JEAN ROLLIN-UARY: The Far Country (1965)

A couple becomes lost around the rubble, bricks and suddenly closing in maze of buildings in a place they have never been that becomes more confusing and also much more confining within just sixteen minutes of running time, but just like that idea of a second in the afterlife being thousands of years in our human experience, that sixteen minutes gives director and writer Jean Rollin time to stretch out and drug our your brain and create a rough pass at a movie that goes even further and gets so much more right, The Iron Rose.

Things would get better, as well as more obtuse and at the same time more layered. That said, the discordant jazz, black and white cinematography and idea that language doesn’t work any longer are powerful and sets us up for something that will grow and fester.

AMANDO DE OSSORIO WEEK: Hudson River Massacre (1965)

Sure, the Canadian Mounties are all using modern revolvers, but let’s just enjoy this pre-Italian Western made in Spain by future Blind Dead creator Amando de Ossorio, the story of the Hudson Bay area. All of this land was owned by the fur trading Hudson Bay Company who was opposed by the indigenous people of the region who found themselves working with French trappers to battle big business and the British empire. James Sullivan (Santiago Rivero) is the man the company hires to put a stop to these people and keep the money flowing. The rebels are led by Leo Limoux (Franco Fantasia) and the film’s hero, Victor DeFrois (George Martin), tries to stay out of things until Sullivan kills his brother.

That’s when a plan is made to kidnap Sullivan’s daughter Ann (Giulia Rubini) and, of course, she falls in love with Victor and he with her. Diana Lorys is also in this as a saloon girl and Pamela Tudor as Swa, Limoux’s lover.

Also known as Canadian Wilderness and Rebels In Canada, the actual Hudson River area is in New York, not Canada, but that’s OK. This is more swashbuckling adventure than Western, so we can forgive so much. The locations are great, the action is good, the leads are gorgeous and the end has about a hundred people get killed.

De Ossorio only made two Westerns and I kind of like them both!

You can watch this on Tubi.

Crack in the World (1965)

Andrew Marton was an expert at big movies, doing second unit on Ben Hur and Cleopatra. He directed this — from a script by Juliet Zimet and Jon Manchip White — in which some of the dumbest scientists ever screw everything up for everyone.

Project Inner Space in Tanganyika, Africa is the stupidest think tank ever. I mean, I get blowing up the moon, but testing Earth’s geothermal energy by drilling a very deep hole and dumping nukes down it? What did you think was going to happen? Well, just look at the title of this movie.

Two doctors are fighting over this idea: Dr. Stephen Sorenson (Dana Andrews) thinks everything will be fine. Dr. Ted Rampion (Kieron Moore) believes that, yes, this will put a crack in the world. Sorenson is dying from cancer, so I kind of think he’s rolling the dice.

The science in this is laugh-inspiring, as somehow a new moon can be launched into space and everyone is like, “Now it’s all fine. Look, a squirrel survived!”

Dana Andrews made eight movies in 1965. His son had died the year before and he was struggling with alcoholism, but man, somehow he still made eight movies. He’s also mentioned in “Science Fiction Double Feature” in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, along with his co-star Janette Scott.

You can watch this on Tubi.

MILL CREEK NIGHTMARE WORLDS: Evil Brain from Outer Space (1965)

About the Author: Paul Andolina is one of my favorite people to talk movies with. If you like his stuff, check out his site Wrestling with Film. This was previously a part of two other Mill Creek months, the first on November 15, 2019 and the second appearance on November 24, 2020.

Evil Brain from Outer Space is a science fiction film from 1965. It happens to be a couple of the Japanese Super Giant films that have been hacked up and spliced together to make one English dubbed film. It’s an odd movie about a group of aliens who send one of their own to earth to stop the brain of the evil mutant Balazar from destroying humanity. 

