Welcome to Hayes Hudson's House of Horror (4H)

Your online source for Horror news, info, and reviews. I cover new and classic Horror, as well as Exploitation and Cult films. I also discuss books, comics, games, toys, clothing, etc, as long as it pertains to the Horror genre. My movie reviews are short and to the point, as I know when I come across a long review, I tend to skip that one. I hope you enjoy your time at my House of Horror! Come on in!

Sunday, July 7, 2024




    While horror is my main go to on this page, I like to be well rounded and cover some similar genres as well.  I have covered some Sci-fi, some Exploitation, some Sexsploitation, and even some Nunsploitation!  I thought I had covered all the different "sploitation" sub-genres, but I had been missing one.   This post will be my first foray into the Hicksploitation genre!  What is Hicksploitation you ask, well, it's basically just a sub-genre of films about the people and culture of the Southern United Sates, usually in a very stereotypical way.  

  This new BACKWOODS DOUBLE FEATURE brings two examples of Hicksploitation.   

First up is COMMON LAW WIFE from 1963.   Here is a brief synopsis courtesy of the film's press release:

  Shugfoot Rainey (George Edgley) trades in his longtime girlfriend, Linda (Annabelle Weenick) for a newer model... who just happens to be his niece, Baby Doll (Lacey Kelly). Unfortunately, his mistress does her research and discovers she is his common law wife… and he won't be able to get rid of her that easily! Directed by Eric Sayers, the film is actually spliced together with an unfinished film, Swamp Rose, directed by Larry Buchanan (Mars Needs Women, 1968; It’s Alive, (1969); Naked Witch, 1964). Marketed as an “educational film” in the original trailer, it warned its potential viewers of the lecherous lives its characters led. As parts of the film were shot a few years later, Baby Doll is allegedly played by a couple different actresses, contributing to a frenzied, not completely cohesive, storyline. It's backwoods at its best!

  Ok, after reading this synopsis, I now know I am not going crazy.  I could have sworn Baby Doll looked different in her earlier scenes.  That explains it I guess!    This was an interesting one.....very slow in parts, but it builds to a surprisingly bloody climax for this type of film.   This film reminded me of an old pulp novel come to life,  with a dramatic love triangle between Baby Doll, Shugfoot, and Sheriff Jody.   Although Baby Doll does have a fling with the local moonshiner, Bull, so I guess it's more of a love rectangle.   Obviously Linda doesn't like Baby Doll coming in and taking Shugfoot from her, and is persistent on staying with Shugfoot no matter what.    All this builds to the climax that I mentioned previously.   While this is the lesser of the two films on this set in my opinion, it's still worth a watch. 

The next film is JENNIE, WIFE/CHILD from 1968.   Here is a brief synopsis of the film:

In Jennie, Wife/Child, aka Albert Peckingpaw’s Revenge, Albert Peckingpaw (Jack Lester) takes Jennie (Beverly Lundsford) to be his wife... But Jennie is a whole lot younger and has her eye on the young farm hand, Mario (Jim Reader)! Old Man Peckingpaw is bound to find out what's happening on his farm sooner or later and, when he does, watch out! A catchy theme song draws you in immediately and the film features even more country-style earworms throughout. Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond, a later Oscar winner for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), elevates this film above others in the genre.

 This was my favorite of the two films in this set by far.   I didn't know what to expect from a film with this title, and I was a little concerned there would be a major cringe factor from the WIFE/CHILD portion of the title.  Rest easy, though, as Jennie is far from a "child".  She is in fact 20 years old, so we are safe from that worry!   This film has so much more action and plot to it in my opinion.    Jennie and Mario form a relationship while Mario is working for Mr. Peckingpaw.  There is a lot of sneaking around by both parties, and eventually they proclaim their love for each other and form a plot to steal Peckingpaw's money and run away together. 
  The main thing that caught my attention was the style of this film.   It was very unique in the way they used silent film era story cards throughout the film to set up certain scenes.  I thought that was a unique touch and one I hadn't seen before in a non silent film.   The music is also fun in this film.  It is very campy and the songs were original songs made for this film, as they sung about what was happening and used the characters names in the songs.   I also need to mention how good some of the shots were in this film.  Some of the shots I felt were way ahead of their time and really set this movie apart from the first feature on this set.    After reading the plot synopsis, and seeing Vilmos Zsigmond mentioned as the film's Cinematographer, it makes sense now.   He has been the Cinematographer or Director of Photography for many great films over the years.  In addition to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND as mentioned above, he also worked on DELIVERANCE, THE DEER HUNTER,  and THE BLACK DAHLIA among many other great films. 

 One thing I like about these films, is their charm.   They are very tame by today's standards, but I can see how a few scenes from these films were probably very disturbing when they first came out.  

  This is great set and one I highly recommend.   BACKWOODS DOUBLE FEATURE is available now on DVD & Blu-ray, and contains the following Special Features:

* Ballyhoo Motion Pictures documentary, That’s Hicksploitation: The Origin of Southern Sinema
* Archival audio commentary for Common Law Wife by director of Swamp Rose, Larry Buchanan, and film historian/Mondo Digital founder, Nathaniel Thompson
* New, feature-length commentary for Common Law Wife by Millie De Chirico, film programmer, writer and host of the podcast I Saw What you Did, and Ben Cheaves, programmer at Turner Classic Movies
* Full-length commentary for Jennie Wife/Child by Millie De Chirico 
* Liner notes by Lisa Petrucci
* Original, restored trailer for Common Law Wife
* Newly created trailer by Film Masters for Jennie, Wife/Child.

CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD
CLICK HERE to purchase the Blu-ray

1 comment:

  1. These definitely sound, uh, interesting! I'm not sure what that says about me, but I might have to watch them both! Ha!