Harry reviews QT's Regional Redneck Hillbilly Hicksploitation Tribute to the Original Alamo Drafthouse!!!
Hey folks, Harry here… Writing to you from 33,000 feet above the backbone of the United States about last night’s Quentin Tarantino’s Farewell Tribute to the Original Alamo Drafthouse in Austin.
Now, I’ve seen some of you wondering aloud about why I write these events up. Why talk about movies that you can’t see? Don’t I know that the audience for AICN is International and not strictly within the city limits of my little town of Austin, Texas?
Well – first off, not every article is necessarily for every reader on AICN – every reader can enjoy this information. They can learn about films that have long been forgotten or overlooked. Also, in many cases these are films that are not on DVD, are not well known, and by giving them attention on this site, there’s a chance, that they could end up on DVD. Giving them a second life. Or at least that’s the hope.
Tonight, we were given the treat of seeing 3 films that it is highly doubtful that many of you have seen. This was a Regional Grindhouse Triple Bill. Meaning 3 films that were not made for the big urban centers, but were made, usually by amateur filmmakers in the 60’s and 70’s – where – well – let’s get on with the evening…
Tim League took the stage and had a Schlitz in his hand and told us he’d have to sell another item to the attentive audience. He’s just rented a ghost town outside of Austin, to screen a double feature of Herschel Gordon Lewis films (2000 MANIACS and BLOOD FEAST) with Herschel Gordon Lewis there in person.
Tim was introducing this evening… already intoxicated, from the sound and looks of it. Either that – or he was in the spirit of drinking spirits. He once again introduced Quentin Tarantino to the stage.
As Quentin began his first intro of the night, he commented that, “I’ve shown a lot of, for lack of a better term, Good Ol Boy pictures or Redneck films,” but then went on to say that the majority of what he’s shown were actually the studio versions of those genres. Films like WHITE LIGHTNING and WALKING TALL – they played everywhere from Detroit to Los Angeles to well, you name it, it played there.
By Regional, Quentin meant, “these films never played west of the Mason-Dixon Line.” These were films made by the South, for the South. They were made by people, city governments, whatever - A group of friends in Augusta, Georgia that just wanted to make a movie their way. These are still made today, only shot mostly on Video – and as a result, they are hardly ever as big a deal as these movies were in their day.
The first two films of the night were coming out of North Carolina (HOT SUMMER IN BAREFOOT COUNTY and REDNECK MILLER). The third film, IN HOT PURSUIT, he’d discuss later. But for now, he was going to discuss:
HOT SUMMER IN BAREFOOT COUNTY
“HOT SUMMER IN BAREFOOT COUNTY not only is a fun movie, but it’s a terrific example of Regional Filmmaking.” This was one of the films that never played in Time Square or along Hollywood’s Grindhouses. In fact, Quentin first saw this film when he was a kid at the South Clinton Drive In in Tennessee… around the Knoxville area, specifically in Anderson County. Now Quentin went on to discuss how these films were shown. The filmmakers/producers would only have 4 or 5 prints, 6 max – that they could show, they’d come in to… say the Knoxville area and begin to flood the local TV stations with TV spots all week long. In this time, that was actually affordable to do, before local stations began getting gobbled up by larger media conglomerates and the ad prices got higher. So – these TV spots would already be made and they’d play during stuff like the 3:30 movie of the week and just about everything else. Then the film would play the Drive-Ins and be out by the end of the week. Then the prints would move on to say, Chattanooga, then Nashville, then Little Rock. These little films would go on this type of circuit for a year, year and a half to two years.
Quentin remembered the TV spot tagline from when he was a kid, “It’s a Moonshinin’ movie with a different kinda twist! Which was gonna mean scantily clad ladies!”
Quentin saw this film when he was a kid, and from that time his favorite character was a bad son of a more or less good man. “Named Huey,” and apparently the character was such a wonderful fuck up, that when Quentin and his friends would be messing around, sitting in the grass and someone would do or say something stupid, they’d say, “You’re so Huey!” It was at this point that I noticed that Quentin was holding a Schlitz as well.
