The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield (1968)

Under the working titles Jayne Mansfield Reports, Mansfield Reports Europe and Mansfield By Night, this mondo was shot from 1964 to 1967 as Mansfield toured Europe. It has to be a mondo, because the movie really is all over the place, with the star meeting Italian roadside prostitutes, running from the paparazzi and attending the Cannes Film Festival, where she pretty much runs toward the paparazzi.

Complicating matters was that Mansfield died in a car accident in June 1967.

That didn’t stop producer Dick Randall, whose career took him from the Catskills as a joke writer for Milton Berle to producing all manner of movies that I obsess over, such as Pieces, Mario Bava’s Four Times That NightThe French Sex MurdersThe Girl In Room 2AFor Your Height OnlySlaughter High and the only movie he directed, the absolutely ludicrous and completely awesome Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks.

Randall did what you’d expect. He hired Carolyn De Fonseca, the actress who often dubbed Mansfield in European movies like Primitive Love and Dog Eat Dog. So yeah. That’s not even Jayne talking in a movie that’s supposedly all about her deepest and darkest thoughts.

De Fonseca’s voice is all over the movies covered on this site. She’s a tourist in Eyeball. That’s her doing Barbara Steele’s voice in Terror-Creatures from the Grave. Marisa Mell in Secret Agent Super Dragon. She’s Florinda Balkan’s English voice in Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling. And she makes vocal appearances in The Strange Vice of Mrs. WardhThe Case of the Bloody Iris, Torso, The Eerie Midnight Horror ShowStrip Nude for Your KillerEmanuelle in AmericaInferno and so many more. Her voice comes out of Sybil Danning’s mouth in The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, Daria Nicolodi in Deep Red and Phenomena, Barbara Magnolfi in Suspiria, Tisa Farrow in Antropophagus, Dagmar Lassander in The House by the Cemetery, Laura Gemser in Ator the Fighting Eagle, Sabrina Siani in Throne of Fire and Corinne Clery in Fulci’s The Devil’s Honey.

That’s why I write about movies. I would have never known otherwise that one person was the sound that I heard in so many movies that I count amongst my favorites, much less a mondo all about Jayne Mansfield.

With breathy narration, Mansfield visits nudist colonies, strip clubs, a gay bar and a massage parlor because this was the mid-60’s and people were losing their minds over the sexual revolution. She also judges a transvestite beauty pageant, meets the topless girl band The Ladybirds and does the Twist to a song by Rocky Roberts & The Airedales.

You also get shots of Mansfield in Playboy — the equivalent of someone filming a magazine — as well as nude scenes from her in Promises! Promises! and moments with her husband Mickey Hargitay in the movies Primitive Love and The Loves of Hercules.

With Mansfield dying before the movie could be complete, you just knew that news footage of her car accident scene would show up in this. There’s also a tour of her home, the Pink Palace, by Hargitay. He was a plumber and carpenter before becoming a star, so he made her the heart-shaped swimming pool at the center of the all-pink landmark.

In the 1980 TV movie, The Jayne Mansfield Story, Arnold Schwarzenegger played Hargitay, who pretty much demystified and popularized bodybuilding for young athletes. He and Mansfield’s daughter Mariska can be seen pretty much 24 hours a day now on the Law and Order TV shows.

One of the directors of this movie, Joel Holt, is also the narrator in Olga’s House of Shame and Olga’s Girls. Yes, that’s the kind of movie you’re about to revel in. Enjoy it. Wade in it. Experience it.

This was released on blu ray release from Severin along with Wild, Weird, Wonderful Italians. You can also watch this on Amazon Prime.

Check Sam out on The Necrocasticon podcast!

Want to hear Sam talk way too much about drive-ins, wrestling, his love of horror and pick his top ten drive-in horror movies? Good news. He guest starred on The Necrocasticon podcast, which blends horror fiction with heavy metal. Each week they find a common link between a horror property and heavy metal music and talk about it.

The esteemed panel of experts in the field of metal and all things that are scary on the show includes our host and moderator; fledgling horror writer, veteran podcaster and internet journalist Token Tom Clark, musician Maxx Axe, and horror fan Smoking Walt Hades.

Of course, Sam had to bring up Trick or Treat, because if you want to talk metal movies, that’s the best choice there can be.

You can listen to it right here.

Black Rainbow (1989)

Mike Hodges has had a crazy career. Who else could make both Flash Gordon, Pulp and Get Carter? This film is even stranger, a tale of Martha Travis (Rosanna Arquette), a carny clairvoyant who is traveling the rails with her father (Jason Robards), pulling off that old cold reading trick, letting people feel better about their dead loved ones. One night, however, she predicts a death, which starts spiraling her life — and everyone connected to it like journalist Gary Wallace (Tom Hulce, Amadeus) — out of control.