Special effects films and television shows are big in Japan and they have been since Godzilla roared onto screens. The Super Giant series from the late 50’s is a bunch of stand-alone films that are about the deeds of a man named Giant of Steel or as he is known in EBfOS Star Man. Star Man is a superhero basically and he wears some pretty nifty lycra outfits, he looks like a luchador that forgot his mask at home.

Evil Brain sees Star Man coming to earth to stop a few evil doctor/scientists who are in league with the evil extraterrestrial brain of Balazar. There is a hawk that hangs out with one of these doctors and a one-legged man who serves the other. There are some pretty awesome mutants who fight Star Man in this film as well. One looks like a chupacabra from the black lagoon and has strange tendril-like fingers and makes some weird noises, if I had seen this a child I would have been scared of him immediately. I actually said out loud, “WTF is that?” while watching the movie. He is by far my favorite part of the film. The other mutant is a long-haired demon lady who doesn’t quite know how to put on her lipstick. She jumps around and scratches the air while making demonic cat noises. There are also some generic henchmen mutants as well.

I would love to see the Super Giant serials in Japanese with English subtitles but I’m not sure they can live up to the insanity that is this film. It seems longer than it is because there is too much jibber-jabber. Honestly would love to see Star Man just mess up some mutants and forgo the plot altogether. If you like psychotronic films this is definitely the one for you. I have no idea what they were thinking when they pieced this bad boy together. I’d like to believe there was some acid involved and a whole lotta pot. It is in black and white but it still is a lot of fun. 

If you have any interest in the Tokasatsu trend in Japan and want to see an earlier effort you can’t get much better than Evil Brain from Outer Space.

ARROW BOX SET RELEASE: Gothic Fantastico: Lady Morgan’s Vengeance (1965)

Massimo Pupillo also made Bloody Pit of Horror and Terror-Creatures from the Grave, but this would be the last horror movie he’d make. He said, “I started in the horror genre because I wanted to get out of documentaries, I wanted to enter the commercial market. In Italy, when you do a certain type of film, you become labeled and you can’t do anything else. I remember one day, a producer called me to do a film only because the other producers told him he had to get either Mario Bava or me. When I understood this, I felt dead.”

Using the name Max Hunter and working from a script by Giovanni Grimaldi, this starts with Susan Elaine Blackhouse (Barbara Nelli) and Pierre Brissac (Michel Forain) discussing their plans to be married while riding in a boat. Then, a caped figure shoves Pierre into the water to her horror, which leaves her broken and soon married to Sir Harold Morgan (Paul Muller). It’s not all bad — she has a huge home and several servants, including the kind Josef. But when she comes back from a trip, there’s a new housekeeper named Lilian (Erika Blanc), her husband’s assistant Roger and a maid named Terry (Edith MacGoven). And then things get really weird, like her being locked into her room, Lillian’s voice speaking to her in the middle of the night and screams in the night.

Well, poor Susan gets gaslit so badly — and even hypnotized by Lillian on an intercom system — that she is walked right out a window to her death. The moment she dies, we find Pierre waking from his amnesia, her spirit calling to him. And now her ghost will use him to have her revenge on them all.

Horses galloping through fog? Erika Blanc creeping up dark steps holding a candle? Are conspiratorial killers all turning on one another? Yeah, this has it all and then some. And finally, thanks to Arrow, it looks gorgeous.

Along with a new video introduction by Italian film devotee Mark Thompson Ashworth, a limited edition 80-page book featuring new writing by Roberto Curti, Rob Talbot, Jerome Reuter, Rod Barnett and Kimberly Lindbergs, a fold-out double-sided poster and limited edition packaging with reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Colin Murdoch, Lady Morgan’s Vengeance also has new commentary by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, a new video essay by author and producer Kat Ellinger, a new interview with actress Erika Blanc, newly edited interviews with Paul Muller and Massimo Pupillo, a trailer and the complete original cineromanzo, published in Suspense in April 1971.

You can get this set from MVD.

