Caperucita y Pulgarcito Contra Los Monstruos (1962)

Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Thumb vs. the Monsters is another nightmare film unleashed on children by K. Gordon Murray, the man who went from the carnivals of America to the King of the Kiddie Matinee, releasing sixty movies in fifteen years. So many of the classic Mexican horror films that I obsess over were originally brought to the U.S. by Murray, who chopped them into oblivion, but hey — how else would the kids of the 50’s and 60’s — and the 70’s, he kept these in circulation forever — have seen things like Las Luchadoras Contra La Momia AztecaEl Baron del Terror and Rene Cardona’s Santa Claus?

Little Red Riding Hood (Maria Gracia) and Tom Thumb (Cesáreo Quezadas, also known as Pulgarcito*) aren’t content to live out the fairy tales that we know them from (or in Tom Thumb’s case, being a member of P.T. Barnum’s circus). No, they seek out and battle the La Reina Bruja — the Queen Witch — who has an army full of monsters.

They find all of the bad guys in her castle in the Haunted Forest, where they are already fighting amongst one another, with a vampire accusing the big bad wolf and an ogre of treason and demands their execution. Yes, this is a kids’ movie.

As for the Queen of Badness — as Murray’s dub calls her — and her older witch sister have started turning the people of the village into monkeys and mice. Luckily, our heroes have an insider, Stinky the Skunk. They’re going to need it, because the bad guys also have a carrot-headed creature, Frankenstein’s monster, robots and Satan himself on their side.

This is the sequel to 1960’s La Caperucita Roja and 1961’s Caperucita y Sus Tres Amigo (Little Red Riding Hood and Her Three Friends) and is directed by Roberto Rodríguez, who also wrote El Latigo contra Satanas. You don’t need to see that movie to watch this one.

While today we watch this and may be astounded by just how strange it was, imagine if you were a very young child dropped off at an unfamiliar theater and kept inside to watch this in the inky blackness while your parents were God knows where. Watch it with that mindset.

*Pulgarcito lived the life of a child star before we ever knew what that was, robbing a bank at one point when his career started slowing down. He eventually settled down with his first wife, who he eventually divorced to marry his secretary. I’d like to say that he lived happily ever, but his second wife eventually found a video of him molesting a daughter from his first marriage.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Jack the Giant Killer (1962)

Nathan Juran made some interesting movies. Everything from being. the art director for Kiss the Blood Off My Hands to writing Doctor Blood’s Coffin and directing 20 Million Miles to EarthAttack of the 50 Foot WomanThe 7th Voyage of Sinbad, episodes of Lost In SpaceVoyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Time Tunnel, and finally The Boy Who Cried Werewolf.

Producer Eddie Small wanted another movie just like The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. So he hired the star (Kerwin Mathews), the director (Juran) and the villain (Torin Thatcher), which ended up getting him sued and having to re-edit and re-release the film as a musical. Thirty years later,original non-musical adventure version was finally permitted to be released.

Thatcher plays Pendragon, a wizard ruler of the witches, giants, hobgoblins and monsters of a faraway kingdom. He’s defeated by another wizard named Herla, but when the old man dies, there is no defense left when he captures Princess Elaine (Judie Meredith, Queen of Blood) with one of his giants named Cormoran, who is in turn stopped by a farmer named Jack (Matthews).

Pendragon is evil incarnate, turning ladies in waiting (Anna Lee from Picture Mommy Dead) and even Elaine into witches and sending a warlock to wreck the ship Jack is on.

Man, this movie has everything. A viking (that gets turned into a dog). Leprechauns. Two-headed giants battling sea monsters. Pendragon turning himself into a dragon with a wolf’s head, a snake’s tail and huge wings. And, thanks to the lawsuit, musical numbers in one version of the film.

There were even toys made of the film, all the way back in 1962.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi. There are also two Rifftrax versions, one in studio and another that was done live.

Black Test Car (1962)

Yasuzô Masumura’s films triumph the idea of the individual versus the needs of the many, standing in diametric opposite to Japanese norms. His 1962 Black Test Car tells the story of the battle between the Tiger Motorcar Company and the Yamato Company, particularly their newest sportcars.

Tiger was planning on a new car named Pioneer to set the world on fire, but the only thing ablaze is the test car. Now, Toru (Hideo Takamatsu, Ninja In a Business Suit) must discover the spy in his company and why Yamamoto’s new car looks so much like an automobile his company has lost.

There are no heroes in this film, only the relentless drive to make the company a success no matter the cost — money, love, human contact, basic decency be damned. It’s a strange film for American eyes, as it somehow is closer to the noir within a subject that few would consider, the cutthroat world of industrial automotive espionage.

