Cinema #4: Hick Flicks, Hicksploitation, and Redneck Cinema

One of my favorite genres of film is Redneck Cinema. It's got everything a man could ever want in a movie: car chases, senseless violence, Honky Tonk Heroes, girls in cutoff shorts, and maybe even a hairy swamp creature of some kind. They come in many flavors: low-budget Hicksploitation (AKA Hixsploitation and Whitesploitation), Hillbilly Horror, and all those trucker movies. I am particularly fond of the term "Hick Flick", coined by Scott Von Doviak, author of Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema, to encompass all these subgenres - "Redneck Cinema" doesn't quite capture them all.

What exactly is a Hick Flick, you ask? Well, that requires a rather lengthy explanation. To understand it fully, you need to really acquaint yourself with the mindset of the 70's, a time when lowbrow was cool - it was an extension of the hippie mentality of living free and not taking orders from "the man" (see my post Lust for Lowbrow for more on this subject). Case in point: there was a lot of overlap between hippie/stoner films and redneck cinema - Cheech and Chong smuggling hash across the border while being pursued by Stacey Keach wasn't all that different than Burt Reynolds smuggling booze while being pursued by Jackie Gleason.

Currently, there's a slight increase in redneck cinema (i.e. The Dukes of Hazzard remake, The Devil's Rejects, and various Larry the Cable Guy projects), but it's not the same. I want to be Philo BeDoe (Every Which Way But Loose) - to kick ass and answer to nobody. When I'm at work, every bit the white shirt office worker, I want to be Gator McKlusky (White Lightning) and smuggle moonshine and drive a muscle car. You just don't find this sort of blue collar idealism today.

There also seemed to be a great deal of fear of the backwoods in the 70's. Movies like Deliverance, I Spit on Your Grave and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre tapped into audience's primal fears of life far, far from the suburbs. Living off the land and back to nature (i.e. "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo") was the hippie ideal, but there was also an element of danger in abandoning the city. A sociologist would have a field day examining the 1970's mindset of deriding shopping malls and urban sprawl ("scars upon the land", as John Denver once sang), and at the same time being scared to death of rural life.

Given the significance of the Hick Flick and its level of popularity, you'd think there'd be a good comprehensive list out there somewhere.... there's not. In my next post, I will attempt to get as close to creating a definitive list as I possibly can - and will ask for your assistance to fill in the gaps. Check back in tomorrow!

End Notes:

1. I should also mention that 70's television also had its share of hick programming -BJ & the Bear, Concrete Cowboys, Dukes of Hazzard, and Sheriff Lobo to name a few.

2. For further discussion on this subject, you may want to check an earlier post: When Truckers Were Cool and Lust for Lowbrow

3. What movie marks the end of the Hick Flick heyday? I think that honor goes to Stroker Ace.


  1. Another great thoughtful post. Did Clint Eastwood play the same character in "Every Which Way But Loose" and "Any Which Way You Can"?

  2. Gil

    I love redneck cinema and certainly many horror films, which I review mostly, deal with country folk dealing with some terror or smug city slickers contending with the results of inbreeding and corn liquor. I grew up in the South, in Ky, Tn, La and Tx mostly, as all those places had air bases my dad was stationed at. My parents were born in Ky.

    Most newer redneck films lack the sincerity of the 70's films and are often over stereotype the country people. A couple horror I can recommend that are newer:

    Cabin Fever
    Albino Farm

    Albino Farm really surprised me. No new territory covered but it is well done and creepy and is next up for review at Necrotic Cinema. A classic redneck horror film would be, to me, Attack of the Giant Leeches which I reviewed over at The Uranium Cafe a while back.

    An overlooked and forgotten genre.


  3. Sounds like a pretty ambitious list you're trying to create. If you cover horror, trucker, crime, and general "good-ole-boys" films, you'll end up with a huge list. Not that it isn't a worthy thing to do, of course.

  4. Gator Bait was the number one rental for months in a store I worked in the the late 1980's.

  5. @GoRetroGirl: Yes, he did: Philo Beddoe.

    And a sad note regarding those two films: John Quade, who played Cholla, the leader of The Black Widows biker gang, passed away August 9th at the age of 71.


  6. I would add "Soggy Bottom USA" to the list...would "The Legend of Boggy Creek" count?

  7. Great work, once again. I believe that this genre is why the show "My name is Earl" is so endearing. It is truly an homage, from the cars and trashy girls, right down to the moustache worship. I mean, even his name HICK-ey.

  8. This is my kind of list. Love it!



  9. Thanks to everyone for their input. I'll put up the list in a few minutes... hopefully, there will be a lot of suggestions to fill in the gaps.

  10. Did Orr-ville tell ya what?

  11. I love the Harry Novak hicksploitation films Tobacco Roody , Southern Comforts , Sweet Georgia , Country Cuzzins ,Sassy Sue ,Midnight Plowboy , etc.