#154 – Death Trip, The

(1972, Can, 100 min) Dir Herbert Yates. Cast Mel McKenna, Virginia Barbeau, Alain Stopkewich, Molly Pilbrow.

Grey skied acid western from Canadian director Herbert ‘Head’ Yates. Mel McKenna (yes, Peterson from TV’s Peterson & Son) is the wild haired, black clad Mansonesque wanderer named X who drifts near dead into the peaceful community of proto-hippies that is Small Preston. Nursed back to health by young Adrianne he seems to pass onto her strange visions of lust and the greater universe, her naked body melding with some strange being of pure light from behind the moon. Soon enough he is championing her as, in his words, “a prophet of the New Religion!” With her blindfolded in advance the whole village follows out into the wilds in search of the new Jerusalem “where the New Gods will descend from the heavens and touch our hearts with their pure light.” Of course half of them starve or die of thirst but the other half make it to the mountains where they find their New Gods and pass through a totally trippy initiation where the world, and the film, becomes pure abstraction. Not bad, if totally hippy dippy, with some astonishing effects considering it was 1972 and they had no money.

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