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PRINT Summer 1992

SECRET VICES

Peckinpah

Rattling along the backroads of Mexico in a scrap-heap convertible, Warren Oates is taunting his passenger. Sodden and borderline incoherent, he’s full of bile and paranoia and woozy sentiment: a drunk on a terminal bender, spewing out the poisoned remains of an undigested life. Strangely, the top is up, and the car is permeated with flies and stench. This may have something to do with Oates’ silent companion, who impassively receives his stream of verbal abuse. However, as the actor’s friend is a severed head in a bloody burlap sack, the conversation is an easy one to dominate.

We’re in Sam Peckinpah’s 1974 Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, probably the most disreputable and unnerving autobiographical film ever made by a Hollywood director. This is a fever dream of hard-boiled pulp, a massive sick joke on the genre, as well as on Peckinpah’s entire chaotic career, life, and obsessions.

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