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THE BIG CUBE (1969).

This amazing chunk of Mexican-lensed trippiness is a lost classic in Acid Claptrap Cinema! Kicking off with groovy credits, it's another blast from the past, chock full of the hideous threads, hip slang, and idiocy which quickly made the late-'60s a joke. But it's also graced with several familiar faces and a rabidly anti-LSD vibe. So prepare to turn on, tune out and laugh your ass off! An aging Lana Turner (in one of her last starring roles) plays Adriana, a famous stage actress who retires in order to marry wealthy financier Daniel O'Herlihy (currently starring in commercials for Magnavox, accompanied by a beachful of baby turtles). His teen daughter, Lisa (Karin Mossberg), is pissed off by the event, so she joins the local longhairs for an expedition to a trendy nightclub called The Trip, featuring "a new show from San Francisco" that has them dropping laced sugar cubes into their beer and blasting off. They also enjoy dosing other's drinks ("I'm gonna cube that mother, but good."). And as we all know, two minutes after taking LSD, your eyes cross, you freak out, you're carted off by cops, and finally run down by a car. Yeah! Enter George Chakiris (an Oscar-winner for WEST SIDE STORY, although you wouldn't know it now) as Johnny Allen, a groovy gigolo who takes a liking to Lisa when he notices how wealthy she is. Of course, in front of the naive Lisa, he acts like the perfect, drug-free gentleman, and she's soon smitten with this dimpled lout. But after her dad is lost at sea and Adriana keeps Lisa's inheritance from her, she and her manipulative fiance plan their revenge by dosing Adriana with LSD and giving her the GASLIGHT treatment. Soon Turner is carted off to the local loony bin, at which point the tale gets even more frantic and ridiculous, with loads of laughable Trip Visuals (which I'm always a sucker for). There's even a hippie wedding, with acidheads riding motorcycles into the pool. All in all, it's a spectacular, head-on collision of piss-poor drama and drug-induced subplots, with director Tito Davison taking all of this shit seriously! Meanwhile, top-billed Turner is a secondary character for much of the movie. Thank god, because she's terrible. Unfortunately, there's got to be an anti-drug capper to this drivel, and this one is a doozy! Lisa learns the error of her ways, Adriana regains her psyche by reliving her trauma through a bad play, and (funniest of all) Chakiris winds up living in squalor, addicted to Acid, and babbling to an ant (?). Of course, this type of downbeat ending was supposed to stop kids from ever trying LSD. Instead, films like this were so laughable they're precisely why I tried it in the first place! Holy backfire! Co-starring Richard Egan (CHUBASCO) as Adriana's playwright pal and redheaded Pamela Rodgers (a LAUGH-IN regular) as dippy hippie Bibi, this pic is goofy, overwrought, inept, and highly recommended if you're in the appropriate state of chemical enhancement.

© 1997 by Steven Puchalski.