August 16, 2013
Powers Boothe, Keith
Carradine, and Dexter from Silver Spoons
Southern Comfort is the perfect choice for a countdown like
because it is one of those movies that is completely unknown to most
people. Seriously, most people have never even heard of it.
And I know that because, up until about a couple of years
ago, I was also one of the people who had never heard of it.
Yes, even I, a huge movie nerd who has entire catalogs of
movies that most
people have never heard of before, had never heard of Southern
Comfort until my friend Jeff Forst tipped me off about it.
This is the exact type of movie I wanted to spotlight when I came up
with this countdown.
what is Southern Comfort about? Well I guess the best way to
describe it to you is the exact same way that my friend first
described it to me. Because he knew that I was a fan
movies. And he knew that I liked creepy movies. And
that I liked obscure movies.
So one day at work, he came over to my desk and he had a special
recommendation for me.
"Hey Mario," he said, "Have you ever seen Deliverance?"
of course. Everyone has seen Deliverance. Right?
not, hint, you should really go out and see Deliverance.
"Well there's this movie that is JUST like Deliverance," Jeff told me.
"Only instead of a river in Georgia, it is set in the bayous
Louisiana. And instead of being chased by hillbillies, they
hunted by Cajuns. See if you can find a copy of it, you are
to love it."
And I was like, wait, what? Deliverance in a
Louisiana bayou? Angry river trappers hunting down city folk
ass-raping them, only this time it's all Cajun and spicy-like?
Cajun Deliverance? That sounds awesome! Where do I
We're Cajuns. Don't fok wit us.
so Southern Comfort isn't EXACTLY like Deliverance. But it's
pretty close. And it's pretty good. And god damn,
as hell better have been good, because I spent SIX YEARS OF MY LIFE
trying to find a copy of it.
What it feels like to search for a movie for six years
flash back to the first time my friend told me about Southern
Comfort. That would have been, oh, I would say about June of
year 2000. He told me about Southern Comfort, and I thought
that actually sounds pretty good. Maybe I better track down a
copy of it.
So I went out to the local Blockbuster. I
asked the clerk there if they had it. The guy working there
never even heard of it before.
Hmm, okay. So let's try Hollywood Video. No luck
so let's go to a different city. In fact, let's go to any
Let's go to any video store in the year 2000, in any city in
America, and let's ask them if they have a copy of Southern Comfort on
VHS. That's right, let's not even bother with DVD
because I am
pretty sure they are just going to laugh at me. DVD?
forgotten little survival movie from 1981?
buddy, keep dreaming. You're lucky we don't only have it on
Re-enactment of any clerk at any Blockbuster when you asked if they had
a copy of Southern Comfort
I finally tracked down a copy of Southern Comfort in the summer of
2006. SIX YEARS LATER. And after all that time,
after all that looking, I can't
even tell you how close I was to just taking it and bringing it home
and never returning it. Oh I'm sorry? Did I "lose"
copy? Well I guess I better pay for it. Sorry about
I don't know what I was thinking. I can be so
I finally got to watch it my wife in the summer of 2006. And
we both agreed that it was a pretty good movie.
not -quite- as good as Deliverance, of course. No, if it was
good as Deliverance then everyone would know about it. But it
well worth seeing if you can track down a copy of it. There
creepy mood and ambience in Southern Comfort that
under your skin. In fact, there is enough creepy atmosphere
music in this movie (especially towards the end) that I eventually put
it on my list of "Ten Great
Horror Movies That Most People Have Never Seen."
Hey look, guys! Bear traps!
As for storyline, well let's just say this movie doesn't need a super
intricate writeup. It doesn't need one because it doesn't
have a very complicated storyline.
Comfort is the story of a group of National Guardsman who are in the
swamps of Louisiana one weekend, and who are doing a training mission.
Their job is to do an overnight recon from one base camp to
another. They are supposed to travel through the swamps from
Point A from Point B, and they are supposed to do it in full military
gear with a real military leader, as if what they are doing is an
actual military maneuver.
Our intrepid heroes, ready to begin their swamp maneuvers
since this is a training mission, the Guardsmen aren't allowed to carry
any ammo. All they have are guns that are loaded
This will become important in a minute.
Off into the swamps of Louisiana
Okay, so our weekend warriors head off into the swamps.
And at first they are having fun. They are having
pretending that they are soldiers, and that their guns are real and
that they are loaded with ammo. At first, they treat this
like it is all a big joke.
