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"This is the place where white lightnin’ flows jes’ like water ’n your life ain’t worth a plugged nickel if'n you wear a badge!"
The first film made by HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS after he split with partner David F. Friedman, Moonshine Mountain was shot in the hills of South Carolina. But what was supposed to be a family comedy ("A Rip-Roarin’ Screenload of Cornball Action and Excitement!") actually comes off as something far more sinister and disturbing than Lewis’ infamous redneck classick , Two Thousand Maniacs!
Popular folk singer and Big City Slicker Doug Martin (CHUCK SCOTT) heads for the hills to live amongst the simple people whose music he’s co-opted. Wandering around with guitar in hand, Doug finds a hotel in the quaint mountain community of Stuartsville where he comes upon the genuine warbling of some local hillbillies out in front of their house.
Meet the Carpenters: Paw Jeb (JEFFREY ALLEN, Mayor Buckman in Two Thousand Maniacs!), lovely Laura (BONNIE HINSON), Mary Lou (GRETCHEN EISNER, who looks like a toothless escapee from a mental hospital but sings like an angel), Hutto (PAT PATTERSON, director of The Electric Chair), and Raf (BEN MOORE in a role similar to his Two Thousand Maniacs! character, Lester). The kinfolk assume Doug’s a "revenoor" until they hear him "pick," and he does, mighty fine at that.
As Laura’s date, Doug also attends a special down-home barn dance — imagine an even lower-budget version of Hee Haw with square dancing, country music, and inbreds galore — and visits "the world’s largest illegal still" (painted a not too conspicuous bright red!) where he gets all likkered up in an act of hillbilly hospitality.
But things turn grim when Doug’s bitchy girlfriend, Delia (MARILYN WALTERS) shows up and is promptly raped and murdered by creepy Sheriff Potter (DON JOSEPH, maniacal artist Adam Sorg of Color Me Blood Red and billed here as... "Adam Sorg"!). As if that weren’t twisted enough, the demented Sheriff also rapes Mary Lou out behind the chicken coop, apparently just for the hell of it. Federal agents then show up to investigate the Carpenters’ moonshine operation but Potter and his deputy stomp them to death and throw their bodies in the still, no doubt giving the white lightning that extra boost of flavor. On a roll, Potter flips out further ("I killed that Yankee woman! Damn tootin’ I did!") and goes completely berserk before a violent but, yes, happy ending...
Fans of hillbilly music will enjoy the authentic backwoods performances by THE CATALINAS, GAY LAND AND THE THUNDERBIRDS, and THE SWEET GUM SISTERS AND BROTHER. Not surprisingly, Herschell wrote most of the songs himself. His talents never cease to amaze...
From a 35mm print "in Lightnin’ Bright color!"
Don Joseph ("Adam Sorg")Other cast:
Jeffrey Allen, Ben Moore, Pat Patterson, Bonnie Hinson, Marilyn WaltersDirected by:
Herschell Gordon Lewis