Saturday, 2 April 2011

Alice In Acidland (1969)

Drug PSA's have a tendency to not be very good. PSA's from the 50's and 60's complaining against any and all sexualities not located within a loving (read: married) relationship are even worse. PSA's that complain against drugs being used to bring impressionable young teenagers into a world of depraved sexuality, which it does by showing us 50 minutes of people having sex with the occasional interrupting voice-over, are really, REALLY not good.

Thus we're brought to the subject of today's review: Alice in Acidland (1969)*. The basic plot: Alice (a young student) is invited to a pool party by her teacher Freida, a lesbian who's actually out to seduce her. A few glasses of gin and drafts of LSD later, Freida's plan comes to fruition as the two have a sexy bath together. After that, Alice becomes a free-loving hippy-about-town and goes to a few of Freida's swinging parties, where she sees a girl get drugged on LSD and raped and hears about how her best friend hanged herself, before taking LSD herself and having a horrible (and in colour, with the rest of the film being black-and-white**) hallucination.

If that sounds like a plot that wouldn't fill the film's entire 55-minute running time to you, then you'd be right. Instead of a plot that constantly moves forward and, you know, actually has things happening in it, we're treated to what is literally 40 minutes of soft core porn instead, and horrifically unsexy soft core porn at that. I sure hope you like people stripping to their underpants and kissing because that's all this film is. Minutes 15-35 literally consist of one long sex scene, and you can trust me on that. I got so bored, I started timing the bastard. No plot, no acting, no anything. 20 minutes – over one third of the whole damn film – is dedicated to one long sex scene, where no-one even has sex (the male actors never take off their boxers; how could they?!?) and that's it. And that isn't the only sex scene in the film. Please note; this movie ISN'T a porno.

So you've got a story that's supposed to be a horrific account about how drugs can destroy young people which is actually just extended scenes of half-naked people wriggling. How do you make this even less sexy? Why, have no audio for the entirety of the film and instead overdub the entire thing with smooth jazz interjected with the occasional interrupting voice-over! That sounds like brilliant film-making!

Frankly, this film commits the one carnal sin that makes a movie truly, totally and irretrievably awful: it's boring. It's so boring that when something does happen, when the final ten minutes suddenly become colour as we see through Alice's eyes at a LSD-caused hallucination, we just don't care anymore. If you want an anti-drug film that'll actually entertain you, go for Reefer Madness (1936). If you want porn related to Alice In Wonderland, I'd suggest Alice in Wonderland: A X-Rated Musical Comedy (1976). And if you want to watch any film sometime in the next few weeks, just please, don't watch this one.

* This film was released in '69. How appropriate...
** Thus bringing this thing closer to The Wizard of Oz (1939) than it ever gets to resembling Alice in Wonderland, it's own frickin' name sake...

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