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.

La Maldicion de Nostradamus (1962)

Nostradamus is not the fortune-telling mystic that scared you so badly in 1981’s The Man Who Saw Tomorrow. No, he’s an aristocratic vampire played by German Robles, who also played Count Karol de Lavud in the two El Vampiro films.

This was originally a 12 part serial that has been broken down into 4 films by American producer K. Gordon Murray: this one, known as Curse Of Nostradamus in English, plus The Monster Demolisher, The Genie Of Darkness and Blood Of Nostradamus.

Murray’s nickname was Kagey and he led a pretty amazing life. The son of an Irish-American funeral home director, he grew up in Bloomington, Illinois, which is right next to the town of Normal. That’s where many of the carnie folk spent the off-season and Murray grew up around them. Instead of going into the family business, the teenager started a “corn game”, which is sort of what we’d call bingo today, in one of his father’s cemetery tents. Imagine — people were so starved for entertainment that they’d go play games of chance surrounded by the dead.

Regardless, that game got him on the road with the World Wonder Shows Carnival. After becoming the manager, Murray used his circus and carnie contacts to help cast the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. While he was doing that, he was also getting rich from a series of not-so-legal slot machines all over the Midwest.

After a move to Hollywood, Cecil B. DeMille hired him to help promote The Greatest Show on Earth. This led to a career in film, which of course brought him into the orbit of Kroger Babb, where he learned to take movies and make them more emotional. He did that with redubs of Mexican films, as well as becoming the King of the Kiddie Matinee.

We’ve discussed at length how Murray brought the brain-melting opus that is Rene Cardonna’s Santa Claus to America, a movie that seasonally played in theaters for thirty years. In all, he’d release sixty movies in fifteen years. The only thing that stopped him was the IRS, who seized his beloved films to get some back taxes, and the heart attack that the stress of the court battles caused.

Notable Murray imports include The Robot vs. the Aztec MummyThe Brainiac (El Baron del Terror), The Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy (Las Luchadoras contra la Momia Azteca), Shanty Tramp (which he also wrote), The Swamp Of The Lost Monsters (El Pantano de las Animas) and Curse of the Doll People (Munecos Infernales), The Living Coffin (El Grito de la Muerte) and a series of Little Red Riding Hood movies where he played Stinky the Skunk (even dressing as the character when the films played live). He would also bring El Santo to America, re-releasing Santo Contra Las Mujeres Vampiros as Samson vs. the Vampire Women and Santo en el Museo de Cera as Samson In the Wax Museum.

Anyways, let’s get to this movie, which starts with a professor who has been re-elected to lead a society dedicated to the destruction of superstition, all so he can prove that werewolves and vampires aren’t real. However, he’s soon visited by a 400-year-old vampire, the son of Nostradamus the Alchemist.

He wants to begin his father’s cult again and to do so, he’s killing thirteen of his greatest enemies. Like some Medico Phibes, he’s writing to each of them — who says the art of letter writing and politeness is dead? — starting with burying a man alive. The professor replies to this by shooting Nostradamus Jr. six times center mass and the vampire laughs and flies away as a bat.

Still, the professor refuses to let the world know that vampires are real,, other than telling Antonio, his daughter’s fiancee. Nostradamus, besides having a wonderful top hat and reminding me of Coffin Joe, has a hunchback assistant, which is how you know you’ve made it in the supermonster business.

You can watch this on YouTube.

El Baron del Terror (1962)

Known as Brainiac in the U.S., this was directed by Chano Urueta, who helped Blue Demon get on the silver screen and was written by Federico Curiel, who would make The Champions of Justice, several Santo movies and Neutron.

All the way back in 1661, Baron Vitelius was burned at the stake during the Inquisition and claimed that the next time a certain comet passed by the Earth, all of the children of those that did him wrong would pay. I mean, you would think a bunch of religious folks would treat a necromantic sorcerer better, but such is life in ancient Mexico.

Three hundred years later, Baron Vitelius rides back in on that comet and is now able to change at will into a monster able to suck out the brains of his victims via a gigante forked tongue, which is incredibly easy to do thanks to his ability to hypnotize his victims.

How bonkers is this movie? No less than Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart paid tribute to it in their song “Debra Kadabra,” saying “Turn it to Channel 13 / And make me watch the rubber tongue / When it comes out! From the puffed and flabulent Mexican rubber-goods mask / Next time they show the Binaca / Make me buy The Flosser / Make me grow Brainiac Fingers / But with more hair!”

In America, we’d be satisfied with an evil alien. In Mexico, they added the fact that he was a wizard who brought people back from the dead before he was burned alive and took a ride on a heavenly body for three hundred years. Viva la peliculas de terror!

The Mad Fox (1962)

In the medieval Japan that only appears in fantasy, a court astrologer foretells a great disturbance that could cause the end of the kingdom of Emperor Suzaku. The astrologer’s wife wants one of his two proteges, Doman, to take over for her husband, while Yasunori — the more idealistic of his disciples — just wants the love of the seer adopted daughter Sakaki.

This leads to Yasunori the astrologer’s wife plotting his murder, which ends up with the old man and Sakaki dead. Yasunori is blamed when he kills the woman in a rage, takes the old man’s Chinese book of secrets and runs on a journey with no destination into the woods.

Soon, he’s gone mad, but will soon meet the daughter’s long lost sister Kuzunoha, fall in love and then learn that she’s a fox in human form.

This movie has never been available outside of Japan. Get ready — it looks unlike any movie I’ve ever seen from that country.

This is a movie that combines stage play, animation, butoh dance, kabuki and expressionist filmmaking to create something truly wondrous.

Known as Koiya Koi Nasuna Koi (Love, Thy Name Be Sorrow), this was directed by Tomu Uchida, who once left Japan to be part of the Chinese Communist cause. He took the name Tomu as it means “to spit out dreams.”

This is now available from Arrow Video, who has released it on blu ray with a new Toei restoration.

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