(1968, US, 122 min) Dir John Alpha. Cast Johnny Spigott, Dean Martin, Mia Farrow, Mae West, Olivia Bream.
Legend has it that psychedelic freak-out King Eye was conceived at a LSD party when legendary studio producer Pat Wagner, then 86, met young freak John Alpha (real name Casanova Berlardinelli), expert party-surfer and professional bullshitter. After a long night crawling on the floor of the universe the two of them bonded hard with Wagner going so far as to employ Alpha as a producer with King Eye, which they had plotted during the consciousness raising blow out, as their first feature. Alpha himself directed and with Wagner’s help cast a slew of big names all desperate to connect with the younger generation by starring in a hip epic. The story was that there was no story, instead two hours of vignettes were produced, some linked and some not, intercut with manic collages of Vietnam War footage, American football games and advertising. Halfway through the film its ostensible lead gets turned into a talking dog and befriends a reanimated JFK whose burst and bloody head sickens everyone they meet. Of course it was a disaster – even in an initial screening filled with friends of the makers it flopped. Wagner’s straight compatriots were incensed at the film’s plotless madness and Alpha’s freaky pals had their vibes totally harshed by its gross violence, aggressive editing and mad lurches in tone. Cut in half it was released a decade later on late night TV where a cult audience with a stronger constitution lapped it up. For Wagner and Alpha however their film careers were over.