And then? Oh poopy. They get lost.
the Guardsmen get lost in the swamps. And they find a giant
between them and the point where they are supposed to be.
when there is a river between you and your destination, what you really
need at that point is to borrow a boat. Right?
look at that. Over there on the shore, there are three
canoes that they can borrow that probably belong to the local
Cajun fishermen. We can borrow those, right? We
borrow the boats from the fishermen. And then on the other
side, we will leave a note explaining why we had to do it.
Sounds like a
perfectly mature solution to a crappy situation, correct?
No. Don't steal boats. Because this is how people
turn up dead.
anyway, yadda yadda, the soldiers take the boats. And the
Cajuns don't like it. And when the two sides meet up on the
side of the river, one of the soldiers decides to... ha ha...well I
guess I will play a
little joke. He raises his gun full of blanks and he fires it
Ha ha! Eat shit, hillbillies!
well, the rest of the movie is the Cajuns getting their revenge by
stalking the soldiers through
the swamps of Louisiana. And by setting traps for them.
I'm sorry, men. Shit just got real.
this movie is a lot like Deliverance in that you have city people
wandering through the backwoods, picking a fight with an enemy that
they underestimated, and that they probably shouldn't have messed with.
Only in this case instead of dudes in a canoe, you have
firing blanks. And instead of hillbillies you have
And instead of Ned Beatty being ass-raped, you have Dexter
Stuffins from Silver Spoons.
Dexter (top left) in his happier days
Dexter about to be pan fried and smothered like
Comfort is nowhere near as shocking as Deliverance, and is nowhere near
as scary, because this situation is far less likely to happen to a
person in real life. I mean, when are you seriously
ever going to
be tangling with Cajuns in a bayou? But still.
just something about this movie that gets under your skin.
is something unsettling about the location, and the music, and the
general, and it almost makes the entire movie come off like a
documentary. At times it feels like this is actual footage
and we just sort of stumbled onto it.
Plus shots like this are just creepy. Guess where the next
trap is going to come from?
Comfort is an excellent little revenge/survival flick, and I would
recommend to anyone just for the story alone. It is a
memorable movie. However there is
one part of the movie that is just AMAZING, and that I have to point
out in my writeup. Because if there is one reason that
should see Southern Comfort at least once, it is the ending.
last twenty minutes of this movie are just a masterpiece
of atmosphere and creepiness.
It all starts when Powers Boothe and Keith Carradine hitch a ride into
a Cajun village
if you want to see what a really creepy movie looks like, watch the
last twenty minutes of Southern Comfort. Watch the village
Listen to the happy Cajun music playing in the background,
trappers are stealthily stalking the soldiers in the foreground.
Oh, and watch how the editor superimposes shots of a pig
slaughtered (from an actual boucherie) over the action with the
trappers. Because you are pretty sure that exactly is what is
going to happen to these guy if the trappers get their hands on them.
They are going to be shot in the head and their entrails will
be spilled all over a truck.
Actual pigs being slaughtered, shots of which are interspersed
throughout the end of the movie
I can't say enough about the final twenty minutes of this movie.
It is so tense and so eerie and so creepy that it is almost
exhausting to sit through. In fact the only horror movie I
compare to the final twenty minutes of Southern Comfort is the ending
of The Wicker Man, which uses a similar tactic of playing happy
upbeat dance music over raw brutal horrible suspense scenes.
is a really effective tactic. I wish more movies did that.
It is just really unnerving.
Boy, vous avez vraiment une jolie bouche.
any case, there you go. Southern Comfort. A long
masterpiece of a suspense movie that took me years to track down a copy
despite its storyline, isn't really all that gory or unpleasant to
watch. Well, okay, I guess unless you count the
scenes with the pigs.
Don't see this movie if you have a thing for pigs.
Let's just say that. I am
pretty sure that animals WERE harmed during the making of this motion
picture. Shh, don't tell Betty White, she is going to have a
Oh, and if you like seeing Cajuns get punched, this is your Citizen Kane
yeah, and before I sign off, I have to point out that this movie has an
all-star cast. Besides Powers Boothe and Keith Carradine (the leads)
Dexter Stuffins from Silver Spoons, there is also Fred Ward, who is
best known as "the other guy" in Tremors...
Running's not a plan. Running's what you do once a plan fails.
.. there is Brion James, a character actor who was in
approximately a kajillion movies during the 80's...
Brion James after ripping a juicy one
... and this is my favorite cameo of all, we also get Punky Brewster's
teacher Mr. Fulton as one of the soldiers.
