Col cuore in gola (1967)

The original title of this movie translates as With Heart in Mouth, but it was also released under several alternative titles, including I Am What I AmDeadly SweetEn cinquième vitesse (In Fifth Gear), Dead stop – Le coeur aux lèvres (Dead Stop – The Heart to the Lips), Con el corazón en la garganta (With My Heart in My Throat), Heart Beat and Ich bin wie ich bin – Das Mädchen aus der Carnaby Street (I Am What I Am – The Girl from Carnaby Street.

Bernard (Jean-Louis Trintignant) discovers Janes (Ewa Aulin, Candy) standing over a dead body in a London nightclub and instantly believes that she has to be innocent. Her father has recently been killed in a car accident, but Jane thinks that he was killed because of a blackmail scam gone wrong. And that body? The blackmailer.

He protects her from a series of shadowy men — including a dwarf — and the police that are following them both as they go deeper and deeper into the darkness that is her life. So does the control that he thinks he has over her life, but Jane is the kind of hurricane that has seemingly destroyed many a man before.

Man, this movie is something else. Tinto Brass directed it and it looks part comic book, part documentary, shot with hidden camera and wild zooms. It’s as 1967 as it gets and I mean that in the best of ways, with loud fuzzed-out music, pop art sensibility, switches from black and white to color and moments where Aulin’s beauty threatens to shatter whatever reality exists on film. Guido Crepax, whose comic Valentina was the basis of Baba Yaga, drew the storyboards and his art appears throughout the movie.

Brass’ only giallo, this feels more Antonioni than Bava. And yeah, it may go on a bit too long, but when it’s on, it’s on.

Now, to be up front, Aulin was all of sixteen when she made this and she has some semi-nude scenes. If that offends you, you can choose not to watch this.

Dr. Terror’s Gallery of Horrors (1967)

You may say, “This title sounds a lot like Amicus’ Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors.” The studio and their lawyers felt the same way, as this movie was forced to change its title, which means that it played under the other names Return from the Past, The Blood Suckers, Alien Massacre, Gallery of Horror and The Witch’s Clock.

It was directed by David L. Hewitt, who went from working in a traveling spook show to making movies like The Wizard of MarsMonsters Crash the Pajama PartyThe Mighty Gorga and The Girls from Thunder Strip. He wrote the script, basing it on stories by Russ Jones, who created Creepy. Jones also plays a man killed by a mob and a corpse back from the dead, even creating his own makeup.

“The Witches Clock” is the only story with lead actor John Carradine in it — he also narrates — and tells the story of a couple buying a Salem mansion with a haunted clock that has the power to bring the dead back to life. It has a pretty great conclusion, as the entire house and everyone in the story is set on fire, with Carradine’s character coming back to start the cycle all over again with a new family.

“King of the Vampires” features Scotland Yard against a bloodsucker. There’s a pretty forward thinking close here as well with the police unable to wrap their minds around the fact that the killer just might not be a man.

“Monster Raid” isn’t as good as the first two stories, as it’s a simple back from the dead to get revenge on a conniving wife story.

“The Spark of Life” lives up to its name, as Lon Chaney Jr. is a scientist who gets two students to help him bring a man back from the dead. However, their experiment isn’t a success because that man was a murderer and he may have been better dead.

“Count Alucard” pits Dracula against Harker (one of several roles in this movie for Roger Gentry), a vampire hater with a secret.

This movie does something amazing: it steals from Roger Corman, who usually steals from himself. There’s footage from The TerrorHouse of UsherThe Raven and The Haunted Palace used in several places in this.

“So shocking it will sliver your liver!” That’s a great tagline. This isn’t a great film. But any movie that has Carradine as a narrator can never be hated.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Operation 67 (1967)

If I had to pick two Mexican stars to be secret agents, it would be Santo and Jorge Rivera, who we all know as Mace from Fulci’s insane ode to fog Conquest. Yes, the Eurospy craze stuck around a little but longer in Mexico and if Santo gets to be a spy, so be it.

The whole scheme in this movie is to counterfeit money and — I’m guessing — destroy the world’s economy. Everyone evil has a watch welded to their wrist that allows the bosses to listen in and destroy them, if they must.

Somehow, even more than a Bond film, this become a proto-Andy Sidaris affair which I could not applaud for more fervently. Yes, Jorge ends up in bed with a Japanese exotic dancer and then gets attacked by a small plane that he blows up with a bazooka. As far as I’m concerned, that sounds like this movie could have been filmed on Savage Beach.

The main evil leader is really Ruth Taylor, but come on. She’s Golden Rubi herself, Elizabeth Campbell, who played the wrestling heroine in Doctor of Doom, Las Mujeres PanterasWrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy and She-Wolves of the Ring. She also shows up in the Eurospy ala Mexico movies Las Sicodélicas and Peligro…! Mujeres en Acción, as well as the baffling yet awesome film The Chinese Room.

For some reason — feel free to make up the story in your head as you watch — Ruth is absolutely in love with her enemy Jorge, saying things like “Whatever happens, I really love you.” and telling him that she never lied before expiring from the multitude of bullets that she’s been perforated by.

I am all for more spy movies with Santo and luckily, René Cardona and son would immediately make El Tesoro de Moctezuma, which would bring our secret agent amigos together again.

Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)

Millie Dillmount (Julie Andrews) has a goal. Work as a stenographer to a rich man and become his wife. She becomes friends with the naive Miss Dorothy Brown (Mary Tyler Moore) as she checks into the Priscilla Hotel, which has a secret: the house mother Mrs. Meers (Beatrice Lillie) find girls with no family or friends and then sells them into servitude.

Yes, this is a musical romantic comedy.