After predicting the death of a whistleblower, Martha is soon followed by the police, the press and the man who keeps killing anyone to keep the secrets of industry. While she was once content to use her gifts for showmanship, now she feels the need to tell her growing audience that there is nothing left in the great unknown. Worse, she is starting to see how each of them will die.

This is an anachronistic film, because if you asked me when it took place, I’d say the 1930’s, but there are references to R2D2 in the dialogue. That kind of incredulity makes me love this movie even more. It’s a shame that it was basically dumped on release. No surprise, it was produced by Miramax over here.

Arrow has re-released this film (it came out in 2005 from Anchor Bay), keeping archival features whole adding their always stellar extras. With a brand new restoration from the original negative approved by writer-director Mike Hodges (Arrow will also be releasing his movie Terminal Man in 2021) and new audio commentary by film historians Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan, this is the best version of this movie that you can find.

You can grab this from Arrow Video.

Parallax (2020)

Playing in theaters — the COVID-19 pandemic has helped many movies get seen more than they’d expect otherwise — this science fiction film concerns Naomi, a young woman who awakens to a life that is not her own. As she starts to learn the truth, she wonders if she’s sane. The rest of the time she;s worried that nightmares and a black void will take her.

Writer/director/producer Michael Bachochin has put together a story here that takes a while to get to its conclusion. It looks nice, there’s a good idea, but this is a movie that demands patience.

Parallax is in theaters only for now, but will be available soon from October Coast, who were nice enough to send us a copy of the film.

The Last Five Days (2020)

Two college students find evidence connecting a story they are investigating for film class — all about possessed fruit — to a series of deaths. Things begin to spiral out of control when an unknown force watching them becomes angry in this found footage film.

I’m not really the correct audience for this genre, but this movie didn’t really bother me, which is more than I can say for most found footage films. I’ve never seen a movie before where fruit turns people evil, so I can now safely say that I have checked that off my bucket list.

The Last Five Days available now on demand and DVD from Wild Eye Releasing.

The Girl Can’t Help It (1956)

Frank Tashlin made the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons and you know, that’s pretty much what this movie is. It’s a cartoon come beautiful and wonderfully to life. He’d work with Jerry Lewis on six of his solo films (Rock-A-Bye Baby, The Geisha Boy, Cinderfella, It’s Only Money, Who’s Minding the Store? and The Disorderly Orderly) and then work with Jayne Mansfield again on the movie Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? He also wrote the Don Knotts film The Shakiest Gun in the West.

I knew I would love this movie in the first few seconds, when Tom Ewell introduces the film by showing how CinemaScope and the colors by DeLuxe work. It’s an astounding moment that breaks the fourth wall before it has even been built.

A mobster who runs the slots, Marty “Fats” Murdock (Edmond O’Brien), has one dream. He wants his girl, Jerri Jordan (Mansfield), to be a singer. She has no talent, but he knows that press agent Tom Miller (Ewell, who is best known for The Seven Year Itch and whose last movie was Rodney Dangerfield’s Easy Money) can get the job done. Even better, he never hits on his clients.

Murdock is obsessed with a song he wrote, “Rock Around the Rock Pile,” and Miller has to go to enemy territory and sell the song to another mobster, Wheeler (John Emery, Kronos), who rules the jukeboxes.

There’s all manner of romantic confusion and a gang war over jukeboxes, which was actually a thing once. All ends well, with Jerri confessing that she really can sing and Murdock letting her know that he doesn’t want to marry her, so she can go off and be with Tom, the man she loves. The wedding dress that Mansfield wears here was loaned to her for her wedding to Mickey Hargitay.

Oh yeah — and Juanita Moore, from Imitation of Life, is in this. That’s what normal folks know her from. Me, I recognized her as Momma from Abby right away.

The real reason to watch this — beyond the rainbow of colors ready to bathe your eyes in perfect beauty and majesty — are the performances by Fats Domino, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, The Platters, Gene Vincent, Eddie Fontaine and more.

In The Beatles Anthology, Paul McCartney discusses how John Lennon learned how to play guitar from watching Cochran in this movie. It meant so much to them that they cut the recording of “Birthday” at Abbey Road Studios short to watch its 1968 British TV debut. Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck also claimed that this movie was a big influence.

Speaking of influence, some feel that Elvis was directly inspired by the dancing for “Rock Around the Rockpile,” which was somewhat of an imitation of him anyway, and may have used the look of this scene when he made Jailhouse Rock. The makers of The Girl Can’t Help It wanted Elvis for this film, but dealing with Colonel Tom Parker proved to be too much to deal with, as his asking price for one Elvis song was too expensive.

