Plot: Dot Hammer (Susan Howard) has just lost her father and the family business, as a local racketeer gunned down the workers and destroyed the moonshine equipment. This was supposed to shut down the operation and drive the man’s daughters off the land, allowing it to be taken over. But Dot and her sisters Sissy (Maureen McCormick) and Betty (Claudia Jennings) have no plan to leave their home, in fact they’ve decided to stay and fend off the racketeer’s advances. The girls find a hidden cache of whiskey, which will allow them to build some funds and get things rolling again, but they’ll need more than some cash. J.B. Johnson (John Saxon) works as a runner for the racketeer, but has a soft spot for the Hammer girls and isn’t pleased about how their father was taken down in such brutal fashion. But even if they enlist J.B., can three country girls stand up to the entire force of the racketeer?
Entertainment Value: As my dad was a moonshine runner in his youth, I’ve always had an interest in movies that deal with the moonshine trade. Moonshine County Express is all about the moonshine and those in the business, with enough hicksploitation to please any fan of this colorful genre. The story centers on three sisters who try to rebuild after their father was killed, but the odds are against them, as a local racketeer is hellbent on taking over their land. This is a fun one, with colorful characters, car chases, and some wild moments. The movie also has an authentic feel, which elevates the material and helps the movie work so well. John Saxon leads the cast as the man whore J.B., while Susan Howard also has a lot of screen time. The two have good chemistry and play off each other, including a lot of fun banter. The supporting cast is deep, with Maureen McCormick, Morgan Woodward, Dub Taylor, Len Lesser, Candice Rialson, and others, all given fun, colorful roles here. I loved William Conrad as the shady racketeer and Claudia Jennings gives one of her best performances here, so the cast is more than capable. This is just dusty backwoods cinema, the kind of movie you’d go to a drive-in to see and enjoy every minute. If you appreciate drive-in style movies, hicksploitation, or fat guys fishing for prostitutes, you gotta see this one.
While William Conrad does indeed go fishing to snag a hooker, the movie has no nakedness. Unless you could a little boob as the snared prostitute covers her breasts, but we don’t count that kind of shit. But the film is rated PG, so its no surprise that no naked flesh is on showcase. A little blood at times from some gun shots, but barely enough to earn a point. I do love the red stuff, but again with the rating involved, you can’t expect a bloodbath. The movie does have some fun car chases however, including a wild one on a super narrow dirt road. The movie has plenty of great country twinged dialogue and thanks to the colorful characters, even the run of the mill exchanges often have some humor, just from the performances. A scene where Dot flirts with a store owner is hilarious, as the old man is joyous when she hints that he might have a chance for a romantic interlude. Tough women, good old boys, lazy law enforcement, and a rotund bad guy, this one has all the bases covered. This one has some odd moments, such as the prostitute fishing, some great country folk dance moves, and of course the worst glory hole ever. But overall the movie falls mostly within hicksploitation conventions, so its not super insane, but its damn fun to watch.
Overall Insanity: 2/10