Friday, March 01, 2013


Three small-time drug dealers have joined forces and used their life savings to get their way into big-time drug-smuggling: Daisey, so named because he uses a daisy-shaped roach clip, is—theoretically—the brains behind the operation, and the only one who manages to stay more-or-less straight during the day; Dum Dum has muscles but is, yes, a little on the dumb side, and seems to maintain a low-level buzz; Acid is hooked on heroin and constantly needs to shoot up to function, though once he's got his high, he tends to pass out, negating the "functioning." The three are on a boat on the Florida coast to make their connection with a group of Cuban drug sellers, but when the Cubans say the price for the drugs has gone up, Daisey shoots the leader in the chest with a harpoon gun and sets their boat on fire. At dawn, the Coast Guard stops them for a routine check, and Acid, in the middle of shooting up, gives them away, necessitating the slaughter of everyone on the Coast Guard boat. A hunky young guy named Mark and his girlfriend Kelly are witnesses to the events and become hostages. Back on shore, they try to sell the dope to Book, a hep-cat club owner, but he says because of the publicity over the murders, the stuff is too hot. Soon, the FBI is after them and they head into the Everglades where they terrorize an Indian reservation and Acid finds some friends at a hippie commune where everyone is pretty much as high as he is. But one by one they meet their fates, climaxing with a shootout in the swamps.

Despite the title and the fact that the three are often high, this isn't really an anti-drug scare piece as much as it is a routine crime-doesn't-pay B-movie melodrama. Shot on a shoestring budget, this is no gem but it has its moments, mostly due some actors who don't seem like they’re acting—sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not. Steve Alaimo is Mark, the supposed hero, though he's rather ineffective until the climax; luckily, he's dressed only in bathing trunks for much of the running time and best functions as eye candy. Jeremy Slate (Daisey), who had a lengthy career as a TV character actor, comes off as an old pro, trying for a slightly nuanced performance here as the chief baddie. As Acid, the blond John Davis Chandler seems to be indulging in bad method acting, staggering around with his eyes barely open and delivering his lines in a thin, whiny voice, but like Slate, he had a lengthy acting career, appearing in movies and TV into the 90s. But the strangest performance is given by former boxer Willie Pastrano as Dum Dum (pictured above with Slate on the left and Chandler on the right); he seems to be truly high all the time, mumbling and looking like he's improvising most of his lines. Oddly, the three bad guys do work up some chemistry and are mostly fun to watch. The sequence with Acid wandering around in the swamp commune also seems improvised—it keeps threatening to become interesting, but isn't, merely serving as a way to get Acid to meet his fate. The best line is from the nodded-out Acid refusing to do cocaine with the others: "I ain’t no fiend!" [DVD]

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