Walk the Walk (1970)

“Filthy lucre ain’t nothing new/but we all get cash from chaos.”

– The Sex Pistols, The Great Rock and Roll Swindle

You could say notorious carny barker and grindhouse maven Howard “Kroger” Babb was a pre-punk filmmaker. His films were a shameless raised middle finger to the censors and the distributors, and an actual social conscience occasionally managed to leak through the faux-moralistic sham setups the films cravenly used to rake in the cash. Case in point: his swan song, the once-lost Walk the Walk, seen here publicly for the first time since initial release.

Written and directed by the mysterious Jac Zacha, whose debut (and, evidently, semi-autobiography) this is, it stars Bernie Hamilton (brother of jazz legend Chico Hamilton) as Mike, a devout Christian junkie stuck looking for a fix in the stoner wilds of psychedelic Los Angeles, accompanied by Judy, an oddball prostitute/free-spirit stand-in who digs cartoons (Honor Lawrence). As originally intended, Walk the Walk began with a filmed prologue by Zacha declaring that you were about to see “his story” (Zacha is white) – sadly, that sequence is now lost, as the three known prints have that sequence physically spliced out, and the original negative is long gone.

Zacha and Babb’s bizarre soufflé makes for one of the weirder and more jagged rides through the drug underground, a drag of a world where Lucy flew away into the sky with her diamonds long ago, shoved out of the way by Charles Manson, a war in Southeast Asia and Altamont – turn up, tune out, nod off. At least Judy has the Road Runner, and Mike has his Jesus. And until one closed film laboratory unearthed it in piles of abandoned elements, we didn’t have Walk the Walk.

– Peter Conheim

Special thanks to Howie Pyro.