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Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema [Paperback]

by Scott von Doviak, Chris Gore
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 30, 2004 0786419970 978-0786419975
While the pimps and players of blaxploitation movies dominated inner-city theaters, good old boys with muscle under their hoods and moonshine in their trunks roared onto drive-in screens throughout rural America. The popularity of these "hick flicks" grew throughout the '70s, and they attained mass acceptance with the 1977 release of Smokey and the Bandit. It marked the heyday of these regional favorites, but within a few short years, changing economic realities within the movie business and the collapse of the drive-in market would effectively spell the end of the so-called hixploitation genre.

This comprehensive study of the hixploitation genre is the first of its kind. Chapters are divided into three major topics. Part One deals with "good ol' boys," from redneck sheriffs, to moonshiners, to honky-tonk heroes and beyond. Part Two explores road movies, featuring back-road racers, truckers and everything in between. Part Three, "In the Woods," covers movies about all manner of beasts—some of them human—populating the swamps and woodlands of rural America. Film stills are included, and an afterword examines both the decline and metamorphosis of the genre. A filmography, bibliography and index accompany the text.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Scott Von Doviak is a film critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and a freelance writer focusing on the film industry. His articles have appeared in Hollywood Reporter, Dallas Morning News and many other publications. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub (November 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786419970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786419975
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,571,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than A Bottle Full Of Bootleg Shine March 24, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'll say it loud and drunkenly: Hick Flicks is a brilliant analysis, defining the genre and subgenres of movies by and about Redneck-Americans, or, as we prefer, "Sons of the Soil."

Von Doviak starts us with an Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow ([...] as Scott canoes downriver, encountering hillbillies both planted and au naturale (that means "nekkid" or, in this case, "not planted"), to a riverside viewing of Deliverance. This experience sets Mr. Von D to wondering: "Is that banjo kid available for weddings? Failing that, should I write an in-depth analysis of redneck movies?" The answer, as Scott reveals in a surprising twist, is (brace yourselves for maximum shock value) yes.

Somewhat in the tradition of Jackass, Von D subjected himself to more movies about and by rednecks than is legal in 27 states. Von Doviak divides these into subgenres: trucker movies, stunt driver movies, chicks seeking revenge for what was done to them movies, hillbilly horror movies, documentaries about rural folk, and the like. In fact, in one of the more astounding segments of masochistic horror ever to emerge from scholarly film criticism, Von Doviak undertakes 24 hours of hillbilly horror flicks, starting with the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which shortly emerges as one of the more intelligent and sensitive movies on the line-up. The guy deserves a Purple Heart.

Anyway, it's fun to laugh at rednecks, especially if, like me, redneck blood courses through your veins (and only occasionally coats your rage-filled hands of justice), but thinking about rednecks and the mysterious ways of redneck culture is hard work and usually limited to slightly contemptuous, brilliantly smart-assed novelists like Harry Crews.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff February 7, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hick Flicks is a fantastic and fun read. It's a bit like a walk down memory lane - summers of bad movies at the drive-in. God do I miss a good drive-in.

I did have some disturbing dreams about Bigfoot and the dude from The Hills Have Eyes, but I blame that as much on my cold medicine as I do on the book.

Scott Von Doviak's voice is clear and true, with enough astute observations to border on an entry for the Cahier du Cinema. I would have liked more Maury stories, but that's me. I'm a sucker for a dog.

Now you may question the relevance of a book like Hick Flicks. Hillbilly exploitation films died out with gas rationing (more or less). But I'd argue that with all this Red State/Blue State nonsense they're probably more relevant than ever.

Hollywood marketed 30 years ahead of where politics moved in the past two elections. Put that in yer corncob pipe and smoke it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damn good book and fun too July 5, 2005
You don't actually have to care much about redneck movies to like this book - I didn't, at least not much, but Von Doviak drew me into it, largely due to his amiable writing style and sharp sense of humor - he performed the impossible task of making a history of redneck cinema actually very personable. This must be what it's like to sit down and have a beer with Von Doviak and talk hixploitation. But the book is not some vanity piece meant to spotlight the author's personality at the expense of the subject - quite the opposite. Von Doviak covers his subject with a mix of knowledge and humor that reveals his understanding of the ridiculous nature of the films he has set about to cover, while at the same time treating their history with respect and providing context that deflects the possible cliched insults that could be lobbed at these movies..

We need more people like Mr. Von Doviak writing about popular culture - he presents an unusual take on a subject that is never over the top. The book is fresh, lively, unstudied in the best possible meaning of the term, and laced with a self-deprecating sarcasm that many more critics could take cues from as they get to know their subject.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Southern Fried Cinephilia February 8, 2005
We all now know that the 1970s was the period of the American movie Renaissance, when such artists as Coppola and Scorsese and Altman broke free to strew masterpieces across the landscape. But for some of us, in certain parts of the country, it was also the time when we huddled together on the playground or at the back of the school bus to trade rumors, in awestruck whispers, about what brand of violent justice was meted out by Buford Pusser in "Walking Tall" and what wiseguy putdown Gator McCluskey said to the sheriff in "White Lightning" and what horrors were to be seen in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and just how real "The Legend of Boggy Creek" was supposed to be. It was the era of Earl Owensby and Hal Needham and a time when both Jan-Michael Vincent and Jethro Bodine could be seen playing violent rednecks. Scott Von Doviak brings it all back, in such a way as to provide an alternative film history of the period, a free-wheeling period of creative ferment, countercultural experimentation and demented hucksterism as seen through the bottom of a corn likker bottle. It also happens to be the funniest book I've read in ages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's Not Easy Defining an Entire Genre... March 24, 2006
By J.H.R.
... but Von Doviak did it. Wow. This is the kind of pop culture read that I really like. Smart, funny, thoroughly knowledgeable. It was a fun and yet totally definitive exploration of a film genre that no one has really ever tackled. Maybe no one thought it was worth tackling? But Von Doviak braved the (swampy) waters beautifully. And being from Texas, I admit I was concerned that the book was going to rip apart my treasured Southern culture- but it didn't. This guy deserves a case of Lone Star.
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