5 July 2009 | Coventry
Bring out the Banjos! Textbook "hicksploitation" gem.
Hicks and hillbillies ahoy! Straight away from the rhythmically joyous title song serenade, you just know this will become a glorious Southern-flavored cheesy mix of wild shooting farmers, indecent yokels and a whole lot of horse-lovers! The whole point and raison d'être of "Texas Detour" is a complete mystery to me, but I sure do love this typically 70's trend of "Hicksploitation". Every couple of sequences, there's a primitive musical interlude while you can look at images of pick-up trucks in the desert, Yi-Ha! Three hippie siblings are held up in a little Texan hick town when their A-Team van gets stolen by fugitive criminals. They find shelter and temporary jobs with the town's patriarch John Hunter, his beautiful daughter Claudia and his obnoxiously spoiled brat son Beau. The son is interested in the girl hippie Sugar, but she's a liberated woman and thus chooses to date a simple town's mechanic instead. Obviously the one thing you shouldn't do in rural Texas is turn down a spoiled redneck son. Beau takes what he wants anyway and rapes Sugar, upsetting not only her brothers but also his own sister who fell in love with the oldest brother Clay. When Beau is then stabbed to death in a banal bar fight, the blame naturally falls on Clay and the whole posse has to go on the lam (insert banjo music here)
"Texas Detour" is a fun time-waster without too many high ambitions. The deliberately clichéd situations and jokes are reasonably effective, like the shy music-obsessed sibling experiencing his first sexual contact with a willing local girl and the obligatory "get-your-hands-off-my-woman" bar fight scene. Halfway through, the film shifts into a higher gear and finally also dares to show some action and sleaze. Personally I feel a movie like this should have been much sleazier and more violent, but writer/director Howard Avedis ("Mortuary") clearly opted to retain the light-headed tone and atmosphere throughout the film. Several lines in the screenplay are fantastically offensive ("Oh come on, she probably has been raped before
") and that typical southern hospitality gets more claustrophobic with every minute that passes. "Texas Detour" is amusing but totally harmless. I still feel convinced we should have seen more boobs, pitch-fork truck chases, male backwoods rape, incestuous undertones, farm animals, chewing tobacco and perhaps maybe some rodeo footage!