Psych-Out features Jack Nicholson, Susan Strasburg & Dean Stockwell on a really bad trip
Ah, 1968. The year where every movie studio decided they simply must put out a movie about peace, love, drugs and the counter-culture. Some, like Skidoo, are confusing and completely wrong-headed. Others, like Easy Rider, are acclaimed as classics (it was filmed in 68, released in 69). Even the Monkees got into it with the underrated HEAD.
And then there’s Psych-Out.
Produced by Dick Clark, Psych-Out stars Susan Strasburg as a deaf girl Jenny who has run away to Haight-Ashbury searching for her brother Steve. There she encounters characters played by actors who will go on to better things: Jack Nicholson, Henry Jaglom, Dean Stockwell, and Bruce Dern. Through her eyes you see the seamy underbelly of the hippie scene. Drugs! Sex! Bad acting! Low-budget sets!
To go to the obvious joke, it is a really bad trip. Three saving graces: the great footage that plays over the credits of the real San Francisco counter-culture scene, the great music that is featured throughout, and the raw young talent on display. Nicholson, Dern and Stockwell play the material for all it’s worth, which isn’t much… but they get an A for effort.
But don’t take my word for it! Watch it now, on YouTube: