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This Stuff'll Kill Ya! (1971) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • A backwoods Bible-quoting Foghorn Leghorn-ish con man who believes in free love and moon-shining runs into trouble with the locals when a series of gruesome religious murders are committed: a new bride is raped off-screen, a woman is stoned and two others are crucified.

    MG
  • Roscoe Boone is a backwater, Bible-quoting, con artist/preacher who runs a moonshine distillery in a rural Deep South town and whom controls his illegal business with a posse of redneck thugs who manufacture and traffic his moonshine whiskey and participate in his drinking sermons. But while Boone's business has support from half of the townspeople, the other half are against him especially when his preaching of drinking, free love and open marriage had led to the recent gang-rape of a young bride on her wedding day. Things get more complicated with the arrival of two Federal agents from the state capital whom threaten to shut down Boone's whiskey still for a variety of felony charges. But in another turn of events, one of Boone's most loyal followers goes on a killing spree after apparently taking Preacher Boone's bible quotes a bit too far, starting with the stoning of the young bride, and then the crucification of two other young women.

  • A redneck con artist sets himself up as a preacher in a small Deep South town to run his moonshine distillery and clashes with a number of locals and a federal agent bent on shutting his operation down.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • In the backwoods of the rural South, Rev. Roscoe Boone believes that the scripture "I shall drink the spirit of the Lord" should be taken literally and consequently, dispenses moonshine along with his sermons at his church, the Congregation of the Heavenly Spirits. The church also advocates the tenet of free love, and so, at the marriage ceremony of congregants Mary Ellen and Zeke, the reverend invites the congregations male members to have sex with Mary Ellen as the strains of Here Comes the Bride plays in the background.

    Later, at a business meeting between the reverend and his girl friend Elsie, Grady, Sam and Turnip, his associates in the "White Lightnin'", moonshine still, the group divides the profits and plots to put their competition, the local liquor store, out of business. Soon after, the reverend enters the store and after denouncing it as a place of sin, proceeds to smash several liquor bottles onto the floor.

    That night at the Congregation of Heavenly Spirits, as the parishioners drink, sing and dance, government agents Markel and Clark arrive to confiscate the whiskey for the bootleggers' failure to pay federal taxes. Claiming that he is dispensing cough syrup, not spirits, the reverend disarms the agents, then pours a healthy dose of moonshine down the throat of the humorless Markel. After Markel passes out, the reverend aims one of the agents pistols at Clark and forces him to have sex with Janet, one of the parishioners, while Bubba photographs the proceedings. Afterward, the reverend threatens to use the photos to blackmail Clark, a happily married man, unless he swears that the moonshine was cough medicine. Later, on her way home from church, Maryellen is stoned to death by an unseen assailant.

    The next day after Turnip, a notoriously bad driver, drives off on his moonshine run, word comes of Mary Ellen's death. As Turnip speeds along, he is chased by a police car, and while trying to outrun it, crashes his car, causing his cargo of moonshine to explode, incinerating Turnip in the ensuing conflagration.

    Later, the Rev. Boone presides over Mary Ellen's funeral service, intoning the Biblical admonition let he who is without sin cast the first stone. At Turnip's funeral, the reverend proclaims his late business associate a burnt sacrifice of the Lord. At the next congregation, the reverend summons Turnip's son Carter to the church to invite him to take his father's place. When Carter's prim and proper fiancee Lynn objects, however, Carter turns down the reverend's offer. After Carter and Lynn leave, two young women whose car has broken down enter the church to ask for help. However, when one of the women threatens to expose the still, the reverend encourages Bubba and Beau, another member of his flock, to ravish them.

    The next morning, as the congregation steps out of the church, they find the women's dead bodies, each nailed to a cross embedded in the churchyard. Meanwhile, Carter, who is trying to save money to attend college in Chicago, decides to quit his low-paying construction job and accept the reverend's offer.

    To put the moonshiners out of business, Clark arranges for a local distiller to produce "White Lightnin'," which the liquor store then sells at a lower cost than the reverends brand. Outraged at being undercut, the reverend appears at the liquor store accompanied by his lawyer, Samuel B. Grimes, who serves the owners with a cease and desist order based on the trumped-up charge that Sam was poisoned by a bottle of "White Lightnin'," he bought at the store. To strengthen his case, the reverend then instructs Bubba to feign that he was also poisoned by the liquor. Worried about government surveillance, Carter has second thoughts and decides to quit his job.

    As he turns in the keys to his car, Clark and the sheriff arrive to arrest Sam and Bubba as frauds. Learning that the reverend is next on their list, Carter hurries to warn Boone and talks him into shutting down the still if Clark will agree to drop the charges. When Clark arrives, Carter convinces him to free Rev. Boone, Sam and Bubba in exchange for closing the still and destroying the incriminating negatives of Clark having sex with Janet. After the law officers drive off, Grady, blaming Carter for ruining his livelihood, announces that he is going to kill him. Aiming his shotgun at Carter, Grady admits to killing Mary Ellen and the two other women. As the reverend tries to wrestle the shotgun from Grady, the weapon fires, discharging a round of ammunition directly into Grady's face, killing him instantly. The congregation then encircles Grady's bloody body as Rev. Boone looks up to the skies and prays for his soul reciting the 23rd Psalm.

    The End.

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