on December 7, 2002
I give "The Hooked Generation" 4 1/2 stars and "the Psychedelic Priest" 3 stars.
"The Hooked Generation" is about a gang of three psychos whose attempt to break into the drug smuggling business using the Cuban Navy as their suppliers gets completely screwed up. Along their way down, they kidnap a young man and his bikini-clad girlfriend, snort up at a cool dance club (with strobe lights), visit an isolated Indian village, and have a showdown in the swamps. There is also a side trip to a hippie commune (played by real hippies, most of them stoned).
The plot is a bit weak (thus it doesn't quite earn 5 stars), but some of the scenes and characters in this film are amongst the most memorable I have ever seen. The best parts all involve a character named "Acid" who is played by this amazingly talented buy who looks and acts like a cross between Radiohead's Thom Yorke and actor Tim Roth in one of his insane villain roles. I'm tempted to describe some of his scenes, but I don't want to spoil them.
I was hoping that "The Psychedelic Priest" would be some wild film about a way-out preacher turning on the masses, but its actually a deadly serious road movie. A young man questions his motives for becoming a priest after he accidentally trips out on LSD, so he heads out on a journey to discover himself and America. He winds up encountering hate, prejudice and personal tragedy as he witnesses the death throes of the hippy movement. Most of the film was amazingly well improvised using non-actors and people met on the road. Sort of like Easy Rider, but more of a downer and with none of the cool tunes.
There are some interesting trailers and the director's commentary for both films is very entertaining, but the only shorts included are an overly long promo for "Mako, Jaws of Death" and uninteresting silent home movie footage from behind-the-scenes during the making of "The Hooked Generation".
on May 2, 2004
"Something Weird Video" had the right idea when they began to put their finds onto DVD. "The Hooked Generation" and "The Psychedelic Priest" are fun flicks, but if I paid full price for either of them on VHS, I would feel like I shelled a little too much dough for one Psychedelic-Camp movie. Many of SWV's DVD releases not only hand you a double feature, but lots of other fun tidbits that makes me feel like my purchase was a good choice.
"The Hooked Generation" is a boat-chugging, drug-running romp where no-goodniks named Daisey, Dum-Dum, Acid and Charlie are making their first big money dope deal with a boat full of Cuban soldiers, who they decide are trying to rip them off. So....they kill the soldiers, make off with both the money and the drugs, only to be encountered by a boat full of Coast Guards, who they easily outsmart, and also kill. Really, these guys are incompetent drug-runners, yet they can outsmart and out butcher any skilled militia out there!
Which is always the fun of a movie this bad. So many holes in the plot, even for a B-Movie Fest! It gets old after 45 minutes, but some of the psychedelic colors & strobe lights are fun eye candy!
"Psychedelic Priest," originally titled "Electric Shades of Grey," gets old a little faster than "The Hooked Generation" but does have a really good premise. A young priest/schoolteacher catches some of his pupils being truant and smoking weed, and gives them a stern lecture on right and wrong. They issue thanks by giving him a cup full o' Coke while he reads them the riot act. The Coke is spiked with acid, of course, and the trip begins to take when the priest is in the church. The scenes of him trippin' amongst religious motifs and candles is actually really well done, and had the rest of the movie been so quality, there's a stray chance this would actually be a really good film!
The LSD trip has God sending the Priest to leave the comfort of his church and do a modern day Buddha-Trek across the U.S.A. He takes one of the most dismal adventures where he befriends a suicidal teen, racism and murder.
The acting in this flick ranges anywhere from very good to outright awful. The other thing that turns this film into bad camp instead of a good indie flick are the numerous drawn out sequences. The opening concert footage goes on for so long that you wonder if you accidentally picked up a bootleg concert tape instead of "The Psychedelic Priest." There are endless driving scenes, where Father John is driving down the highway...and driving....and driving...and you watch him drive for such long sequences, with no dialogue or plot development, that I found myself wanting to ask "Father, are we there yet?"
This movie does get long fast, but it does have its moments. The only frustating thing about "Psychedelic Priest" is there is actually a good plot there, and it would be cool if somebody developed took this story and turned it into a bonafide film! And a heavy film at that. The actual storyline, if not filled with drudgery and lame acting, would make "Last Exit To Brooklyn" look heavy as "Welcome Back, Kotter."
This DVD is worth picking up. The films have their moments, and the extras truly rock, being previews for other psychedelic B-flicks like "Acid Dreams," "The Hippie Revolt," "The Hard Road," and more. Like I said before, since the coming of DVDs, "Something Weird Video" has packaged their B-Movies into cool compilations. They get a Five-Star Salute for their efforts!
