Saturday, March 10, 2012

DAY OF THE WOMAN PRESENTS: THE BEST IN HIPPIE HORROR

Sorry I've been such a neglectful mother the past few weeks, I hope I haven't been triggering any blocked out childhood memories with my absence.  If you follow me on twitter, you may know that I'm currently in production for HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical.  (yes, that's the actual title).  With long rehearsals, actual school work, and my poor excuse for a social life, I haven't had much time to sit down and crank out an actual article for you guys in a hot minute.  When I'm not at rehearsal or crying over the Lady Bic I haven't been able to use anywhere on my body for over a month, I'm doing extensive character research on hippies and the flower child culture.  In case you've forgotten, I'm only twenty one years old...I actually have to do research on this sort of thing, sue me.  Either way, I've decided to do a bit of cross training and deliver to you a list of the best in hippie horror. Enjoy, man.

Shortly after the "Summer of Love", we were delivered part of a double feature that put hippiexploitation horror films on the map.  I Drink Your Blood follows a Mason Family-esque group of Satanic hippies that go from town to town terrorizing the locals. The film was one of the first to receive an X-Rating, but for the violence rather than nudity, another first.  Several scenes were heavily edited in order to achieve the R-Rating, but the film is still noted for its impressively thrilling aura surrounding extremely graphic scenes.  It's definitely not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, so you have been warned.  Either way, it's psycho-delic to the extreme.

Before Nicholas Cage started playing live-action Punch-Out in bear suits and wearing bee masks better than anyone on Jack-Ass ever did, The Wicker Man was associated with one of Christopher Lee's best performances and Britt Ekland's naked dance.  A young girl named Rowan Morrison has been missing for a number of months and after Sergeant Neil Howie of the West Highland Police receives an anonymous letter requesting his presence on Summerisle to help solve the case, he discovers a bunch of cult-like hippies hell bent on human sacrifices and harvest worship.  Although moreso cult members than hippies, many people used to believe that the hippie movement was nothing more than some weird cult phenomenon and for that reason, The Wicker Man is included on this list. 

Elisabeth Fies' debut feature film is one that I seem to be unable not to gush about.  The film looks, feels, and probably tastes like a 70's flick but the attention to the smallest details are what really gives the film such a lasting impression. The score is impeccable, the aesthetics are incredibly striking with the use of color amongst the hippies, and the flashback scenes are quite scarring to those impressionable.They may have beat the "creepy dream" sequence to death, but as a whole, it was a minutiae issue. This film is fantastic in every sense of the word and brought life back to hippexploitation.

Jessica Harper really did a lot of shitty cult films, didn't she?  Before Scarface, Brian De Palma made an insane musical horror film entitled Phantom of the Paradise. Filled to the brim with sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, and psychedelic sequences, the film appears to be straight out of a hippie trippy dream.  Elaborate characters and plot points help pay homage to films like Faust, Phantom of the Opera, Dorian Gray, and Psycho.  Did I mention it's a musical?! The songs are uncontrollably catchy and the entire film feels like the results of the best trip possible. 

With the second longest title in horror history, (yeah, 2nd) The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies is embraced for being a film of MSTK3 caliber suckfest.  After three kids stumble their way into a carnival and find themselves surrounded by occultists and disfigured monsters.  Strippers, monsters, fortune tellers, cult ceremonies, and song & dance numbers help aide this free thinking lifestyle/hallucinating monster musical.

A nostalgic homage to the exploitation films of Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper, David Arquette's The Tripper follows a group of free-loving hippies who escape to a new millennium style Woodstock for a weekend of debauchery and drugs.  However, the kids unfortunately meet unexpected terror when they are stalked by a radical-minded psychopath dressed and talking like Ronald Reagan.  At least it's Reagan and not...LBJ or something, his nose could kill someone alone. Sheesh.  The title itself is a play on both the sensation of tripping and Reagan's nickname "The Gipper".  David Arquette, you clever girl, you.

I've watched enough 1000 ways to die to understand that a combination of LSD, stupidity, and a bad trip can have some ridiculously dangerous results.  After a bald crooner has a freakish breakdown and is thrown into a homicidal rampage, it is discovered that 10 years prior, a group of college kids had taken a new form of LSD called "Blue Sunshine," which causes its users to lose their hair and become homicidal maniacs many years after their trip is over.  Talk about a traumatizing "Don't Drop Acid" PSA.

3 comment(s):

Erik (Drunketh) said...

Cool article. Oh, and I really dig that first photo. ;)

Kid Sis said...

I love it!!! We should retitle The Commune AMERICAN HIPPIE HORROR :)

Congrats on Hair, that's awesome!!!!

Marcie said...

Flipping great post and GREAT blog! So glad I find you!

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