Right before Ron Ormond’s road to Damascus moment, he was making movies like this, which feel like a mondo crossed with a sex ed movie and yet have all of the best things of both genres.
Using his real name Vittorio Di Naro, Ormond directed this film (and wrote it, too). It starts with Vicky (Vicki Caron, her only role; she’s a buxom redhead who seems like someone I would have pined over in my twenties. Who am I lying, if I were single, I’d be putting her through trade school) being assaulted as a teen.
Before we can reflect on what has happened, the movie goes into mondo territory and begins showing us the history of hypnotism, which is really an excuses to show us primitive cultures who still do things like rolling in glass and walking across fire. Yes, this film will have the theme of hypnosis in it, but there’s no reason for this footage and by that, I mean that I love that this footage is in this film.
Then, without any warning, we go from a drawing of a man with a one hundred pound plus tumor in his scrotum to watch an actual open heart surgery procedure. Some horror films use Val Lewton’s blueprint for suspense. Ron Ormond just lures you in with the promise that this is a sex movie and then punches you in the stomach with some of the sickest surgical footage possible.
Now, the movie can really begin.
Vicky is supposedly a real person and this story really happened, which is also the kind of thing that I demand in nearly everything I watch. She has some hang-ups because of the aforementioned assault which lead to her never allowing her new husband to touch her. Or maybe it’s because her mother (Ruth Blair, who unfortunately only did this movie) wants her daughter to keep on being her wingwoman.
This all leads Vicky to a therapist named Bill, who is played by Lash La Rue of all people. Yes, the very same cowboy actor who starred in eleven films from 1948 to 1951 in which he dressed all in black and used a bullwhip to stop bad guys. In 1952, Lash’s comic book adventures sold nearly 12 million copies, but a decade later and we have our hero appearing as a kindly doctor instead of a man in black battling bad guys.
La Rue is the perfect person for the Ron Ormond orbit, as he became born again and did church ministry after being a movie star. He also disappeared for most of the 70s, as he took the role of teh villain in the movie Hard on the Trail without realizing that it was an adult movie. To repent, he was a missionary for ten years before showing up in movies like The Dark Power and Alien Outlaw.
In order to determine exactly why Vickie won’t let her husband near her, he brings in real-life hypnotist Ormond McGill to figure out the answers. At some point in the 50s, Ormond had spent in Asia with McGill in Asia researching and writing the book Religious Mysteries of the Orient/Into the Strange Unknown. They also wrote The Master Method of Hypnosis, The Art of Meditation and The Magical Pendulum of the Orient together; one wonders whether Ron gave it all up once he found God. McGill was such a mentor to Ron that he took his stage name from the man.
Despite the title, this film really does care about its subjects and how Vickie is damaged because of how she feels for her husband but can’t bring herself to care for him sexually. It’s a surprisingly deep topic for when this movie was made (shot in 1959, released in 1963).
There are also musical numbers by the Mulcay Brothers.
This movie plays like a mixtape for the mentally disturbed. I loved every single moment of it.
You can watch this on YouTube.