Teen-Age Strangler (1964)

This regional film was made well outside the Hollywood system, being shot in the wild and wonderful world of Huntingdon, West Virginia. Most of the cast and crew of this film were friends or relatives of director Ben Parker, who had made plenty of shorts and the film Invisible Avenger.

The writer, Clark Davis, was the general manager of WHTN-TV, and called in plenty of favors to get locations, like Martin’s Restaurant which was right down the street from the station.

It’s all about a trouble youth who is continually in trouble with the law, which makes things bad when young ladies start showing up dead and covered with lipstick. This is a movie that can’t decide if it wants to be a cop movie, a horror shocker or a bad kids in trouble film. I guess it can be all of these things, but it’s mostly about people dancing and driving. Lots of driving.

John Humphries, who plays Mikey, had never acted before, so he followed the lead of Jo Canterbury, who plays Betty. The more over the top she got, the more he tried to top her. Because that’s what acting is all about, right? As Moe Phelps once told me, “All acting is is jumping up and down and yelling and screaming a lot.”

Kitten with a Whip (1964)

Ann-Margret was supposed to be the next Marilyn Monroe, but to fully live up to that idea, she’d have to make something other than musicals like Viva Las Vegas and Bye Bye Birdie. So what she ended up making was a movie that Brigitte Bardot turned down.

Politician David Stratton (John Forsythe) has his wife leave home for the weekend and wakes up to an escapee from a juvenile detention center named Jody (Ann-Margret) asleep in his daughter’s bed. How’d she get out? Oh, you know, she just stabbed someone and set it all on fire.

There ends up being a trip to Tijuana and no small amount of violence at the end of this movie. That makes sense, because the hotel that these scenes was shot at is the same one that Psycho was filmed at. Speaking of recycling, it also uses the music cues from Touch of Evil.

Crazy Wild and Crazy (1964)

Man, there’s just something insane to me about camera clubs. Yes, in post World War 2 craziness, there used to be these things where men would buy cameras and would all pitch in to hire women to come pose for them. Bettie Page did it and that’s how I learned about it and I still can’t imagine how weird it was to have a bunch of leering guys barely able to focus a camera filming women who just wanted to make enough money for the rent.

Crazy Wild and Crazy is the Barry Mahon story of a photographer narrating to us all about what it’s like to shoot pictures and movies. He even goes to a nudist camp where a slide whistle appears on the soundtrack so often that you’ll start hearing it throughout your normal day. Listen — there it is.

Barry’s cast this time includes Darlene Bennett (Bad Girls Go to Hell) and her twin Dawn (Confessions of a Bad Girl), Rita Bennett (who is also in Raging Bull as well as movies by Joe Sarno), Dolores Carlos (Pagan Island), Gigi Darlene (The Love Statue), Marlene Eck (White Slaves of Chinatown), Sandra Sinclair (Blood Feast) and Maria Stinger (Goldilocks and the Three Bares).

Mahon worked with Harry Novak on this, which is really like Superman getting to meet Spider-Man in my universe.

You can download this on the Internet Archive.

The Story of 8 Girls (1964)

In case my wife reads this and wonders, “Why have you been covering movies like this all week,” it’s because of the juxtaposition of Barry Mahon. He’s a director who could make movies like this that have one minute of plot and sixty some odd moments of photographing women in various stages of undress. But I  have to respect the fact that he continually invents reasons for those moments to happen.

This time, it’s all about a modeling agency where women are treated fairly, unlike so many of Mahon’s films where violence can break out at nearly every moment.

Honestly, this is the same movie as Confessions of a Bad Girl but it’s much nicer all around and no one really gets hurt.

The Bennett Twins are in this, as is Gigi Darlene. Her life story is shared in this and it’s all true. Born in Berlin at the end of World War II, she escaped a rough home life by winning beauty pageants and moving to Queens with family friends and finally to Manhattan, where she started posing for nudes, exotic dancing and appearing in the films of Doris Wishman, Joe Sarno, Mahon and other exploitation filmmakers.

Working as a feature dancer, she met her husband, a hypnotist named Charles Lamont. She quit dancing and acting at his request and they went on the road and played Vegas together until 1980, when they retired to Florida. Sadly, he died soon after they retired, so she became a real estate agent and started acting again, appearing in movies as an extra, which earned her a SAG card.

Gigi’s name came from, of course, the movie Gigi and the first name of one of her best friends, the aforementioned Darlene Bennett. Her abrupt vanishing act led to this question in the credits of Michael  and Roberta Findlay’s Curse Of Her Flesh: “Whatever happened to Gigi Darlene?”

You can download this from the Internet Archive.

Bunny Yeager’s Las Vegas (1964)

You know, this movie isn’t very good, but I just want to talk about Bunny Yeager, so indulge me.

Linnea Eleanor “Bunny” Yeager was born in Wilkinsburg, one of the suburbs of Pittsburgh, and moved to Florida when she was 17. There, she got teh ncikname she’d use for the rest of her life. It either came from Lana Turner’s character Bunny Smith in Week-End at the Waldorf or because Yeager played the Easter Bunny in a school play.

