Something Weird Video calls their pairing of THE ACID EATERS and WEED a “Turned-On Double Feature.” It’s fitting because it is a pair of counterculture flicks. One is a twisted and tripping sexploitation flick about the joys of LSD and the other a globetrotting documentary on marijuana.
THE ACID EATERS is an odd experimental sexploiter that first illustrates the nine to five work a day rigamarole with the sound of a ticking clocks and intermittent work whistle playing over the day. It’s Friday and after work we follow four couples, all of whom we followed through their work day, they change into their recreation wear (the men all wear jeans and red t-shirts…) and ride out into the country on motorcycles. As the hip gang get high and cavort at the lake an image of a mysterious pyramid briefly flashes as the party continues. Things take a turn for the strange as a cat fight between Chickie (Pat Barrington credited as Camille Grant) and Girl (Sharon Carr) ends with the loser dying in quicksand. The epitaph left by her boyfriend Artie (Buck Kartalian from GYMKATA) reads “Here lies girl with mud in her eyes and useless thighs.” She climbs a stepladder down into hell where an indian chief loses a game of chess… Chickie apologizes to hitting her man Smiley for cheating on her and he strikes her to the ground and smiles warning her to never do so again to the raucous laughter of the rest of the gang…they then begin their search for the White Pyramid. Once they enter the pyramid they find Artie transformed into the Devil and the acid eaters couple in shades of red and green. Pat Barrington struts her stuff as she dances to bongos. After having their LSDreams they return to work on Monday and trudge their way looking forward to the next weekend.
THE ACID EATERS generally gets little love and is regarded as one of Something Weird’s lesser titles. I found it highly enjoyable and intriguing in its genuine weirdness. Granted there were things going for it like sprawling landscapes, a weird ass pyramid, acid-tripping action and gratuitous nudity, especially from beautiful and busty Pat Barrington. That being said, I can see why it could rub some the wrong way. There is also an unpleasant reference to Chickie’s youth while she is having her LSDream she says, “Daddy, let’s not play hide and seek. Let’s play the same game we played in the woodshed when I was fifteen.” Other oddities that are encountered in THE ACID EATERS includes what is one of the most offensive depictions of a Native American on film, a giant white pyramid made of LSD, a toke led by the Devil, wacky trips and a remarkably effective and well-edited opening montage that sums up a typical workday in a matter of minutes while being both stylistic and interesting.
WEED is a feature length documentary on marijuana. Alex de Renzy interviews law enforcement, customs officials, drug dealers, marijuana growers and shows some of the congressional hearings during the Nixon presidency. He travels the world to tell the story. He goes to Mexico to see the fields and to Vietnam where he interviews G.I.’s about how easy it is to score marijuana while the war is still going on. The explanations of the Vietnamese black market makes for interesting viewing. In his search for Cambodian Red he shows the effects of the war that spilled over from Vietnam into neighboring Cambodia. He hops country to country and ends with a similar shot to that which opened the film, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances in 1971. The prescient documentary moves to its close with an explanation of NYC’s blue ribbon commission’s findings that the laws are doing more harm than good by making many people criminals and allowing illegal cartels to monopolize a wanted commodity. It asks many questions that are as pertinent today as they were back then.
This Something Weird double feature gives the finger to the status quo. It presents a gorgeous remaster for THE ACID EATERS and WEED looks pretty good too. The special features include trailers for THE HARD ROAD, SIGN OF AQUARIUS, SMOKE AND FLESH, and HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON A TRIP? There are a couple of drug scare shorts too, “LSD, Insight or Insanity?” and “A Crutch for All Seasons.” There is also a gallery for David F. Friedman exploitation art.