Mr. Fulton (T.K. Carter) lecturing Punky about life
T.K. Carter on the left
Oh, and I guess I better wrap up this entry by telling you my favorite
Southern Comfort story.
About four months ago, in April of 2013, a Blockbuster Video store near
us was going out of
business. And like most video stories that go out of business
(aka pretty much every video store nowadays), they were having a big
clearance sale to get rid of all their old merchandise. So
day on a lark, I went over there to see if I could find anything.
Because, you know, sometimes you can actually
So there I was, browsing through Blockbuster's giant box of
"please buy these, we are selling them for 99 cents" used DVDs, and lo
and behold, what do I see but a copy of Southern Comfort. And
DVD too! I had never actually seen a copy of it on DVD
opened it up to see if there was anything wrong with the disc and I
couldn't believe it, it was perfect!
Well you better believe I
ran it up to the counter. Because aint no one getting this
movie before I
can get out of there with it. And this was the best part.
Not only do I now own a copy of Southern Comfort on DVD, I
actually got it for free. Since I was buying a couple of
movies at the same time, the girl at the desk said she would throw in
"the 99 cent one" for free because they were going out of business in
two days and it was never going to sell. I told her, "Yeah it
stupid. I guess I'll give it a chance though, you never
know." She just smiled and nodded her head at me
clearly she had no idea what a fucking hard movie this is to find and
how much of a score this was.
So anyway, yes. I do own a copy of Southern Comfort now. And
I got it for free.
And I'm not letting it out of my sight, so don't even ask.
We deal in gumbo, friend.
favorite IMDB user reviews about Southern Comfort:
Southern Greetings - 29
this is a atmospheric survival action film and Walter Hill at his peak.
Love it! It's so simple (although streaming through it is a biting
allegory about the Vietnam War), but nonetheless exhilarating, tense
and raw film-making. Sure the acting and dialogues aren't master-class,
but however they're commendably pulled off. In which case Powers Boothe
(whose booming voice takes charge) and Keith Carradine (excellently
pitched as the guy of reasoning) are terrific leads, and the support
Fred Ward (a memorably hot-head and tooting turn), T.K Carter, Lewis
Smith, Franklyn Seales, Peter Coyote and Brion James are also quite
compelling. Tough, authentic and a real sense of claustrophobic tension
stems from the actor's rapport and cynical script. This blends well
with the brutal bloody violence (like the barnstorming climax with the
powerful freeze frame closing) and the dank, devouring swamp terrain
that ultimately swallows them up. But where I think it's at its most
effective is during the interludes of Ry Cooder's fascinatingly folksy
music score. Each time it creeps in, it demonstrates the right
illustrations to the striking visuals and harrowing moods. Cooder's
handling is multi-layered and truly echoing. From a relaxing southern
flavour, to a haunting stillness and a punishing sting. It's cohesively
perfect in it's random shifts. Hill's bravura direction holds up
tautly, as the well-used slow motion is suitably done and the highly
measured suspense piercingly infused. I liked how the hunters are kept
as void-like background figures, because towards the end it makes the
whole paranoid feeling and unease thrillingly justified.
Like "Deliverance" with
Cajuns instead. Decent film throughout, with an ending elevating it to
greatness. - 10 June 2012
a Frenchman I've long been fascinated with Cajun culture, surviving
against all odds, so when I learned "Southern Comfort" was like
"Deliverance" with Cajuns I figured it had to be fun and that I should
check it out. I wasn't disappointed.
The plot is pretty simple.
A National Guard squad gets stranded in Cajun country swamps, and are
victim to attacks from the locals who consider that it's their land,
and the film predictably proceeds in having the soldiers killed one at
a time while they also destroy each-other because of their increasing
The score and cinematography are great, as is the
acting. However I must say that ultimately most of the movie with the
soldiers stranded in the swamps isn't as intense as it could have been.
It's surely entertaining, but pretty basic, and for that only I would
have given "Southern Comfort" a 7. However, the last 20 minutes of the
movie are absolutely fantastic, elevating the film to something highly
satisfying. I don't want to spoil anything, and anyway I probably
couldn't accurately describe how superbly cut the climatic ending of
"Southern Comfort" is. If most of the film is just above average, the
ending makes sitting through it even more worthwhile, as it all builds
up to those last scenes.
The theme of the film obviously borrows
from the Vietnam war, and the film itself inspired later films. Just a
little trivia for you, I actually first learned about "Southern
Comfort" from reading about the film "Aliens". "Southern Comfort"
producer David Giler convinced the studio to make an "Alien" sequel by
making the sequel like "Southern Comfort" in space. And it's true that
"Aliens" does have a similar Vietnam war theme.