Want to love this movie even more? Listen to John Waters discuss it on the British DVD release. He would also tell the Directors Guild of America Quarterly, “This wasn’t a movie that my boy classmates wanted to see or cared about. They weren’t interested in discussing Jayne Mansfield’s complete lack of roots. I really had no one that I could be enthusiastic with about it. So it was a private secret of mine, this movie.”

Waters based so much of the character of Divine — she would even come on stage to the song “The Girl Can’t Help It” — from Mansfield. He also points out that Little Richard’s mustache in this movie had such an impact on him that he’s had it for his entire life.

This film is pure greatness on a level that very few movies ever hope to reach. You can watch it on YouTube.

Mansfield 66/67 (2017)

The title of this movie refers to the last two years of the turbulent life of Jayne Mansfield, as she careens through bad relationships, addictions, lowered career expectations and, perhaps, membership in the Church of Satan.

This movie somehow unites so many of my favorite people, including Kenneth Anger, John Waters, Mary Woronov, Mamie Van Doren, Tippi Hedren, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls star Dolly Read and 1980s pop star Marilyn, all uniting to tell the story of Jayne.

Writing/directing/producing team P. David Ebersole & Todd Hughes couldn’t get their movie The Devil Made Her Do It made, so they went back to the documentary format that they’d used to make Hit So Hard, Room 237 and Dear Mom, Love Cher.

It’s somewhat uneven and the music and dance numbers may get some cringe at times, but this is still a fun film. But get ready for some interpretive dance along the way.

Did Mansfield have a relationship with Lavey? Does it even matter? The legend is always better than the truth.

Stationary (2020)

Over one tense afternoon in a car, Jimmy (Xavian Russell, Top Boy) comes back home and comes to terms with former drug buddy Che (Rebekah Brookes-Murrell). This film also features Aaron Thomas Ward, who was in Accident Man.

The beauty of this film is how it uses its limited setting to tell a much larger story. Credit for that goes not only to director Louis Chan, but to the talented actors who bring this story to life.

To learn more, check out the official site.

You can watch the film here:

Thanks to Jonathan Caicedo-Galindo, the producer and an up and coming filmmaker, for sending this our way.

Its a double Amicus Drive-In Asylum Double Feature!

Next Saturday at 8 PM on the Groovy Doom Facebook, we’re watching two examples of the venerable Amicus anthology films!

Up first is the movie that promises — “Come to the asylum…to get killed!” That’s right, it’s the 1972 portmanteau Asylum!

As you may know by now, there’s a drink for every movie. Get ready to layer up the flavors in tribute to the multicolored suit made for Peter Cushing in this film’s strangest segment, “The Weird Tailor” with this drink recipe.

A Special Suit for Mr. Smith (based on this recipe)

  • 1 oz. grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. peach schnapps
  • 1 oz. coconut vodka
  • 1/2 oz. blue curaçao
  • 1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  1. Pour the grenadine into the bottom of your glass, then slowly spoon in ice cubes to create the bottom layer.
  2. In your shaker, combine some ice, peach schnapps and pineapple juice. Shake well.
  3. Slowly pour this over your grenadine to create the next layer.
  4. Clean shaker. Now, combine ice, coconut vodka and blue curaçao. Shake it up and then make the final layer of this rainbow-hued drink and don’t let any mannequins drink it.

How do we follow that one up? How about The House That Dripped Blood?

The drink for this film is based on the dark voodoo powers of young Jane Reid in the story “Sweets for the Sweet.” Watch out, Christopher Lee!

Jane’s Sweet Apple (based on the Sweet Candy Apple recipe from Paul Knor’s 11,000 Drinks)

  • 3/4 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 3/4 oz. Amaretto
  • 3/4 oz. melon liquor
  • 1/2 oz. grenadine
  • 2 splashes sweet and sour mix
  1. Combine all ingredients in your shaker, along with ice. Shake.
  2. Strain over ice and drink.

We’ll see you Saturday at 8 PM East Coast time. Want to watch along? Here are the links:

Asylum: Tubi, Amazon Prime, YouTube

The House That Dripped Blood: Tubi, Amazon Prime, YouTube

Genevieve (2020)

Nicholas Michael Jacobs is a young man who sends us movies every once in a whole, like NightUrban Fears and Tales from Six Feet Under.

Genevieve is a spin-off of that last film. In this five-minute-long story, Ted Morris is attending his son’s funeral while two criminals are breaking into his home. Those criminals want one thing: the infamous — and potentially saleable — killer doll, Genevieve. Of course, things don’t go well.

Nicholas does a lot right — he has an IMDB page for the movie, he sends out numerous links for reviews and keeps pushing. Sooner or later, he’s going to make a movie that isn’t shot in POV and has people swearing to themselves for the entire running time. Again, this is not that time, but I also know that next year, I’ll have another film from him that will look better than this one.

For example, the credits look great on this one. So does the poster. It’s another step forward.

You can watch the movie here: