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The SideHackers Uncut, 1/9

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Uploaded on Oct 18, 2008

Taken from an unreleased screener copy. Sorry, that subtitle is there to stay.
For the morbidly curious, see parts 4 & 5.

Released in May 1969 and alternately known as Five the Hard Way, The SideHackers (according to opening credits, film poster, and other promotional materials) is the infamous film that made the cast and crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000 screen all films previous to the writing process. The film's brutality, particularly concerning the death of Diane McBain's character, Rita, was a startling jolt from the usual drive-in fare The SideHackers was created to compete with. Whilst not on par with the highly enjoyable Peter Fonda and Bruce Dern biker films of the late
1960s 1970s, The SideHackers is not entirely a failure. The film features a cast that gives more than you'd usually expect from drive-in schlock. Among them are a manic, scene chewing Michael Pataki in his first starring role as the unhinged J.C. (consider those initials for a moment), leader of a motorcycle gang; and the positively luminous Diane McBain (Surfside 6) as Rita, the doomed fiancée of Rommel (Ross Hagen). Hagen seems to be channeling Steve McQueen as Rommel, a mechanic whose main hobby is the sport of sidehacking, but major ambition is to settle down with Rita. Of course, that all goes awry when J.C. and his crew enter their lives. Rommel is wholly likeable, albeit terribly naïve, which proves to be his downfall.
Trivia:

Claire Polan who plays Paisley, J.C.s tragic girlfriend, was the actual wife of Ross Hagen. They were married from 1963 up until her death from cancer in 2003.

Diane McBain and Ross Hagen can also been seen together in The Mini-Skirt Mob, 1968.

The soundtrack is a collector's item these days (vinyl only and goes for well over $200) and features music from Mike Curb and Jerry Styner. The cover even features a sidehacker in
3-D!

This film was the directorial debut of Gus Trikonis, formerly married to Goldie Hawn. She was actually up for the part of Paisley, but instead appears as an extra. See that bouncy, long-haired blonde in the crowd during the film's opening? That's her!

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