From the Archives: I Was a Teenage Acid Exploitation Flick Fiend (1986)

in Culture

By Roger Berrian

“TONIGHT!” roared the ad, “You are invited to a PILL PARTY. You will experience every jolt, every jar of a psychedelic circus… The Beatniks… Sickniks… and ACID HEADS… Their ecstasies, their agonies, and their BIZARRE SENSUALITIES…You will be hurled into their debauched dreams and frenzied fantasies!”

Sort of whets the appetite, doesn’t it? The copy was written for a classic 1966 exploitation film, Hallucination Generation. Most viewers did not realize, however, that the drug LSD actually made its screen debut six years earlier in The Tingler, a Vincent Price thriller in which the horrormeister employs the mind-bending drug to scare his wife to death in order to remove a slug-like parasite from her spine.

But The Tingler doesn’t really qualify as an acid flick because its focus is horror, not headtrips. The first true example of the genre is probably The Evil Pleasure, which hit the screens early in 1966. Set in the hippie ghetto of Haight-Ashbury, the film zeroed on the sex and dope lives of San Francisco’s Flower Children.

Acid and bellbottoms were next dropped in The Acid Eaters, a 1966 release that opened with scenes of dreary office workers performing daily routines in quiet desperation—typing mountains of paperwork, kissing the boss’s ass, etc. By flick’s end, the same group of uptight squares gobbles down enough micrograms to collectively hallucinate a 50-foot mound of pure LSD in the Mohave Desert.

In spite of its grand-slam finale, The Acid Eaters should not be confused with The Big Cube, the first cheapie to capitalize on a growing public hysteria over “acid contamination.” By 1967, the media prophets of doom were predicting that food supplies, soft drinks and even entire city reservoirs were in imminent danger of being spiked by acid-crazed maniacs. The unwitting spikee …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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