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This Stuff'll Kill Ya & Year of Yahoo [DVD] [1971] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Jeffrey Allen , Tim Holt , Herschell Gordon Lewis    DVD

Price: 4.94
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pass the jug, boys, I think I found Herschell Gordon Lewis's best movie 1 July 2005
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
This is the third DVD from Something Weird that I have seen that is devoted to the works of Herschell Gordon Lewis, who has made some of the most boring B-movies that I have ever seen (the answer to your unasked question is not that I am a glutton for punishment but that I am apparently committed to checking out every Something Weird DVD I can find). However, while "This Stuff'll Kill Ya!" is a typically boring Lewis picture, "The Year of the Yahoo!" is actually worth watching. After all, there are not too many B-movies that deal this well with politics in the pre-Watergate Nixon years and I would hate to think that the best part of this DVD ended up being the Something Weird introductory montage (which I almost have memorized I have seen it so often this year).

But first you have to sit through "This Stuff'll Kill Ya!" This 1971 effort stars Jeffrey Allen as the Reverend Roscoe Boone, a Foghorn Leghorn sort of redneck windbag who has started a congregation based primarily on the effects of white lightin'. But these are perilous times for the Reverend because the F.B.I. have a thing about bootleggers. Meanwhile, the price of a sip from the jug has gone from a dime to two bits and really bad things are happening to not only those helping the revenuers but also members of the congregation. That is how Lewis gets to work in the requisite blood in this film, while the sex scenes consist mostly of pieces of clothing flying through the air. In the How Far the Mighty Have Fallen category we have Tim Holt in his last screen appearance as F.B.I. Agent Clark, but this one rises and falls on the performance by Allen, because you are not going to like the film more than you like that. I come down right in the middle on this one and give it 2.5 stars.

The premise of the 1972 film "The Year of the Yahoo!" is that the President of the United States wants liberal Senator Fred Burwell (Robert Swain) defeated. So the political operatives and media hucksters of the party decide to run Hank Jackson (Claude King), a country and western singer. The idea is that a political neophyte who happens to be a celebrity can take the lead in the polls over an incumbent U.S. senator when he shuts up and does what they tell him to. If that means sitting on a horse and looking concerned about the problems facing the nation, then that is what Hank will do while one of his patriotic songs plays in the background. The fly in the ointment is a rent strike, which Hank is supposed to support. But the facts and his fiancé Tammy Parker (Ronna Riddle) are on the other side, and it becomes clear this is what is going to bring the candidate to a crisis of conscience.

Allen Kahn wrote the screenplay for the second movie and that becomes the simplest explanation for why this film is superior to the first (and every other Lewis movie I have seen to date). Kahn was an ad copywriter at Lewis's ad agency and apparently had a working knowledge of Marshall McLuhan ("The Medium is the Massage") if not Vance Packard ("The Hidden Persuaders") and Joe McGinnis ("The Selling of the President"). Then again, maybe this is just a cross between "A Face in the Crowd" and "The Candidate." By those standards this is not much of a film, but in the world of Herschell Gordon Lewis (you feel compelled to use his entire name every time) this would probably be considered his masterpiece. If I did not recognize Jeffrey Allen and several other San Antonio locals who are in both films, then I probably would never have suspected this was one of his productions.

Credit goes to Sheldon Seymour for most of the songs in "The Year of the Yahoo!" because they capture the political spirit of the time and place, but it turns out that Seymour is really Herschell Gordon Lewis, which means the man is more talented than I had thought (the song he wrote for "This Stuff'll Kill Ya!" is pretty catchy too). Kahn wrote the lyrics for the "Welfare Rag," with music by Robert Lewis. The movie also has the advantage of Claude King, who had a Top 10 hit in 1962 with "Wolverton Mountain," singing all of these songs, so there is no problem believing Hank Jackson is a country singing star. King is never as comfortable acting as he is singing, but that is to be expected and there are enough telling jabs at politics and the media to warrant this one coming in at 3.5 stars.

The Cornfed Extras on this DVD include a pair of above-average commentary tracks by Lewis camera man Daniel Krogh (who plays Steve in the second feature), which justify rounding up to get to 4 stars for the entire DVD, a rustic musical short for the first feature involving singing "The Old Grey Goose Is Dead," and a short entitled "Naked Moonshine" which involves topless women making booze in the privacy of their own home. There is a relative short gallery feature this time around because this is specifically a "Gallery of Herschell Gordon Lewis Exploitation Art," and trailers for a half-dozen trailers of Lewis films, including both of these features "She-Devils on Wheels," "Two Thousand Maniacs," "A Taste of Blood," "The Wizard of Gore," and "Blast-Off Girls." Based on my experience to date, watching the trailer for a Hershell Gordon Lewis film is almost always better than actually watching the film, with "The Year of the Yahoo!" would be the exception that proves that particular rule.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love year of the yahoo 3 Dec 2004
By R. C Jolly - Published on Amazon.com
but then i am prejudiced - i was a star in the film

thought it had been long lost to history - don't think it was ever released ! what a hoot to discover it forever saved on dvd.

remember lights falling on us when the duct tape gave way and running to the bank with the final pay check to turn than into cash

all sorts of san antonio actors show up in little bits and pieces

a really awful film, but my one shot at cinematic glory (was in Viva Max, too, if you look very closely)

i absolutely reccomend it to no one unless you were in it.

Robert Jolly - Chet
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rednecks Galore! 3 Oct 2004
By Christopher W. Curry - Published on Amazon.com
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 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 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 Year of the Yahoo!! stands well enough on it's own, This Stuff'll Kill Ya! is made all the more watchable 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. - C. Curry
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