July 11, 2015
Hicksploitation double bill tonight on TCM
Filmed on location in and around Barataria Bay, Louisiana, by actor-turned-director Harold Daniels (…), BAYOU disappointed moviegoers and drive-in-goers alike by falling appreciably short of its promise to be “Bold! Brutal! Barbaric!” Shot for $200,000, the film sank without a trace and would have been lost for all time but for the indomitable soul and business acumen of huckster Mike Ripps. When United Artist’s rights to BAYOU lapsed after 1960, Ripps reacquired the property and sank $50,000 into new footage (mostly focusing on peekaboo nudity and stand-ins for his long-departed leading players), releasing it on the Southern drive-in circuit as POOR WHITE TRASH (1961).
Playing the ozoner circuit for the next several years, paired with such similar redneck romper stompers as Roger Corman’s THE INTRUDER (aka I HATE YOUR GUTS, 1962) and Joseph Mawra’s SHANTY TRAMP (1967), POOR WHITE TRASH earned back an estimated $10,000,000 in rentals – due in large part to Ripps’ ambiguous ad campaign, which refused to show or tell as a double-dog-dare to the curious and the horny. When the film opened in Los Angeles, Ripps employed the old Kroger Babb trick of posting armed guards at the box office, ostensibly to discourage trampling from the capacity crowd that queued up around the block. .