Primitive Love (1964)

Luigi Scattini’s directing career is all over the place, hitting all the various genres of the 60’s and 70’s. There’s comedy — War Italian Style, which unites silent film legend Buston Keaton with the Italian comedian duo of Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia (more on them in a bit). There’s mondo — Sweden Heaven and Hell, narrated by Edmund Purdom and featuring Piero Umiliani’s “Mah Nà Mah Nà, which would be used by Benny Hill and The Muppets. And more mondo — the magical Witchcraft ’70, as well as Questo Sporco Mondo Meraviglioso (This Dirty Wonderful World) and Sexy Magico. There’s Eurospy — the Richard Harrison-starring Ring Around the World. And plenty of sexual themed films like La Ragazza dalla Pelle di Luna (The Girl with the Moon Skin), La Ragazza Fuoristrada (The Off-Road Girl), The BodyLa Notte dell’alta Marea (The Night of High Tide, which has Pam Grier) and Blue Nude. He’s also the father of Monica Scattini, the only actress I know who could be in both One from the Heart and Ruggero Deodato’s Concorde Affaire ’79.

Saying this is an uneven film is being generous to uneven films. The moronic antics of Franchi and Ingrassia, who play bellhops, play out around Mansfield lounging about and gradually getting undressed. Her husband at the time, Mickey Hargitay, also shows up.

Yes, a movie where Jayne is a doctor — of sexual relations — whose film of mating rituals around the world is an excuse to show mondo footage. These are the movies I fill my life with and bring to you.

Credit — or blame — goes to Massimo Pupillo, who would make Bloody Pit of Horror with Hargitay, and Amedeo Sollazzo, who worked with Franchi and Ingrassia throughout their long careers.

Panic Button (1964)

Directed by George Sherman and Giuliano Carnimeo — I’ve been diving deep into his films, including They Call Me HallelujahThey Call Him Cemetery, his Sartana movies and The Case of the Bloody Iris — Panic Button is an example of the movies that Jayne Mansfield had to hunt down after her 20th Century Fox contract ended.

French entertainer Maurice Chevalier and Mansfield play actors who are picked to be in a new production of Romeo and Juliet. Eleanor “Woman of a Thousand Faces” Parker and Mike “Mannix” Connors also show up.

This tale of mobsters getting involved with Shakespeare was never really successful anywhere that it played. In the U.S., it was on double bills. And hey — it has one total review on Letterboxd other than this one.

Dog Eat Dog (1964)

Richard E. Cunha didn’t make many movies, but he sure made some insane ones. There’s She Demons with TV Sheena Irish McCalla, fanged women and Nazis taking over an island long after the war. Giant from the Unknown, featuring a monster named Vargas the Giant and effects by Universal’s Jack Pierce. Missile to the MoonFrankenstein’s DaughterGirl In Room 13…none of these movies are normal.

He teams with German director Gustav Gavrin, cowboy director Ray Nazarro and Albert Zugsmith (Sappho DarlingViolated!The Cult) for this movie. That’s because production problems — financing, location and personnel issues — caused filming to stop several times and personnel changed along the way.

What we end up with is a tale of three robbers who steal a million and end up turning on one another. Actually, it soon becomes two, with Lylle Corbett (Cameron Mitchell) killing Dolph and Darlene (Jayne Mansfield) having to deal with it.

They end up on an island where everyone wants their money and everyone is ready to kill for it. You kind of have to love a movie that offs nearly everyone in the cast, closing with Mansfield drowning herself to take the last of the money.

Mansfield called the film: “The best role of my career.” She was four months pregnant with her daughter Mariska Hargitay when she made this. Her voice is dubbed in this by Carolyn De Fonseca, who would one day do Jayne’s voice from beyond the grave for The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield.

 

You can watch this on Tubi.

Face of the Screaming Werewolf (1964)

We’ve already discussed the lunacy of Jerry Warren and his movie The Wild World of Batwoman a while back. That’s not the only bonkers movie that he’d ever make. Let’s take this movie, which is really La Casa del Terror and La Momia Azteca mixed into a new movie, along with footage that Warren shot just for this new effort. You think Puffy invented the remix? Check in with Jerry.

Warren took his scissors to all of the comedy scenes of Tin-Tan from Casa del Terror, replacing them with the Lon Chaney Jr. footage from La Momia Azteca. This wasn’t anything new for him, as he’d already released Attack of the Mayan Mummy the previous year, replacing most of that movie with newly filmed American footage. And he’d use footage from that movie to make this!

