Tuesday, January 16, 2018

This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! (1971)

Best known for his low-budget gorefests, exploitation-flick guy Herschell Gordon Lewis also made other types of bad movies, ranging from comedies to porno flicks. Like his earlier picture Moonshine Mountain (1964), This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! is a redneck saga about illegal liquor, and Gordon (who wrote, produced, and directed) takes the title somewhat literally. Although the consumption of white lightning doesn’t cause any fatalities, killers prey upon bootleggers, resulting in several gruesome onscreen deaths. As for the plot, it concerns a film-flam man who poses as a preacher and runs a moonshine operation out of a backwoods church. Presented in a dull but quasi-linear fashion, the story tracks the con man’s efforts to intimidate local liquor-store proprietors out of business, to bribe regional law-enforcement officials, and to put on a convincing show as a religious leader. Executed competently, this premise might have coalesced into a decent drive-in diversion. Executed with Gordon’s usual clumsiness and vulgarity, This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! is consistently bizarre, though not in a good way. The ersatz preacher officiates a wedding at which the male guests gang-bang the bride. A woman is stoned. Two people are crucified. Someone’s head gets blown off in a gory close-up. Sigh. Gordon fans may enjoy seeing one of the director’s frequent collaborators, Jeffrey Allen, in the showy part of the preacher (though Allen’s over-acting gets tired quickly), and cinephiles should note this movie contains both the final screen appearance of Golden Age screen star Tim Holt, who plays a G-man, and the first screen appearance of future L.A. Law costar Larry Drake.

This Stuff’ll Kill Ya!: LAME


Guy Callaway said...

Sorry, but how could you NOT mention the screen debut of Larry ('L.A. Law', 'Darkman') Drake??
Okay, he'd probably be fine with that but, save for 'Blood Feast', this is my 2nd favorite H.G. Lewis "film".

By Peter Hanson said...

Yes, upon reflection, Larry deserves a mention. Upon first seeing his face, I held out hope he might elevate the experience, but, alas, he provides merely background redneckery. Still, a milestone of sorts...