Although we have discussed this film before and have said it doesn’t hold up very well, we must concede that in any discussion of psychedelic films we cannot over look it.
The film is a historic depiction of the counterculture era of the late 1960s and early 70s. And the use of drugs is realistically depicted. In fact the actors actually ingested the drugs their characters are shown using.
The plot is almost irrelevant. Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) are drug dealers and on a roadtrip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. They encounter hippies, a commune of free love, and bigots. They are arrested and meet George Hanson (Jack Nicholson), a drunkard lawyer in jail. George helps them get out of jail and the three continue on to Mardi Gras.
What the film does is to capture the sociopolitical climate of the times. Mainstream culture somehow see the hippies as a threat. The hippies are driven by a yearning for freedom. And drugs provide the route. The scenes of drug use, especially the cemetery scene when Wyatt and Billy drop acid with two prostitutes, Karen (Karen Black) and Mary (Toni Basil), are intense.
These unscripted LSD scenes with a mix of jump cuts, distorted imagery, the use of fish-eye lenses and close-ups of the sun make it a psychedelic must see movie.
Whether you’re “High in Colorado” or not, all the films we’ve mentioned so far this week are worth a look. To re-cap. Our top psychedelic films are: The Red Shoes, Fantasia, Point Blank, 2001:A Space Odyssey, Zabriskie Point, and Easy Rider.