Friday, March 6, 2009

Movie Review: Year of the Yahoo (1977)

Year of the Yahoo
Year of the Yahoo/This Stuff'll Kill Ya! from Godfather of Gore Herschell Gordon Lewis
Written by Allen Kahn
Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis

Claude King .... Hank Jackson
Ronna Riddle .... Tammy Parker
Ray Sager .... Sid Angelo
Robert Swain .... Senator Fred Burwell

When Senator Burrwell—who's been in office for 18 years—begins to develop politics too radical for the average American (such as putting a stop to crime, not wanting police to harass innocent civilians, etc.), a crooked political lobby group recruits country music singer Hank Jackson to run against him. Hank signs on quickly, wanting to do something for the country he loves beyond his usual blend of patriotic and Americana ballads.

What follows is a series of misadventures as Hank learns how things are played in the politics game. He's forced to change the way he acts, the way he dresses, and even the way he speaks and the songs he sings. Before long, Hank's whole persona is a sham and he's misrepresenting himself and his politics to the American public.

So why, pray tell, is this film even reviewed here? Because Year of the Yahoo, believe it or not, is a Herschell Gordon Lewis feature. That's right, it seems the Godfather of Gore was trying to broaden his horizons a bit, making a semi-serious but sometimes light-hearted film which is often misrepresented as a hillbilly movie.

Of course as a genre film it's terrible, but taken for what it is, it's really not bad. Much more watchable than This Stuff'll Kill Ya! with which it's double billed.

For completists only and for those who are curious as to what it would have looked like if Lewis had ever had the chance to direct an Elvis film. I'll give the man this much: he compiles one hell of a soundtrack.

Year of the Yahoo comes double billed with This Stuff'll Kill Ya on this Something Weird DVD release. Extra features include audio commentary by Lewis regular David Krogh, “The Old Grey Goose Is Dead” musical short (country music, natch), “Naked Moonshine” short feature (in which 3 roommates get half naked and make punch out of cheap booze), Gallery of Herschell Gordon Lewis Exploitation Art with drive-in radio commercials playing in the background, and theatrical trailers for 8 Lewis films.

Rated R
88 minutes
United States

Yee-Haw, Bitches!

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