• Kelly M. Hudson

Drug-Crazed Hippies Attack!



Three dope dealers drive their little boat out from the Everglades to meet up with their Cuban connection at one of the Florida Keys. They decide it’s time they went into business for themselves and they kill the Cubans on board their ship and take all of the drugs for themselves. They load them up into barrels and sail away, celebrating their victory. They have all the drugs they could want and the profit margin will be even greater for them. Unfortunately, a passing Coast Guard ship spots them and glides over to inspect their boat. They dump the drugs with the intention to come back for them later. As the Coast Guard arrives, so does a small boat carrying a young couple. One of the dope dealers guns down one of the Coast Guard and a full-fledged firefight breaks out. The drug dealers win, killing everyone on board the other boat and taking the young couple as hostages. They go on the run, hiding out, the law two steps behind them. What follows next is a journey into depravity, because now that the drug dealers have gotten a taste of murder and a taste of their own power, they’re ready to fully indulge. A drug-fueled mania begins, with the young couple caught between the bad guys and the advancing doom of the police.

This was a wild one from William Grefe. It is certainly the best film of his I’ve seen so far (besides Stanley, which I saw long ago and adore) and you can really see his storytelling chops coming together here. There’s echoes of Last House on the Left in this one, although this came before that Wes Craven masterpiece. There’s the same sense of claustrophobia and unending menace. Our young couple are captive to a group of men that are unhinged, to say the least, and coming more and more unglued as the film progresses. They are under constant threat with little to no hope of escape or rescue. The movie is pretty gritty and violent, as well. There’s not a lot of blood, but everything is physical, and sweaty, so you can feel almost every punch that lands and every clawing finger that rakes. The drug dealers are an interesting group, each guy with his own hang-ups and, shockingly, endearing qualities. You don’t hate them at first. They come across as wild guys just having some fun. But as the violence and terror escalate and they lose control of both themselves and the situation, they become quite frightening, indeed.

Not an easy film to watch, although it is very well-made. There’s the requisite go-go dancing scene (although this time, unlike the other films, it isn’t much fun and is, in fact, quite unnerving) and lots of sixties hippy vibes going on, via southern Florida. So there’s that period charm that at first softens the film, but as the story unfolds, adds to the surreal nightmare of it. I was quite surprised by how taut this was and how compelling. No, it’s not some masterpiece, but it’s pretty damned good, and well-worth your time.

★★★☆

No trailers for Hooked Generation, so enjoy this Grefe Collection:



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