"Southern Comfort" is a good 80s film which truly did remind me of
"Deliverance", so if you liked that film, you will like this one too.
classic - 21 October 2008
taut, well-paced thriller has stood the test of time. I watched it
recently (more than 25 years after it was made) and it is still filled
with tension, creepiness and thinly-veiled commentary on the Vietnam
Southern Comfort tells the story of some National Guardsmen
who are sent on a combat exercise marching across the swamps of
Louisiana. The troops have a casual attitude (to say the least) and are
certainly not ready for actual combat. Along the way they thoughtlessly
cut fishing nets, "borrow" some canoes, and even taunt some local Cajun
hunters by firing blanks in their direction. This is a classic case of
messing with the wrong people in the wrong place. The Cajun hunters
prove to be a murderous bunch and start picking off the inept soldiers
What makes the movie excellent is the interaction of
the characters as the chain of command starts to break down. The
soldiers realize they are in deep trouble and panic sets in almost
instantly, their training quickly forgotten. The film offers rather
obvious (but effective) commentary on the Vietnam War: The soldiers are
not properly trained, not psychologically ready for combat, and they've
been dropped into foreign terrain against a mysterious enemy. Needless
to say, their chances of survival are minimal at best.
Fine film - 27 July 2001
is a simple yet, wholly compelling story that focuses on a group of
"weekend warriors" who set out for a routine weekend in the Louisiana
Bayou. Things are going smooth until they decide to "borrow" a couple
of boats, then things get really outta hand one of the guys fires off a
round of blanks as a prank.
What may appear to be a
Deliverance clone actually turns out to be one of Walter Hill's best
films. The tension is sometimes smothering and the claustrophobia just
as bad. It reminds me a lot of John Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct
13". Hill doesn't even bother to fully establish the characters. This,
while normally considered a flaw, actually works here. While there are
some familiar faces here, they are mostly on the same level of fame and
you never know who is going to bite the dust next.
I must say
that Mr. Ry Cooder has out done himself on the score. It goes hand in
hand with the atmoshphere and sets the mood perfectly. He and Walter
Hill work together a lot and they make a great team.
the performances, Powers Boothe is excellent as the guy from El Paso
who doesn't want to be in Louisiana and can't stand the rest of his
group. Fred Ward is great as the paranoid redneck who certainly doesn't
help the situation, and Keith Carradine does a fine job with the
"alright guy/lead role".
It's quite a suprise that this movie
has been so overlooked. If you can find a copy, it is well worth your
time. I give Southern Comfort a 9/10 and reccommend it to anyone
looking for a good action flick that is a little different from the
drama from genre maestro - 16 April 2006
atmosphere-soaked action drama from genre maestro Walter Hill. Andrew
Laszlo's sullen images of the Louisiana bayou are hypnotic, and draw us
into a tense situation that arises after National Guardsmen abscond
with property -- a boat -- belonging to local Cajuns. A
misunderstanding then triggers return fire that provokes a violent
hunt. Assisted by Ry Cooder's superb, moody score, Hill focuses on the
ragtag unit of weekend warriors as their considerable machismo is put
to the test in a hostile land that is not their own. Powers Booth, Fred
Ward, and Keith Carradine are stand-outs in this tense, tightly
directed thriller that builds to a pumping climax. Brion James, the
only Cajun who is not faceless, supplies a convincing turn, too. Hill
and editor Freeman Davies keep the pacing realistic, and cut the action
more for mood than kineticism. The climax, which takes place during a
Cajun celebration, integrates memorable native music and has a "Straw
Dogs" quality. The film is a very solid achievement.
Simply fantastic! - 9
love this film! It is creepy, scary and has an fantastic atmosphere. It
is set in a fantastic environment, the Louisiana swaps, that gives it
an outlandish, almost out of this world, kind of atmosphere. There is
an almost colourless feel to the scenery and the anonymity of the
pursuers make this an extremely suspenceful film.
really makes this film so fantastic is the incredible soundtrack signed
Ry Cooder! Is the man a genius or what? He combines creol music and the
violence in the film in a way that makes Bueno Vista Social Club seem
dull. ¨ Ok, some of the acting is subpar and Walter Hill could have
found some more charismatic actors, but still.
I own one DVD and this is it. Judge for yourself.
favorite scene in Southern Comfort:
ending, of course. So suspenseful, so creepy. The
music and pig slaughter overlays are just perfect.
at the IMDB
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