Taking a Trip Down HALLUCINATION STRIP [Blu-ray Review]

Hallucination Strip is a very disjointed look at Italian counterculture and politics in the 60s in a mash-up of the psychedelic and crime sub-genres. The film follows a group of mostly very well off pseudo-revolutionary “teenagers” in Italy as they are trying to get some funds together to send their friends on a spiritual journey to the Orient. Looking to help out his friends, Massimo, played by Harold and Maudes Bud Cort, steals a valuable antique snuffbox in an attempt to pawn it to pay for their plane tickets.

After failing to fence the antique, Massimo is approached by Rudy, a very rich and effeminate friend looking to have a drug-fueled gathering as a right of passage. He hopes Massimo can acquire the copious amounts of drugs he needs for the party, which he feels are necessary to enhance the experience. Massimo then takes the money for the drugs and, after using it to pay for the plane tickets, ends up trading the snuffbox to the mafia for the drugs for the party.

These actions trigger an almost Requiem for a Dream-like descent into darkness for everyone involved in this super obscure Italian oddity released today by the great folks at Raro Video.

Hallucination Strip feels strangely fragmented and padded for time in some places. The 90-minute running time is supplemented by a 10-minute psychedelic trip sequence, which involves lots of naked women painted to look like the Jolly Green Giant breaking out of clear plastic trash bags. The film oddly has a pretty amazing cast who try their best carry the film, which after wandering around aimlessly for the first 45 minutes finally finds its pace and a strong and very grim finish in the third act.

Raro contextualizes Hallucination Strip with a fascinating interview with the editor Giulio Berruti, who sheds some light on the film and the troubled production that birthed it. The editor had a reputation for being brought in to fix troubled productions in the editing room and was brought in a mere days into filming to try and salvage the vanity project. The film was director’s Lucio Marcaccini first and only film and was supposedly funded with the money he made from selling his factory.

Giulio Berruti is extremely candid about the director’s lack and experience and competence on the project, which without him would have probably never been completed. I found that coupled with the included booklet, this really rounded out the package and gave you a really all-inclusive look at a film that probably would have never seen the light of day if it weren’t for the folks at Raro Video.

Raro definitely picked a great obscure oddity to give the deluxe HD treatment. The beautiful HD transfer on the disc, coupled with the extras, definitely makes this disc worth a pick up for any hard-core Italian crime and psychedelic fans. Check out a full rundown of the extras below:

Special Features New HD transfer form original 35mm Negative Digitally restored New and improved English subtitle translation Fully illustrated booklet by Nocturno Cinema Video interview with the Film Editor Giulio Berruti Original Italian Theatrical trailer

Original English Theatrical trailer

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