ARROW BLU RAY RELEASE: A Fugitive From the Past (1965)

Director by Tomu Uchida (Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji, The Mad Fox), A Fugitive From the Past came in sixth place in Kinema Junpo magazine’s 1995 poll of the Top Japanese Films of the 20th Century, third in 1999 and sixteenth in their 2009 poll.

As a storm sends a passenger ferry to a watery grave claiming the lives of hundreds of people, three suspects race from a burning pawnshop. Detective Yumisaka (Junzaburo Ban) finds only a burned boat and two bodies which he knows came from the crime and not the sinking of the ferry. Meanwhile, Takichi Inukai (Rentaro Mikuni) and sex worker Yae (Sachiko Hidari) have a brief encounter that will remain in their minds for years.

The case grows cold until Yumisaka is called back by his successor Detective Ajimura (Ken Takakura).

Two new bodies have been found.

Based on Tsutomu Minakami’s Kiga KaikyoA Fugitive From the Past, the story shows how everyone’s lives have been changed by the robbery. Inukai has become a normal businessman named Tarumi. When Yae sees him on the street she thanks him; the money he gave her allowed her to escape her life. He fears she will tell someone even though she kept his secret despite intense police interrogation years before.

Yumisaka resigned from the force as the case obsessed him. It still does. So when Ajimura finds a new clue, his life may have some closure, if only they can solve the mystery.

This is a story of two people — a woman saved by a killer and a police detective destroyed by his crime — that are still looking for him for different reasons. It may be three hours long, but it’s a really intense crime procedural that can now finally be seen in its full beauty here in America.

The Arrow blu ray of this film — the first home video release outside of Japan — has the restored 183-minute-long cut of the film, along with an introduction by writer and curator Jasper Sharp, scene-specific commentaries from leading Japanese film scholars Aaron Gerow, Irene González-López, Erik Homenick, Earl Jackson, Daisuke Miyao and Alexander Zahlten, the original theatrical trailer, an image gallery, a Tomu Uchida filmography, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella and a first pressing limited edition collector’s booklet that has writing on the film by David Baldwin and Inuhiko Yomota. You can buy it from MVD.

The Beast from the Beginning of Time (1965)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A.C. Nicholas, who has a sketchy background and hails from parts unknown in Western Pennsylvania, was once a drive-in theater projectionist and disk jockey, Currently, in addition to being a writer, editor, podcaster, and voice-over artist, he contributes to Drive-In Asylum. His first article, “Grindhouse Memories Across the U.S.A.,” was published in issue #23. He’s also written “I Was a Teenage Drive-in Projectionist” and “Emanuelle in Disney World and Other Weird Tales of a Trash Film Lover” for upcoming issues.

I’ll admit it. I have a soft spot for regional horror films. After all, some of the all-time masterpieces came from places other than Hollywood: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Bastrop and Round Rock, Texas), Night of the Living Dead (Pittsburgh, of course), and Carnival of Souls (Lawrence, Kansas). And there were oddball regional gems like Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood (Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey Pine Barrens), Horror High (Irving, Texas), and Last House on Dead End Street (State University of New York at Oneonta). But until recently, I never knew Wichita, Kansas, had its own 1960s entry in the regional horror market.

When reading about exploitation films, you often see the expression “it had a checkered distribution history” bandied about. You know, that’s the description of an exploitation film that passed from fly-by-night distributor to fly-by-night distributor with multiple title changes along the way before landing in obscurity in the home video market. While I’ve kept up with regional horror films for over 50 years, I’d never heard of The Beast from the Beginning of Time because it didn’t even have a checkered distribution history. It had no distribution history. Although completed in 1965, it was never publicly shown until 1981. Most of what I learned about it, I gleaned from an online copy of a newspaper article in The Wichita Eagle-Beacon dated October 23, 1981.

