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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The commentary tracks with William Grefé are better than either of the films, September 4, 2005
This review is from: Hooked Generation/Psychedelic Priest (DVD)
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.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Lawrance Bernabo
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)   

Location: The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota

Top Reviewer Ranking: 22,575