Monday, February 23, 2009
Trip with the Teacher (1975, Earl Barton)
You may have been wondering how I choose the movies I review here. Actually, you probably weren't but I'm going to tell you anyway. I use a complex strategy involving formulas and those little metal compass thingies with the midget pencils that make perfectly round circles. Ok, you got me. It's a little more random than that. It depends on what movies I happen to be watching at the present time. That's it. Sometimes though, I come across a film that I feel I must review right away - a perfect example of the type of movie I am talking about is Trip with the Teacher.
Trip with the Teacher is the story of a group of girls who are sent away to by their parents to go camping in the desert with a teacher. While on their way to their destination, they stop for gas and meet up with three bikers. One of the bikers, Jay (Robert Gribbin - don't worry I've never heard of him either) is actually just a nice guy who had some time off from work and decided to take a little motorcycle trip. The other two bikers though, a mysterious pair of brothers, seem to be up to no good. When the girls' bus breaks down, the three bikers offer to help tow them to an open field up ahead - and this is where the story starts to get juicy. The two brothers tie up Jay and take the girls captive, using them for their own sadistic and sexual urges. After a few failed attempts at escaping, the remaining survivors must stick together to try and outsmart the brothers before they are all killed.
Quentin Tarantino, eat your heart out. I have seen some similar films to this but none of them have proved to be such a perfect example of a real "Grindhouse film" as Trip with the Teacher. Everything Tarantino was striving for in Death Proof is right here, only done more naturally. Not to discredit Death Proof (which I really enjoyed) since Tarantino was obviously paying homage to this type of film, but Trip with the Teacher is the real deal. Sleazy, brutal, low budget, trashy and fun. The acting is not that great, with the exception of Zalman King as the more insane of the two brothers. You can tell that the character was inspired by David Hess' Krug from Last House on the Left (as is much of the film), but King does a great job at coming across as a psychopath. He has a penetrating stare and randomly hums to himself, making the character that much scarier. There is also a really great motorcycle chase as well. Though not a perfect film, I'd say that it is a perfect example of a Grindhouse/Drive In Classic.