He also took two Chilean movies — La Casa esta Vacia (The House is Empty) and La Dama de La Muerte (The Lady of Death) and made Curse of the Stone Hand.

I have no idea what drive-in fans thought, thinking they’d probably seen this movie before because they totally had. They just didn’t have IMDB to look it up.

A psychic named Ann Taylor — no relation to Ann Taylor or her Loft — goes back to her past life and leads a team of archaeologists to an Aztec pyramid with two mummified bodies, one being an Aztec warrior and the other a werewolf, who just so happens to be Lon Chaney Jr., who is white and not Mexico and no one ever brings that up.

The craziest thing then happens: the Aztec warrior escapes and kidnaps the psychic. They both get hit by a car and that’s it. They’re out of the movie, never to be seen again, because they’re dead. We’re only told this fact by a newspaper that spins on to the camera.

This is the Face of the Screaming Werewolf, after all. Not the Faces of the Screaming Warrior and the Aztec Mummy.

Meanwhile, Lon Chaney Jr. goes full lycan, kills the scientist who revived him and then is stopped by Tin-Tin, who shows up out of nowhere because he’d been edited out of the movie up until now. Yes, this nameless hero just shows up unannounced and murders the werewolf with a torch, just like he did in La Casa del Terror, but now without the benefit of a lick of context.

To top that all off, two cops then discuss how there was never a werewolf at all. Yes, somehow even in the world of a Jerry Warren film, the cops can watch the truth and distort it before your eyes.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Mondo Balordo (1964)

Albert T. Viola — yes, the same man who wrote, directed, produced and starred in Preacherman — completed the American version of this film, known as A Fool’s World in Italy. There, it was directed by Roberto Bianchi Montero, who also made the mondos Africa SexyOrient By NightSexy NudoSexy nel MondoUniverso Proibito and Superspettacoli nel Mondo. He would go on to make So Sweet, So Dead.

Imagine a world “throbbing and pulsing with love, from the jungle orgies of primitive tribes to sin-filled evenings of the London sophisticate.” Now imagine those very same words coming out of the mouth of Boris Karloff.

Here are just some of the folks you will meet and sights you will see: a dwarf singer, bodybuilders, bedouin pimps, Japanese models for rent, Indian exorcists, people who can’t stop smoking, Jehovah’s Witnesses, lottery players, a clone of Valentino, high end rich dogs, a Boreno version of Romeo and Juliet, cults, nightclubs, Luna Park, London after hours and so much more.

You can get this — along with The Orientals — on blu ray from Severin.

Las Luchadoras Contra La Momia (1964)

After 1957’s The Aztec Mummy, The Curse of the Aztec Mummy and The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy, it would take seven years for Popoca the Aztec Mummy — or some form of him — to return to menace Mexico. That said, U.S. producer Jerry Warren did release the original in the U.S. as Attack of the Mayan Mummy.

Popoca’s origins are much the same as Imhotep/Ardath Bey. He loved the wrong woman and paid for it, being mummified and now back alive, looking for his lost love. Except instead of Egypt, he was on the western side of the world. He was stopped with a crucifix — Mexico is incredibly Catholic — and being blown up real good with dynamite — Mexico is incredibly bloodthirsty.

An archaeologist leaves a secret codex with a professor just before he is killed by the Black Dragons. What would you do if you had such an important mythological relic? Well, I would do the same thing as this smart guy. I’d give it to Gloria Venus and Golden Rubi, the wrestling women of the movie’s title.

He isn’t ready for the Black Dragons to go another step further and kidnap the daughter of the archaeologist they murdered and have her steal the codex, though.

By the end of the movie, of course an Aztec mummy has been freed — we literally wouldn’t have a movie without this happening — and the gang, the mummy and our wrestling women must all have a battle royal.

There are really two Aztec mummies in this one: Xochitl, a female mummy, and her lover Tezomoc who can transform into a snake and a bat, which are totally new things when it comes to the mummified undead, at least to me. There are also evil female judo wrestlers because, well, that’s what was in the aqua that day.

The tagline for this movie was, “WEIRDOS! We dare you to see it!”

Accept the dare. Watch this on Tubi. It’s also on YouTube:

Oh! Those Most Secret Agents! (1964)

Franco and Ciccio — yes the same comic team who were in the Eurospy parodies Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl BombsThe Amazing Dr. G and the sequel to this one, 002 Operazione Luna, are back, doing what they do best.