You see, back in 1965, one Tom Leahy was the KARD-TV Channel 3 in Wichita horror host of Nightmare (he was called, imaginatively enough, “The Host”), as well as Major Astro, beloved host of a kids’ show. (He sounds a lot like the Wichita version of Bill Cardille, who for years hosted Pittsburgh’s Chiller Theater, along with other shows like The 6 O’Clock Hop and Studio Wrestling). One day, Leahy decided it would be cool to make his own horror movie. So using his station’s staff and facilities and about $10,000, he wrote, directed and starred in The Beast from the Beginning of Time.

The film, about rival archeologists uncovering the remains of a preserved prehistoric man who comes back to life and goes on a killing spree, was filmed in black-and-white with interiors shot at the TV station and at a local farm standing in for the archeological dig. It wound up barely feature length at 58 minutes and looks and sounds for all the world like a 1960s shot-on-16mm remote news report. Even with that short running, it’s a dull affair, certainly no lost gem, enlivened only by scenes of gore that were somewhat surprising for the time. If it had been released back in the day, though, it probably would’ve caused at least a minor sensation among the denizens of Wichita, who would’ve enjoyed spotting their favorite local broadcasters in a theatrical film.

But alas, that was not meant to be. The film was never exhibited and forgotten until KARD unearthed it for a late-night broadcast as a Halloween special on October 30, 1981. The station even got NBC’s resident critic at the time, Gene Shalit (he of the bushy hair and mustache and pithy quip), to give it a bad review in an ill-fated attempt to enhance its camp appeal. Leahy, recognizing the poor quality of his film, apparently thought he could position it as a local cult item, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But alas, that also was not meant to be.

And thus, the history of The Beast from the Beginning of Time proved to be more interesting than the film itself. But you gotta love the chutzpah of those scrappy folks from Wichita. Regional filmmaking forever!

You can catch the Beast in all his regional glory on Tubi.

ARROW BOX SET RELEASE: Giallo Essentials: Red Edition

Did you know I liked giallo? Oh, that Letterbox list of three hundred plus movies let you know? Well, whether you’re new to the genre or have loved these black gloved killer movies for decades, Arrow Video’s Giallo Essentials: Red Edition is perfect with its new 2K restorations of the film from the original camera negative for The Possessed, The Fifth Cord and The Pyjama Girl Case.

The Possessed (1965): The Possessed is based on one of Italy’s most notorious crimes, The Alleghe killings, and adapted from the book by acclaimed literary figure Giovanni Comisso. It seems like a giallo, but it’s way closer to a film noir. Or maybe an art film. Often, people say that a movie feels like it’s inside a dream, but so much of this movie feels like one long evening of interconnected night terrors.

Also known as The Lady of the Lake, this films was written by Giulio Questi (Death Laid an Egg) and co-directed by Franco Rossellini (who would later produce Caligula) and  Luigi Bazzoni (The Fifth Cord, Footprints on the Moon).

Bernard (Peter Baldwin) is a novelist who has given up on life, despite his growing fame. Last summer, he fell in love with a maid named Tilde and hasn’t been able to get her out of his mind. As time goes on, despite the friendly way everyone at the inn treats him, he grows more and more worried about the conspiracy within this small town. That’s because while he was gone, Tilde committed suicide. And she may not have been the perfect woman that his creativity made her out to be.

Much like the giallo protagonist — a stranger on a strange who is often an untrustworthy narrator who must now investigate a crime that they themselves are implicated in — Bernard learns more about how his vacation getaway also isn’t the heaven that he dreamed that it was.

Thanks to the recent Arrow Video releases, I’ve done a deep dive on the films Bazzoni and wish that he had made more than the three giallo-esque films on his resume. Each of them subverts the form while working within it, offering challenging narratives and films that refuse to simply be background noise.

I’d never heard of this film before they announced it and am pleased to say that it’s moved up on the list of my favorite films. Consider this my highest recommendation.

The Fifth Cord (1971): Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage has scores of imitators that rose in the wake of its success. There were scores of gorgeous women being murdered, jazzy soundtracks blaring and movies with animals in their titles. And then, every once in a while, there’s a giallo that rises beyond the pack and asserts itself as a true work of art.

