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LSD: FLESH OF THE DEVIL [LSD: Inferno per Pochi Dollari] (1967).

This EuroTrash yarn kicks off with a mindwarping intro, as a young-boy/assassin-wannabee named Rex Miller suddenly offs two people -- one with an exploding toy car and the other with a curare-tipped blowpipe. Wow! Although the movie doesn't sustain that absurd pace, this gets points for offering up another hallucinogen-paranoid yarn that turns our old friend LSD into a tool for evil... B-movie veteran Guy Madison stars as the adult Rex, a (long-in-the-tooth) secret agent investigating a new threat to the world. A "concentrated form of LSD" plays a part in the mystery, and we get an early look at the drug's effects thanks to some hilarious, b&w army footage, which has a platoon secretly dosed and freaking out -- praying, fighting, dancing, and even throwing down their weapons! Horrors! And this was just a "slight" dose, mind you. From then on, we get the terrors of Acid, spliced into a spy flick, with the government worrying that the villains are going to lace the water supply of the nation. Well, all I can say is, it's about time! To stop this plan, Miller has a radio transmitter surgically implanted in his neck and goes undercover as a LSD liaison. Of course, this powerful drug has to be tested along the way, with the subject flipping out, falling down, and looking like they're in the midst of an epileptic fit. Faces turn into silly masks or furry animal heads, and (as anyone knowledgeable about LSD knows) the only way to stop a bad trip is to backhand the subject and allow them to leap out of the nearest window. Meanwhile, manly Miller (despite having all the natural charisma of a snail) seduces a sexy female chemist, and finally makes his way to the head honcho, the mysterious Mr. X -- who wants to use this drug to takeover the US and "create Utopia, abolishing everything that divides people" (and, putting it that way, his plan doesn't sound half bad)... Director Mike Middleton (a.k.a. Massimo Mida Puccini) lays on the campier elements with a trowel (in hopes of covering up his total incompetence behind the camera), including impromptu go-go dancing, cheapjack spy gadgets, and fab fashions galore. The dialogue is ludicrously hard-boiled and there's the occasional moment of violence (e.g. a guy fried on electric gates and burnt to a crisp), but when broken down to its secret agent essentials, this is tissue-thin stuff, with only its drug-induced dopiness providing any fun. Spy hijinx so cheap 'n' silly it makes you appreciate the comparatively high-tech subtlety of a Matt Helm movie.

© 1997 by Steven Puchalski.