Thursday, 22 March 2012

Hallucination Generation (1966)

A rare drugsploitation classic from small, independent shop – Trans American Films. The script veers away from usual West/East Coast setting, proposing Ibiza filled with black-dressed beatniks instead, who are heavily into drugs – LSD, weed, heroin, seconal... anything goes. Young Bill is the center of these titillating exploits hanging around with a gang of freeloaders on his family's tab. A luck dries out though when his auntie flies over from USA and tells him he needs to go on his own straight away. As Bill faces further life in Spain on a shoestring budget, he falls into a deep depression and even starts abusing his Spanish girlfriend. Eventually it comes down to the only solution – getting high and robbing the rich bastards!

An opportunity promptly pops up, when a girlfriend tells him about an older chap in Barcelona, who gets robbed at least once a week and doesn't even need to be held at a gunpoint – a real sucker. That sounds promising, but Bill with his artistic soul and moral dilemmas cannot just go for it. Here, where Eric comes into the game. Being a kind of spiritual godfather of all local beatniks, smuggling and slinging drugs from Morocco and turning everybody on to the tune of "new world is coming, brothers and sisters" rap, he's a perfect man to convince Bill, that it could be safe & clean gig. Eric's persona resembles sort of Timothy Leary and Howard Marks cross – creative in a cheesy way, just try to imagine! He has a girlfriend, who nags him all the time about the cool cats kicking back in their pad, but he doesn't give a shit getting around anyway.

While Eric advises heroin and LSD as a way to expand your consciousness (whou would coin such a gibberish in 1966?), he cannot sell the word to Bill, who basically likes to get high on weed and is afraid to get hooked on hard stuff. But when poor boy eventually breaks down from all the misery, Eric will pour a kool-aid down his throat effectively brainwashing his mind and tuning it to the crime note – he'd like his share after old man is shaved off. Still high on LSD, Bill and his friend get down to it, but the trip goes South and becomes a terrifying ride! What a bummer, man! Although I wouldn't consider this dumb flick by any means essential for 60's exploitation fans, the addicts should try to check it out, even if solely for "believe me, revolution is coming" wacky type of dialogue lines.

"Hallucination Generation" has an interesting pre-hippiesploitation feel as well – the last of retarded ones sort of vibe – cause who's been doing beatnik B-movies at this point? It features occasional 60's garage music and offers some lousy, cheapish visuals, particularly when LSD is kicking Bill's neurons, but on the top it's shot in black & white, which retains some vintage appeal. However, do not expect nothing but a drugsploitation drivel, no cinematic fireworks and definitely no nudity. If you manage to sit back and relax, you'll catch some laughable scenes, but that's it! Who would watch any of those ones seriously anyway? Acting is not that bad and these beautiful beaches or night lights of Barcelona somehow do the job. Edward Mann, who directed the movie, was kind of a minor cult individual for American experimental theater and that's a real news. The framing seems also very peculiar for a B-movie with long, dynamic shots, inevitably picturesque or even romantic if you like.

[The movie can be purchased from Cinema de Bizarre]

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