Editor’s Note: Welcome to our first review in our three-day “Bernard Kowalski Week” tribute that takes us from 1959 to 1989. If you don’t know his film work, you know his TV work. Kowalski directed multiple episodes of the hit ’80s series Knight Rider, Magnum, P.I., Jake and the Fatman, and the epic (it was for me), Airwolf. Here’s his first movie for Roger Corman.
Oh, be sure to click that “Bernard L. Kowalksi” tag and the end of all of the reviews this week to popular the reviews in one easy-to-use list. Let’s get day one started, shall we!
“She’s hell on wheels . . . and up for any thrill!”
Seems Mr. Screenwriter dipped the pen into the Shakespearian ink; for this is Othello with hot rods.
Duke (Richard Bakalyan; you’ve seen him across his 150 TV credits into the early ’90s) and Freddie (John Brinkley, who’s traveled this rockin’ road before in Hot Rod Rumble, Teenage Doll, and T-Bird Gang) finance their hot roddin’ lifestyle by stealin’ cars n’ strippin’ auto parts for a fence. When they, along with Duke’s girl, Peg (June Kenney, also of Teenage Doll, but also of 1959’s Attack of the Puppet People and Roger Corman’s Sorority Girl), are goaded into a road race by the resident bad-girl, Janice (Jana Lund, also of High School Hellcats with Yvonne Lime, Elvis Presley’s Loving You, and the rock flick classic, Don’t Knock the Rock . . . but since this B&S About Movies: it’s all about Frankenstein 1970 for our Lundness), a motorcycle cop dies. Let the frames and double crosses, blackmailing and betrayals begin, Desdemona.
Oh, almost forgot: Bruno VeSota is in this as Joe Dobbie (seriously). What ’50s and ’60s film wasn’t the Big V in? Yep, there he is in Attack of the Giant Leeches, A Bucket of Blood, and The Wasp Woman . . . but also of the early rock flicks Daddy-O, Rock All Night, and Carnival Rock. It is actors like you that gives our lives at B&S meaning, Mr. VeSota. We bow to you, sir.
And it’s all brought to you by a man whose directing career we’re tributing this week: Bernard Kowalski, who followed this up with Night of the Blood Beast, then his third film, Attack of the Giant Leeches. Before going into business with Roger Corman, Kowalski got in start in television, directing episodes of the ’50s westerns Frontier and Broken Arrow, along with the David Janssen-starring cop drama, Richard Diamond: Private Detective, and the military drama, The Silent Service. Has anyone ever encountered his lost TV Movie pilot for the Peter Graves-starring Las Vegas Beat (1961)? We’d love to see it. You know us and TV Movies around here.
We previously featured Hot Car Girl as part of our weekly “Drive-In Friday” featurette.