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There's been alot of speculation on just what the hell Ghetto Freaks really is. The general assumption is that it's an alternate title for the hippie film Love Commune -- which itself is a retitling of its original moniker, Sign of Aquarius, which (to further complicate matters) was also re-released by Donn Davison as Wages Of Sin with Donn himself providing a pointless on-screen introduction. But the wild ad campaign for Ghetto Freaks ("Every White Society Chick Wanted to Join His Soul Family to Get In On the Integrated Action!") makes it look like the ultimate in gutter-level blaxploitation and practically forces one to conclude that it can't possibly be Love Commune. Well, kids, we finally found a genuine, official, 35mm theatrical print whose title card proudly declared itself to be just for this version, showing the black leader of a kinky love cult in some kind of wrist-cutting ritual.
By being 98% Love Commune aint a bad thing since it's a laid-back slice of hippie life -- filmed entirely in Cleveland of all places -- that's another totally-stoned time capsule of late-Sixties America. All of which is neatly summed up by the first two shots: "They should cut their goddamn hair! Get the lice of their hair!" says a disgusted middle-aged man who clearly represents The Establishment, before a hippie walks up to the camera and flips the finger which he then turns into a peace sign. Ghetto Freaks...no. Hippie freaks, you bet.
"I'm tired of being called a draft-dodger, a bum, and a pervert," says Sonny, a draft dodger, a bum, and a pervert who heads up a household of fifteen hippies with names like Halo and Stringbean. There's also a 'fro-headed black hippie (prominently featured in the Ghetto Freaks ads) who's called...Mousey. While hanging out at a local rock club -- boasting godawful music but great Sixties-style dance moves -- Sonny watches as a wealthy mother tries to "rescue" her daughter Diane from the corrupting hippie environment. Sonny slips Diane his address and, moments later, she's taking her first acid trip with him and having sex on the floor as everyone in the house dances naked around them in the obligatory LSD trip scene--
Which is when the film suddenly cuts to either another room, or another house, or another planet where a black robed cult leader -- whom we've never seen before and won't see again -- officiates over a ceremony involving a bunch of what appear to be mostly white women wearing afro wigs. The leader cuts his wrist and the wrists of two women, then everyone happily dances, Oh, them wacky ghetto freaks!
Sonny then shows Diane the joys of panhandling and the thrill of demonstrating in the park before some thug drug dealers remind everyone that reality really sucks...
From GEORGE ROBERTS, the genius producer of Fireball Jungle and The Weird World of LSS. Outta sight, baby.
Mickey ShiffOther cast:
Gabe Lewis, Jim Coursar, Nick KleinholtzDirected by:
Robert J. Emery