THIS STUFF’LL KILL YA / THE YEAR OF THE YAHOO (DVD) Image

Leading off this H.G. Lewis double feature is the 1971 hillbilly horror flick “This Stuff’ll Kill Ya!” “Stuff” follows the exploits of a bogus backwoods minister with a penchant for manufacturing and
distributing illegal moonshine while convincing his congregation through misconstrued bible verses that it is all in the name of the Lord. It sounds great, doesn’t it? Well it’s not. Actually it’s long, dull and boring. The ad campaigns were fab though. “Too
Much Lovin’! Too Much Likker! Too Much Lawbreakin’!” or “It Moves Brother! Better Git On In Here!” though they did conveniently omit at just what speeds the picture moved: slow and slower. Jeffrey Allen as
Reverend Roscoe Boone is as remarkable as the script allows, which ain’t much. Actually Allen is quite good in Lewis’ other 2 hillbilly exploiters, “2000 Maniacs” and “Moonshine Mountain,” but here his
talents are stifled by the stilted dialogue and static direction. Perhaps I’m being overly harsh. The movie’s not a total loss. It does boast some awfully nasty murders with heavy biblical overtones (i.e. stoning, burning and even crucifixions). Also “This Stuff’ll Kill Ya!” was a first for Larry (“Dr. Giggles,” “Darkman”) Drake and a last for Tim (“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”) Holt.

Pulling up the rear on this DVD is 1972’s “The Year of the Yahoo!!” “Yahoo” is a southern fried romp through media manipulation, crooked politics and damned good country and western music. The plot goes something like this. Governor Baxter along with some slick media professionals are determined to unseat liberalist
Senator Fred Burwell, and country star Hank Jackson is called in to become their mouthpiece. Hank falls for their hijinks and commences to run for office even though he unwittingly speaks in favor of the very issues and policies that he himself is opposed or ignorant to. Eventually Hank’s girlfriend calls him out on his political shortcomings and she is summarily attacked and raped by Hank’s backers for her insolence. That’s the last straw for Hank and he
decides to run without the aid of his “technical advisors” and miserably loses the election in an embarrassing landslide. “Yahoo” may not have the patented H.G. Lewis bloodletting but it does possess
some of the highest production values of his 3-dozen-plus films. The photography is top notch (for a Lewis film) as is the editing, acting and script. “Yahoo’s” narrative values were made all the more
poignant by the election of alleged actor Ronald Regan as our fortieth president. While I can’t see a direct connection to George W. Bush we all know that some sort of tomfoolery and shenanigans were put into motion in order to accommodate that silver spoon fed
cretin, but alas I digress.

One of the gems of this DVD is the audio commentary by Lewis’ cameraman and author of The Amazing Herschell Gordon Lewis and His World of Exploitation Films Dan Krogh. Kroghs’ sharp recollections of working on these pictures make for the most informative commentary of all the H.G. Lewis DVDs. Herschell did provide some good stuff on the others but he came across a tad scripted and would many times veer off course. Krogh however stays grounded and walks you through both movies step by step. While “The Year of the Yahoo!!” stands well enough on it’s own, “This Stuff’ll Kill Ya!” is made all the more palatable with Krogh babysitting. In addition to the commentary
track we also get a plethora of trailers and featurrettes providing us with well over 3 hours of rednecks and revenuers.

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