In this episode of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks, I talk about my favorite grindhouse movie of all time – Poor Pretty Eddie (1975)!
Produced by gangster/pornographer/murderer Michael Thevis (just before the FBI caught up with him), Poor Pretty Eddie was directed by Richard Robinson and shot by cinematographer David Worth. It stars Leslie Uggams, Michael Christian, Shelley Winters, Ted Cassidy, Dub Taylor, and Slim Pickens.
The film played the grindhouse and drive-in circuits for 10 years under a half dozen titles. When they billed it as hicksploitation they called it Redneck County. When it showed as part of a blaxploitation double feature it was called Black Vengeance. They even chopped it up and added new footage to make a mostly violence-free “clean” version that they called Heartbreak Motel! Despite such a long run, Poor Pretty Eddie is hardly remembered today.
When a famous singer (Uggams) breaks down on her way through the deep south, she winds up the unlucky victim of a psychotic Elvis imitator (Christian) and his alcoholic, ex-stripper sugar mama Bertha (Winters).
Despite the sleazy setup, Poor Pretty Eddie is an artful and competently made film with a top-notch cast and a number of unforgettable sequences. It’s far better than any movie with a slow motion, bluegrass rape montage ought to be, but make no mistake: this is a damn good movie.
Poor Pretty Eddie would make a great double feature with other rural rape and revenge flicks like Fight for Your Life (1977), Macon County Line (1974), and Straw Dogs (1971). It’s a shocking, slow burning, southern pot boiler that deserves to be far better known. I love this movie and consider it one of the great, underrated gems of 70s cinema. It gets a solid 9/10 rating from me!
Look for new episodes of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October! You can watch past episodes HERE.
Ryan Stockstad is a Los Angeles filmmaker with a passion for horror, documentary and experimental cinema. He has written articles for HC Magazine, Mostly Harmless Magazine and various blogs and websites. He has lectured on topics as diverse as low budget filmmaking, short story structure, and the influence of the Spanish Civil War on surrealist cinema. He hosts new episodes of Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October.