Gunman Called Nebraska (1966)

One of the joys of the deep dives that I do into film genres is when they cross over. It’s like I’m reuniting with an old friend when a director or actor appears in more than one category.

That means that I’m overjoyed to say hello again to Ken Clark, who played Secret Agent Dick Mallory in Agent 077: Mission Bloody Mary, Agent 077: From the Orient with Fury and Special Mission Lady Chaplin, as well as appearing in Tiffany Memorandum and Attack of the Giant Leeches.

As Ringo del Nebraska, this but one of thirty movies or more that use the name Ringo, in the hopes that you will think that it’s a sequel to either A Pistol for Ringo and The Return of Ringo. It’s also known as Savage Gringo.

Spanish director Antonio Román started the film and producer Fulvio Lucisano claims that he fired him before he could finish, replacing him with Mario Bava. Lamberto Bava and actor Howard Ross (who is in the Fulci films Warriors of the Year 2072 and The New York Ripper as well as many more movies) claim that Mario was not there and only did the matte paintings. That said, Lamberto is listed as an assistant director, so the idea that this movie was shot all in Spain can’t be true.

This movie also has the title Prepare to Die, Ringo From Nebraska – I Am Sartana, which ties it into yet another Italian Western series! It was sold to American-International Pictures Television, which is where the Savage Gringo title comes in.

If you’re wondering — why has Sam been discussing the titles of the film and who directed it more than the actual film — well, once you watch it, you’ll figure that out for yourself.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Massacre Time (1966)

Massacre Time was originally supposed to be an Italian-Spanish co-production with Ringo co-star George Martin playing Tom Corbett. According to Troy Howarth’s book Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films, the Spanish side withdrew their involvement and funding after Fulci refused to tone down the script’s violence.

Fulci instead cast Nero at the suggestion of his assistant director, Giovanni Fago, based on his look from the production stills of the recently completed Django. George Hilton was cast in the other lead and had difficulty dealing with Fulci as a director.

This was written by Fernando Di Leo, who co-wrote A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, A Pistol for Ringo and The Return of Ringo, with the title taken from Franco Enna’s book Tempo di Massacaro.

Speaking of the violence in this film, Fulci would later claim that he pushed Di Leo to make the film as violent as possible, which Di Leo refuted, stating “I don’t know anything about Fulci’s claims that he insisted that I write a very violent movie. Fulci only directed well what was already on the page. The script was good and ready and he liked it the way it was, otherwise I’d have complied to his demand if there had been any”.

Nero and Hilton play the Corbett brothers, with Tom (Nero) coming back to their hometown to find it under the iron rule of Mr. Scott (Giuseppe Addobbati, billed as John MacDouglas for American audiences; he’s also in Nightmare Castle) and his son, Junior Scott (Nino Castelnuovo, Strip Nude for Your Killer).

Linda Sini is also in this. She also is in Fulci’s Don’t Torture A Duckling as Bruno’s mother.

Although an English-language version was made, AIP made their own dub of the film and released it as The Brute and the Beast, making it one of only two Italian Westerns released in the U.S. by the studio (the other is God Forgives… I Don’t!). In the UK, this is known as Colt Concert and in Denmark and West Germany, it was released as Djangos seksløber er lov (Django’s Six-Runner Is Legal) and Django – Sein Gesangbuch war der Colt (Django – His Hymnbook was the Colt). My favorite alternate title has to be what it was called in Hong Kong, Ghost Gun God Whip, and Spain, Las Pistolas Cantaron su Muerte (y fue Tiempo de Matanza) (The Pistols Sang His Death (and it was Time for the Killing).

You can watch this on YouTube.

The Las Vegas Hillbillys (1966)

I love Hillybillys In a Haunted House, but I had no idea that this film came out before it. It features Ferlin Husky as Woody Wetherby and Mamie Van Doren (!) as Boots Malone (Joi Lansing would play the role in the sequel).

Woody is a Tennessee wood hauler — feels like a song coming on — who inherits a Las Vegas casino only to discover that he’s also been gifted with a $38,000 debt from some shady sources. How shady? They have Richard “Jaws” Kiel as their enforcer.

Luckily, his Aunt Clementine (Billie Bird, Mrs. Feldman from Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol) has an idea to save the day.

Don Bowman plays Woody’s friend Jeepers in both films. You know who is only in this one? Jayne Mansfield, playing Miss Tawny Dawn, a singer who decides to help our hero in his bid to fix up the gambling joint that he was just awarded. This would be her next to last film, which still makes me sad.

You can also listen to plenty of musical numbers from Sonny James, Roy Drusky, Del Reeves, Bill Anderson, Connie Smith, Wilma Burgess, Duke of Paducah, Jr. Carolina Cloggers and The Jordanaires.