This Something Weird DVD presents a pair of film from independent director-producer William Grefé, including one that was not released for thirty years (but should have been, unlike the other one, which arguably deserved to be buried for three decades). The Grefé film you are most likely to have seen (or at least heard of) would be "Mako: The Jaws of Death" (1976), although "Whiskey Mountain" (1977) rings a bell. He also directed the shark scenes in "Live and Let Die." However, throw "The Godmother" (1973) and "The Wild Rebels" into the mix and you can see that Grefé was into imitative exploitation films, where what you see should remind you of a major motion picture release.
"The Hooked Generation" is the story of a trio of aspiring drug dealers named Daisey (Jeremy Slate), Acid (John Davis Chandler) and Dum-Dum (boxer Willie Pastrano). However, not only do they betray and kill their Cuban connection (Socrates Ballis), they whip out the Coast Guard crew that shows up. However, they find a young couple who have seen what has happened, Mark (Steve Alaimo) and Kelly (Cece Stone). But do these potheads kill them too? No, of course not. You can understand why they do not kill the girl, but continuing to drag both her and her boyfriend around is not exactly a smart move. But in this 1968 film when you see Acid shoot up during a shoot out, that pretty much captures what this film is all about perfectly. The dopers cannot sell any of the drugs they ended up with because they are too hot, so they drag their hostages off to pay an unfriendly visit to the local Seminole tribe and then end up in the swamp for a shoot out with the F.B.I.
This is just a boring moving. The commentary track for "The Hooked Generation" is a lot more interesting than the film itself. Grefé has his own theory as to where Sylvester Stallone got the idea for "Rocky," and talks about his actors and where they got (so to speak) the boat used in the first part of the film. Actually, the behind-the-scenes footage of "The Hooked Generation" is more interesting than the film. By the time you get to the promotional featurette for "Mako: The Jaws of Death," you will be thinking that this is the best thing on the DVD (although The Stash Box menu with the guy asking repeatedly "Have you ever been on a trip?" sounds better too). The trailers are for other drug movies rather than a look at other films by Grefé, and here is where you will get all of the skin and psychedelia that you will not find it either of the movies on this DVD. Included are the trailers for the trippy go-go dancers of "Acid Dreams," the Hipster pill party of "Hallucination Generation," introducing Connie Nelson as Pam in "The Hard Road," "Have You Ever Been on a Trip?" takes you to the inner depths of today's society (i.e., it is soft core porn where the drugs are an excuse for all of the skin, which explains why it could not be released before the recent court rulings), Weirdies, Beardies and Whatsies make up "The Hippie Revolt," and Iron Butterfly shows up to drive the "Musical Mutiny." Then there is also the expected Gallery of Drive-in Exploitation Art with Radio-Spot Rarities.
"The Psychedelic Priest" was not released until 2001 but was filmed in 1971 with the title "Electric Shades of Grey," which pops up as a song near the end (apparently "Jesus Freak" was discussed and abandoned as a title idea). Simply put, this would be Grefé's "Easy Rider," actually shot in Hollywood rather than the swamps of Florida (drawn by a great script that did not exist). The title character is Father John (John Darrell), who is trying to talk a group of students into going back to school but ends up drinking some of their coke, which is laced with acid. So Father John goes tripping (the attempt to convey what an acid trip is like is the worst part of the film), ditches his collar, and walks off to look for America. There he discovers both the good (helping a woman give birth) and the bad (murdering racists), along with a lot more drugs, before Father John lands with both feet back on the ground. This film is shot with a hand-held camera and a soundtrack of rock music from local bands (the audio track sounds pretty bad for most of the film, but it actually adds to the experience). There is a commentary track on this film as well, with Grefé talking about the experience with SWV's Frank Henenlotter (who has to flat out ask the director if this film was ever released).
These two movies are a real cinematic odd couple to present as a double feature. "The Hooked Generation" at least has professional actors, decent production values for an independent film, and an actual script. "The Psychedelic Priest" is apparently totally shot on the fly with regards to the cast, locations, and script. Henenlotter observes that since the cast does not know what is going to happen neither do the characters, so it works out okay in the end. Too bad this film was not released when it was made, because its value is as something of a time capsule when it comes to the culture clash at the start of the 1970s. I go with 2 stars for "The Hooked Generation," 3 stars for "The Psychedelic Priest," 4 stars for the extras and 5 stars for the commentary tracks. Put it all together and you have to give Henelotter and Something Weird credit for creating an enjoyable DVD experience from a pair of less than stellar exploitation films.