Born in the 60s, I got a big dose of LSD entertainment over the years. The lysergic acid diethylamide muse gave film and television production companies endless encouragement to go all out with the visual effects that only an imagined drug trip can induce. Plus young actors (and middle-aged, if you count Lana Turner in The Big Cube) got to test their chops, while supposedly under the influence. Eye rolling, arm flailing and mindless gibberish bellowed at top volume, made for some inspirational moments on the sets of 60s production studios. It was a heady time. Let us explore the outer realms of the inner chemically induced psyche.
Dragnet - "The LSD Story (Blueboy)," 1967. Anyone found in the park, head buried in a dirt pit, claiming, "I am the chair! I am the chair!" is probably looking for trouble. And boy, does he find it and how. The hardcore tripping (beginning at 18:15) includes finger-snapping, wall climbing, paint eating, bobble-headed music listening, and as Sergeant Friday succinctly notes, "Marijuana."
Easy Rider - Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Toni Basil and Karen Black dropping acid in a New Orleans cemetery during Mardi Gras in 1969—that sounds like a lot of fun! NO. IT IS NOT. Statue nuzzling, fish-eye lensing, annoying percussion, nudity and incoherent babbling leads to not one iota of fun.
The Trip - Passion is a Rainbow of Ecstasy! Maybe so, but you'd never know from Peter Fonda's stilted performance in this 1967 snore-along. This movie could be summed up in one scene (not shown in the trailer) of Fonda woodenly staring at his spinning clothes at the laundromat. Or staring at an orange. Same thing. But don't get me wrong. I like Peter Fonda—he's a good-looking guy. He just doesn't move his face very often.
The Big Cube, 1969 - Lana Turner getting gaslighted with bad acid by George Chakiris, and introducing Karin Mossberg—what's not to like? I've covered The Big Cube extensively. I'll let the trailer speak for itself.
Case Study: LSD - It's 1969 and you're sitting in class on a warm spring day, waiting for 2:45 so you can get the hell out of middle school and hang out with your pals. Suddenly, Stan, the AV-club nerd shows up, pushing a 16mm projector into the room.
"Class, today we're going to see an educational film about an important topic," drones your teacher, Mr. DeMercurio. You sigh and settle in for a half-nap as he clicks off the overhead lights. The film begins. You are riveted by the drama of Case Study: LSD. Your life will never be the same again. And soon, you're craving a hot dog.
So intense is Case Study: LSD, that I made my own version of it. I just really want to get the message out there: don't ever order a hot dog on Market Street—have you lost your mind?