25 November 2007 | Coventry
Ain't no party like a hillbilly wedding party, Yee-Haaa!
A friend and I watched "Poor Pretty Eddie" on the big screen, during a film night special appropriately entitled Rednecksploitation. Let me tell you, along with the ramshackle cinema hangar & the poor quality of the original film spool, the story & atmosphere of this movie catapulted us straight back to the glorious highlight-years of rancid 70's drive-in grindhouse exploitation! Movies like "Poor Pretty Eddie" will not and simply cannot be made anymore nowadays, because they're filthy, always discriminating to someone, rough, women-unfriendly and shameless. If someone made something like this today, groups of protesters would march outside the theaters until the owners have no other choice but to cancel the showings. Anyway, this fabulously entertaining film is shockingly perverse, hilarious and nightmarishly uncanny all at the same time. You've never encountered a bigger bunch of disturbed rednecks, not even in "Deliverance" or "Just before Dawn", and the script covers even the most controversial themes, like racism and rape. Leslie Uggams portrays a popular (and rather cocky) whose car naturally breaks down at the wrong place at the wrong time. On her way to a vacation Liz Wetherly strands in Southern Redneck Hell, at a miserable motel owned by a faded showgirl (now an obese and depressed old lady), a creepy-looking hunting dog lover and last but not least the wide-smirking & clearly deranged Elvis lunatic Eddie Collins. Eddie wants to keep her there, very much against the will of ol' Bertha, and continuously tries to impress her with his questionable singing talents, big white smiling teeth and flamboyant outfits that reveal his muscles and massive amount of chest hair. When all friendly approaches fail, Eddie rapes Liz and forces her into marrying him. Needless to say she slowly & tragically starts losing her senses. This low-budget exploitation classic naturally thrives on atmosphere & demented character drawings instead of on convoluted plotting and special effects. The lead characters are wondrously twisted, but literally every single one of the supportive characters are remarkable as well, like the sleazy tomato-sucking sheriff (the late grate Slim Pickens), his slingshot operating retard-sidekick and the perverse & fat-bellied judge/pool bar owner. Many of the crazed sequences in "Poor Pretty Eddie" literally need to be seen to be believed, for example the astonishingly tasteless montage of Liz' rape interlarded with images of two dogs copulating in front of an assembly of seemingly aroused farmers and to the tunes of another great country song. The acting performances are great; notably outstanding are Shelley Winters (Oscar winner AND exploitation siren, respect!), Ted Cassidy (the original Addams Family's Lurch) and of course Michael Christian as the titular not-so-poor and not-so-pretty Eddie. The climax sequence, set during an authentic and joyful hillbilly wedding party, is terrifically violent with slow-motion massacres and a total absence of sound. The film is overall poorly made, but several shots are surprisingly imaginative and the filming locations were definitely enchanting. "Poor Prettie Eddie" is most definitely a hidden gem. Sometimes falsely promoted as a Blaxploitation flick (with an a.k.a title "Black Vengeance") and the cover image here on the website makes it look like an average Psycho-inspired slasher movie, in reality the film is a totally unique and unforgettable drive-in experience.