The Acid Eaters (1968)
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Director: Byron Mabe
Also Known As: The Acid People
Tagline: A film of anti-social significance!… An adult happening in psychedelic color!… The first Hollywood underground movie!
Plot: Remember the Drew Carey Show title sequence set to The Vogues' "5 O'Clock World," in which Carey and his associates danced their way through a typical work day? Imagine that bit extended to 10 times its length, and the catchy music replaced by close-ups of flushing toilets and people chewing sandwiches. Then imagine that at the end of the montage, a half-dozen or so of the cubicle drones meet up in an alley, strap on their biker gear, and drive to the woods to get loaded and murder squares. That's more or less the setup for The Acid Eaters, a late-'60s drugsploitation oddity that combines wanton violence and baggy-pants farce.
The bikers meet up by a lake, at a dock sporting a sign that reads, "Taking a trip? Go LSD… the only way to fly!" When they arrive, one of their members is already making it with his old lady underwater, emerging from the deep to gasp, "Welcome to the Submarine Club! You passed the test with flying colors!" There follows a long sequence of topless dancing and body-painting, then some lascivious rolling around in the grass, and then, inevitably, the slaughter of a passing motorist for pot money. (The gang's resident artist hangs a sign around the victim's neck, reading: "Here lies a man who lost his [drawing of donkey] so we could buy some grass.")
Finally, the bikers reach their ultimate destination: A massive pyramid made out of LSD-tinted sugar bricks, where they dance toplessly some more, flashback to traumatic childhood memories—including a disturbing scene where one of the women moans, "Daddy, let's not play hide-and-seek. Let's play the same game we played in the woodshed when I was 15. Remember?"—and are tormented by a demonic presence who looks like the Underwood Devil.
Then, in spite of the lives they've ruined—and the chastising flash cuts of a disappointed old woman—our beloved dope fiends head back to L.A. and back to their respective offices, raving about what a wonderful weekend they've had. Because nothing restores the soul than a bloody, drug-fueled crime spree.
Key scenes: In the midst of their naked romp in the grass, one of the biker-ettes takes exception to another broad making time with her man, so she engages her in a topless knife-fight, then chases her into quicksand. [Note: Clip is NSFW.]
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After the chicky-baby sinks below the quicksand—flipping the bird to her mates as she goes—the artist posts a sign that reads, "Here lies girl with mud in her eyes and useless thighs." Not 30 seconds later, the lady is in hell, greeted by a pidgin-English-speaking Indian who's playing chess with an old-timey bartender.
Soon, of course, all the bikers will be in hell… an acid hell! And there they'll meet Satan, who talks like a Catskills comic and grants wishes. You know, just like in The Bible:
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Can easily be distinguished by: The persistent zaniness and comic surrealism, apparently meant to make us sympathize with this ersatz Manson Family.
Sign that it was made in 1968: The women may believe in free love, but they still wear bathing caps into the water to preserve their fancy hairdos.
Timeless message: Do not accept anyone's invitation to join the Submarine Club.
Memorable quotes: The artist asks one of his topless pals how she'd like to be painted, asking, "What's your pleasure, treasure?" To which she replies, "Color me red! Red-hot!" Later, when it's time to extract some dough from a civilian, the ringleader of the gang shouts at his ladies, "Okay skags, get it on the road! We gotta hit a sucker!"
Available on DVD from Something Weird.