Next he pointed out that these Regional Exploitation films were made by amaters, talented amateurs, but amateurs all the same. The films made use of the local folks and regional theatre actors. But he stressed that in the case of these three, they’re all fun. But on top of that, they’re sincere movies, not Hollywood product looking down on them. It’s them making the sorta film they’d want to see on a Saturday night. It’s the people from the South, with the right accents, “not a bunch of New York faggots trying to act like hillbillies!”
Then, before exiting the stage, he mentioned that the movie poster for the film was “The Shit!”
It was around this time, that I ordered a bucket of beer. Seeing both Tim and Quentin clutching Schlitz cans… well… it put the thirst in me. But, I’m sorry… I know it’s Redneck night, but I can’t really do the shit beer thing, my bucket was loaded with Shiner Bock.
On to the film. HOT SUMMER IN BARE FOOT COUNTY is essentially a lighter, more charming B version of John Frankenheimer’s I WALK THE LINE. Only – Everybody is really nice – and there really ain’t no problems. The local sheriff and his deputy are essentially PINKY AND THE BRAIN –
Now, if you haven’t seen I WALK THE LINE with Gregory Peck – you really should, but the plotline of HOT SUMMER IN BAREFOOT COUNTY is a very simplistic version of that. It isn’t the local sheriff, but a State investigator, who is the main character… and when he’s on the way to the small town world of Barefoot County, he’s forced off the road in a ridiculously awesome bit of tomfoolery – busts his head, and ends up being nursed back to health in the home of the moonshinin’ mama and her 3 barefoot hayseed babes. It was at this point that I thought… This is how PORNS start – alas – this was a gosh gee whiz, ain’t country life fine living sorta flick.
That said, it was… well, Quentin said it himself… it’s sincere, and that’s where the charm lies. You see, this isn’t a film of bad guys, just bad situations. The Moonshinin’ Mama figures she can’t farm, on account that it’s just her and her gals – and they’d need a strong man to tame this land. So Moonshinin’ is out of necessity, a matter of survival. It isn’t an evil if ya mean good by it.
And that’s how it’s treated. Even when the investigator finds the truth… well, rather than destroy this community, he turns in his badge and marries one of the daughters. He made the right choice, believe me.
Oh – and by the way – there was no “Huey” character, as Quentin remembered before the film. The character was actually named CULLEY JOE, and Culley Joe is a hilarious Lil Abner wannabe character. Squintin’ and sexin’ are his big points in life, and when he’s forced into marriage… tis hilarious… don’t mess with Black Beard Bull’s daughter… actually, you should… she’s pretty darn hot.
Next up was:
As Tim took the stage, I had 5 shiner bocks in me. I was feeling darn good. At this point Tim tells the audience that it’s Friday night and they haven’t got anything to do, but to sit and enjoy these three Redneck flicks.
I begin to feel guilt, because at the speed we’re going, it’d be 4am before we were done, and I have a morning flight for Bucharest – and I’ve still gotta pack. I fear I’ll be missing the last film of the evening.
As Quentin takes the stage, he’s a bit embarrassed, “Obviously there was no Huey in that film, I was talking about Culley Joe.. I got Huey from…” it was at this point that Quentin began coughing or burping – and I couldn’t catch where Huey came from. And I’m pretty sure Quentin didn’t know either.
He then asked everyone to remember the A PREACHERMAN PRODUCTION logo at the beginning of that film. PREACHERMAN was a film starring Amos Huxley – actually – that should be featuring Amos Huxley as played by Albert Viola. Preacherman fucked all the farmers’ daughters – and the Southland Drive In, Quentin got a PREACHMAN VS WIDOWWOMAN poster with the tagline, SHE MARRIED FIVE, SHE BURIED FIVE… I’ve got this poster too, it kicks much ass.
Now Quentin was saying that it might be possible that the people behind this were somehow involved in PREACHERMAN. Now over on IMDB – PREACHERMAN CORPORATION produced one other film, that next year in 1975 called TRUCKER’S WOMAN. Now the producer, W Henry Smith did play the character of Brother Henry in PREACHERMAN – so I assume that’s the connection.
