Poor White Trash II aka Scum of the Earth (1974)

Originally known as Death is a Family Affair and perhaps better known as Poor White Trash Part II, this S.F. Brownrigg movie belongs squarely within the genre of hicksploitation or redneck films. After Don’t Look In the Basement, where else can he go? Downward, it seems, as this movie is awash in, well, scum while still finding some compassion for even its most depraved characters.

Helen and her new husband Paul have barely unpacked at the cottage where they’ll spend their honeymoon when he’s killed with an axe to the chest. She runs through the woods looking for help, she runs into Odis Pickett, whose dismal shack is the only shelter for miles.

Somehow, Odis convinces Helen to stay for the night, promising that he has a phone. Soon, she’s in the middle of his family, which includes his mentally challenged son Bo, his pregnant wife Emmy and his daughter Sarah. And of course, that killer isn’t going to be happy with just one murder.

The Texas Film Commission somehow gave this production $200 a week to get made. Who knows what they thought when they say this sweaty, seamy deep Southern fried movie made by and for maniacs.

This is the kind of movie that you feel like you have to take a shower after you watch it. It feels like you are there, in the dank woods, dealing with this backwoods family, who may be more dangerous to themselves and our heroine than the murderer wandering outside their door. It also proves that the city folks are just are mentally deranged and can have just as confusing relationships as their country relatives. They just hide it much better.

I don’t even know what to classify this movie as. It’s not horror, but it has those elements. It’s also kind of like a stage play, with everyone confined in one room and slowly driving one another insane. It feels like someone could snap and either fight or fuck everything around them. For a movie that promises such sex from the poster, it only pays you back in complete contempt for your prurient needs. A masterpiece.

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