Archive for the Exploitation Category

THE MONSTER AND THE STRIPPER/1968/RON ORMOND

Posted in Camp-Cheese, Exploitation, Gorillas-Yetis-Bigfoot, Ron Ormond on September 2, 2011 by Bill Courtney
THE MONSTER AND THE STRIPPER
1968/Director: Ron Ormond/Writer: Ron Ormond
Cast: Ron Ormond, Tim Ormond, Peggy Anne Price, Sleepy LaBeef, Georgette Dante, Ronald Drake, Jack Horton, Pauletta Leeman, Harris Martin, Diane Jordon
AKA: THE EXOTIC ONES
As hard as it may be for the uninitiated neophyte to conceive there is a class of “cult” (I do not like that term much lately as it is overused these days but is still most applicable at times) makers whose skill and dubious vision is on a lower rung of the film making ladder than even Ed Wood Jr.. In fact the title “worst filmmaker of all time” has never really been suitable for Ed Wood Jr. since there are moments in his films that show some degree of craftsmanship. Of course I am talking apples and oranges here, okay. Tim Burton made an embellished biopic of Wood’s life and career of the technical nature Wood himself could never imagine. I still find most of Wood’s catalog pretty deserving of being watched over when there is nothing else to do with life. I can dust the house or watch Bride of the Monster again. Not a tough decision for me folks. But even in more remote orbit from the world of conventional filmmaking are a good that churns out what are often called Z-Films. If B-Movies refer to films made outside the normal system and politics of Hollywood on super low budgets then Z-Films represent a world even outside the rules and codes of B-Movies and their creators. I doubt anyone sets out to make a “Grade Z Classic” the way Ted V. Mikels did with Astro Zombies or Al Adamson did with Dracula vs. Frankenstein but somewhere event beyond reasonable human control (such as the collective lack of filmmaking talent on the part of the entire cast and crew) come into play. And yet there is something genuinely entertaining about the films of folks like Ray Dennis Steckler, aka Cash Flagg, and even Herschell Gordon Lewis that can provide a certain portion of the population a sound evening of pseudo-surreal film watching. One could argue that this same said portion of the population is in desperate need of shock therapy or even lobotomies but that brings the subject matter a little too close to home to make me feel relaxed. So lets move on and discuss a truly odd film I had the masochistic pleasure of watching recently called The Monster and the Stripper, aka The Exotic Ones.

Like many other film makers of his selective ilk Ron Ormond’s personal and professional life followed a course much like one of his eclectic films. If you are really interested there is a ten page write up on the man and his films from an article that appeared in Michael J. Weldon’s Pyschotronic Video Magazine. One of these days I am going to begin some posts that provide mini-bios of the lives of influential Uranium charged film makers and I will use info from the above essay to give an overview of Ormond’s life. I know you can’t wait that long and ten pages is way too much to read of the cuff so I will try to give a very rough sketch from the info I have lying here next to me. He was born in 1910 as Vittorio Di Naro and changed his name to Ron Ormond because of the influence of mystic Ormond McGill on his life. Ron Ormond had a fascination with things mysterious or religious and even spent nearly a year in India with McGill researching and writing the book Mysteries of the Orient. McGill and Ormand would collaborate on some other books, that would probably be found in the occult section of a bookstore, with titles like The Master Method of Hypnosis, The Art of Meditation and The Magical Pendulum of the Orient. Later in life Ormond’s religious leanings would take a more Southern Evangalical slant when, after surviving a plane crash, be became born again and followed the hell fire and brimstone preaching of the Reverend Estus W. Pirkle.

Ormand’s contributions to the world of film began to be more substantial when he began working with cowboy star Lash Larue (so named because of the bullwhip the black clad good guy used in his buts with bad guys) in the late 40’s and 50’s. He produced and wrote many of the Larue and other B-Western films of the time for his Western Adventure Inc. production company. He married June Carr and later little Timmy Ormond was born. The times changed and so did Ron and June Ormond’s film making ventures. In the mid to late sixties they churned out a handful of low budget exploitation style films that seem to belong in a little niche all their own. While most people may have never heard of Please Don’t Touch and Untamed Mistress I hope that they will be a little familiar with Mesa of Lost Women, featuring some of the old Ed Wood Jr. entourage such as Delores Fuller and Lyle Talbot (doing the narration).
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Ormond’s film direction took still another bizarre twist when after the aforementioned near fatal plane crash he began making Christian propaganda films for Estus W. Pirkle with titles like The Burning Hell and If Footmen Tire You What Will Horses Do? He died in 1981 and like many exploitation style film makers his work remained lost until VHS and DVD brought them to a level of popularity he never knew in his living years. I have seen Mesa of Lost Women a couple times and am trying to download If Footmen Tire You What Will Horses Do? (Jeremiah 12:5) and Please Don’t Touch Me but the film I just watched and the one this post is about is The Monster and the Stripper and seems to be the film he is most remembered for, alongside Mesa of Lost Women. The title is certainly enticing and it is also known under the less provocative title The Exotic Ones. The film is like that line from Ghost World when the character Rebecca says “Its so bad its good¡± and the totally cynical Enid responds with “Actually it so bad that’s its gone past good and back to bad again¡±.

Like I said, the title is enticing and sounds pretty sleazy but the movie had me using the fast forward often, which is something I seldom do. I was aghast to discover that some people to churn out posts on a daily basis actually fast forward through the film just to get to a review on it. I actually enjoy the fare I watch and tend to do more rewinding and if the film is unwatchable I eject it. The problem with TMATS is that some scenes are fairly watchable Z-Grade material, at least for people to prefer root canals with little anesthesia or think Ed Wood Jr. may have actually been possessed of some sort of genius. The problem really is the dance sequence that are too many and go on too long, sometimes one after the other just filling up reels. They are of the Tease-o-Rama type variety and in small doses could be fun but after a while they really become simply way too boring. What I want to see in a film like this is lots of cheesy acting and corny dialog and goofy monsters. And yes, plump, pastie teasing dancing girls in a sleazy strip club as well of course but it is all just filler here obviously.

The film opens up with shots of New Orleans and the type of over the credit narration that is supposed to give the film a sort of mondo, true life feel. That’s you are about to be exposed to the sights and sounds of some hidden under belly of life in America that few people even know exist, much less have ever witnessed. Soon however we are transported into the less than murky and grimy interiors of Nemo’s Strip Club, run by said Nemo who is played by shade wearing Ron Ormond himself and billed as Vic Narno. His business partner is played by June Ormond and some of the dialog exchanges between consist of them staring into the camera and mouthing a line then cutting to a scene where the other, looking into the camera, reacts. June Ormond sometimes keeps slipping glances into the camera as she is talking and even seems to wink or nod to the camera and it is a little odd. Nemo’s business is slowing down due to competition on the strip he is working and in one scene he has his goons pour a spittoon over the head of a toothless rival who owes him some money. He is watched constantly by what must be a vice cop (Ronald Drake) who wears a goofy straw hat and spews out patronizing advice to one nice girl, Effie, who, in his opinion, does belong in this ratty business. She is played by Peggy Anne Price and she simply wants to be a singer and we are treated to a couple performances of her doing a sort of poor man’s Pasty Cline that are pretty hayseed sounding and do not seem to fit in a burlesque type club. His main dancer is the garishly eye-lined Titiania (Georgette Dante, a real live exotic show girl who stayed friends with the Ormonds long after the film) who is rotund and arrogant and becomes jealous of good girl Effie stealing a little of the lime light from her.

