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Film / Straight to Hell

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Straight to Hell is a 1987 Affectionate Parody of spaghetti Westerns, directed by Alex Cox (of Repo Man fame). Though far from his best film, it still holds cult status for many on account of its All-Star Cast of punk elites, including Joe Strummer, Elvis Costello, and The Pogues.

Three hired guns, Simms (Strummer), Willy (Dick Rude), and Norwood (Sy Richardson), sleep in and blow their job. Taking Norwood's pregnant girlfriend Velma (Courtney Love) with them, they rob a bank and flee to an Outlaw Town run by the McMahon gang (The Pogues), a family of maniacal coffee addicts hell bent on finding the heroes' riches. Hilarity Ensues.

The film's kooky cast of characters also includes a constantly harried sausage vendor named Karl (Zander Schloss of Circle Jerks), the McMahons' sassy Butler, Hives (Costello), a neurotic store clerk and his hot wife, and plenty of bad guys in white suits. Oh, and Dennis Hopper and Grace Jones for some reason.

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It may not be terribly well directed, or acted, or edited, or... anything, really, but it's regarded by fans to be So Bad, It's Good. And anyway, as you'd expect with a cast and crew of musicians, the soundtrack's pretty damn good.

Has nothing to do with the song by The Clash, despite starring their frontman as the main character.


Tropes used:

  • Badass Longcoat: The McMahons all wear long duster coats during their final stand. They actually belonged to The Pogues prior to filming and were featured on the back cover of their first album.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Ed McMahon, holding Willy at gunpoint, offers to spare his life, only to have Willy shoot him right in the head.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The main characters aren't exactly the best people. Heck, Simms even shoots Willy, planning to keep the money for himself.
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  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Karl. No one seems to like him. Over the course of the film he gets kicked, drowned, stabbed and is eventually shot dead with absolutely no provocation whatsoever.
  • Closed Circle: Our criminal heroes wouldn't have ended up in outlaw territory if their car hadn't broken down.
  • New Old West: There's enough cars, punk rock and coffee machines to place the setting firmly in the 80s.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite being filmed in Spain and set in Mexico, most of the town's residents have British accents, with a few Americans and a couple of Irishmen mixed in. Shane MacGowan's North London drawl is especially out of place.

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