This movie is about as cheap as it gets, all mostly shot in a static shot in one room. Even the “Vegas casino” is an obvious set.

Director Arthur C. Pierce is better known for the movies he wrote, including The Human DuplicatorsThe Navy vs. the Night Monsters and The Astral Factor.

Sadly, Jayne and Mamie never appear on screen together. I think that’s because the world would have stopped spinning and we would have all died screaming from that much volcanic energy in the same area. They were doing their duty staying that far apart from one another.

Bonus points for the stock footage of Vegas. Old Vegas is the best, the kind of cigarette smoke stale, beer smelling, dead bodies in Lake Mead den of sin that I always dreamed that it would be.

BONUS: Along with The Terror of Tiny TownDoctor of DoomSki FeverSanta Claus Conquers the MartiansRobot MonsterThe Crawling Hand, Untamed WomenThey Saved Hitler’s BrainBride of the MonsterProject MoonbaseRocket Attack U.S.A. and The Slime People, this was one of the 13 films featured on the Larraine Newman-starring and Dr. Pepper-sponsored syndicated series The Canned Film Festival.

Single Room Furnished (1966)

Italian directors used to change their name to Americanized names so that people wouldn’t think their movies were Italian. Matt Cimber? He used the name Matteo Ottaviano when he directed this.

This was Jayne Mansfield’s final filmed starring role, shot by Cimber, her thrid and final husband. It briefly came out in 1966, but was pulled from theaters and re-released a year after she died. The only other film that she technically did after this was a cameo role in A Guide for the Married Man.

Mansfield shines here, despite the darkness of the story, as she plays three roles of three women who may closer than you’d think. It starts with innocence and ends with prostitution, all within one rundown New York City tenement.

I love that this movie begins with a speech from Walter Winchell, packed with hyperbole, as he describes how this is the gift that Jayne left behind for us. Between the Crown International Pictures title card and this soliloquy, I was already in love with this movie before it even began.

You can watch this on Daily Motion.

The Fat Spy (1966)

If Jayne Mansfield lived long enough, she most assuredly would have been in Italian western, giallos, slashers and any other films that would have had her. She even made this film, a Eurospy takeoff, not long before her sad demise.

Some young people are on a scavenger hunt which brings them to an island close to Cape Coral, Florida, where the fountain of youth supposedly exists. The rich owner of the island gets his daughter (Mansfield) to kick them all out, but she only wants to see her chubby lover Irving, who somehow is the second person I’ve seen in a film with the trope of being completely uninterested in aardvarking with Jayne. Somehow, Irving has an evil twin named Herman and he has an evil woman in his life named Camille Salamander, played by Phyllis Diller.

Director Joseph Cates also made the sleazy Who Killed Teddy Bear? and somehow went on to produce the Tony Awards. This movie is so threadbare that when they ran out of money, instead of shooting the last scenes, they literally filmed the script.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Fireball 500 (1966)

William Asher’s career was mostly in TV — he was a driving force behind I Love Lucy and Bewitched — and making AIP’s beach movies work. The one aberration is the movie Butcher, Baker Nightmare Maker, which is a mindblowing piece of film that I encourage everyone to see.

AIP was always ahead of the teen curve, as they realized that the beach films had run their course and now, the kids wanted, well, rebellion.

AIP executive Deke Heyward said, “The next big thing for teenage films is protest. Teenagers empathize with protest because they are in revolt against their parents… These films represent a protest against society. These will be moral tales, there will be good guys and bad guys. But we will show the reasons for young people going against the dictates of the establishment.”

Stock car racer “Fireball” Dave Owens (Frankie Avalon) has come from the West Coast to race Spartansburg’s champion Sonny Leander Fox (Fabian). He also gets plenty of glances from Fox’s girl, Jane (Annette Funicello).

The conflict comes when Dave is conned into smuggling moonshine by Julie Parrish and Harvey Lembeck’s characters. Then the IRS gets involved, threatening to jail our hero unless he helps them defeat the moonshiners. And then Fox wants one more race on the deadly Figure 8 track.

The real star of this movie is the Fireball 500, a 1966 Plymouth Barracuda customized by George Barris. There was going to be a sequel, Malibu 500, but that eventually became Thunder Alley.

As if Dave making eyes at Fox’s girl wasn’t bad enough, he’s also hooked up with Martha the Moonshiner (the aforementioned Parrish). So how does our man beat the system and get the girl? There’s only one way to find out.

You can watch this on YouTube.

The Ghost In the Invisible Bikini (1966)

This beach movie features no beach. Sure, it’s the sixth and last of the AIP beach genre films, but right now it’s the perfect movie for the abject pit of despair that I’ve found myself in tonight.

