Monday, February 1, 2010

The Big Cube (1969)

The Big Cube

Written by William Douglas Lansford
Directed by Tito Davison

Adriana Roman...Lana Turner
Lisa Winthrop...Karin Mossberg
Charles Winthrop...Dan O'Herlihy
Johnny Allen...George Chakiris

Lisa Winthrop, the uptight daughter of a wealthy businessman, spends her days loathing Adriana, her retired actress Step-Mother, and her nights seduced by hip young medical student Johnny Allen. Johnny and his friends (with whom Lisa stands out like a sore thumb) like to hang out at swinging night clubs and offer up a hot shot of LSD to whoever pisses them off. Just slip it in their beer--but not their coffee--because acid, like revenge, is a dish best served cold.

So when Lisa's father is killed in a boating accident and Adriana stands in the way of Lisa's inheritance, it doesn't take much convincing from Johnny about what they need to do next. Suddenly Adriana's sedatives are spiked with hallucinogens in an effort to convince the world that she has lost her once-strong mind.

The story here is nothing new, really, but it's filtered through a pseudo-psychedelic lens that keeps things relatively interesting. The film is populated by a supremely kooky supporting cast of hippies, burnouts, artists, go-go girls and beatnik leftovers. These scenes, for me, were the bread and butter of this movie even though they weren't the backbone of the story. I'm a sucker for psychedelica and subterranean culture, even when (perhaps especially when) they're only being exploited and exaggerated by "Hollywood". The ridiculous, over-the-top touches by filmmakers trying too hard to showcase a sub-culture that they have no working knowledge of in order to make a quick buck elevates these works into a curious form of Pop Art, almost despite themselves.

Despite my relative praise of the overall genre, I must admit that this particular film does wear a bit thin at times, and the ending was a drawn-out, amateur psychology-infused mess. The Big Cube is not for everyone, but those of you who thought that the Monkees needed an occasional murder mystery may find it of interest.

Rated PG
98 Minutes
United States/Mexico

"I belong to the New Generation."

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