Sweet Savior (1971) Starring Troy Donahue, Lloyd Kaufman, Tallie Cochrane, Patrice DeBauer, Perry Gewirtz, Matt Greene, Michele Norris, Renay Granville, Francine Middleton, Tobi Marsh, Lee Terri, Joie Addison, Mark Curran, Alan Waters, Joy Campbell.
Directed by Robert L. Roberts.
Running Time: 92 minutes.
Rating: R (Nudity, Sexuality, Violence, Gore, Coarse Language, Drug Use)
“That’s enough to put the fear of God into anybody!”
Rootless Cult leader and biker dude Moon (Donahue looking like the road manager for Led Zeppelin) is able to finance the purchase of a gun and hallucinogenics by prostituting the women of his ‘congregation’. Haunted by his days as a child preacher in which he was beaten by his sadistic father Moon has a warped view of religious faith. Minds addled by drugs and brainwashing, young thugs and thugettes are ready to back him up in orchestrating whatever he says God’s will is.
He and his followers have traveled to New York City and are planning to surprise an actress and her high society swinger friends at a drug orgy with a form of brutality beyond the understanding of most people.
The very worst in poor taste of what the cinema has to offer lies in this presentation of an awful experience which is very similar to something that actually happened in the Tate-LaBianca murders. The horrific display – the ultimate in 1970s exploitation, shot in neo-realist style delivered a very provocative (Or ‘sickening’) facsimile. Some audiences simply weren’t prepared to confront the intensity of their insecurities in a film like this. That is why this title is so reviled in many circles.
Why Donahue agreed to be in it was perhaps due to the indie success of Easy Rider in 1969 which gave Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda career boosts after years of appearing in drek. Donahue may have looked to it as his ticket to more serious roles.
Instead, up until 1974, his career was in a tailspin as he appeared in some obscenely weird productions none of which helped his career. Unlike a multitude of other American actors he didn’t go to Europe to make movies. That, his limited talent and substance abuse problems impeded his ability to keep his career afloat. This infamous film is a testament to the depths a performer can sink to in but a few years.
The ups and downs of being an actor are occasionally illustrated most acutely by the appearance of a known star in the most offbeat and comically inept kind of production. Assembled in this thoroughly repugnant film, around a nearly unrecognizable Troy Donahue, was a rag-tag group of rank amateur performers several of whom also appeared in pornography.
At very least, the soundtrack is not as bad as the rest of the elements on offer.
Notes: aka The Love Thrill Murders