Porno director Albert T. Viola went legit, more or less, with this R-rated sex comedy about a con man who dresses as a preacher in order to woo gullible young women into bed. Preacherman offers satire of the most simplistic type, lampooning hicks too stupid to recognize obvious scams, backwoods babes too horny to reject odious advances, and country folk too narcotized by Bible verses to recognize bogus religiosity. Viola wears multiple hats, because in addition to cowriting, producing, and directing, he plays the lead role under a brazen alias: “Starring Amos Huxley as Himself.” Although he never acted or directed again following this picture and its sequel, Preacherman Meets Widderwoman (1973), Viola’s performance in Precherman is adequate. He seems confident while spewing Gospel-inflected bullshit, and his delight while frolicking with down-home honeys seems genuine. To Viola’s mild credit, he keeps the movie’s skin quotient to a minimum, so one doesn’t get the impression he made the picture as a means of getting his jollies.
In the opening sequence, Amos gets run out of town by a sheriff who catches the ersatz clergyman sleeping with the sheriff’s daughter. Then we meet Mary Lou (Ilene Kristen), a dimwitted country girl who services four local brothers on a regular basis, apparently because she’s too idiotically compliant to draw the line between friendliness and fornication. Amos wanders onto Mary Lou’s farm and convinces her long-suffering father he can save the young woman’s soul. Specifically, Amos claims that Mary Lou should await nightly visitations from “The Angel Leroy,” who is of course an aroused Amos. Slow-moving and uninspired high jinks ensue. Made for the undemanding drive-in crowd, Preacherman delivers a low-octane shot of ribald mischief. Other movies with similar themes are more overtly crude, and the storyline is clear, so it’s not entirely surprising that Preacherman was successful enough to trigger a follow-up. Alas, Preacherman Meets Widderwoman, in which Amos duels with a distaff hustler, could not be tracked down for review.