New York’s film forum, which is giving Guncrazy its East Coast premier, may yet snatch this knock-out B movie from TV and VCR limbo. Director Tamra Davis, who has done videos for Lou Reed and Sonic Youth, shows an exciting flair for pulp. Ditto stars Drew Barrymore and James LeGros. This is not a literal remake of Joseph H. Lewis’s 1949 cult classic Guncrazy, with Peggy Cummins and John Dall as a hot couple on a crime spree. The new twosome is trapped by circumstances. Matthew Bright’s script is set in a white-trash California community where loneliness and amorality are the norm. Barrymore’s Anita Minteer is far from the man trap of the Lewis film. She’s a sixteen-year-old misfit who screws her school-mates for companionship when she’s not at home in a trailer being raped by her mother’s lover (Joe Dallesandro).
This performance should dispel Barrymore’s unfair rep as the Linda Blair of the Nineties. She’s a dynamite presence and a credible actress, as she proved in Katt Shea’s Poison Ivy and on TV as the best of the three Amy Fishers. LeGros (My New Gun) excels as Howard Hickok, a convict who dreams of “a girl who likes guns” and finds her in his pen pal Anita, who marries him after his release. Forced to kill, the newlyweds hit the open road. Perhaps to compensate for Howard’s impotence, they favor big guns, long-barreled babies. But the lurid fun soon gives way to a search for moral bearings across a bleak and bloody American landscape. In Guncrazy, Davis delivers pow entertainment with a twist: It matters.