Giornata Nera per L’Ariete, or Black Day for the Ram, may appear to be an animal title, but it really refers to astrology (which kind of gives away some of the film). It’s better known as The Fifth Cord.

Director Luigi Bazzoni doesn’t have a huge list of films to his credit, but between this film, The Possessed and Footprints on the Moon, his take on the giallo form is unlike anyone else’s. This is more than a murder mystery. It’s a complex take on alienation and isolation at the end of the last century.

Based on David McDonald Devine’s novel — but based in Italy, not Scotland as in the book — The Fifth Cord starts with a man barely surviving a vicious attack on the way home from a New Year’s Eve party. We even get to hear the words of the killer:

“I am going to commit murder. I am going to kill another human being. How easy it is to say, already I feel like a criminal. I’ve been thinking it over for weeks, but now that I’ve giving voice to my evil intention I feel comfortably relaxed. Perhaps the deed itself will be an anti-climax, but I think not.”

Writer Andrea Bild (Franco Nero!) is assigned to report on the case and to put it bluntly, he’s a mess. Ever since his separation, he’s been drowning his life in whiskey and women.

Soon, the attacker strikes again and this time, whomever it is succeeds and leaves behind a black glove with a finger missing (Evil FIngers is an alternate title). That one finger missing turns into two, then three and comes with evil phone calls. Andrea has to take on the giallo role of the investigator before he becomes either the fifth victim or is arrested by the police — it turns out that he was at that very same New Year’s party, as was every single one of the victims.

The story itself is rather basic, but the way that it’s told is anything but. Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography places The Fifth Cord in an industrialized Rome that’s rarely seen in giallo, eschewing the historic architecture we’re used to seeing. I’d say that it’s a less flashy Tenebre, but this was made a decade before that movie.

If you come to these movies for the fashions, well, you may be slightly disappointed. But if you love the decor, look out. I’ve never seen more spiral staircases in one movie ever before. The house with the giant fireplace was also used for Argento’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet, but looks so much more impressive here. And I loved how the modern architecture gives little room to run in the closing moments.

This movie has never looked better than on its recent Arrow Video release. It’s jaw-dropping how gorgeous the film appears and the Ennio Morricone soundtrack positively emerges from the speakers. I expect great things from this company, but they continually surprise and delight me at every turn.

The Pyjama Girl Case (1977): The Girl in the Yellow Pyjamas AKA The Pyjama Girl Case is more than just a giallo. It’s based on a true story, the 1934 Australian cold case that concerns the murder of Linda Agostini. Born Florence Linda Platt in a suburb of South East London, she left the UK behind for New Zealand after a broken romance, then went to Australia where she worked at a cinema and lived in a boardinghouse. Post-murder gossip claimed that she was a heavy drinker, a jazz baby and someone who entertained plenty of much younger men, which became an issue when she married the Italian expatriate Antonio Agostini. He moved her to Melbourne to try and get away from the bad influences that he felt existed in Sydney, but four years later she disappeared.

Her body was found inside a burning grain sack left behind on the beach. Her head was wrapped in a towel, her body was badly beaten and she had been shot in the neck. But what defined the case were her intricate silk pajamas, complete with a Chinese dragon design, a look that was not the type of clothing favored by your average Australian housewife.

Her body was kept in a formaldehyde bath for a decade and the public was invited to attempt to identify the body. In 1944, dental records proved that the girl in the yellow pajamas was Agostini. Meanwhile, her husband had been in an internment camp for four years during World War II due to his Italian heritage and sympathies toward the Axis. When he returned and was questioned by police commissioner William MacKay — a man he had once waited on — he immediately confessed to killing his wife.

There’s still some controversy over whether or not he actually confessed. There’s just as much as to who the pajama girl was. Regardless, her husband only served three years on manslaughter, as he claimed the shooting was an accident, and was extradited to Italy. Historian Richard Evans wrote The Pyjama Girl Mystery: A True Story of Murder, Obsession and Lies in 2004 and claims that police corruption meant that the case needed to be solved as quickly as possible, as the public sentiment had turned against the cops.