Arrow Video keeps succeeding in finding movies I had no idea existed and suddenly making me care deeply about their existence. This is but another of those films.

You can get this blu ray from Diabolik DVD. It comes complete with another Masumura film, The Black Report.

DISCLAIMER: This film was sent to us by Arrow Video.

The House on Bare Mountain (1962)

You’ve never seen more! Let us prove it to you when the monsters meet the girls! The nudies meet the nasties! No monster ever had it so good! See Frankenstein do the twist with Miss Hollywood! The gayest girlie spree of all time! Everything’s off when the horror boys meet Granny Good’s girls! The biggest bevy of beauties ever laid before your eyes! For adult adults only!

Get ready for 62 minutes of sheer wildness as directed by Lee Frost and Wes Bishop. If you wonder, with scumbags — and I say that term with the utmost of respect, admiration and love — like this were at the wheel, how far away was Harry Novak? Oh, he was there. He was there.

Granny Good’s School for Good Girls is really a front for girls to get naked and make booze for Granny Good, who is played by producer Bob Cresse. She also employs a werewolf named Krakow. Yes. A werewolf. And when the girls throw a party, that’s when Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster show up.

Ann Perry, who plays Sally in this, was originally going to be a nun before she met her first husband Ron Myers. After starting her career in Cresse’s softcore films, she went fill hardcore and started her own production company, Evolution Enterprises, in the 1970’s, becomingone of the only women to write, direct, and produce her own hardcore movies. She was also the first female president of the Adult Film Association of America (AFAA).

The adult films of 1962 are incredibly odd affairs today, featuring little to no sex and mostly women taking off their clothes and doing things like reading topless. I find them incredibly charming, almost time capsules of a more innocent time, a place where small movies like this could find an audience of raincoaters who found something, anything erotic in what we would now see as just plain silly.

Sadly for Frost and Cresse, the advent of hardcore would put an end to their films. Then again, Frost would go on to produce and direct one of the oddest — and roughest — films of the golden age of adult films, A Climax of Blue Power. He kept on working right up until 1995’s direct to video softcore thriller Private Obsession. I’d also recommend his mondo films Witchcraft ’70 and Mondo Bizarro. Oh yeah! He also directed The Thing With Two Heads and The Black Gestapo. He also made Love Camp Seven, which also features Cresse acting as a commander of a German prison camp. Wow. I know more about Lee Frost than some members of my family.

You can download this on the Internet Archive. Even better, Nicolas Winding Refn’s ByNWR site has a totally cleaned up version straight from the director’s archive. Man, I want to sit down and talk to that dude someday.

It Happened In Athens (1962)

Andrew Marton had an interesting career. Sure, he made The Thin Red Line, but he also made a Soupy Sales vehicle Birds Do It and even had his name taken off the movie Demon of the Himalayas by Joseph Goebbels because he was Jewish. As for his second unit work, he filmed the iconic chariot race in Ben-Hur and the opulence of Cleopatra. He also worked in TV, making nature shows and family fare like Flipper and Daktari.

So yeah, this movie has none of what he’s known for. It does have Jayne Mansfield.

Made by Associated Producers Incorporated, but really 20th Century Fox, this was Mansfield’s last big budget film. She’s only in a supporting role, but her name was big enough to open a movie.

Fox used API to make the B movies that would support their A features. If they were anything like Cleopatra, they were bleeding the studio out.

Trax Colton is in this as well. Who? Well, after being discovered by Henry Willson, Trax was going to be a big matinee idol. He was even billed directly below Mansfield in this, his second — and last — film. He had a brief affair with his co-star and never made another movie.

He plays Spiridon Loues, a man running in a marathon where the winner gets to marry Mansfield’s character. That seems like a publicity stunt that she’d do in real life.

The story of the people who almost ended up in this movie — Ricardo Montalbán, Fernando Lamas, Robert Wagner, Dean Stockwell — and the many titles — And Seven From AmericaWinged Victory In Athens — are way more interesting than the actual movie. Then again, you can just shut the volume off and stare into space at Mansfield, I guess. I know I did.

SAVAGE CINEMA: Dangerous Charter (1962)

Savage Cinema’s last film is the 1962 film Dangerous Charter, the only narrative film directed and produced by Robert Gottschalk, who helped found Panavision. This film was to be a showcase for his new process and camera lenses.