Just a few years out of school, Bunny won plenty of beauty paegents, including Miss Army & Air Force, Miss Personality of Miami Beach, Queen of Miami, Florida Orchid Queen, Miss Trailercoach of Dade County, Queen of the Sports Carnival and Cheesecake Queen of 1951.

She never wore the same outfit twice and made plenty of the clothes that other girls wore for their shoots. She’s even been credited with being one of the influencers that made the bikini a hot number in the mid 50’s.

Originally, Bunny went to school to be a photographer so she could save money and make her own prints. However, one of her class projects ended up being the March 1954 cover of Eye magazine and she went pro. Bunny was one of the first photographers to shoot girls in natural light.

She’s probably best known for popularizing Bettie Page (she shot her January 1955 Playboy centerfold) and her work in Playboy, including discovering the very first centerfold, Lisa Winters. She also appeared in the magazine herself five times and was photographed by Hugh Hefner in a pictorial named “Queen of the Playboy Centerfolds.”

Once sexy movies got more gynecological, Yeager moved into mainstream magazines and even took the famous photo of Ursula Andress in her white bikini from the set of Dr. No.

Before the sexual revolution, Bunny Yeager was working within the male gaze to be a trailblazer. She’s one of my heroines and deserves so much more credit and interest than now. Check out her photos today and you’ll see imagery that remains incredibly alive.

As for the movie, there’s no story, it’s just Bunny taking photos of girls and it will make you sad, because it’s shot in the wonderful old Las Vegas, filled with neon and tiki bars and everything magical that the world threw away.

The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964)

Not only did Del Tenney write, produce and direct The Curse of the Living Corpse, he was the Living Corpse. Made with drive-in theater tycoon Alan V. Iselin, this ran on double bills with The Horror of Party Beach, which is an odd couple, except that they were made by the same people.

When Rufus Sinclair dies, he has a will that takes into account his fear of being buried alive. To gan their inheritance, his family must follow his instructions. They don’t, they get doomed to death from their greatest fears and we have a film.

The curse proclaims that Bruce will lose his looks, Abigail will burn alive, Phillip (Roy Schneider in his first movie) will be suffocated, Vivian (Tenney’s wife Margot Hartman) will drown, his servant will join him in the grave and his nephew James (Hugh Franklin, who was married to Madeleine L’Engle) will lose his wife Deborah (Candace Hilligoss, Carnival of Souls).

A masked killer is working on making those prophecies into reality and one by one, everyone pays the price. But who is it? Is Rufus still alive? Or someone else trying to take the inheritance for themselves?

It’s not great, but man, the poster sure is. And sometimes, that’s all it takes.

Repost: Iron Angel (1964)

Editor’s Note: We originally enjoyed this movie back on March 22, 2020, as part of our review of Mill Creek’s Explosive Cinema 12-pack. Now it’s back as part of their B-Movie Blast 50-film pack.

Mill Creek Explosive Cinema set, you are one strange duck. You assault us with Crown International Pictures releases that have been seen by tens of people and then, in the middle of it all, give us a black and white war movie from the mid 60’s about women in combat. How do you do what you do?

North Korea: A bunch of citizen soldiers have to take out a mortar position and make it back to the safety of Uncle Sam, but that’s not as easy as it seems.

Jim Davis, Jock Ewing himself, leads the men. Don “Red” Barry, who played Red Ryder, shows up, as does Tristram Coffin (Rocket Man from King of the Rocket Men) and L.Q Jones, who we all know would someday make The Brotherhood of Satan and  A Boy and His Dog, films that just blow my mind for how astounding they are.

Director Ken Kennedy would go on to be the set decorator for Return to Boggy Creek. He also directed the women in danger movie The Velvet Trap and the 1990 version of The Legend of Grizzly Adams, which starred Gene Edwards as Grizzly. Who? He was one of the stuntmen from the TV series. L.Q. Jones is in that, too.

This would be Margo Woode’s last film, as she played heroine Nurse Lt. Laura Fleming.

A gung ho movie about Americans winning the war in Korea. So there’s that. You can download this from the Internet Archive if you want to see a war movie that just about no one else will watch in 2020.

B-Movies are explosive!!!

The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (1964)

Written, produced and directed by Joseph Stefano, author of the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s PsychoEye of the CatHome for the HolidaysSnowbeast and The Kindred, this was originally a pilot for an anthology series for CBS called The Haunted. Sadly, it was never picked up*.

Nelson Orion (Martin Landau) is an architect who has an affinity for the occult. His fiancee, Vivia Mandore (Diane Baker), is haunted by the mother of her first husband. If they want a future, the past must be dealt with.

This is way better and cooler than it had any right to be and man, I wish we could have seen more of Orion — housebuilder by day, ghostbuster by night — in more adventures.

*One theory is that the network received complaints that the movie was too scary and disturbing, so the project was canceled. Another — and potentially more likely situation — was that CBS president James T. Aubrey had originally greenlit the show and when he stepped down, they had no one in power who was interested in the series.