But Narno needs more to draw in customers and on the suggestion of his right hand man Marty (Jack Horton), who looks like he owes every Elvis record ever made, they decides to go into the swamps and bayous around New Orleand and capture the “Swamp Thing” that has been recently killing off hillbillies (or swampbillies) and ripping the heads off livestock. They figure this is just the sort of thing people will money to come in and gawk at. They hire a swamp kid named Timmy (Timmy Ormond) as their guide and the group of four men are soon whittled down to two by the Swamp Thing, a cave man looking brute played by rockabilly singer an guitar player Sleepy LaBeef (some MP3 samples at the end of the post) who lives under piles of Spanish moss. One of the best scenes in the film is when the Swamp Thing rips the arm off one of the hunters and beats the man to death with his own arm. Okay, I thought it was one of the best scenes anyway. There is some irony to this scene actually since the man beat to death was Cecil Scaife who was a PR man for Sun Records and at the time working with Columbia Records. So happens Sleepy LaBeefe (called Sleepy because of his droopy eye lid) was a Columbia recording artist. The dialog and acting in this sequence are simply the “best’ in the film. Anyway, they catch the Swamp Thing, with a hypo-gun I think, and take him back to the Strip Club. The local police seem to have no interest in the fact that a murderous swamp beast has been captured and soon he is on stage rattling the cage bars as the audience stares in shock. Timmy is the only person the monster connects with, for some reason we never understand, and as well he has a monster style crush on good crooner Effie. Naturally the bad girl Titania gets on his bad side when she does her fire act and torments him with fire. In one scene the Swamp Thing bites the neck of real chicken and lets the blood drain over his body. Some trivia here is that the 6’7 Sleepy did not have the heart to actually kill the chicken and so Georgette Dante (Titania in case you forgot) wrung it’s neck off camera and flung it back to Sleepy.

After a pretty non-sexy cat fight between Effie and Titania the monster escapes and kills Titiana then terrifies and bunch of dancing girls who all look like they are laughing at the lumbering, loin cloth wearing Sleepy LaBeef, who is supposed to a pretty funny and hospitable good ol’ boy in real life. The beast squished the skull of Narno while the vice cop in the straw hat just watches, with gun in hand, and winches. In the next scenes we are told that the monster escaped and no ones knows where it is. Guess it just walked down Bourbon Street and back to the swamps without causing any commotion. The film ends with another Russ Myersesque narration. The film actually did rather well on the drive-in circuit where June Ormond arranged autograph sessions with the dancers (including of course Titania) and other cast member sin the concessions area. Not that the Ormonds saw much of the returns of this or any of their films and soon the shady dealings of the exploitation film business, along with his neat fatal plane crash (he may have been the pilot), all contributed to his conversion to Southern style Christianity and his very bizarre but intriguing film work with the Rev. Estus W. Pirkle. More on that stuff another day.

NOTE: One sad note about this article is that when I had it posted originally at my old URL -which was basically destroyed by hackers and unqualified tech support-  the article generated some responses from Tim Ormond and one of the films dancers Diane Jordon. Eventually even Titiana herself (Georgette Dante) contacted Tim and a bit of a reunion occurred and was chronicled in the comments sections and a couple post updates. Sadly when I lost the old URL I lost ll of that precious information. If Tim and Diane are out there I may say hi via your mails and welcome you to the new address for any updates you may want to share. Thanks for sharing the stuff you did and best of luck to you if you read this. Bill.

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ASTRO ZOMBIES/1968/TED V. MIKELS

Posted in American Horror, Exploitation, John Carradine, Mad Doctors and Scientists, Science Fiction-Fantasy, Ted V. Mikels, Tura Satana, Wendell Corey on June 25, 2011 by Bill Courtney
ASTRO ZOMBIES

1968/Director: Ted V. Mikels/Writers: Ted V. Mikels, Wayne Rogers

Cast: Wendell Corey, John Carradine, Tom Pace, Joan Patrick, Tura Satana, Rafael Campos, Joe Hoover

I have to admit that I have been on a real super B-movie or Z-grade film roll for a long while. God knows I watch more of this stuff lately than I can keep up with as far as posting goes. I may soon be shifting gears for a couple posts and do some posts on some other films I have seen lately, like Mr. Majestyk with Charles Bronson, or the Getaway with Steve McQueen or a Japanese film like Woman of the Dunes or Onibaba. Of course I simply love this old B-movies and love writing about them and promoting them. And few Z-grade films have a more special place for me than Ted V. Mikels’ bewildering The Astro-Zombies (sometimes listed as simply Astro Zombies. The poster art says Astro Zombies or Astro-Zombies-with hyphen- while the opening credits say The Astro-Zombies and most searches actually turn up a song by Glenn Danzig’s Misfits). I picked this up long ago on VHS and saw it a couple times and really knew little about it other than who John Carradine and Tura Satana were. I will have to admit that this film is not fort everyone, but I love it. Yes, there is tons of padding and wasted opportunities. I feel Tura Satana is not used on screen enough and John Carradine is fun as yet another mad scientist but spends too much time tweaking equipment and babbling pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo to his mute and imbecilic henchman and not enough time really being insane and misguided. But the film is fun and the dialog is priceless I have a couple samples below for your listening pleasure. The dialog is all the more an oddity because the script was co-written by Wayne Rogers, Trapper John from TV’s M*A*S*H. Roger’s was also co-producer and a lot of the property used in the film belonged to him. The film is torn to shreds usually in sites online that I always thought were supposed to pander this stuff. It is a bad film and going into the movie with that knowledge will not make it any better. If you are not a fan of really bad cinema then steer clear. But if you are the type who love seeing greasy haired, stooped over henchmen torment tied up girls in bikinis for no explainable reason, or monsters that consist of phony looking rubber masks with no expression and all of it topped off with the zaniest dialog ever then you will enjoy the time wasted with this grimy jewel. Ted V. Mikels is still alive and working and  I read on his website that is actually planning an Astro-Zombies “part III”, to follow the 2002 straight to DVD release Mark of the Astro-Zombies, which starred Tura Satana. This will not be the only film Mikels film to be featured here at the Café. Coming eventually: The Doll Squad (again with Tura Satana, Blood Orgy of the She Devils, and The Corpse Grinders. You have been warned.

