What do you get when you take a top shelf actioneer like John
Saxon, a TV veteran cutie from a hit series, Maureen McCormick,
a former Playmate, Claudia Jennings, add big William Conrad, a
script by Hugh Smith (a Billy Girdler compadre), hire up Gus Trikonis
and head off to shoot a picture about moonshining. I'll tell you
what you get, MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS, that's what you get. And
I'll tell you what if you had just a couple scenes of nudity and
a slightly more vicious portrayal of violence you probably wouldn't
have to wait for me to tell you about it because it quite possibly
could have been the best moonshine picture ever. And you say Prof
Tread, "if you had hair you'd be hairy." So maybe neither
one is true. But you haven't seen my back and you haven't seen
MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS so let's get to it. The movie that is,
my back is not all that. My balls now that is something worthy
of review, but oh shit, never mind.
Our plot is fairly basic, Jack Starkey owns a small town, he
runs moonshine to the neighboring county, supplies local bootleggers
and makes a bunch of cash doing it. Pap Hammer is his only competition.
Pap and Starkey's father were once partners but Starkey Sr. turned
on Pap and Pap did hard time. When he returned he re-fired his
still and the 2 have been vying for that primo liquor money ever
since. Sharkey decides to end this far trade by destroying the
still and Pap with it when he sends his henchmen to wipe the good
old boys off the map with dynamite, guns and a guy named Sweetwater
(Morgan Woodward, best know as "oh that guy" from such
greats as THE KILLING OF
A CHINESE BOOKIE, SUPERVAN and DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER and incredible
as Boss Godfrey, the Walking Boss in COOL HAND LUKE). Sweetwater
is the heavy in a white leisure suit sure, but the shootout owes
much to Peckinpah's choreography of THE WILD BUNCH and there is
no shortage of squibs either, I might add.
Pap leaves behind 3 absolutely gorgeous hillbilly honeys, Dot
(Susan Howard, you know her from DALLAS, the TV show), Betty,
(Claudia Jennings, mentioned around these parts before, TRUCK
STOP WOMEN amongst others) and Sissy (the Brady Bunch's Marsha,
Maureen McCormick) to try and figure out what to do next. The
town's sheriff doesn't have the resources to nab Starkey and the
only man folk that seems interested is J.B. Mutherfuckin' Johnson,
a dirt track driver who has the ladies in check but Starkey has
J.B. on the payroll. The future doesn't look too bright for the
gals. But Pap was holding a shit pot full of prohibition whiskey
as inheritance in an underground cellar and when they find out,
the beauties decide to take Sharkey on at his own game. No not
odering up pizzas--MOONSHINING!
Conrad's Sharkey has no trouble with the role of heavy, TV's
Cannon was one supreme fat ass who was born right up the road
here in Louisville, Kentucky. Ol' Cannon's heart threw in the
towel in 1994 after battling health problems for a couple years.
Conrad's baritone delivery and rotund appearance come strong to
the table to develop Jack Sharkey's boss man character. It doesn't
hurt when he is shown with a couple hookers either. Everyone in
town is scared of lard ass and if you are not scared you work
for him. He wants what the gals have, the gals want revenge and
some cash and J.B. Mutherfuckin' Johnson, well he wants to hump
Along the way a myriad of memorable TV faces enter and leave
the plot, the girl's Uncle Bill is a town drunk who stinks, has
no teeth and is played to the hilt by veteran western journeyman
Dub Taylor who made a career out of wheezing. Dub was in complete
classic fair like THE GETAWAY and SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER
as well as the aforementioned THE WILD BUNCH and he also shows
up in rude and crude BOF fair like POOR PRETTY EDDIE, THUNDERBOLT
AND LIGHTFOOT and CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE. You might remember
that mug from HeeHaw as well. Bruce Kimball plays a mechanic.
Who you might say is Bruce Kimball? He had a great career for
a guy who looked like a fucking pig, seriously. He is the Pig
Keeper in THE PIGKEEPERS DAUGHTER,
he showed up in THE PINK ANGELS,
DRACULA vs. FRANKENSTEIN, THE MIGHTY GORGA, BRAIN OF BLOOD and
too many more to mention. If you are wanting to pick a bit character
and follow his career, Kimball has a nice library of exploitation
and horror to make even the most jaded smirk. About half the cast
can be seen, it is worth noting, in the 1973 outing SUPERVAN,
one of my favorites if for no other reason, George Barris, the
King of Customizers shows up and his crazy auto creations are
all over the screen. I'm digressing, point being MOONSHINE has
Since Kentucky has already been mentioned once, I might as well
mention the screenplay from one time Kentucky resident Hugh Smith.
Smith scribed such grimy grunt as THE STUDENT BODY, THE GLOVE
(Ross Hagen directed!) and NIGHT CREATURE but we will always best
love Hugh here at BOF for showing up in the Billy Girdler classics
THREE ON A MEATHOOK and THE ZEBRA KILLER. Hugh not only had parts
in Girdler's films but if you believe Hugh (take a look at the
magnificent Hugh Smith interview at www.williamgirdler.com)
he considered himself a full partner at Mid America Pictures.
Hugh also showed up in the obscurio INVASION OF THE GIRLSNATCHERS.
One of the few fabled Brains on Film features which carry the
moniker "Incomprehensinema," Invasion is featured on
BOF V2.0#3. Smith is still at it, writing, editing and even teaching
as far away as Korea. I have to give Hugh Smith credit, Mister,
you damned sure delivered on the shit-meter and you know that
is just all right with me. Smith has a resume, which to ol' Prof.
