Deliverances dark secrets – real-life hillbillies to haunted by squealing

Classic 1972 thriller Deliverance could make even the most ardent camper reconsider a trip into the great outdoors.

Famous for its 'squeal like a pig' male rape scene, the nightmarish tale about banjos and inbred folk still boasts the power to horrify 50 years after its release.

Starring moustachioed heartthrob Burt Reynolds, the films sees four city slickers from Atlanta head off into the Georgia wilderness for a canoeing trip down a rugged and remote stretch of river.

READ MORE: Crying teen exposes her inbred 'hillbilly sex ring' family where dad traded rape for beer

But things turn sour when the not-so-happy campers discover the locals are anything but welcoming.

Here we look at some surprising – and little-known – facts about the iconic 70s flick.

'Inbred banjo boy' actor now works in Walmart

One of the most famous scenes is perhaps one of the most uplifting.

Drew Ballinger (Ronnie Cox) challenges Lonnie, played by Billy Redden, to a musical duet and the resulting back-and-forth strumming stand-off is a moment of movie magic.

Some of the native Appalachian locals said the film cast a negative impression of them as inbred sex offenders.

But Redden said the film role was the best thing that ever happened to him. He featured in a couple of other movies and still lives in Rabun County where the film was shot.

In his last interviews, he was working for Walmart in Clayton, Georgia.

Notorious rape scene haunted star for years

On the second day of their ill-fated trip, Ned Beatty's character is forcibly sodomised by a backwoods nutcase who orders him to "squeal like a pig".

The brutal, lengthy and toe-curling scene is one which Beatty could never shake off.

"How many times has that been shouted, said or whispered to me since then?”, the actor wrote in a column for The New York Times.

“It was my first film and my best. So it hurts my pride when some jerk hollers ‘Squeal like a pig’ at me. I get mad — real mad."

Stunt almost cost Reynolds his life

In one scene, director John Boorman had originally planned to send a dummy down the rapids. But like his full-of bravado character, Reynolds insisted he go over the falls himself.

“First thing I did was hit a rock, crack my tailbone, did a flip and I was in a hydro-flow. I couldn’t get out,” Reynolds told Reuters.

Following earlier advice, Reynolds swam to the bottom and was shot out of the water "like a torpedo".

"They looked down and saw this nude man who looked 75 or so, crippled, walking along, coming back," he said.

"It tore every piece of clothing I had off, including the high-top boots.

"I said to John, ‘What’d it look like?’ And he said, ‘It looked like a dummy going over the falls.’”

Fighting on set

And it wasn't just the river that proved a challenge on set. Boorman says the author of the book James Dickey was drunk on set, and became “very overbearing with the actors.”

Reynolds said: “He was huge and he was always standing over you, kind of boring in."

According to legend, the tension reached a peak when director and writer got into a fistfight which left Boorman with a broken nose and four teeth knocked out.

Dickey was ejected from the set, but was allowed to return for a cameo role as a police officer.

Buried alive

The actor who played the rapist mountain man held his breath and kept his eyes open for two minutes in the dying scene.

Boorman recalled: “[Bill] McKinney had tremendous discipline and control of his body. He held his breath and kept his eyes from blinking for two minutes—he’d trained himself specially for this shot. He was completely convincing as dying man. It’s all about gesture and discipline.”

McKinney then had to endure actually being buried and again held his breath a long time, as the earth was shovelled over him.

The director used real 'hillbillies'

The characters at the gas station scene are actual locals from this mountain community in Georgia where they filmed.

Boorman reportedly said their inbreeding was due in part to being descended from white settlers who hooked up with Native Americans and were subsequently ostracised for it.

The toothless attempted rapist was played by Herbert Coward who Reynolds had first met while working at a dude ranch.

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