The film starts off with a day for night scene of a woman driving a sweet looking white Ford Mustang convertible with historically relevant shots of the dashboard. She parks her car in a suburban house and soon is attacked and killed by an Astro-Zombie. There was some special reason she was singled out and murdered but I forget that reason right now. You always know an Astro-Zombie is about to attack because of the loud, strange music that announced his arrival. Now you may well be wondering what the hell an Astro-Zombie is exactly. Well simply because I have seen this film about six times does not mean I understand anything about it okay. One professor DeMarco (a mad scientist played by the king of mad scientists John Carradine) was recently dismissed from NASA because of his Astro-Zombie. Seems he could not discriminate between the body of an air force officer and a cadaver and was let go from the team. That will usually do it. The basic idea seems to be that the Astro-Zombie would actually someday be a type of cyborg astronaut that could be controlled by radio wave transmissions from the ground. Why this is necessary is never explained. DeMarco of course now works in secret with his mute, imbecilic and hunched over associate Franchot (William Bagdad who played in a couple other Mikels’ features) and his visions of what the Astro-Zombie can ultimately accomplish has increased in grandeur since he got canned from his cushy job. He now imagines that all the knowledge of the words great minds can be assembled into some sort of computer chip type device and implanted onto the Astro-Zombie and this will be of great assistance to the astronaut while in orbit. Franchot has the miserable task of harvesting body parts for DeMarco’s experiments and at the beginning of the film he seen gathering parts following a car accident. Luckily he must have standing by the shoulder of the isolated stretch of road just as the car plunged over into the ravine below. When Franchot is not busy with this grisly task he is either listening to DeMarco’s convoluted scientific ramblings, watching DeMArco tweak circuit boards for minutes at a time or pursuing his own private experiments on bound up bikini girls.
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A group of men associated with DeMarco and his former experiments at NASA have began to worry that the recent wave of mutilation murders around LA may be connected to DeMarco. The team is headed by Dr. Holman (played by character actor Wendell Corey who was now ill and battling the late state alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver from which he would soon die). Brought to assist in the undercover type operation is Eric Porter (Tom Pace from the Girl in the Golden Boots) is one of those sort of handsome guys of the time who can’t really act even when given a good script and believable lines and overacts at being either charming or tough. The office room dialog between Holman, Porter and the other guys is simply great. I am going to try and rip some dialog samples and post those at the bottom if they are successful. Well things are even more complex than they seem already because DeMarco and his secrets are being sought by dragon lady Satana (played by Tura Satana, the tough talkin’ gal who immortalized the Russ Meyer character Varla in Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!) who is a spy from an unnamed country. Her switchblade welding heavy is Juan (Rafael Campos) who also happens to be an electronics genius.

There are some dealing with a underworld people with Russian accents that go askew and a couple guys get stabbed and ran over. Later lascivious Satana is lying on the sofa, smoking from a cigarette holder in her slit gown that all oriental spies wear around the house, listening to the tapes made by DeMarco about his Astro-Zombie experiments. For some reason I cannot fully recall some CIA guys had a hunch that earlier some shady dealing were going to go down at a shady nightclub. They manage to let the Russian spies get killed off without noticing but later wind up at Satana’s hideout in the suburbs and wind up getting caught, tortured and killed off themselves. In one great scene Satana puts out a cigarette on the CIA guy’s face. Too bad there were not more scenes like this of Tura Satana acting evil and merciless. Later a cute lab assistant is killed by an Astro-Zombie back at the space center I guess. Security must be lax.  We know the girl is going to die because she is too sweet and volunteers to take the shift for her college Joan (Janine Norwalk) so she can out with lover boy Tom. We also know when she will die because the loud Astro-Zombie approached music begins seconds before the girl has her blouse ripped off and then repeatedly stabbed. The death scenes in Mikels’ films are not usually too brutal and the sex stuff is played down. He never made a nudie as far as I am aware of. The death scene here is a little more over the top than is typical but still not gory by any stretch. Probably not suitable for Mormons.

There is plenty of padding in the film. Long stretches of film shot in the laboratory with nothing much happening other than noisy blood transfusions and Franchot conducting his experiments on some poor, struggling girl in a gold bikini. We never find out what these experiments are but in one scene Franchot is holding what looks like old radio transistors and smiles perversely as the camera cut back and forth between him looking at the transistor and the girl tied to the lab table. Sadly we never discover what he does with the transistor but I bet there were some discomfort involved. In a sequence that happens in films more often than I find credible Tom Pace (who I now figure is some sort of cop) figures that the Astro-Zombie was actually trying to return to the lab to murder Joan and killed the other girl by mistake and will probably return and asks Joan to be a decoy. She is not a trained policewoman nor is she given a gun but she seems to agree that this is the best way to trap the beast and goes along with the plan. The Astro-Zombie is a tricky devil and never shows up but instead suddenly appears, with blaring music, in Joan’s bedroom while she is in her slip. Tom is outside monkeying with the circuit breaker but manages to chase off the Astro-Zombie. During the conflict the Astro-Zombie’s solar cell is knocked off and in desperate need of power grabs a flashlight and sticks it in the little hole on his forehead.

Juan has figured out where DeMarco’s hideout in the suburbs is by analyzing transmissions to and from the Astro-Zombie and the cops figure it out some other. Needless to say everyone winds up at Demarco’s place at the same time. I should make clear that there are two, yes two, Astro-Zombies. The one that is running around killing everyone is the one that received the brain of a deranged criminal so you have to expect that sort of thing. The other Astro-Zombie is still being put together but once he is completed he will be the physically, intellectually and morally superior human that all Frankenstein type mad scientist long to create. Of they always screw up the first prototype by putting a blasted deranged criminal’s brain into the body! 

Of course fast thinking Tom decides it would be a good idea to bring Joan to the place where the murderous monster is kept and then just leave her alone waiting in the back yard, telling her to just wait and not move. Satana and her gang arrive first and in a pretty unequal knife fight Juan kills Franchot. He himself is later shot when he runs out into the open firing his pistol like James Cagney at the cops. DeMarco suddenly decides he must destroy the evil Astro-Zombie and Satana off him. She winds up dying along the Astro-Zombie in some power box hanging on the wall. And that about wraps it up except for the heroes all standing together at the end and saying some lines about DeMarco not understanding human emotions. The closing sequence is made is the same as the opening and I think is pretty cool. Little toy robots walk around the haze made by one of those old smoke bombs you got at the 4th of July and the soundtrack is some interesting though dissonant noise. But why take my word for any of this when you can see the entire film here at the Uranium Café Matinee. Certainly one of my favorite Grade-Z films. I may poke some fun at it but I enjoy this film and appreciate Mikels’ energy and enthusiasm. Like Ed Wood Jr. he just wanted to make movies and often invested everything he had into getting the things made and distributed. He usually did the production, direction, editing and camera work. Okay, he may not be Orson Welles, but this is great stuff.

