Sadistic low-budget thriller about newlyweds Dack Rambo and Rebecca Danna Smith who are pursued and terrorized by a pair of rural killer rapists. One of the psychos is John Beck from the '... See full summary »
Sadistic low-budget thriller about newlyweds Dack Rambo and Rebecca Danna Smith who are pursued and terrorized by a pair of rural killer rapists. One of the psychos is John Beck from the '60s rock group the Leaves ("Hey Joe"). Filmed in Louisana. Nicholas Roeg ("Don't Look Now"), the original director, was replaced by Elliott Silverstein after five days of shooting. Music by Elmer Bernstein. Written by
An early prototype for things to come? I know it was completely different to what I was originally expecting. A rural shocker in something of a survival mode, but in the end it was a stormy drama of horrific elements and sombre tones.
David (who just came back from spending two years in Vietnam) and Jill have just been married, and on that day they flee the reception at her family's plantation to escape from her father's protective leash and his displeasure of her marrying a 'Yankee'. On their way to New Orleans for their honeymoon, they stop off at bayou motel where they witness a murder. While trying to flee, they're discovered by the hit men, as David is knocked out and Jill pleading for his life is raped. They arrive in New Orleans, but the scarring ordeal has really hit Jill hard, and causes an uncomfortable rift between the couple. So David goes about trying to track down the killers.
Rather than being a straight-forward low-budget revenge film magnifying the violence and profanity like plenty of grindhouse exploitation features of this ilk accustomed themselves in the mid to latter end of this decade, director Elliot Silverstein's late-night, southern slice while remaining gristly durable and still lingering on a sadistic front, chooses to rather imply it, letting the dark, moody atmospherics of the character's genuine transformations infuse the uneasy emotions and confronting tension in very slow-measured style that has a worthwhile pay-off.
This works because of the carefully laid out script of the gloomy social commentary ("No one cares") and examining the unremitting affects and pain that go to trouble and engulf the newly wedded couple (the husband angrily seeking retribution and the wife being traumatically unbalanced) and secondly because of the seamless performances by a hard boiled Dack Rambo and the ravishing Rebecca Dianna Smith as David and Jill. Also a gleaming John Beck is fantastic as the aggressively unhinged hit-man / rapist and Pat Hingle is always a delight as Jill's protective father. Jay Robinson kicks in with a small, but colourful part. However the story isn't without its flaws namely that of many open ended plot ties. Director Silverstein's efficient direction is boldly compact making perfect use of the vivid locations to stage the conflicting dramas and pressured induced suspense (plenty of nocturnal sequences). Elmer Bernstein's raucously brooding score leaves a mark.
Amiably effective in its shaming psychological make-up.
Ps. Seeing that director Nicolas Roeg was originally tagged to the project, before leaving after only 5 days into the shoot would've made it interesting to see what he could have made of the material.
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