Instead, it is 75 minutes that feels like 75 hours, an odyssey at sea that seems to never end. It has no motorcycles in it, no matter what the Savage Cinema box art may promise

The crew of a fishing boat finds a deserted luxury yacht at sea with a dead body and half a million of heroin on board. There is no Blind Dead to save this movie, just a lot of talking. In fact, they may still be talking as I write about this movie.

You can watch this movie on YouTube.

The Exterminating Angel (1962)

There haven’t been many movies that we cover that have been made into operas. In 2016, this became one of them.

A surrealist film, Buñuel left it up to his audiences to decide what the story — a group of rich people cannot leave a party — is really about. Roger Ebert said, “The dinner guests represent the ruling class in Franco’s Spain. Having set a banquet table for themselves by defeating the workers in the Spanish Civil War, they sit down for a feast, only to find it never ends. They’re trapped in their own bourgeois cul-de-sac. Increasingly resentful at being shut off from the world outside, they grow mean and restless; their worst tendencies are revealed.”

During a formal dinner party at the lavish mansion of Señor Edmundo Nóbile and his wife Lucía, the servants all leave but the guests cannot. As the days past, some die, some commit suicide and nearly all of them go mad.

Only when they recreate the party — after failed mystic rituals and the attempted slaughter of their host — can they leave. Yet after attending a religious service to give thanks, they remain trapped again and disappear, along with the priests, as riots break out in the streets.

In Russia, the idea of people not being allowed to “leave a party” was considered offensive and anti-government, so the film was banned. And Buñuel himself believed that between the budget and the conditions in Mexico, the film was a failure. He wishes that it had been more extreme.

La Sangre de Nostradamus (1962)

After three films — The Curse of Nostradamus, The Monsters Demolisher and The Genie of Darkness — we have arrived at the end of our tale, where the society to eliminate superstition must rise up against what we’re to assume is the son of the seer Nostradamus (although this is disputed in this series, depending on where you come in).

The good guys are about as intelligent and effective as a bunch of cops in a giallo film, as they think that by removing the ashes of Nostradamus’ ancestors from his coffin that he will die at sunrise. He just laughs and tells them that are the ashes of someone else he killed. Yes, he sleeps surrounded by the sooty remains of those he has killed before. You go, Nostadamus. You go.

Somehow, the good morons manage to kill off the hunchback and get their hands on a sonic weapon, which does some damage to the vampire before the sword cane of Igor — remember that dude who died and it was kind of a shock? — poetically is used to stake Nostradamus while in bat form.

I don’t know if you should watch all four of these movies in one day, but then again, I’ve also watched around fifty Mexican horror movies in the last few weeks, so I may be muy macho when it comes to watching peliculas de terror.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Nostradamus, el Genio de las Tinieblas (1962)

The real trouble with the villagers and professor who are supposed to be the heroes of the Nostradamus film series is that they’re boring as all get out. The only interesting one, Igor the vampire hunter, is unceremoniously dispatched early in this film. The rest just sit around and yammer away at what they should do instead of doing anything.

Meanwhile, the nattily dressed Nostradamus and his hunchback pal Leo are living it up. Well, maybe not so much Leo, whose witch mother Rebeca dares to question the villainous vampiro and gets set on fire for her troubles.

Director Federico Curiel would go on to work with Santo several times, as well as write one of the most out there of all early Mexican horror films — and trust me, that’s saying something — El Baron del Terror.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Nostradamus y el Destructor de Monstruos (1962)

In the second film of this series — originally as 12-part movie serial — the professor finds that he must admit that the undead walk the Earth. He joins with a vampire hunter to stop Nostradamus, who is the son of one of the most powerful bloodsuckers of all time.

Nostradamus takes his evil even further by basically explaining to both of them how if they don’t stop him, he’ll make the world an even worse place. To prove his heart is in the wrong place, he also kidnaps several children and repeatedly places them in danger.

The vampire hunter Igor is played by Jack Taylor, whose career may have started in American television, but would take him all over the world. Of course, most of his roles have been in the kind of movies that only I would care about, like Mexican vampire movies, Jess Franco sleaze (EugenieSuccubusCount Dracula), Spanish horror (Dr. Jekyll vs. The WerewolfThe Killer Is One of 13The Ghost GalleonThe Vampires Night Orgy) and appearances as a priest in Conan the Barbarian, as Professor Arthur Brown in Pieces and as book collector Victor Fargas in The Ninth Gate.

Perhaps most famously in the United States, this movie ran out of sequence as an April Fool’s Selection on the USA Network’s Commander USA’s Groovie Movies. Seeing as how that episode aired on April 4th, I find it even more amusing.

You can watch this on YouTube.