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Cult Movies: 'The Weird World of LSD' (1967) Part Two

By Edited Aug 16, 2016 0 0


Somehow, you just know The Weird World of LSD has a catfight scene up its grubby sleeve, and “Barbie and Geraldine” don’t disappoint. These two “are close friends,” and “alter egos of each other,” but as soon the two pals meet in a bar and take a dose of the old LSD, they’re WWF at each other’s throats. For several minutes, we watch them tear their clothes, pull at their hair and exchange punches. I’m sure there’s websites for this sort of thing now, but in 1967, you had to take your kicks where you could, on campus at the colleges gullible enough to show this movie on its release.

The next sequence dispels any lingering doubts about the intentions behind this film, as a woman named Daisy Green 'enjoys' a date with her fiancé, who has pushed the boat out and bought them a glass of water to share in a diner. As the narrator babbles about the “Narcissus complex,” Daisy enlivens the date by taking LSD, and stands on their table to perform a clumsy striptease, “sharing her self-love with the world,” and cutting parts of her clothing off with scissors. The fiancé is so appalled at Daisy’s behavior he forces himself to watch for several minutes, along with every other guy in the diner, before he carries her back to her apartment, dumping her one of their two single beds (hey, I thought this was the Sixties?). Daisy rejects his advances and they fight until, having half-strangled Daisy, the fiancé leaves the apartment. Daisy takes a few tablets and dies. “LSD USER COMMITS SUICIDE!” blares a newspaper headline. One might as well print “ALCOHOL DRINKER COMMITS SUICIDE!” or “JEOPARDY VIEWER COMMITS SUICIDE!” or even “INFOBARREL WRITER COMMITS SUICIDE!” It’s all much the same. The narrator mentions how Daisy took to drug-addled striping due to becoming “swallowed up in her own image,” and notes this is “a mild case.” Mild? Daisy died! I’d hate to see what this guy calls a serious case.

Perhaps our next loser qualifies as a serious case; more like a sad-case, as it's man staring at himself in a mirror seeking "confirmation of his own masculinity." Alas, thanks to you-know-what, the hapless chump instead sees a woman who turns into a lizard person, and then into a tongue-waggling Grim Reaper. Mr Masculine tries to run (did he learn nothing from Martin Gelber?), though what he sees is less scary, and less expensive, than a ride in a ghost train. Finding himself at the mercy of a woman/ghoul with an ax, our friend screams and we switch to reality, where both he and a woman lay dead on the floor, bludgeoned by an ax. Lesson: LSD and axes don’t mix. Stick to kittens and corn cobs.

Next is Jerry Walker, much preoccupied with a pile of photographs of dubiously

attired women. Jerry paws at the pictures, nose to the table, as the narrator talks of Don Juan, Timothy Leary and “Al-DOU-us” Huxley. There follows several minutes of burlesque footage which, according to ‘Psychotronic’ film expert Michael J Weldon, comes from a different film entirely. The first act writhes gymnastically before a staged jungle setting, grinding against a leopard-skin rug, only for the narrator to act like a complete buzzkill by droning on about how even the most committed LSD adherents only take the drug in conditions of maximum scientific safety, which I’m pretty certain isn’t true. The second act has a Hawaiian theme, with an inventive young woman doing all manner of things with a lei, until a storm breaks, bringing the show to a close, with both dancers managing to keep more of their clothes on than Diner Dancin' Daisy.

Following up in this parade of shame is George Puttnam, who drives a sports buggy and indulges in “sad-ism” due to “sexual repression.” This, the producers guess, is an excuse to show clips from a dragster meeting. And that’s all we learn of George.

For the last twenty minutes or so, The Weird World of LSD treats us to something resembling a plot. In some roadside dive which looks from the outside like a homely sheltered accommodation block, Bar Guy One and Bar Guy Two are enjoying a drink, until Bar Guy One leaves and drives off “to what was always his first love,” i.e. rolling around in the woods and imagining he’s a tree. In footage so shaky it looks like the work of Patterson and Gimlin, Bar Guy One wades through rivers, climbs up trees (“in kinship with the birds”) and rolls around in mud, rubbing soil into his face. “It is thrilling.” No, it is not.

Back at the bar, Larry the Pusher (the bad parking guy from earlier) is on a date with his girl, Joyce, who wants to try some of this LSD the rest of town is enjoying. Larry refuses, as he’s a pusher with morals. Annoyed, Joyce hooks up with Bar Guy Two, an old boyfriend, who gives her a tab. They leave the bar (if you like visiting famous movie scenes, the bar is opposite Tampa Truck Parts Inc., a building which looks like it could survive a direct nuclear strike) and drive out to an abandoned apartment block and pick the most depressing and barren room possible for their prolonged make-out session. “The real world will not vanish,” muses our narrator; nor will the sight of Bar Guy Two’s hairy back.

An hour, or maybe an eternity passes, as Larry is getting suspicious at Joyce’s absence and drives to the very spot she and Bar Guy Two left his car. Brandishing a flick knife, Larry wanders the complex, homing in on the smell of human greasiness until he finds Joyce and Bar Guy Two. Larry pins him down and the two engage in wacky face-pulling as they strangle each other (Larry’s morals means he doesn’t use the knife). Larry kills Bar Guy Two, and chases after Joyce. They make up, then fight.

We cut back to the masculine mirror man drinking a glass of water. The Narrator seems to

think this guy is Larry, as he talks of the character’s need to adopt a new personality. The man sweats feverishly and bites into a tomato, which is actually a woman’s wrist. She screams, and Larry/Mirror Man drowns himself in a bath. The End, only there’s no caption to this effect; the film just stops.   

During a year-long quest to find the worst film ever made, Australian journalist and film critic Michael Adams watched around 500 bad movies through 2007, including all the usual zero-budget stinkers like Robot Monster (1953) and blockbuster bombs such as Cutthroat Island (1995), so you know The Weird World of LSD is something special when it made into Adams’ final list of the top twenty all-time turkeys. “With zero genuine interest in terms of story, characters, visuals, music or dialogue, this is fascinatingly awful,” comments Adams, and he’s right. Films as bad as The Weird World of LSD exert a strange power all their own, operating somewhere between an art installation and found footage of an alien abduction. LSD offers a unique trip (one wistful IMDB reviewer commented it made him want to take up hallucinogenic drugs again); abstract, deadening and different in all the wrong ways, The Weird World of LSD’s feel of something uncovered in a dead guy’s wardrobe will stay with you long after whatever message it thought it projected is forgotten.




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