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11/19/17 Episode 76: Gas-s-s-s! (1970)


Listen to Let's Watch A Full-Length Movie on YouTube podcast and watch Gas-s-s-s! (1970), aka Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It., embedded above, at the same time. Start with the podcast. Click here to launch the podcast in separate browser.


Roger Corman made movies for beatniks, bikers, and hippies, but by 1970, he made a youth culture movie for himself. The counterculture takedown Gas-s-s-s! (1970) promptly begins after a gas leak has killed all the Olds, leaving only the Youngs to survive. Corman's hippie kids wander beyond the movie setting of Dallas into the fringes beyond the film like characters from Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend (1967) (Despite the Kubrickian alternative title, it's influenced more by the French New Wave). 

Their encounters play like a series of comedy sketches juxtaposing extreme aspects of the Man and the Hippie. We meet Hell's Angels country club members, marauding collegiate footballers, and authoritative communes. The satire at best plays like Mad Magazine-era Harvey Kurtzman; at worst, like with the rape jokes, plays like Little Annie Fanny-era Harvey Kurtzman.

Speaking of Mad Magazine, movie ends with a mysterious van stopping and people wearing Papier-mâché heads of Abraham Lincoln, Dr. King, and Alfred E. Neuman exiting. I believe the next movie to feature a Alfred E. Neuman Papier-mâché head wound be in Mad Magazine Presents Up The Academy (1980). I could be wrong.

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