Psych-Out (1968)

Psych-Out (1968), directed by Richard Rush.

A deaf runaway (Susan Strasberg, last seen in Scream of Fear (1961)) arrives in San Francisco searching for her brother, an artist who doesn't want to be found. She's taken in by musicians and eases into a world sex and drugs, insanity and death.

STP overdoses seem to be a particular problem: sometimes you have to rescue friends armed with circular saws. Sometimes they run into the middle of traffic and scream and scream.

These hippies believe in peace, love and nonviolence for a while, but when junkyard bullies push them too far they will punch back. Are they dirty hippies? They look like they bathe but also complain of lice. No one cleans house and heaps of dirty dishes and cockroaches are a problem.

And yet: they can be kind and generous, too. Jenny has left home for a reason and her new family help without pressure for sex or anything. Not much pressure.

Jack Nicholson wrote the original version but gets no screen credit. He wrote the character of "Stoney" for himself.

Dean Stockwell is his usual eerie self as a cynical guru with a headband.

Contemporary score: Strawberry Alarm Clock and others.

Available on DVD with The Trip (1967) on the same disc. The DVD is of the 82m cut.

Now available on Blu-ray (the full 101m cut, I presume), but my thumbnails are from the DVD.