Just For the Hell of It (1968)

All hail Herschell Gordon Lewis. This movie — his attempt at a whole new genre that was the pornography of destruction — is completely unhinged and out of control, even a half-century after it was made.

Just watch the opening, where a gang of teens go from partying to suddenly decimating everything in their path, trashing an apartment in a moment of joyous destruction. As Lewis says on the intro to the film on its new Arrow Video release, “Watch this and think about how much fun everyone had making it.”

The gang Destruction Incorporated are here to terrorize small towns in Florida just for the hell of it, according to their insane leader Dexter, who has brought together Denny, Bitsy and Lummox as his crew. They beat up a bartender, splash a man with paint and set a woman’s newspaper on fire. Cops? They just make fun of the cops. These kids aren’t square. They just like messing things up for everyone else.

Not even cozy little coffee shops are safe. They just provide an arena for fist fights and grabbing store owners and burning their hands on the very stove that they make java on. The police try again to stop the gang, but no witnesses want to come forward. The violence only stops for a moment before the gang goes wild all over again, beating blind people, attacking men with their own crutches, throwing a baby into a garbage can and then destroying its stroller. They don’t care about anything or anyone, only the feeling of breaking things and the thrill of getting away with it.

Then, the gang invades a little league baseball game and starts attacking the children before Doug gets involved. Sadly, when a senile old woman calls the cop, he gets blamed. While he’s in jail, the gang beats a man on a beach blanket and assaults his girlfriend before they’re murdered.

If the police aren’t going to stop things, Doug and his girl Jeanne will. Bitsy, the mascot of the gang, lures Doug out of his house in the hopes she’ll testify against the Destruction boys, but it’s just a trap. His girlfriend is brutally attacked and left for dead with a drawing of a rat carved into her stomach. You know, for as kind of a man as Lewis seems while introducing this film, he’s an absolute maniac behind the camera.

Doug chases Denny and Bitsy, which leads their motorcycle into an explosive accident and our hero, such as it is, gets arrested. However, Dexter and Lummox have escaped and when told that two of the gang are dead, he answers, “Why cars, man?”

The movie ends with blood written on glass that says, “THE END… of this movie, but not the violence.”

This is a movie that doesn’t care that you find it worrisome or troublesome or problematic. If it could sneak into your parents’ house and beat them up with pool cues, it would do it right now. In fact, it just might be.

You can get Just For the Hell of It as a bonus movie on Arrow Video’s new blu ray release of She-Devils on Wheels.

NOTE: Arrow sent is this video, but we would have bought it anyway.

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