The giallo that is based on the case is really well made and has an intriguing split narrative. On one hand, we have the retired Inspector Thompson (Ray Milland) investigating the case and dealing with his own mortality. Meanwhile, we see Glenda Blythe (Dalila Di Lazzaro, Frankenstein 80, the monster’s bride in Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, the headmistress in Phenomena, perhaps the other woman in Carlo Ponti and Sophia Loren’s marriage) struggle with the relationships in her life, including her husband Antonio Attolini, her lover Ray Conner (Howard Ross, The New York Ripper) and her mentor Professor Henry Douglas (Mel Ferrer). As the relationship with her husband starts to fall apart, she drifts into prostitution and in a harrowing scene, makes love to two men while one’s teenage nephew tries to not make eye contact with her.

Other than the Riz Ortolani score — Amanda Lear sings on two of them! — this isn’t a fashion-filled bit of fun. This is a dark and dreary journey through the end of a woman’s life and the elderly man devoted to finding out the answers to who and why, even if he knows that discovering that truth won’t change the fact that he’s closer to the end of his story than the beginning. At least he cares more than the modern police, who simply embalm her nude body, put it on display and allow people to stare at it.

I read the other day that giallo films were meant for the people outside of Rome, for provincial tastes that demanded a morality play. I’m not certain that’s entirely true, but this movie aspires to art and a heartbreaking moment as we reach the close and realize that the two stories are truly connected in the bleakest of ways.

Arrow Video’s Giallo Essentials: Red Collection has all three films in a rigid box packaging with newly designed artwork by Adam Rabalais in a windowed Giallo Essentials Collection slipcover.

The Possessed special features include new audio commentary by writer and critic Tim Lucas, a video appreciation by Richard Dyer,  interviews with the film’s makeup artist Giannetto De Rossi, award-winning assistant art director Dante Ferretti and actor/director Francesco Barilli, a close friend of Luigi and Camillo Bazzoni. It also has the original trailers and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips.

The Fifth Cord has new audio commentary by critic Travis Crawford, a video essay on the film’s use of architecture and space by critic Rachael Nisbet, interviews with author and critic Michael Mackenzie, Franco Nero and film editor Eugenio Alabiso. Plus, there’s a rare, previously unseen deleted sequence restored from the original negative, the original Italian and English theatrical trailers, an image gallery and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love.

The Pyjama Girl Case has new audio commentary by Troy Howarth, plus interviews with author and critic Michael Mackenzie, Howard Ross, editor Alberto Tagliavia and composer Riz Ortolani. Plus, you get an image gallery the Italian theatrical trailer and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon.

You can get it from MVD.

KINO LORBER BLU RAY RELEASE: Planet of the Vampires (1965)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on September 7, 2020 but now with the blu ray release of this movie from Kino Lorber, this gives me a chance to update it and expand on it.

You can get the new Kino Lorber blu ray directly from the Kino Lorber site. In addition to a new 2K master, there’s new commentary by Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw, as well as another commentary by Tim Lucas. You also get alternate music score highlights, the original Italian opening credits, two Trailers from Hell episodes (Joe Dante and Josh Olson) and the original theatrical trailer.

American-International Pictures had made some money in the U.S. with Mario Bava’s Black Sunday and Black Sabbath. It just made sene for Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson to gain more control by producing the films themselves instead of just buying the rights.

Working with Italian International Film and Spain’s Castilla Cooperativa Cinematográfica, AIP provided the services of writer Ib Melchior (The Angry Red Planet) to create the American version of this movie, which was based on Renato Pestriniero’s short story “One Night of 21 Hours.”

planet-of-the-vampires-movie-poster-1965-1020430218

This movie was quite literally the Tower of Babel, as each major cast member performed in their respective languages: Barry Sullivan spoke English, Norma Bengell spoke Portuguese, Ángel Aranda Spanish and Evi Marandi Italian. And the low budget would have made a cheap-looking movie with any other director, but Bava was the master of in-camera effects and flooding his sets with color and fog. In a Fangoria article, he would say, “Do you know what that unknown planet was made of? A couple of plastic rocks — yes, two: one and one! — left over from a mythological movie made at Cinecittà! To assist the illusion, I filled the set with smoke.”

