WHISKEY MOUNTAIN is an obscure movie I came across through my usual Slasher Search method of scanning for VHS boxes in the horror section. It’s from 1977 and I’m pretty sure it was made after the filmatists saw 1974’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, but you could probly stick it in the DELIVERANCE redneck attack type of genre more than in horror.
This is the story of two couples who take their dirtbikes up into some mountains in search of treasure. Like in TEXAS CHAIN SAW they’re looking for family property they vaguely know about, and a local business proprietor warns them they don’t want to be nosing around on other people’s property. Also like in CHAIN SAW that local shows up later on as one of the attackers.
But these protagonists look much older and more capable than the CHAIN SAW kids. One of them is Christopher George from DAY OF THE ANIMALS, PIECES and ENTER THE NINJA. They are men’s men proudly showing off their shiny belt buckles and their sideburns and their hot blond wives. And to their hot blond wives’ credit they also ride dirtbikes and can hold their own with the men in that department.
Remember CHAIN SAW’s creepy as hell opening and credits under weird ambient sounds and abstract sun flare footage? This one starts with a long dirt bike race. Kinda reminded me of BROWN BUNNY. But after that it seems pretty promising as they ask questions about antique guns in a store and we learn they’re trying to determine the value of a stash of Confederate muskets one woman’s grandpa said he buried in a Confederate cemetery in a legendary spot called Whiskey Mountain. The locals tell them it doesn’t exist, but that’s not going to stop them.
There’s alot of padding in the movie, mostly footage of them driving their dirt bikes through trails, some swimming. Eventually things pick up when they run into a scary old man who giggles at them, seems to be mute at first and then only speaks gibberish. They’re afraid of him but spend the night with him after he shows them his fish trap and a shit load of trout he caught. He’s crazy but harmless. Maybe?
The trouble comes when they finally find the spot they’re looking for in a cave behind a waterfall. It turns out to be a stash spot for a marijuana operation, and the growers get them at gunpoint. They swear they won’t tell anybody and make it clear that they are fans of this particular product themselves, but the gang takes them hostage. The leader is the general store owner they met earlier (now speaking in a different accent, they point out) and he’s an intense asshole, but the other guys are worse because they’re giggly yahoo rapists who he shouldn’t, but does, trust to watch after the women.
Here’s a definite TEXAS CHAIN SAW similarity: one of the yahoos likes to take Polaroid pictures. This is used for an unusual filmatistic gimmick that’s very disturbing but probly prevents us from seeing worse: their attack on the women is portrayed through a series of Polaroids made to look like they’re developing in front of us.
Then there is a scuffle and everything. Thankfully their motorcycling skills do come into play when one of them jumps a collapsed bridge to escape the bad guys (unfortunately they cheat and don’t have much of a stunt for this part).
I had no idea when I rented this, but the director is William Grefe, same guy that did STANLEY and MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH. Also IMDb says his daughter played “Big Edna” in PORKY’S II: THE NEXT DAY. Judging from the ones I’ve seen he’s a pretty straight up exploitation director, a guy without much skill or precision but with a little craziness that occasionally pokes its head through the cloud of gloom and makes the movie semi-interesting. I was hoping the family’s Confederate past would have some kind of purpose, but the movie doesn’t have any big ideas on its mind. Its biggest strengths are the performances by two of the bad guys, John Chandler (WALKING DEAD PART II, PHANTASM III) as the treacherous store owner and whoever plays the giggly fish net guy. (Robert Leslie?)
This seems like an obscure drive-in flop, but the weird thing is that the soundtrack (including theme song) is by Charlie Daniels and the Charlie Daniels Band. And it’s pretty good.
VERN has a new action-horror novel out called WORM ON A HOOK! He has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the film criticism books Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal and Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer!: Writings on Bruce Willis, Badass Cinema and Other Important Topics as well as the crime novel Niketown.