Compared the US VHS from Something Weird Video with the US Blu-ray of American Arcana (Mondo Macabro).
1968 was a very productive year for director Byron Mabe, who released a full five films. The Lustful Turk, The Head Mistress, Space Thing, Brand of Shame, and The Bushwhacker, which was produced conceivably cheap and with a thin script. I thought for a long time that Dinosaur Island had the cheapest plane crash to offer, where the camera starts to shake and the passengers put their heads down without showing the crash directly, but The Bushwhacker skillfully undercuts that, because there isn't even a plane to be seen here. Rather, Dan walks down a hill with his wives in tow, while some smoke rises in the background. The rest of the film consists of either erotic fumblings accompanied by easy listening music, because Dawn in particular can hardly keep her hands off the handsome Dan, or endless scenes in which the group runs through the area. The occasional appearance of the Bushwhacker interrupts the yawning boredom.
As somewhat controversial aspects, the film has same-sex necrophilia (Maureen somehow fails to take her hands off dead Sherry) and cannibalism to offer, but lesbian groping beyond death and a few bites to the thigh in no way compensate for the remaining vacuum of content. Something similar to gore is seen towards the end when the Bushwacker pulls out his knife to snatch Sherry's heart and Dan is finally allowed to fire his gun, which he carries around the whole film. Similarly shallow as the plot is the character sketch, as the women differ less in character than in the size of their breasts. Despite its obvious flaws, I find it hard to be mad at the film, because despite all the boredom, there are always delightfully absurd moments. For example, the group is searching for the missing Sherry, which causes Dawn to present herself naked to Dave. Dave realizes that he is just a man and leaves Sherry to her fate. If you like US sexploitation you can have fun with The Bushwhacker.
US-VHS shortened by one violent scene
The Bushwhacker was first released by SWV on VHS and later on demand on DVD-R. The version was in full frame and came from a theatrical print. In 2008, Jef Films released another DVD pulled from another theatrical print. The DVD was in widescreen and much better quality than the SWV version. On June 14, 2022 (earlier in direct sales), a Blu-ray of The Bushwhacker was finally released by American Arcana, a sub-label of Mondo Macabro. Again, the theatrical print of SWV's US VHS served as the source. In this one, however, the scene in which the Bushwacker cuts the heart out of Dawn and eats it was missing. On the Blu-ray, this scene was apparently reintegrated from the Jef Films DVD. Otherwise, there are no major differences. The VHS has a longer jump cut at one point, plus the Blu-ray is a little longer during the reel changes.
On another small note, in addition to The Bushwhacker, The Ravager is on the US Blu-ray. This one is about a traumatized soldier who comes home after the Vietnam War to blow up lovers. It's a similarly crude film that pairs well with The Bushwhacker.
US VHS (SWV):
US Blu-ray (American Arcana).
US-VHS: 82:42 min.
Jumpcut: Dan can be seen a little longer, before he kisses Dawn.
BD: 9 sec
The Bushwacker cuts the heart out of Dawn and eats it.
BD: 23 sec