Psychotronic Challenge 2019 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge: Day 26: Rituals (1977)

DAY 26. THERE’S SOMETHIN’ IN THEM THAR HILLS: Twangy cringers from the backwoods and by-waters. 

After seeing Joe Bob Briggs “How Rednecks Saved Hollywood,” the entire B&S About Movies team mobilize and celebrated these films, from a Letterboxd list to making our own picks for top 70’s good ol’ boys movies. But to be honest, we watched so many of these movies, where would we find something new to answer the Scarecrow Challenge for one more day?

Canada, with your tax shelters and movies that are far north of odd, remains our constant bastion and perhaps place to run to after next November.

Director Peter Carter also made a movie called High-Ballin’ and it wasn’t a porno, instead a trucking film, so we need to respect the artist coming in.

Five doctors go on vacation deep in the Northern Ontario wilderness. Every year, one of them gets to pick where they go and this time, it’s D.J. who gets to be travel agent. He takes the guys to the Cauldron of the Moon, which was a practical location that had been created by a fire a few years earlier.

According to the natives, this is where the earth collided with the moon and it hsould be a place of magic, but it’s really just a place for the doctors to get drunk and argue about their lives, their ethics and, well, just argue.

As our guys wake up for another day of cutting up, they end up getting cut up in a much different way. That’s because everyone’s boots have been stolen. I guess these guys never listened to Iron Maiden or cowboy lore.

D.J. had said, time and again, being a backup pair of boots, and he ended up being the only one that did so. That means he has to go back alone through he dangerous woods and bring back four pairs of boots. As the guys wait for their friend, they’re soon confronted by the carcass of a dead deer before they also discover a severed head. That’s a real dead deer, by the way, in case you think the Italians are the only ones willing to sicken you with autentic snuffed out animals on celluloid.

Harry (Hal Holbrook) takes charge, but it seems as if the past — and all the mistakes with it — have come back to haunt the rest of the group.

While this movie was obviously inspired by Deliverance, it’s also a proto-slasher, with a killer setting traps in the woods that predates the work of Cropsey, Madman Marz and Pamela Vorhees’ little man.

You have a lot of options if you want to see this movie. You can watch this on the Internet Archive for free. Or you can allow our friends at Mill Creek to help with either their Drive-In Movie Classics: 50 Movie Pack or Horror Classics: 100 Movie Pack. However, the best version is available from Ronin Flix, who have the Scorpion Releasing blu ray re-release of this.

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