Now – Quentin went on to talking about REDNECK MILLER – this was one of the first 35mm prints he got, back around 1996 out of the BIG REEL. In the same load he picked up WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, Fulci’s ZOMBIE, the magnificent CHINESE HERCULES and REDNECK MILLER. When he called the ol guy with the films in his ad, Quentin asked what REDNECK MILLER was and the guy said, “Well, from what I’ve heard, it’s pretty much the worst movie ever made,” and Quentin said, “OooooH Reaalllly!” – Sounded like a pretty good review to him, so he picked it up.
Quentin had only seen the film once, 10 years ago, but remembered that it had a lot of fun quality about it. It’s obvious that a bunch of friends got together to make it – and of these regional films, it’s one of the only ones that had a white cast… and an equal amount of Black Guys, but he said they were all the bad guys. “For a hillbilly movie, it’s pretty goddamn integrated!”
He then stressed that he wasn’t making any promises – it’s been 10 years since he’s seen it – so who knows what we’ll be watching… and
The film started up.
I really fucking liked REDNECK MILLER.
You have to understand – this movie was fun. Pure fun.
The fella playing Redneck Miller – he has something. You can tell. I looked him up on IMDB and his name was Geoffrey Land – and he had himself a bit of a careen in the seventies. He had a role on ROCKFORD FILES and was in: THE FEMALE BUNCH, JESSI’S GIRLS, BLAZING STEWARDESSES, AGAINST A CROOKED SKY, DEATH JOURNEY, BLACK HEAT, DOCTOR DRACULA and THE POSSESSION OF NURSE SHERRI in 1978 as his last role.
I just liked this guy, he had that cocky sonuvbitchness to him that was balanced with a eagerness to just get laid that I liked and appreciated. Basically – he plays a country western DJ in some small town whose motorcycle is stolen to rip off some drugs from the “black mafia” in this town headed by someone by the name of SuperMack… you don’t want to fuck with him, cuz if… say you slap the gun from his hand, he’ll like hide under his desk, he’s a mean mutherfucker.
The film is fun. And the lines are classic. My fave after Redneck Miller almost allowed this married woman that he’s been screwing to be gang raped by this “Black Mafia” – she’s mad at him – and he grabs her by the shoulders and says, “Now listen to me, You can take a lotta loving, I can only die once!” Friggin hilarious.
This was a very fun little movie – and I think the audience really dug it. I know I did.
Next up was IN HOT PURSUIT aka POLK COUNTY POT PLANE – I was only going to be able to stay through the trailers as it was already 2:25am – and I had to pack for the flight.
Tim came over and I confirmed with him that I would program up a night of film for AICN’s Farewell to the Original Alamo Drafthouse… that I was calling my HALF-ASSED-A-THON on June 24th on the final week of the theater’s operation.
He announced it on the stage – only after 17 seconds of consultation with me, so I guess I’m really going to attempt to program a HALF-ASSED-A-THON, because with my wedding coming up, I ain’t got nothing but time to kill. Heh.
Quentin takes the stage – and tells us that this next film is a kinda terrific film that he became aware of when he was a young lad of about 15 or 16. As a kid growing up, movie information was so rare – and if you got your hands on a Variety or a Hollywood Reporter – especially around the time of the AMERICAN FILM MARKET – you’d get this big as a fucking phone book with full page ads for all these movies that you were likely to never see. He remembered a full page photo ad for this and it’s taken him 25 years to see… POT PLANE, which was the title he knew it by.
This was a Bootleg and Trucker movie – think SMOKEY & THE BANDIT, but with pot – with the Hillbilly versions of the Barbarian Brothers, but not quite as intelligent. FUCK – I hate I’m going to miss this.
Quentin then pointed out how one of the great things about these types of films was that you’d get to see all the local color – or how much an egg sandwich would cost, or a gallon of gas 45 cents. Sigh.
He then thanked us for coming to Redneck Hillbilly Night – and I thought Wow… that’s the last time I’ll see Quentin take this stage in this theater to introduce a film.
The trailers before the film were particularly great – featuring a trucker theme with Peckinpah’s CONVOY (fucking love that film), BREAKER BREAKER, and ROAD GAMES!
To those of you attending tonight’s SWINGING’ night at the Drafthouse – have a great fucking time… and hands off my lady! She’s the cute one with the Carmel Apple Latte!
Posted from Heathrow London!