Friday, May 20, 2011

Death Weekend

(William Fruet, 1976)
Once more for the benighted: Fruet is one of the most fascinating figures of the tax shelter era, having emerged as the writer of Goin' Down the Road, moving on to direct the almost as reputable Wedding In White, only to make a sudden and unchallenged swerve into the cinematic sleaze pit under the sway of an up-and-coming Ivan Reitman. A runty rich guy has a model over to his luxurious mansion in the woods, only to have his rather unrefined advances spurned, causing him to rant at length about the virtues of money and power. Only here come those rednecks from up the street, ready to kick some bourgeois ass. You can tell this was made by people in possession of their brains, most especially Brenda Vaccaro, who is adamant about maintaining her dignity through the lechery; and there's a class-resentment theme sitting right there if you care to look. But it does get rather confused: the same impulse that leads the bumpkins to trash the mansion lead them to rape women, and who knows what the hell that last shot is getting at: did the whole experience leave her more in touch with her primal inner nature or what? At least you're not ever obliged to sympathize with the rich dude, who is almost as hateful as the guy in "Caged Terror". Worth a second look; some cool set pieces.

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