Date Released : 1 January 1972
Genre : Comedy, Drama
Stars : Claude King, Ray Sager, Ronna Riddle, Jeffrey Allen
Movie Quality : BRrip
Format : MKV
Size : 870 MB
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Hank Jackson is a clean-cut Country & Western singer whom is recruited to run for the post of Republican senator of Texas with the assistance of three Washington D.C. 'technical advisers'; cynical movie producer Sid Angelo, image consultant Chet Stoner, and political advisor Ed Varnett whom are under the employment of the shady Governor Baxter whom wants his latest political rival, Senator Birdwell, out of the way. During the cleverly scripted campaign of TV commercials and political speeches, Hank lets the thoughts of fame and popularity go to his head. But it puts a strain on his relationship with his liberal girlfriend Tammy Parker whom is currently leading a strike that Hank opposes. Seeing Tammy as a threat to Hank's campaign, the ruthless Sid Angelo plots to shut her up by unethical and illegal means.
Watch The Year of the Yahoo! Trailer :
Rare, "straight" movie from the Wizard of Gore
This was Herschell Gordon Lewis' penultimate effort before getting out of the film-making racket and getting into mail order, and it was made either right before or possibly even during THE GORE GORE GIRLS. Allen Kahn's script is a serious political satire about a country and western singer, played by Claude King (he of "Wolverton Mountain") who runs for State Senator. King also runs into conflict with his political handlers, who are headed by an exceptionally slimy Roger Ailes-like character played by Ray Sager. Although it still looks like it was shot in two or three days, Lewis puts more into this film in terms of shots and cuts than in any other work I've seen from him. There is some padding, but at least most of it relates to the plot - there are no long tracking shots following the guy getting out of the car and up the walk to the front door. There is one softcore sex scene, and it's positively revolting. If you like seeing simulated sex between two actors who obviously don't give a damn about one another, this is for you; I took advantage of it to answer the call of nature.
The acting is above average for a Herschell Gordon Lewis film, and overall I felt YEAR OF THE YAHOO! was very well done. Back in 1972 the public was barely aware that politicians used handlers to help shape their public image, and that's essentially what the film is about. Of course, today those same handlers are not only "out of the closet", but successful ones enjoy a celebrity status that is nearly equal to the candidates they handle. In 1972 the political handler was a relatively new phenomenon, at least one that worked like a hired hand who was likewise uninterested in the ideology of the candidate or campaign. Lewis' film is a valuable political document of that trend in a much more innocent time than ours.
That's not to say that YEAR OF THE YAHOO! is perfect. Kahn's script is kind of flat at times and is also so vaguely stated here and there that it is incomprehensible. It is like Kahn didn't know the political lingo that he needed, so he made up his own, which only he could truly make sense out of. It made me long for the crackling wit of the writing of Lewis' usual screenwriter Alison Louise Downe, whose work contributes so much to making GRUESOME TWOSOME such a "pointed" (sorry, I couldn't resist) satire. The situation isn't helped by the fact that in the one surviving print of the YEAR OF THE YAHOO! that the soundtrack is badly damaged during the first reel, making a dialogue scene that was hard to follow in the first place doubly tough to comprehend. Claude King's vocals when he is singing are miked poorly, so at times I can't follow him either, even though the setting is in a television studio where the sound should be spot on perfect.
These aren't minor quibbles, and this is not Lewis' best film. But it is about as close as he came to making a "straight" film, and I think he did his best by the project on his limited means. This is a movie that if you took the totally unnecessary sex scene out you could show it to a film class or use it in the context of formal festival type screening. That is certainly not something that I can say about most other Herschell Gordon Lewis films!