50 Movies for 50 States Part Two: The `80s — #17 – Lousiana, Film – Gator Bait II: Cajun Justice

#17 – Louisiana, Gator Bait II: Cajun Justice

Gator Bait II: Cajun Justice (1988), produced by Paramount Pictures, directed by Beverly and Ferd Sebastian, written by Beverly and Ferd Sebastian, with Jan MacKenzie, Tray Loren, Paul Muzzcat, Jerry Armstrong, Brad Kepnick and Reyn Hubbard, cinematography by Ferd Sebastian, original music by George H. Hamilton and Ferd Sebastian (composer: "Angelique's Theme"), filmed in Louisiana

I remember back in my video store clerkin’ days gazing at the cover to this particular title more than once. This is the kind of movie that brings me back to a simpler time. Yet, my feelings toward Gator Bait II are anything but simple.

If you are anything like me, you may have a hard to reconciling the emotions brought on by the cover art to Gator Bait II: Cajun Justice. One one hand, you can’t help but have a slight attraction to the large-breasted redhead that graces the sun-damaged VHS box seen to the right.I’m not going to lie. Her name is Jan MacKenzie, but we’ll get to that later.

It took me at least a dozen times to notice that this young lady was carrying a snake. My eyes were distracted by her partially-uncovered bosom like some kind of sleight-of-hand trick. Or maybe it was the shotgun she wielded.

“I might have to shoot you, but you brought this on yourself,” she’s thinking. “Oh, what am I saying. This is just a prop gun. Please don’t hurt me!”

But Gator Bait? Really? What does that even mean? Something about it just feels super sleazy and not in a good way. For a long time, I couldn’t help but connect the title of the film to the women on the cover of the box. As if she were the gator bait. As if she were nothing more than food. A consumable object. Bait for a hungry gator.

I was partially correct. After finally getting around watching Gator Bait II: Cajun Justice — strictly for the purposes of this blog, of course — I did discover, however, that there the title has more far-reaching implications than I imagined.

Gator Bait II: Cajun Justice is fairly misogynistic crap. You’ve probably guessed that already. Still, that doesn’t mean there isn’t entertainment value in its well-worn tale of rape and revenge. As my dumpster diver friends used to espouse, any grotesque pile of filth might be hiding away one or two redeemable bits. But is it really worth getting yourself completely covered in shit? Sure, you might chuckle a little at the terribly rendered Cajun accents of the films “actors.” Maybe you’ll even laugh out loud at the movie’s dialogue, which rings as authentic as Donny Osmond’s `80s comeback (Remember Soldier of Love?)

White trash, maybe. Genuine Cajuns? My foot, couyon.

Jan MacKenzie, the box cover model whose prior acting resume is limited to one appearance as a member of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, plays the lead in Gator Bait II. Her character is Angelique, a “city girl” who — at the beginning of the film — is married to Big T (played by Tray “I-don’t-even-know-what-I’m-doing-here” Loren), just one of the many backwoods bayou-living rednecks that make up the rest of the cast, characters with names like Joe Boy, Luke, Geke (???) and Leroy.

While MacKenzie at least gets points for trying to act, Loren is probably one of the worst actors I’ve seen period. In fact, he’s probably the worst thing about the whole tragic mess. That’s one hell of an achievement.

I feel kind of silly complaining about the acting in a movie which wears its sleaziness so blatantly on its sleeve. If you’re watching this movie, you haven’t come expecting Shakespeare.

But, look folks, I’m struggling here. There’s just not a lot to say about a 4th-rate I Spit On Your Grave rip-off like this. I could tell you about the scenes in which MacKenzie appears nude, but that’s why Mr. Skin exists. Truthfully, the nudity in this is fleeting. At her most naked, MacKenzie is shot in the shadows from a medium distance. The rape is not incredibly explicit. The revenge segment is equally tepid. Yes, this is a movie aimed at disappointing everybody — perverts, would be rapists, nihilists, feminists, anyone looking for some kind of message or statement.

Here, I suppose, is where I intended to go on some satirical rant. Tying in with the first paragraph, I planned to talk about how I came to the conclusion that the woman I saw on the box wasn’t the only “gator bait” the title of the film referred to, but that her husband, the rapists — who ultimately atone for their action — and even the people who rented this film expecting to be titillated are, in fact, gator bait. Worm food.

But this movie doesn’t deserve any more of my time. Fuck it. If you willingly choose to watch this for any other reason other than to warn other people not to see it, you’re a moron.

Fun facts or “Where are they now?”: Jan MacKenzie went on to star in a direct-to-video women’s wrestling movie called American Angels: Baptized in Blood. It too was directed by Ferd and Beverly Sebastian, who apparently were “really into colons” in the late 1980s. The couple made more movie before happily settling into retirement. MacKenzie married Ferd’s son, the unfortunately-named Ferd Jr., because — as you know — nothing makes a guy attracted to a girl more than knowing your dad has seen her naked. Ferd Sebastian Jr. and Jan Sebastian went on to produce a nationally-syndicated educational children’s program.

Then things took a turn for the worse on a “gang raped by rednecks” level of “turn for the worse.” Ferd Sebastian got cancer (Don’t know if it was “colon” cancer, yuk yuk yuk). While he got better, became a Christian, blah blah blah, Ferd Jr. and Jan’s story wound up not having a happy ending.

In the late `90s, Ferd Jr. and Jan were charged by federal authorities with using their TV show — Real Life 101 — as a Ponzi scheme, bilking investors and donors out of millions and millions of dollars. Some believe this could have been foreshadowed, since they were living in Florida — a place where only magic happens. I personally think that Jan could have done better for herself, since even if acting and producing didn’t work out, she could always fall back on this.

Don’t click on that, by the way, if you’re at work. It’s not porn but it is.

Next week: Louisiana


50 Movies for 50 States Contest Scoreboard

@iceybloop – 2

@ZeekZombieMan – 1

@DraconicVerses – 2

@VicarOfVHS – 2

@ghwalters – 4

@lowdudgeon – 2

@unclegeeky – 2

@LCosgrove – 4

@GCDB – 2

Every Tuesday, a new screenshot. Guess the movie, win 2 points. Remember: Only dirty cheaters use IMDb to play the 50 Movies for 50 States guessing game. If you’re a cheater, I will find you out and scold you.

Want to play? Follow Matt on Twitter at @CM_MattDunn.

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