Mr. Hiram Stokeley (Boris Karloff!) has just died and has to perform just one good deed in the next day so he can go to Heaven. He asks for Cecily (Susan Hart, the wife of AIP co-founder James H. Nicholson) to help him stop his lawyer Reginald Ripper (Basil Rathbone!) from stealing his estate from its rightful owners Chuck (Tommy Kirk) and Lili (Deborah Walley, the Gidget star who was once married to Blood Island star John Ashley).

Ripper has hired his daughter Sinistra (former Miss Scotland and Fabian bau Quinn O’Hara), J. Sinister Hulk (Maytag man Jesse White), Chicken Feather (Benny Rubin) and Princess Yolanda (beach party regular Bobbi Shaw) to kill off our hero and heroine, while Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck) and his Malibu Rat Pack get involved.

This was originally called Pajama Party in a Haunted House, which is a pretty great title too. It’s the only beach party movie without Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, but it does have Nancy Sinatra right at the start of her fame, as well as George Barrows in his ape suit, Italian starlet Piccola Pupa and The Bobby Fuller Four.

Originally announced in the end credits of Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (under the title The Girl in the Glass Bikini, it was retooled after AIP producers hated the initial cut. All of the scenes with Karloff and Hart were added in, with Hart superimposed over existing footage and Karloff appearing mostly by himself on a soundstage.

This film arrives at a time before hippies would change the world. It’s kind of ironic that Eric Von Zipper’s motorcycle crash would find its way into another AIP film that would more accurately reflect the latter half of the decade, the Billy Jack-introducing The Born Losers.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

Dr. Satan (1966)

This seems like a crime movie, except that, you know, Dr. Satan has made a deal with Satan to be able to control his three zombie women, which feels like probably the best reason to give over your immortal soul when you think about it.

The devil does show up several times, mostly from far away and he has large black wings and he’s really ferocious and awesome in the way that only a totally Catholic culture could make him look.

Joaquin Cordero, who plays the titular character, studied in a seminary and even considered being a priest at one point. He decided to become a lawyer, but then changed his mind and became an actor. He would go on to become one of Mexico’s biggest stars, including appearances in Secta Satanica: El Enviado del SenorVacations of Terror 2The Book of Stone and the somehow even better sequel to this movie.

Interpol agents against a doctor with zombie slaves that were gifted to him by el primero de los caidos. It’s as if someone took my most perfect dreams, sent them back in time and filmed them in Mexico. The left hand path has taken me many places, but this may be the most enjoyable.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Mondo Bizarro (1966)

“To the worm in the cheese, the cheese is the universe. To the maggot in the cadaver, the cadaver is infinity. And to you, what is your world? How do you know what is beyond the Beyond? Most of us don’t even know what is behind the Beyond.”

Mondo Bizarro blew my mind and it hadn’t even started yet.

Much like all of the Lee Frost and Bob Cresse mondos, this is a mix of both documentary and faked footage. Sure, that one way glass in a changing room is fake, but hey, Frederick’s of Hollywood is real, even if it shows up in so many mondo films that I lose track of which one is which.

This one also has a man sticking nails in his skin and eating glass, the hippies of Los Angeles, Germans watching a Nazi play (Cresse must have been, umm, Cresse-ing his jeans, seeing as how he played a German officer in Love Camp 7 with such aufregung.

The duo also used a high-powered lens to capture what they describe as a Lebanese white-slavery auction. Never mind that it’s obviously Bronson Canyon, the setting for everything from Night of the Blood Beast to Equinox, Octaman and, most famously, the entrance to the Batcave in the 1960’s TV show.

Make no bones about it. This is junk. But it’s entertaining junk.

You can get this on the same blu ray as Mondo Freudo from Severin.

Africa Blood and Guts (1966)

Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi could have stopped with Mondo Cane, but no, they had more people to educate. And offend. Actually, mostly offend. This three-year in the making ode to the end of the colonial era in Africa is a barrage of brutality, set to the wondrous music of Riz Ortolani.

Some claimed that the scene that shows the execution of a Congolese Simba Rebel had been filmed expressly for the film, which led to Jacopetti’s arrest on charges of murder. The film was seized by police and editing for the movie had to stop. When Prosperi produced documents proving they had arrived at the scene just before the execution, he was freed.

The American version of the film — which is the one I saw — was edited and translated without Jacopetti, who claimed that this new version of his movie Africa Addio is a betrayal. That version is missing 45 minutes of political setup and exclusively features carnage and gore.

This film more than struck a nerve. While Prospero would say, “The public was not ready for this kind of truth,” and Jacopetti claimed that the movie “was not a justification of colonialism, but a condemnation for leaving the continent in a miserable condition,” the team’s follow-up Addio Zio Tom — while intended supposedly to be an answer to the charges of racism in this film — somehow is even more vile.

You can even see the entire film crew nearly killed while making this movie. They put their lives on the line to bring this to you. Whether you want it or are ready for it are decisions left up to you.

You can watch this on Tubi.