When 1979’s Alien came out, those that had been exposed to Bava’s work would let people know that many of the ideas in that film came directly from this modest film with its $200,000 budget — I know Joe Bob, everyone lies about budgets. While Ridley Scott and Dan O’Bannon would claim for years that they had never seen this movie before, the writer would later say, “I stole the giant skeleton from the Planet of the Vampires.”

Want to know how I know those claims are true? From the very start of this film, two large ships — the Galliott and the Argos — in deep space respond to an SOS call and are lured to a planet where alien beings either take their bodies over or murder them. The crew of the Argos instantly begins murdering one another — with only Captain Markary (Sullivan) able to pull his crew out of madness. When they arrive at the other ship, everyone is already dead, including Markary’s brother.

Soon, the bodies of the dead are walking as if alive, the ships are damaged beyond repair, and crew members are getting wiped out (look for a young Ivan Rassimov — later of the giallos The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh and All the Colors of the Dark, and the Star Wars clone The Humanoid — as one of them!).

While this film is 55 years old, I have no interest in ruining the ending for you. Instead, I want you to sit and bask in its colorful glow, awash in fog and mystery, with pulpy science fiction heroes running around in fetishy costumes and discovering skeletons that could in no way be human. It is everything that is magic about film.

Atlas — the comic company that tried to challenge Marvel and DC in the 1970’s — combined I Am Legend with this film to create the comic Planet of the Vampires. Much like all of their books, it only ran three issues, but the first one boasts a cover with pencils by Pat Broderick with Neal Adams-inks and other issues have great work by Russ Heath. The first issue was also written by future G.I. Joe mastermind Larry Hama. I have no doubt that Atlas did not pay AIP for the rights to this.

Check out these pieces on Ten films that rip off Alien and Ten Bava Films for more.

Curse of the Stone Hand (1965)

Alright, I know this isn’t a Mexican movie, it’s American, but it was a remix and reedit by Jerry Warren, who brought so many South of the Border movies to America. He shot new footage with John Carradine — who else? — and Katherine Victor to freshen up two twenty-year-old Chilean films, La Casa está Vacía (The House is Empty) and La Dama de la Muerte (The Lady of Death).

Seeing as how it’s two films, Warren decided to turn this into an anthology, if two stories can really be an anthology. The same house is supposed to be the setting for both stories, one in which a gambler finds a set of stone hands in the cursed house and uses them to play curses before joining a suicide club. This is La Dama de la Muerte (The Lady of Death), as that movie was an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Suicide Club. The second story has another owner’s son finding the hands — this is La Casa está Vacía (The House is Empty) — and using them to hypnotize his brother’s fiancee.

This is the closest that Warren would stay to his source material and therefore lacks the utter drug-induced insanity of his Mexican remake remixes. The dubbing is horrible, yet we can directly trace Godfrey Ho and the wildness that he dropped on us several decades later to the way that Warren could take any movie and chop it to pieces.

Warren once said, ” “I’d shoot one day on this stuff and throw it together. I was in the business to make money. I never ever tried in any way to compete or to make something worthwhile. I only did enough to get by, so they would buy it, so it would play, and so I’d get a few dollars. It’s not very fair to the public, I guess, but that was my attitude. You didn’t have to go all out and make a really good picture.”

Know what you’re getting into before you watch this!

Warren’s American Distributors Productions, Inc. teamed this up with another of his mixtape wonders, Face of the Screaming Werewolf, which is Mexican and is also two movies in one — La Casa del Terror and La Momia Azteca.