PSYCHED BY THE 4-D WITCH/1972

Posted in Audio Samples, Exploitation, Ray Dennis Steckler, Satan, Soundtrack Samples on June 9, 2011 by Bill Courtney
There was a time in America when mixing up porn and Satanism was a pretty groovy thing to do. Psyched by the 4-D Witch comes from that innocent time that we now fondly remember as the late 60’s and early 70’s.  The film over all is a real mess and I had to fast forward through the last part to just get the experience over with. I rely on the reviews of others to actually have some idea of what the film was trying to be about. The movie is the creation of one Victor Luminera which sounds a lot like a pseudonym and no other films appear online under this name. Some speculation is that Ray Dennis Steckler may have had something to do with this one but we will never know for sure. It features Kelly Guthrie who played in some of Steckler’s adult films like The Sexorcist.  Steckler has never claimed to have been involved in the 4-D Witch project and it may say something about the film that a filmmaker of his ‘caliber’ may have distanced himself form the film. Again all of this is apocryphal and does not really make the film much more interesting. It is shot on Super-8 film and has the feel of a college film class project that should have lasted about ten minutes but it drags on for an unbelievable 81 minutes. It boasts of being shot in Transetheric Vision and I guess that is the term they made up to justify the abuse of double exposures and weird 60’s style psychedelics effects that would often be shot over bands in clubs and no doubt the coolness of the effect increased in proportion to how many hits of blotter you dropped before the show. The films seem to be trying to pay homage to –a euphemism usually for rip-off- the art films of Kenneth Anger which were usually hard enough to sit through. 4-D Witch seems to be trying to mix up Lucifer Rising with soft core porn sequences. There is reason to suspect the film was originally a hard core sex film and the graphic scenes were crudely edited out as was much of the so called dialog.  While there does not seem to be a version of the actual hard core version the consensus is that there was one at one time.

The film is really hard to watch and I tried to sit through it without fast forwarding but it was not possible. The editing is simply horrible as is the audio track which is a collection of samples from classical music like Bolero, Night on Bald Mountain and Tristan and Isolde, as well as snippets from some early Pink Floyd’s  2nd album, A Saucer Full of Secrets. But the way the songs suddenly start and end and begin again is really annoying. There is never a stretch of film where the music seems to linger long enough to create a mood. There is however the pretty catchy theme song called Psyched by the 4-D Witch, aptly enough, and I chopped that from the film with a bit of introductory monolog as well. The monologs and dialogs in the film were all dubbed on later and that is not necessarily an uncommon practice, but at least the people in the films are usually moving their mouths in some unison with the dubbed dialog. Here people talk and their mouths never move and on the one hand it is an interesting and creative effect and on the other a pretty cheap and crappy one.
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The film follows in some form the adventures of the virginal Cindy (played by the one name actress Margo) who has been practicing complicated witchcraft rituals in her dorm room that consist of her sitting topless and waving candles around in circles. Aleister Crowley would have been proud of her. Soon she conjures up the spirit of an ancestor named Abigail who was a Salem witch and Abigail (played by another one named actress Esoterica) tells Cindy she can have all the orgasms she wants and still keep her virginity… er, for her daddy or something. The process involves ‘fantasy fucking’ but the naughty F word is always cut out, so we always hear Cindy is about to practice some “fantasy ____”. Her adventures include her gay neighbor (Gutherie) who calls himself a “homo” in the obviously patronizing voice of an uptight straight guy (probably not Gutherie but some ‘actor’ hired later to do the shabby voice-overs). She also has lesbian sex with her Aunt Fannie who has the weirdest nipples I have ever seen in a film and after the sex we hear orphaned dialog that implies the act was actually a three way with Cindy’s father involved! This makes the whole saving herself for daddy understandable now. There is also sex with a rubber snake and her brother turning into the stupidest looking vampire ever after he is cursed by Abigail. You have to see the fangs this guy is wearing to believe it. Then she has sex with her friend’s psychologist father and in between all of these encounters she relaxes by raking leaves and trimming trees. I have actually given the film more structure than it has if you try to sit through it. All of the above action probably occupies fifteen minutes of film. The rest is filled with double exposed scenes of eye balls and puppets and I don’t really know what. The voice-overs were obviously after thoughts and try to give the chaotic scenes some meaning but fail. The dubbed dialog is the best part of the film really but it wears thin pretty fast. Actress Margo wears the worst wig in film history and has zits in the corner of her nostril that the camera feels compelled to zoon in on all the time. Look for a shot of the LOOK magazine cover with Anton Zandor LeVay. Yet another fond memory from a time when Satan was hip. The film is plotless and poorly shot with horrible audio and ludicrous acting and so was released as a double feature with Monster A Go-Go by the folks at Somethign Weird Video. We will look at our feature next but take a break for now and sample the theme song from Psyched by the 4-D Witch and a couple minutes of witty monolog from our horny heroine Cindy:
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http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3523697345-audio-player.swf

THEME FROM PSYCHED BY THE 4-D WITCH 
AND SOME MONOLOG

PSYCHO A GO-GO/1965/AL ADAMSON

Posted in Al Adamson, Camp-Cheese, Exploitation on June 5, 2011 by Bill Courtney

PSYCHO A GO-GO 


1965/Director: Al Adamson/Writers: Mark Eden, Chris Martino

Cast: Roy Morton, Tacey Robbins, Nadine Arlyn, John Armond, Joey Benson, Johnnie Decker, Kirk Duncan

Al Adamson is one of those filmmakers who divide the masses. In this case he divides not the masses of main stream movie goers from the purveyors of b-movies and fringe indie-films, but divides the very schlock movie crowd itself. Even lovers of “bad cinema” find Adamson’s work to be intolerable. Now before I continue I should make clear, as I have done before, that I put this film into my bad movies to avoid category. I am speaking here of course to the bulk of mankind. There are of course those of the cognoscenti who spend a lot of time searching for these oddities in the back of small video/DVD stores or online in eclectic BT sites. I have to admit that I fall into this category of masochistic film viewers who wants to not avoid the works of people like Al Adamson but wants to see as many as I can. That being said, if you do not fall into this category you are well advised to steer clear of Psycho A Go-Go, and most certainly clear of this double feature’s second feature, Manos: The Hands of Fate.

There is actually a long and convoluted history surrounding Psycho A Go-Go and I am not sure I have all my facts straight and if I make a scholarly blunders I defer to the authorities in on this filmmaker to set the record straight. The film was originally released in 1965 by Admason and life long friend and partner Sam Sherman as Echo of Terror (with “cinematography” by Vilmos Zsigmond who would later go on to shoot The Deer Hunter) but it totally bombed and was quickly reedited with shots of plump go-go dancers in a club dancing and was re-released as Psycho A Go-Go. The film has an interesting movie score really that is the subject of some armchair research by sites that focus on soundtracks such as the people over at Monster Movie Music (http://monstermoviemusic.blogspot.com/). But the scenes with singer and star Tacey Robbins sound more like a poor man’s Patsy Cline than a typical 60’s go-go style singer but the scenes are interesting and she is not a bad singer. Well the added clips of a go-go bar did not help the film much and it vanished in obscurity until Sherman and Adamson brought it back form the dead in the form of 1971’s The Fiend with the Electronic Brain and footage now was put in featuring Tommy Kirk and John Carradine. Extra footage also was added to explain that the original bad guy in Psycho A G-Go (Roy Morton) was actually some sort of Vietnam War zombie controlled by evil scientist Carradine. The movie was still to be re-re-released as Blood of Ghastly Horror (cool title) and this time some added footage of Adamson’s wife Regina Carroll playing Carradine’s daughter. Now is was this the final version of the film? I don’t really know. It was also released under the title The Man With The Synthetic Brain but I do not know if this included extra footage of, lets say, Adamson’s dog in the background, or if it was just a ploy distributors and film makers often used in the 60’s and 70’s to get people to pay for the same film twice. In any case, the money continued to bomb and Adamson must be given his due credit for really trying to sell this film over and over despite the public refusal to want to see it.


