best film he ever made, but he was at least smart enough to know that the reason the people came to see the movie was to see a magician murder females; not to watch a lot of plot stuff. 

 

If you really want to watch Crispin Glover act totally bonkers in a GOOD horror remake, check out Willard instead.