They’re two simple-minded Italianos who get mistaken as KGB agents and hijinks ensue. Those crazy moments include a giant robot that can barely move around, a masked maid/secret agent who flashes message to the boys on her panties, an assassination scene where the X targets keep getting moved around, a microfilm hidden in a tooth that causes all manner of issues and spies from America, China and Russia all chasing the two around the French Riveria.

This would be your standard 60’s spy comedy if not for who directed it: none other than the man who would become the Godfather of Gore 16 years after making this movie, Lucio Fulci. Yes — he made a movie about spies and assassination and not one eyeball got blown out the back or front of someone’s skull.

Believe it or not, this was released by Allied Artists in the U.S. In fact, it would be the first time one of Fulci’s movies made it over here.

Mary Arden, who plays Nadja in this, was Peggy Peyton in Blood and Black Lace and would write the English dialogue of the film, as she found the translated dialogue too stilted.

Fantomas (1964)

The first of three Fantomas movies, this was an attempt to bring the French character into the world of James Bond. In this story, a journalist named Fandor and Commissioner Paul Juve try to bring in the noted supervillain Fantomas, who is always one step ahead of them.

Fantomas is the man of a thousand masks, able to be anyone and even use his makeup as a weapon. He’s upset that Fandor is writing about him, so he commits a crime looking like the writer. He does the same thing to Juve. And even with all the tools at their disposal, these two — joined by Juve’s girlfriend Helene Gurn — still can’t stop his crimewave.

Obviously, Kriminal, Satanik and Diabolik were all inspired by Fantomas, as was the supergroup that former Faith No More singer Mike Patton formed. If you’re into movie soundtracks — or awesome loudness — you should check them out.

Shadow of Evil (1964)

This is the second OSS 177 film, based on Jean Bruce’s 1960 novel Lila de Calcutta, which was the 74th OSS 117 novel. The series predates Ian Fleming’s Bond novels and the first film made from them was filmed before Dr. No.

Secret Agent OSS 117, Colonel Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath (Kerwin Mathews, The 7th Voyage of SinbadThe Boy Who Cried Werewolf) is in Thailand after the murder of OSS agent Christopher Lemmon, who has been investigating plague epidemics in India. So, you know, if you don’t want to watch a pandemic movie, miss this.

Lemmon was killed because he found out that the medicine that Hogby Laboratories was making had been switched with plague germs, thereby killing much of the population.

OSS 117 then breaks into the secret lair of Dr. Sinn (Robert Hossein, who directed Cemetery Without Crosses), an Indian hypnotist and psychologist. Or maybe he was, because now he is wearing a cape and working for a group called the People Elect who wants to decrease the world’s population and stop nuclear testing. Why do I keep identifying with Eurospy villains?

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

Carry On Spying (1964)

The Carry On series has 31 movies from 1958-1978, with another made in 1993), 4 holiday specials, a 13-episode TV series and 3 stage plays, all in the British music hall tradition of bawdy parody. Made on the cheap, they are the second-longest British film series, eclipsed only by James Bond. So it makes sense that during this month of Bond, we finally get to a Carry On movie.

From cowboys and horror to army films, cruises and even Emmannuelle, these films hit every angle. And now, it was time for Bond.

STENCH (the Society for the Total Extinction of Non-Conforming Humans) has stolen a secret formula, which means that agents Desmond Simpkins (Kenneth Williams, who appeared in 26 of these films), Harold Crump (Bernard Cribbins), Daphne Honeybutt (Barbara Windsor) and Charlie Bind (Charles Hawtrey) must get it back.

There’s also the evil Dr. Crow and SNOG (the Society for Neutralising Of Germs), which we all could use some more of right now. There’s also BOSH (The British Operational Security Headquarters) and SMUT (The Society for the Monopoly of Universal Technology).

Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli threatened a lawsuit over the character name James Bind agent 006½, which led to the change in name to Charlie Bind and his title Agent Double 0-Ohh. He also demanded that the poster be reworked as it was too close to From Russia With Love.

The STENCH henchman The Fat Man was the voice of SPECTRE number 1 — Blofeld — in From Russia With Love and two of the henchwomen have hair that looks just like Modesty Blaise.

Interestingly, this film’s cinematographer Alan Hume who would later work on the Bond movies For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill.

This film — the last Carry On in black and white — was the first Bond parody to hit the screen. So many jokes in it would become parts of other films, like the name Charles Bind being used in Lindsay Shonteff’s Bond ripoffs, the restaurant tape recorder being used in For Your Eyes Only and The Living Daylights outright replicated this film’s plot, including an enemy agent with exploding milk bottles.

I also love that this movie was inspired by the fact that a Bond picture was filming at Pinewood Studios at the same time.