I have not seen Blood of Ghastly Horror though I have it somewhere on my 500 gig hard drive (which desperately needs backing up) and will check it out eventually. So, I cannot compare the two films. I have read Ghastly Horror is a real mess and only Adamson devotees can endure it from start to finish in a single setting. How can anyone pass up seeing something with a reputation like that? However, I will be honest, Psycho A Go-Go is not a totally horrible film in that utterly outside Hollywood-film maverick sort of way. Of course some things are outside Hollywood for various reasons. Sometimes the filmmakers follow their own vision and passion refusing to be stifled by big studio politics. Other times they could never really belong inside Hollywood due to their basic lack of filmmaking skill. Which category Adamson fell in seems to be a topic for debate online.

The story starts off in an almost Tarantinoesque fashion with a group of rough looking jewel thieves on their way to make the perfect score that always hits a snag. Among the group is bad guy Joe Corey (Roy Morton) who we can assume is the psycho of the film’s title. We are introduced as well to boss man Vito (Lyle Felice) who sports a creepy John Water’s style mustache and a goatee. Obviously the condescending mastermind of the operation he is one too happy later when he finds things have gone awry after the female they tied up managed to set off the alarm causing the gang to panic. In the confusion Roy kills one of the gang, Travis, who was wounded by a cop and had who just tossed the case of jewels over the roof and into the back of a pickup truck owned by David Clark (Kirk Duncan)  who I gather is a cop. I am not sure really. Or he has a cop friend. Well, it does not matter really. Vito’s girlfriend Vicky was in charge of the getaway car and sees David drive off with the case of jewels and gets his license plate number. The crooks decide to pay the oblivious David a visit later and beat the truth out of him, but unbeknownst to all David daughter Linda had earlier found the jewels (now her “treasure”) and hid them all inside her little negro doll. Well, that’s what it was. I have no clue why this white 60’s suburbanites would buy their daughter a little negro girl doll for her birthday but the little girl seemed to loved it Was this some fad in 1965? Anyway, Linda leaves with her go-go bar singing mom Nancy leave for a vacation at Lake Tahoe and dad is left home to be kicked around by Vito and his gang and has no idea what the hell is going on. 
Psycho Joe and punch drunk gang member Curtis intercept Linda and Nancy at the Lake Tahoe bus station and take them off to some cabin in the woods to terrorize them into telling them where the gems are. Back at the Clark house a love triangle has managed to surface between Vito, Vicky and handsome gang member Nick. The cops show up for some reason I can’t recall, but it had something to do with David not returning a call to his police buddy, and Nick and Vito are shot.

At Lake Tahoe friction develops between the ruthless Joe and the conscientious Curtis. No problem. Joe kills Curtis and then high tails it after Nancy and Linda who have now escaped into the snow covered wilderness around Lake Tahoe. It the final scene Joe finds the jewels, finally, in the little black baby doll and as he realizes the irony of it all he is shot dead. A note should be made about Roy Morton’s performance as Joe. He vanished from films after this and yet he could have gone on to be a great heavy. I have not seen Blood of Ghastly Horror and wonder if there are added scenes of his performance in that film.

I have read Adamson hated making the films he made and if this is true I wonder why he made so many. He was supposed to be a kind man and easy going to work with on the set. I do not think he meant this film (or his others) to be taken too seriously. I am almost certain all of this is done tongue in cheek and considering the almost zero budgets he was given to work with by producer Sherman (who admits he is more to blame for Adamson’s films than Al himself) it is a wonder anything was produced at all. Really one of Adamson’s more watchable products. But then again, when you are talking about films like Satan Sadists and Horror of the Blood Monsters the competition is slim.

PLACER SANGRIENTO/1967/EMILIO VIEYRA

Posted in Emilio Vieyra, Exploitation, Giallo, South American Movies, Trailers on June 5, 2011 by Bill Courtney
PLACER SANGRIENTO
1967/Director: Emilio Vieyra/ Writers: Jack Curtis (English-language dialogue), Antonio Rosso
Cast: Alberto Candeau, Ricardo Bauleo, Mauricio De Ferraris, Susana Beltran, Gloria Prat, Emilio Vieyra
AKA: FEAST OF FLESH, THE DEADLY ORGAN
Argentinean director of B-Sleaze and horror Emilio Vieyra is probably best remembered for his 1971 exploitation classic The Curious Case of Dr. Humpp (La venganza del sexo), which starred dark haired and dark eyed Gloria Prat. Prat had previously worked with Vieyra (aka Raúl Zorrilla) in his sort of sexy but not really sexy enough vampire thriller Blood of the Virgins (Sangre de vírgenes) and in an even lesser known film than the practically all but unknown Dr. Humpp called Placer Sangriento (Feast of Flesh or The Deadly Organ) which is the subject of this Uranium Café post. I would like to see a little more of Vierya’s work (I actually found a DVD copy of Blood of the Virgins in a small DVD shop in Jilin City in Northeast China while I worked in that area one very bleak and freezing winter… long story) as well as more of Gloria Prat’s work but this type of stuff is really hard to find. I should quickly add that both films star the lovely Susana Beltran as well and both gals appear to be regulars in Vieya’s films. To be honest in these films I sometimes get confused as to who is who and what the hell is actually going on most of the time. This is made harder in this case since there are no end credits on the film version I have to confirm who is who. If it adds anything Prat is also executive producer of this film.

