Saturday, February 27, 2016

Texas Detour (1978)

Texas Detour is not without its low pleasures. The contrived story of three Californians who become victims while trapped in a small town, the picture is predicated on stereotypes and stupidity, as per the norm for drive-in schlock. Yet the movie knows just which lizard-brain responses to provoke, so the evil guys do evil things, the heroic characters do heroic things, and the sexy starlet gets naked. There’s also an abundance of vehicular action, including a couple of dirt-bike scenes. Much of this is set to original songs by Flo & Eddie, formerly of the Turtles, whose tunes mimic popular Me Decade musical styles. (One number, “The Big Showdown,” is a fair simulacrum of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run vibe.) Alas, the picture’s shortcomings greatly outnumber its trashy thrills. The story begins with the McCarthy siblings—twentysomething Clay (Patrick Wayne) and teenagers Dale (Mitch Vogel) and Sugar (Lindsay Bloom)—venturing from L.A. to Nashville, where Clay has a job doing stunt work on a movie shoot. The McCarthys are run off the road by crooks who steal their van, so the siblings hitch a ride with creepy redneck Beau Hunter (Anthony James). After even creepier Sheriff Burt (R.G. Armstrong) takes their crime report, the McCarthys accept an offer of hospitality from Beau, who lives on the ranch owned by his dad, John (Cameron Mitchell). While on the ranch, Clay falls for Beau’s sister, Claudia (Priscilla Barnes), even as circumstances wend inevitably toward Beau raping Sugar. Reprisals ensue. As in their other films of the same period, Barnes is ornamental and Wayne is wooden, so it falls to Armstrong and James to inject Texas Detour with individuality. There’s only so much they can do, seeing as how the movie’s dialogue was apparently composed for the benefit of viewers perplexed by language past the first-grade level.

Texas Detour: LAME

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