8/7/12

Viva VHS #8: Hick Flicks


I've posted before on one of my favorite genres of film - the hick flick (i.e. hicksploitation).  The genre can cover everything from Smokey & the Bandit and Six Pack to Deliverance and I Spit on Your Grave, depending on how loose your definition is.

Certainly, the movie poster is the bigger canvas, and subsequently often has the best artwork. However, the VHS box art could be quite interesting as well (often just modified versions of the movie posters).  Of course, some were downright awful.  Here's some from the Retrospace collection.  Enjoy.




He's a truckin' man and that means he beats the crap out of people and has lots of sex.  A generation that grew up worshiping cowboys worshiped at the foot of the trucker in the 1970s.  He didn't follow societal rules, but unlike the biker, he was a champion for good.


God it must've been good to be a trucker in the seventies.  Blue collar was "in" and you were the king of the open road.  Just me and you and a dog named Boo.... or maybe a higher primate a la BJ & the Bear or Ever Which Way but Loose.



Speaking of Peter Fonda, my all time favorite car chase is the one in Ride with the Devil.  Perhaps it wouldn't fit the definition of a hick flick, but that 20+ minute chase through the backwoods in an RV shooting at a bunch of satanists kicks major league ass.



If I had to pick the face of the hick flick, it would probably be Jerry Reed.  I especially enjoyed his portrayal of a drug pushing pimp in Gator; although, that movie went downhill fast.  "Eastbound and Down" is my favorite hick flick theme. However, "Every Which Way but Loose" by Eddie Rabbit, "Take this Job and Shove It" and Waylon's Dukes of Hazzard theme ain't too shabby either.











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24 comments:

  1. There's some really bad artwork on some of those!

    Highway Action with Jerry Reed and Tom Selleck is really misnamed. Concrete Cowboys, as it's more commonly known, makes much more sense, especially considering they aren't on the highway! They ride a train to Nashville and spend the movie there.

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  2. Talk about false advertising! Many of these poster ads used a girl with cutoffs/halter top and then didn't really deliver the, er, goods. I'm thinking of "Gator Bait".

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    1. True enough. But, I'd say they all did have a chick in skimpy attire just as in the poster including Gator Bait (Claudia Jennings); but if you're lookin' for a bit "more" (inserted manaical pervert laugh), I think if you looked at the genre in its entirety, they delivered more often than not.

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  3. Magic KennyAugust 07, 2012

    Could someone tell me what movie #1 (the one starring "Kelly") is about?

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    1. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0260440/

      Trucker's Woman (1975) AKA Truckin' Man (original title)
      81 min - Action | Drama - May 1975 (USA)
      A young man takes up truck-driving to investigate his trucker father's suspicious death.

      Storyline
      After his father is killed in a suspicious accident while driving his semi, Mike Kelly buys a truck and takes to the road. Along the way he encounters a fiesty young woman and an assortment of dubious characters, all of whom seem to provide some clue to his father's demise.

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    2. Heh, heh. That's pretty much the storyline to every trucker movie.

      Tragedy + feisty chick + dubious characters. Insert car chases and gratuitous nudity and you've got yourself a trucker movie.

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    3. Oh, I remember "Truckin Man." It was shot in my hometown of Florence SC in the 70s. Truly sad regional filmaking at its worst. One line I remember because a girl I went to high school with got a bit part as a waitress (she was actually a waitress at a dive they used for a location shot). "How do you want your coffee?" she asks Truckin Man as she takes his order. "Hot and sweet -- like you." That's dialogue!

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    4. Magic KennyAugust 08, 2012

      Rats. My sarcasm used to be more obvious. :-D I was laughing that "Truckin'" was used five times on the cover. Yeesh.

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    5. actually, Magic Kenny, the fact that you had to explain yourself makes it even funnier.

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  4. "Carnal Highways"...?! IMHO there's only one that really counts. And "Texas burns at night" with the very famous "Suan George"? A typo? The regular viewer doesn't give a damn anyway. "Bootleggers" artwork is probably the most crappy of them all.

    But the question remains: how come that you've got these scandinavian issues in your collection (two Swedish and one probably Norwegian)?

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    1. Very good question. Hick flicks weren't very popular during the heyday of VHS - the blue collar moonshinin' car chase wasn't exactly the vogue in the early to mid eighties. Thus, hick flick VHS tapes are harder to find than most other genres..... so, let's just say I had to go outside my normal terrain to find them.

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  5. "Texas Burns at Night" The tender story of an arsonist poodle and the disfunctional family that loves it!

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    1. "Mess with The Poodle and you might get BURNED! She's a truckin', f**kin' killin' machine and she's burnin' down a neighborhood near you!"

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  6. That looks like a Mercedes Benz SSK on the cover of Highway Action! I love when amazing classic cars randomly show up in these kind of flicks - at the time it was probably just an interesting old-looking car that some producer's friend had. Today, I'd say that car is worth more than the entire gross of that film... Funny economics.

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  7. SignOfZetaAugust 07, 2012

    I think you mean "Race with the Devil", which I agree is pretty great. Ride with the Devil is a much newer movie that I've personally never seen.

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  8. "Highballin'" was a bit of a disappointment. It was a Canadian production, some of the cast has heavy Canadian accents, and it takes place in winter. Jerry Reed alone could not make it an hicksploitation flick. Also, it's a little more grim than the poster would have you believe, IMHO. I thought the movie would be a more light-hearted, good 'ol time, like "Smokey and the Bandit".

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    1. Man, I love "High Ballin'", it's one of my favorite movies. It's more like a western set in modern times with truck drivers instead of cowboys. I thought the bleak Canadian winter was an excellent backdrop for the movie since it is kind of dark and foreboding in tone. The underdog faces long, hard odds.

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  9. Publishers were recycling artwork: the girl on the cover of "Hot summer in barefoot county" is the same as the one on "To the county line". As are two of the cars... Talk about your false advertising.

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  10. I notice Peter Fonda in one film; isn't that his father reprising his Grapes of Wrath role in Bootleggers?

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  11. VHS was rapidly replacing the drive-in as the main venue for these decidely "b" movies. Cannon Films and Roger Corman were the first of many to exploit the technology and market to a 'direct to video' audience. They also exploited the talent, big stars on their way down and talented newcommers on the way up. Annie Potts, Peter Fonda, Angie Dickenson, Susan George all were pretty big names in the day.

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  12. Great post and I love the VHS covers! I love these movies, too. I did a two-part article on this genre, myself some time back. They certainly don't make'em like this anymore.

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  13. Is it just me or does that look like Adam Corolla and Don Johnson in Bootleggers?

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  14. Hixploitation brought me here!

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