I actually had searched for some time online for a good Bittorrent or Rapidshare file before finding this on one of my secret sites. This film originally played as a double feature with Rene Cardona’s Night of the Bloody Apes and both are available as a double feature DVD by Seattle’s infamous Something Weird Video. I had originally intended to do a double feature post on Night of the Bloody Apes and Feast of Flesh but nixed the idea when the first version of Feast of Flesh I downloaded was in Spanish with no subs. I finally got a nifty English dubbed version that is pretty watchable if you’re the type of person that can watch a film like this in the first place regardless of the print quality. It seems to be that while the film is pretty spacey and downright incoherent most of the time it is the type of movie I like watching at about two in the morning on the sofa when my mind is half in this world and the next anyway and the effects of such a film act like a psycho-tropic drug on what few brain cells are still functioning.
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The movie is easy to pan and deride, as it usually is to extreme degrees, but it has some really interesting moments and is a creepy stalker film that seems to be working with a psycho-stalker formula that is more derived from the Italian style Giallo style films than of the suspense thrillers from America or Britain at the time. The film was made in 1965, but not released in the States until ’67, and while shot in some small but swanky coastal town in Argentina the dubbed version I watched infers the action takes place in Los Angeles. Actually what happens is a police officer mentions that the character Betsy, played by Beltran, is from a small town south of LA but the tone of the conversations seems to imply that they are all near LA themselves. Beltran’s character is nameless at IMDB but credited as Luisa, not Betsy, at a Spanish language film site called Cineconional

http://www.cinenacional.com/peliculas/index.php?pelicula=1579

I will assume this is the name of the original character before being dubbed. Furthermore she is confusingly nicknamed Bebe or Beba in the film-her real name sounding like Besty Lou or something as out of place- but Gloria Prat’s character (Prat plays a small supporting role in this film actually) is listed at IMDB as Laura ‘Beba’ Villegas. More confusing is the fact that it is after one in the morning and I am actually researching this mess as if in the end I will have cleared up some arcane and yet profound mystery. In any case I am certain the lead character is Susana Beltran and she is called something that sounds like Beba in the film, regardless of what it says at IMDB.

Whoever she is and where ever she is from does not really matter one way or the other since this story seems to take place in another world altogether anyway. For example, if Beba grew up south of LA why does she have a thick Blanche Dubois style southern drawl? The actors use hip lingo, calling each other “cat”, and act mod and liberated but look like the typical thirty or over adult that is the norm for movie teenagers of this time period it seems. The camera work and lighting is not really too bad and the scenes are usually shot in a sharp contrast that I prefer to something grainy, washed out and gray looking. The outdoor night shots are done well enough and there is well controlled back lighting through mist effects in many of the night scenes. Of course the film has plenty of problems and I am certain most people will just not get it (if there is in fact anything to get other than vertigo) but connoisseurs of unintentionally bad films will eat this baby up. And speaking of eating it up the US title of Feast of Flesh is pretty misleading as there is no gore in the film and while there are some sexy moments (including some over the sweater boob groping and girls rubbing other girl’s breasts over bikini tops) you could hardly say there is anything overtly lewd in the film. The original title of Placer Sangriento seems to translate as Pleasures of Blood or Bloody Pleasures and even that is not doing the film justice. The other US title is the double entendre loaded The Deadly Organ and that too is a tad goofy in my opinion. While there is some trance inducing music in the film, except for a couple scenes, it is not really a solo organ for the most part but rather some slow, spacey lounge music that seems pretty innocuous for the most part. I used the original Spanish title for the post since it sounded mysterious and foreign.

The story is a simple enough Giallo inspired whodunit type thriller with a masked killer luring pretty young girls to their deaths with the above mentioned “deadly organ” bossa nova tune. They become entranced somehow from the music and wander with a zombie like stare in their eyes to their seductions and eventual deaths at the hand of the guy with not only a rubber mask but matching rubber gloves as well. It s never explained how it is the music gains this effect over the girls. The means of death is a lethal injection of heroin that is rammed into the victim’s chest with a huge hypodermic needle. There seems to be a period of seduction and courting between the killer and victim and they all speak longingly of him during subsequent police interviews. And that brings me to the topic of the cops and particular lead detective Inspector Ernesto Lauria who has arrived to assist in the investigation of the recent murder of a girl on the beach. We are treated to the murder in the opening moments of the film along with a couple of clueless and hip talking locals. We also get to see a swinging party where Beltran’s character does a topless go go dance to some wild bongo laden pop music. I guess no swinging party was complete without bongos back then. The camera also pans over the faces of spaced out party revelers, any who could be the killer I guess. The film really tries to juggle way to many characters and Inspector Lauria quickly only seems interested in juggling Beba’s bountiful assets. In one scene she is actually in the process of being raped by the beach victim’s fiancée and Lauria only watches from a distance and not only does not intervene but chastises her for being a tease. He does turn his back while she gets dressed so he is okay. In another scene he somehow concludes he must use “lysergic acid” (LSD) as a truth serum on a girl who is one of the killer’s hypnotized concubines. Does not seem to help much.

I have to be honest I really could not always follow what was going on and who was who. Almost every minor female character, and one male, introduced in the beginning of the film is killed off by the masked man who seems to have little trouble getting away with one brutal homicide after another within walking distance of his beachside bungalow. I mentioned above that the film is similar to the influential Italian Giallo (yellow) films that were still in their infancy after Mario Bava’s groundbreaking Blood and Black Lace and while some people reject this comparison I feel it is accurate enough. You have a masked and mysterious killer who will no doubt be reveled in the films final moments to be either some major character you who you are not supposed to suspect but usually do or some minor character who had two lines of dialog in the first twenty minutes of the films and then vanishes until the end when their mask is pulled off. The killer may or may not use a specialized weapon in the murders but usually they do. The camera often focuses on the hands of the killer with the weapon and the death scenes can focuses on the lurid aspects of the death and its details to a gratuitous degree. The stories are often too complex for their own good and atmosphere plays more of a role than does cogent narrative. All those elements are here and while the storyline is mostly vague and even downright goofy at times there is a strange and surreal quality to the film that I enjoyed at times. I never found myself disliking the film. Beltran is great to look at and the scenes of the cops playing the 45 rpm record looking for clues and significance and suddenly all but exclaiming “eureka” are some classic bad movie police moments, but far from the worst I have seen. And how bad can these cops be? they give innocent, potential witnesses free LSD. The killer winds up being a less than minor character in the film but it is no surprise really. Beba becomes a target for the psycho after her new cop boyfriend Detective Lauria decides to use her as bait. Gives witnesses LSD, watches passively as Beba is molested and blames her then uses as untrained bait in a homicide case. This guy is a keeper in my book. She winds up wandering in a hypnotic daze as the not really that strange music plays on the beach on a quaint little portable record player. The killer gets blasted and his mask is removed as we are treated to flashbacks of dialog that tie it all together as Beba and Luisa walk off into the night arm in arm.

The movie is only 77 minutes long and not as terrible as most people make it out to be. It is certainly a good film for late at night right before bed when the mind is at its most receptive for such an experience.

http://www.viddler.com/player/186480e2/
TRAILER FOR THE DEADLY ORGAN

DRACULA vs FRANKENSTEIN/1972/AL ADAMSON/LON CHANEY JR.