Tread ranks up there with some of the best.
Speaking of resumes, now is as good a time as any to talk a little
about John Saxon, the man deserves more than I can give him in
just one review and it is only a matter of time before a full
blown Saxon tribute ends up in the BOF coffers. If you only look
at Saxon's credits up til 1977 when Moonshine was released, he
still has almost 60 credits to his name. The man is still working
today! From Italian crime and horror to TV miniseries, sometimes
I think Saxon never met a script he didn't like. Rugged, tanned
and tough his only noticeable shortcoming was a prematurely receding
hairline. Saxon's work with greats like John Huston, Chuck Haas,
Mario Bava, Antonio Margheriti, Dario Argento, Wes Craven and
many more, really make John Saxon a fan boy's wet dream. But like
many of the greats, Saxon is under-appreciated and overlooked
sometimes by those caught up in the fandom of all things Italian
cinema in nature. Rarely when these movies are reviewed or talked
about does Saxon's performances get mentioned. More times than
not these films are discussed without ever even mentioning the
casts. Too bad, some how these "great" Italian directors
can "do it all." Horseshit. Saxon you rule, the band
and John. More coming, I refuse to ignore the greatness!
MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS is just short of being great mainly
because of its almost made-for TV sensibilities, straight PG rating,
we get a few "sumbitches" from Starkey, a "shit"
or two and no gratuitous hillbilly babies. Too bad really because
Claudia Jennings spent much of her short career naked and it is
hard to truly 'sploitate hicks without showing some ass. But Trikonis,
caught in made-for-TV land took the safe road and decided to utilize
Marsha Brady as the bad girl, but there was no way in Hades, the
great name of Marsha, Marsha, Marsha would be besmirched, so we
end up with a moonshining picture for the kids
but the violence
is another story. Each shoot-out is ultra bullet laced and folks
do die. You know the drill, blood not boobs, wouldn't want to
upset the kids.
Track down MOONSHINE COUNTRY EXPRESS, invite the kids in the
room and try and explain what moonshine is and why The Fatman
is fishing in his bathroom and hooks a brassiere. Glug, "wooohoooo!"
"Kids sit the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks down, J.B. Mutherfuckin'
Johnson's got his 'Cuda revved up and Marsha's wearing a tube
top!" "Momma, fetch me another jar!
|Dub Taylor as Uncle
|You tell 'em J.B.
|Nice shot Gus Trikonis!
|Okay now spread 'em,
no, not your cheeks!!
Gestapo Black Exploitation?
From Tobacco Row It's Good!
Squad Join Today!
Meateater Do Not Touch!
Stranger Run Run Opie!
House On Hwy 5 Sheesh!
Locked Doors It's Dirty!
Massacre Some Like It.
Pussy It had to be done
Alley It is Rock.
Woman Truck. Woman.
Freak A Classic for You!
Geek Bigfoot Porn
School Ghosthustlers Wow!
Island You Must See!
Not that kinda Cock!
Alienator Feeling Alienated?
Island Vanity and the Beast
Spree Tim Ritter's $0 budget wonder
Prof. Tread still can't sleep.
Tramp She is sumpin' else.
Footmen Tire You...? Heavy religiosity!
Knievel Evel of Course!
Killing Of A Chinese Bookie! Smart Guy.
Pink Angels Gayness, and Bikes
Burning The 80's, ahhh the 80's.
- The Winged Serpant! Larry Cohen rules!
For Your Life! WARNING Racist content
Tall Buford Pusser in the Hizouse!
Camp Internet Geeks Unite!
Losers Ya Loser!
of the Mutilated Bro. George gets busy.
Me An Angel Gal Biker and more.
Grim Reaper Reap on.
One of William Girdler's triumphs.
At Dawn A Modern Classic.
Boy Carradine, Dress, Dourif!
Hollywood Rape-Slaughter Rare expose'.
Savage Weekend. Take
Dead and Buried.
A Should-be Classic.
Summer In Barefoot County. PeeUww!
Night Train To
Terror Choo Choo!
Drink Your Blood Glug, glug!
Russ Meyer and breasts!
Stop Women Honnnk HonnnnK!
Deadly Darling! Pigs!
the Germ Fighter! Clean up!
Doesn't Cathy Eat Breakfast? Why?!
County Express! Glug, Glug!
The Night God Screamed!
White Dog Racists
City Slickers get offed!
Times Five Sean MacGregor's Titantic!
at the Red Wolf Inn Burp!
Eyes See It
Greatest Sinner One of the best!
Baby! Goo Goo!
Camp Nightmare Viva the Revolution!
of the Beast Creatures Booga!
Play Dead Incest craziness!
of Death Vacation madness!
Come, Evil Go! Bye, Bye Sinners!
Strutters Get Black Sucker!
Pretty Eddie Deep South Craziness!
Golem Jewish Folklore or what?
NYC Apartment Blues
To Kill A Clown
Alan Alda Vietnam Vet!
Spook Who Sat Next To The Door Booya!
Woke Up Early The Day I Died Mr. Ed Wood.
Mutilation Man Andy Copp goes arty on us!
People Across The Lake Good TV!
Woman Hunt Load Up Gents.
Devil At You Heels Daring Devil.
Are The Damned Dammit!
Farm TV movie Classic!