You can watch this on YouTube. It’s also available on DVD and blu ray from Kino Lorber.

Drive-In Friday: Elvis Racing Nite!

Hopefully you joined us — and enjoyed — our “Fast and Furious Week” tribute during the first week of August as we honored the Universal franchise, along with its ripoffs and knockoffs, and the obscure and off-beat, rubber-burning drive-in epics from the ’50s through the ’80s that influenced the those films.

And guess what?

That 40-plus film blowout still wasn’t enough . . . as one car flick skidded into another, then another . . . and before we knew it, we had another 40-plus reviews. So, to get you ready for our second “Fast and Furious Week” to run from Sunday, December 6, to Saturday, December 12, we’re rollin’ out Elvis’s car racing trilogy.

Facts are facts: Elvis flicks served us heaping helpings of cheesy camp starring “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” in a wide array of professions. He was a convict, a boxer, a cowboy, a riverboat captain, a helicopter pilot, and a cowboy — who always found the time to sway his hips and sing his latest hits for a bevy of skintight, carpi-panted ladies. And road racing, be it stock cars, Grand Prix or road rally racers, was a hot sport in the ’60s. So why not place Elvis in a flame retardant suit, strap on a helmet, and slip him into a cockpit?

Viva Las Vegas (1964)

The best and most popular of Elvis’s race excursions was his role as Lucky Jackson. He’s a down-and-out waiter and aspiring racer who dreams, schemes, and parties with Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret) as he gathers up the cash to buy a new engine for his cherished Elva Mk VI Maserati so he can enter the First Annual Las Vegas Grand Prix. His man competition is mean ol’ Count Elmo Mancini and his Ferrari 250 GT. And Yep. That’s good ‘ol Uncle Charlie (William Demarest) from the iconic ’60s TV series My Three Sons as Ann’s pop.

And get this: the music and dance scenes were choreographed by David Winters . . . yes, the very same David Winters who gave us — wow, it’s not even a Star Wars dropping — the Battlestar Galatica pile that is 1988’s Space Mutiny.

Only on B&S About Movies, baby.

Spinout (1966)

Poor Elvis. Col. Tom Parker never let The King rest. But in Col. Tom’s defense: he was a master at keeping Elvis in the spotlight while he was overseas serving in the military. After Viva Las Vegas, we got seven more films within a two year period: Kissin’ Cousins, Roustabout, Girl Happy, Tickle Me, Harum Scarum, Frankie and Johnny, and Paradise, Hawaiian Style.

This time out, El is Mike McCoy, a band leader moonlighting as a race car driver who must decide between breaking up with Cynthia Foxhugh (Shelley Fabares) or lose her father’s sponsorship for the big race. This time, El’s trades out his Elva Mk VI for a Cobra 427. And keep your eyes peeled for the eye pleasing ski n’ snow bunnies that are Diane McBain — who’s determined to steal Mike from Cindy — and crushed on by his band’s female drummer, played Deborah Walley.

Speedway (1968)

MGM went all out for El’s third and final race flick, casting NASCAR stars Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, Tiny Lund, and Cale Yarbrough in cameos — to help us forget we’re watching a film comprised of stock footage with El process-shot onto the race track. This time out, El is Steve Grayson, a stock racer who only has eyes for IRS Agent Susan Jacks (Nancy Sinatra) and sees his career going up in smoke thanks to bad bookkeeping courtesy of his manager’s gambling addiction. And keep your eyes open for Bill Bixby and ’60s drive-in warhorse Ross Hagan in support roles.

“We gotta win this race, Elvis!”

We’ll see you bright and early, 9 AM, on Monday, December 6th as we roll out a week of over 40 more road rippin’ and rubber burnin’ flicks, as well as a “Drive-In Friday” tribute to Drag Racing documentaries, as part of our “Fast and Furious Week” round up of reviews.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964)

I love when a film series sticks around long enough to battle aliens. Hercules is no different, as now he must battle the evil Queen Samara (Jany Clair, Planets Against Us)  and her army of Moon Men, who demand that children be sacrificed to bring back their dead leader.

Hercules is played by Sergio Ciani, who used the stage name Alan Steel. He got his start doubling for Steve Reeves in Hercules Unchained and The Giant of Marathon. His run of seven Hercules films is filled with crazy situations to keep the peblu genre alive, such as Hercules and the Masked Rider, which had a Zorro theme, and Hercules and the Treasure of the Incas, which started as a sword and sandal movie and became a western after A Fistful of Dollars became a major hit during filming.

If you’re expecting this movie to be true to its mythological origins, you should know that it borrows from Roman, Greek, Ancient Egyptian and Cretan stories, as well as even soem Edgar Rice Burroughs. In Italy, Steel really playing Maciste, who was a star of silent Italian cinema, but American distributors changed him to Hercules.

Look, it’s Hercules against moon men with giant heads. You should be so lucky.

Watch this on Amazon Prime or download it from the Internet Archive.