Posted in Al Adamson, American Horror, Camp-Cheese, Exploitation, Forrest J. Ackerman, Lon Chaney Jr., Mad Doctors and Scientists, Russ Tamblyn, Soundtrack Samples on May 23, 2011 by Bill Courtney
DRACULA vs FRANKENSTEIN
1971/Director: Al Adamson/Writers: William Pugsley, Samuel M. Sherman
Cast: J. Carrol Naish, Lon Chaney Jr., Anthony Eisley, Regina Carrol, Zandor Vorkov, Angelo Rossitto, Russ Tamblyn, Jim Davis, John Bloom, Forrest J Ackerman
AKA: Blood Freaks (working title), Blood of Frankenstein, Satan’s Bloody Freaks, Teenage Dracula, The Blood Seekers, The Revenge of Dracula
Dracula vs Frankenstein is certainly one of Al Adamson’s more memorable offerings. Released by his and partner’s Sam Sherman’s Independent-International Pictures company in 1971 the movie is a “high point” for Adamson’s technique of joining together previous films projects and in some cases (as with the utterly bizarre Horror of the Blood Monster) inserting unrelated film footage from other  films entirely. With Dracula vs Frankentstein the effect is a little more cohesive than he is usually given credit for though the story and production are pretty shoddy in typical Adamson style. I am saying that as an Adamson/Sherman production it is one of the better projects. The movie is entertaining enough in a midnight movie way and is lots of fun for fans of bad movies though others would be well advised to stir clear of this debacle.
The film has some notable once greats in the cast. Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story) has an out of place role as a biker. If the character seems reminiscent of his character Anchor from Satan Sadists it is more than a coincidence since scenes from a prior Adamson/Sherman project, a sequel to Satan Sadists, was used. That project got shelved for a couple years and some footage wound up in Dracula vs Frankenstein along with newly shot scenes where Tamblyn and crew appear noticeably older and heavier. Here the biker characters seem to pop up to intimidate one of the female characters once in a while for no explainable reason and simply wind up hacked to death by veteran horror star Lon Chaney Jr. who appears here in his final film role. Chaney looks weak and feverish most of the time and would die a year later from liver failure and beri beri. Also appearing in his last film role is screen bad guy J. Carol Naish whose film career, like Chaney’s, goes back to the 30’s. Naish works from a wheelchair throughout the film and was in such feeble condition he could not remember his lines. He read from cue cards and in some scenes you can see only one eye scrolling left to right as he read because his glass eye would not move. Naish would also be dead within a year. In a small role is Famous Monsters of Filmland founder and editor Forrest J. Ackerman who gets his back snapped by the freaky looking Frankenstein Monster. And in a less mentioned role is tough character actor Jim Davis (Jock Ewing of Dallas) who plays a police detective.
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The whole project was began in 1968 as The Blood Seekers and that time Naish and Chaney played a mad scientist and his mute, idiotic assistant. Seems mad scientists can only enlist the help of retarded cripples in the genre films of the 60’s and 70’s. The misguided though brilliant doctor sought the secret of eternal life to help mankind but in the process had to kill off pretty young girls to perfect his formula.  Their is always some blasted snag to every mad doctor’s benevolent plan of saving mankind it seems. The film didn’t go anywhere and was canned but later Adamson wanted to revive the project and with Sherman decided to releases the film as a Dracula and Frankenstein film. The story gets blurry here really for me and Sherman had promised a film called Dracula vs Frankenstein and had a release date scheduled with distributors and was unable to actually release the film because it was far from finished. Instead he got his hands on Paul Naschy’s debut film that was a small hit in Spain called La Macrca del Hombre Lobo (maybe The Mark of the Werewolf). The film was originally shot in 3D and was released in the states as Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror though the movie has nothing whatsoever to do with Frankentstein. The film was a bit of a success though and Sherman likes to take some credit for Naschy’s soon to come success in the field of 70’s Euroshockers. I guess all this filled contractual agreements and allowed Adamsons to get back to assembling the mess that would become the film this post is about. Another film of the same title was released in 1972 by Jess Franco and the two are sometimes confused by people seeking to see one or the other. And to make it all still more confusing there is a 3rd film with the same title released in 1969. That one is actually a Spanish film that was the last role of Michael Rennie (The Day the Earth Stood Still).
Unfinished film projects seem to be the thing that fueled Adamson the most and many of his movies were patched together over a period of years and the haphazardness of the end product is what gives the films their notoriety or appeal depending on the predisposition of the viewer. Things did not work out with Sherman’s original choice for Dracula, John Carradine-who had starred in Adamson’s bewildering Blood of Dracula’s Castle-and so to play the count they enlisted someone with absolutely so acting credibility whatsoever. Adamson selected former stock broker Robert Engle for no better reason than he liked the way he looked for the role. I thought he looked like a pimp myself. With the help of Forry Ackerman changed his name to Zander Vorkov  (a combination of Anton Szandor LaVey and Boris Karloff). This was supposed to be in the tradition of film greats like Karloff and Lugosi who changed their names to something dramatic but Engel’s comic book name is the least of problems with him and his horrible performance. He really seems to want to try and be an actor and it must have put the zap on him to see his name in the credits as “Introducing Zander Vorkov”. Luckily he made only one more brief appearance in Adamson’s next film Brain of Blood as a Muslim priest or something who dies in the first few scenes then he vanished from the world of film forever.
The story is very confusing and at times simply incoherent. This is in part due to the conflicts in the two scripts (there is orphaned dialog from the first script about some “parchment” that never appears in the film at no point) and mismatched film stock as well as the poor quality of filmmaking itself. The opening credits are sort of cool though and the Moog laden music score by William Lava is listenable at times. The opening scenes shows Dracula unearthing the remains of the Frankenstein monster (played by John Bloom who would also appear along side Vorkov in Brain of Blood as yet another monster) and killing the night watchman. This is the only person Dracula drinks blood from in the entire picture. I am thinking that the action here takes place where the rest of the film does and that is around the Los Angeles area. Exactly why the Frankenstein monster wound up buried in a grave in southern California is not explained. Maybe the opening action takes place in Transylvania or some spooky place but I am not sure and do not see any reason to review the film once more to be clear. If I am mistaken just smack me a couple times. The scene ends abruptly and soon a girl is strolling along the beach and the next thing you know her head is lobbed off by the imbecilic Groton (Chaney in a role that echoes back to his excellent portrayal of Steinbeck’s Lenny in Of Mice and Men because Groton cuddles a small puppy throughout the film). Suddenly the story cuts to Las Vegas where we are treated to an entire song and dance routine by Judith Fountain (played by Adamson’s wife Regina Carrol). We soon discover that her sister Jodie has come up missing in the Venice district of LA. and she leaves to see what information she can gather. Cynical and life weary Sgt. Martin (Jim Davis) is little help as his spouts off his nihilistic diatribe and grumbles that the “world is a dark place” and hits the viewer over the head with a hammer as he clicks the overhead light off.
