COREY ALLEN’S THUNDER AND LIGHTNING — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

thunder_and_lightning

Thunder and Lightning is exactly what the amazing one-sheet promises — tons of backwoods idiocy with chases galore and all sorts of redneck hijinks leading the way. Produced by Roger Corman and directed by Corey Allen, this zippy and ramshackle B-movie from 1977 (it was released as the second half a double bill with The Driver) benefitted from the filmmaker’s total sense of gonzo energy, a frequently witty script, and game performances from the entire cast, lead by David Carradine as a Florida moonshine runner who runs up against rival bootleggers, and crosses paths with a buxom bombshell (Kate Jackson) who has personal ties to the baddies. The film’s big speed boat chase is undeniably impressive and rather dangerous looking, as are most of the vehicular stunts, of which there are a ton. Mix in trigger happy local cops, throw in a dash of alligator wrestling, sprinkle the proceedings with some explosions, and splash it all with a boozy sense of fun, and you’ve got this scrappy little B-movie that makes for a rowdy late night selection to enjoy with some pizza ‘n beer. The film’s screenwriter, William Hjortsberg, would go on to craft the script for Ridley Scott’s Legend, as well as the book which would serve as the inspiration for Alan Parker’s Angel Heart. The film marked the final big-screen credit for the prolific actor and voice-artist Sterling Holloway (Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book). Available on DVD (at a very expensive price), Amazon streaming, and on YouTube.

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