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The G.I. Executioner

1971 (?)

By Tom BakerPublished 29 days ago 3 min read
2
The DVD cover art has nothing to do with the film, in grand Troma tradition.

G.I. Executioner is a political action thriller filmed either in the late sixties or early seventies (various dates are given) in Singapore, directed by Joel M. "Bloodsucking Freaks" Reed. It stars Tom Kenna, an unknown, and Angelique Pettyjohn, who had a tiny career in television and the sci-fi convention circuit, having starred in the "Star Trek TOS" episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion," as well as playing transexual agent Charlie Watkins in the old show "Get Smart" with Don Adams. (She also appeared in films such as Repo Man [1984], Fred Olen Ray's Biohazard [1985], and The Wizard of Speed and Time [1989], as well as some very naughty XXX features, all the while working as a stripper in Vegas. She died in 1992 of cervical cancer.)

G.I. is a confusing mess of a picture and has none of the earmarks of Reed's most famous film, Freaks, which, let's be honest, constitutes a bleak stain on the face of the very art and science of motion picture films, but was nonetheless an entertaining piece of cultural fecal discharge. Mired in satirical and very phony grue, it gave forth odious effluvia of rotting dumpster offal while managing to anger every feminist group the length and breadth of the American social landscape (at the time, they turned out in droves to picket the damn movie, assuring the hellacious huckster Reed his repellent little trash picture would get a much wider notoriety than what it would have otherwise scored).

G.I. is the story of "Dave Dearborn" (Tom Kenna), a 1967 pulp fiction novel character, straight from a crumbling period drugstore paperback, who lives on a houseboat slash nightclub in Singapore, a millionaire expat who is a former merc who killed some French agent or something in Saigon, Dave spends all of his time drinking and carousing with Singapore bargirls. We wonder if he ever takes time out of his playboy lifestyle to go to the free clinic.

A Russian nuclear agent has defected, or been kidnapped, and the Russians, Americans, and Chinese are all interested or something. We learn this in a weird opening title sequence in the opening credits while the execrable song "Wit's End" is playing, and some hippie kid (or agent, or something) asks some other guy, some Square John Good Citizen tourist type if he can "spare a dollar until the New Left takes over." It's the best line in the film, most likely. (The rest of the dialog, owing to the cheapjack quality of the filming, is sometimes hard to discern).

Ol' Dave carouses with expat strippers like Angelique Pettyjohn, but a big, buck-toothed special agent or gangland crook or something with buck teeth and a walrus mustache kills her for some reason, but then he gets killed and sort of sat up with a bouquet in some scary, Clive Barker Candyman ruins of a house with scary graffiti all over the walls. Which is actually kind of cool.

Dave is the locus of interest because he knows a gangster who is the point man for the kidnapper or whatever of the defecting scientist who knows all about anti-matter...is any of this making sense? No? Cool. I couldn't follow it either. In the end, Dave ends up "hanging around" like Creasy Silo in Freaks, and the villain, the dude he whacked in Saigon and who is supposedly dead. comes back, revealed to be a homosexual with a manservant he's "had with him since he was twelve." Yeah. By modern standards, the film does not portray gays in a flattering light.

While I do find it interesting that the late Reed was able to get to a foreign locale and make an entire movie, the results were pretty banal. It is interesting to see street scenes of Singapore in the seventies; otherwise, there is just enough nude flesh to arouse some meager interest, but not enough violence and no real bloodletting. So, in effect, compared to Bloodsucking Freaks, G.I. Executioner is just sucking, with no blood, and very few freaks.

G.I. Executioner was released by Troma, those impresarios of the trashcan picture, who are responsible for assaulting the world with such celluloid slop bucket leavings as The Toxic Avenger (1985), Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986), and (God help us) Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell ! (1990). This film is no exception to that rancid tradition, giving off the stench of a pair of soiled panties blowing in the hot Southeast Asian wind. I suppose it's entertaining, if incomprehensible in its own right. Just be forewarned Freaks fans: it isn't Freaks, and not even close. It's bad, but it just isn't gross.

Enough.

The GI Executioner 1971

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About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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  • Andrea Corwin 8 days ago

    All right’ ‘nuff said, I’ll pass!

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