Judith is off on her own and in the hippie side of town alone and looking for Jodie. A couple hippies of note is future trash film maker Greydon Clark as Strange and Anthony Eisley (Samual Fuller’s The Naked Kiss) who plays Mike, a slightly older and patronizingly wiser hippie guy with a really weird necklace. Judith asks the bartender of a local hippie dive about her sister and after he passes this information onto his boss (none other than Russ Tamblyn as the biker Rico) he is told to slip her an LSD mickey and soon she is freaking out and hallucinating and dancing around in weird clothes. Why Rico felt he had to give acid to a woman who is asking about Jodie remains a mystery since he had nothing to do with her death. The spaced out Judith aided by Strange and his girlfriend Samantha. Now I should mention that earlier in the film (or maybe it is a little later, I totally forget) Strange and Samantha had taken a tour of the “funhouse” of Doctor Duryea (Naish) and met the lovable midget (or dwarf or little person) Grazbo (Angelo Rossitto who would also appear in Brain of Blood with Vorkov and Bloom, and he would again play a midget). The guy is really annoying and eats the dollar bill that Strange probably had to panhandle all morning for. The funhouse is a collection of torture instruments and murder recreations that are almost impossible to make out because the lighting is so damned bad. In many cases Adamson elected to use natural lighting to ill effect. Maybe he did not elect to or more likely did not know better. Adamson did not have future Deer Hunter cinematographer Vilomos Zsigmond aboard this time to help out as he did with other projects like Horror of the Blood Monsters, Blood of Ghastly Horror and Psycho A Go-Go, though little in those “works” show much of Zsigmond’s skill anyway.
Guests to the funhouse are treated to Duryea’s blatherings about illusions and reality and all sorts of meaningless mumbo jumbo, while all the time the good doctor is using the the funhouse as a front for his real purposes. In the basement which is reached by an elevator (this is confusing since the funhouse rests on top of a pier on the beach with trap doors that open directly over the beach itself) he is carrying on the experiments as his calling, as the last of the Frankensteins, to… er… well… I am not sure what his calling is. It has something to do with the original story for Blood freaks I think, before Naish was actually a descendent of the Frankenstein’s, who is now called Duryea as he was adopted by the Duryea family in an attempt to explain the original name of Naish’s character from the first film. He is seeking some drug that will benefit mankind by endowing people with eternal youth. As mentioned earlier he must kill attractive young girls to get the base for his serum or whatever. And the kills must be in a state of total fear so that the correct balance of chemicals is produced. This is where the mute and idiotic Groton comes in. Normally passive and withdrawn he becomes a frothing maniac after the doctor injects him with a drug that unleashes the killer in him. He then goes out to the beach area around the pier on a regular basis and chops off girl’s heads. Duryea is also assisted by the dwarf/midget/little fella Grazbo in his research.
Well, one night while Duryea is hanging out in the funhouse alone when out of the shadows walks Count Dracula and we are treated to some of the most highhanded and ludicrous dialog of the entire film. A strange effect is added to Vorkov’s voice and it is all warbly and echoy. I guess this is suppose to sound eerie and supernatural but in fact it sounds rather like someone’s voice being amateurishly processed through some audio filter. The dialog that takes place in the “underground” lab is too outlandish to go into. There is stuff about the Duryea being crippled by some rival doctors or something and one in particular is Dr. Beaumont (Ackerman) who also was responsible for burying the Frankenstein monster-after all his associates died in some unnamed epidemic and are conveniently written out of the script before we ever see them-in the graveyard we saw at the beginning (so it must have been LA and not Transylvania) and that Dracula now has the beast and Duryea must continue with what he is destined to do as a Frankenstein. That is to, what? Do something with the deformed freak. And he has to hurry as the Zornov comet is passing close to earth on that same night fro the first time in like a hundred years or so and the Zornov comet is important for some reason. As dracual looks out the window we get to see the Zornov comet and I think it is best you just have a look for yourself at this thing. Beaumont is later killed by the monster in a classic scene for any fan of famous Monsters of Filmland. I found some scenes from FMF and posted them below and you can see Forry doing the best acting in the film.
To release us from the mounting tension and suspense Adamson cuts to a groggy Judith who was taken by Strange and Samantha to the local over 30 hippie who can still be trusted a little Mike. Mike introduces himself and informs her, after her asking where she is, that “this is my pad.” They quickly conclude that Dr. Duryea’s funhouse is the focal point of the all the disappearances and it is this scene that Judith makes mention of the “parchment” that Jodie had gotten from there. What parchment? Jodie’s head is hacked off within moments of her character being introduced. There is no friggin’ parchment in this movie but maybe there was from Blood Freaks. Who the hell cares.
They take off to the funhouse and miss the slaughter of Samantha and Rico and his gang by Groton, which again takes place under the pier of the funhouse. The bodies are later found by Strange and Sgt. Martin who finally figures he should go down to the beach and look into all these missing person reports. Earlier Mike and Judith had managed to escape from Dr. Duryea’s evil clutches after they found Jodie there with her head sown back on and a blank stare on here face. Grazbo dies a pretty cool death when he falls through the trapdoor onto Groton’s ax. Duryea winds up decapitated by the show’s guillotine and Judith runs out to the roof and soon Sgt martin gets to do hid job and shoots Groton with out warning or Miranda rights.  The ending that now follows was discarded by Adamson and it is available, I think, on the Troma DVD release of the film. Basically the film ends with Judith and Mike alive and staring at each other as Dracula and the monster die off and turn to dust. Adam son was not satisfied with the ending and decided to re-shoot it… but not all the cast was available for the re-shoot, including John Bloom as the monster and Anthony Eisley as Mike the hippie. No problem to get a stand in for Bloom who was covered in make up any way. Harder for Eisley, so Adamson actually stood in for him himself and had Dracula zap him in the back with his evil ring (whose designer receives mention in the opening credits for some reason) as he ran away. It is a totally comical scene with low grade animation and frozen frames. It is during this sequence also that Frankenstein starts battling Dracula in the confusion and some we actually have some combat between the two monsters and it continues a little later as well in some of the worst lit scenes in a movie filled with horrible lighting.
The film was shot on 16mm film stock and when the final confrontation between the monsters occurs it is all shot in a thick wooded area using natural lighting. The action is often washed out and the sunlight cutting through the tree leaves and branches does not help at all. In any case, the final scenes of the newly shot ending are interesting enough as Dracula rip the monster limb from limb concluding with its spongy looking head. But the fight went on a little too long and Dracula is too far from his lair as the sun rises higher and higher. He makes it back within feet of the entrance and starts to dissolve in a scene that contains the best special effects of the film but that is not saying much of course. In the tradition of older films that would cut away from a transformation then back Adamson switches between shots of the sun rising and then back to Dracula in various stages of decay. Here Vorkof has the opportunity to display the breadth of his acting ability as his thickly made up face dissolves into Styrofoam.
I can certainly recommend Dracula vs Frankenstein to fans of campy midnight movie fare. Others are warned to steer clear. I have actually come to like Adamson’s work and find some of it more watchable than a lot of the grade-z material I have sat through recently. Like Ed Wood Jr, who I repeat was not the worst filmmaker of all time by far, Adamson seemed to possess some vision but lacked some fundamental filmmaking or story telling skills to bring it all together in a cohesive package. But that’s does not mean he work is void of talent or at least watchable and enjoyable moments, even if those moments are often campy and unintentionally comical. There will certainly be more Adamson reviews here as I have about a dozen or so projects he was involved with. The next one will either be Brain of Blood of the unbelievable Horror of the Blood Monsters.

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