One night at the Friendship Dance in the Dining Hall, Millie makes the acquaintance of paper clip salesman Jimmy Smith (James Fox, who somehow is in both this movie and Performance). Sure, he seems nice, but she has a plan to be Mrs. Trevor Graydon (John Gavin). There’s some tension because Millie thinks Jimmy is in love with Miss Dorothy, but she doesn’t know the whole story. And she’s even more hurt with Trevor marries Miss Dorothy leaving her all alone.

Before Trevor can marry his love, she’s kidnapped by Jack Soo and Pat Morita, who play Chinese white slavers*, which again seems way too dark for a bubbly musical that has Carol Channing as an eccentric rich woman. But it’s Channing who saves the day, rescuing everyone before she reveals that — spoiler warning for a 54 year old movie — Jimmy and Miss Dorothy are actually millionaire siblings and that she’s their stepmother. She’s sent them off to find people who love them for who they are, not how rich they are.

This is probably Becca’s favorite movie of all time. I asked her for a quote and she said, “One of the greatest movies of our times.”

Kino Lorber has just released a 4K blu ray edition of this, featuring the Roadshow Edition of the film and new commentary by author/film historian Lee Gambin and art historian Ian McAnally.

*They’re Japanese, but it would take this entire website to explain how racist Hollywood was. And is, to be perfectly honest.

The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967)

Based on the novel By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman, this was the last Disney film directed by James Neilsen, who also made Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow; The Moon-Spinners; Summer Magic; Gentle Giant and Moon Pilot for the studio. It also boasts songs by the Sherman Brothers, who produced more movie scores than any other songwriting team in history. They’re best known for their songs from Mary Poppins as well as one of the most performed songs of all time, “It’s a Small World (After All).”

After Jack (Bryan Russell) and Arabella Flagg (Suzanne Pleshette) are orphaned in Boston, Jack and the family butler Eric “Bullwhip” Griffin (Roddy McDowall) head for the gold rush in San Francisco. Jack is obsessed with the books he’s been reading about the Wild West, which leads them across the country and into the orbit of the villainous Judge Higgins (Karl Malden).

Wrestling fans will enjoy seeing Mike Mazurki, who in addition to being a grappler and a heavy in plenty of movies, was also the first president of the Cauliflower Alley Club, an association of professional wrestlers. He plays Mountain Ox, who boxes against McDowall.

And Disney history fans will get to see Jimmy MacDonald, the voice of Mickey Mouse from 1947 to 1988, as a percussionist in the saloon scenes.

 

Vengeance Trails: Bandidos (1967)

Richard Martin (Enrico Maria Salerno, who is Jesus in Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew and the inspector in The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, but perhaps just as importantly the Italian voice for Clint Eastwood in Leone’s movies) is a master of shooting guns whose hands are ruined when he ends up on a train that’s robbed by his former student Billy Kane (Venantino Venantini, City of the Living Dead).

Now, Martin is left to only be a drunken huckster, taking is traveling carnival to dusty small towns in the hopes of just surviving. He was once a sharpshooter but his mangled hands mean that he can only train others and now that his latest student has been killed, he doesn’t have much hope left. That’s when he meets Ricky Shot (Terry Jenkins, who was only in one other movie, the doomed western musical Paint Your Wagon), the man who was framed for the train robbery. Together, they both have plans for revenge.

Massimo Dallamano is a director that I love that doesn’t get the praise that other Italian genre directors receive. Starting as the cinematographer on Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, his films are all standouts in their subgenres, like the giallo masterwork What Have You Done to Solange? and the cops vs. mad bombers poliziottesco craziness of Colt 38 Special Squad (recently released by Arrow in their Years of Lead box set). Sadly, Dallamano died in a car accident after that film, robbing the world of what might have been.

Arrow Video’s Vengeance Trails box set has 2K restorations of this movie, as well as Massacre TimeAnd God Said to Cain and My Name is Pecos, as well as a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by author and critic Howard Hughes plus a double-sided poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx. Bandidos has new commentary by author and critic Kat Ellinger, as well as new interviews with assistant director Luigi Perelli, Gino Barbacane and Fabio Melelli, plus an alternate end title sequence. You can order this from MVD.

It’s also available on the ARROW player. Head over to ARROW to start your 30 day free trial (subscriptions are available for $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly). ARROW is available in the US, Canada and the UK on the following Apps/devices: Roku (all Roku sticks, boxes, devices, etc), Apple TV & iOS devices, Android TV and mobile devices , Fire TV (all Amazon Fire TV Sticks, boxes, etc), and on all web browsers at https://www.arrow-player.com.

Vengeance Trails: My Name Is Pecos (1967)

Robert Woods may have started his career in Hollywood when he was selected by George Hamilton to be his stand-in for Where the Boys Are, but he made his name in Italy, where he appeared in a ton of westerns like Four Dollars for VengeanceSavage GunsThe Belle Starr Story (the only Italian western directed by a woman — Lina Wertmüller — and one of the few which stars a woman in the title role — Elsa Martinelli) and this film, which was followed by Pecos Cleans Up.

Pecos Hernandez (Woods) has returned to Houston, looking for Kline (Pier Paolo Capponi, The Cat o’ Nine Tails), the man who wiped out his family. Unlike most films of this genre, the hero is the Mexican and the Texans are the ones who did him wrong. This means that this movie had a huge impact in other countries where Peco was seen as a man fighting imperialism. It’s a good thing they changed the ending, as when the original version where Pecos was killed was shown, the audience pelted the srceen with chairs.

Umberto Raho (The Eerie Midnight Horror Show) plays an undertaker/priest who is anything but religious and one of the more fun characters you’ll find in an Italian western. This is also the first western that George Eastman made and quite possibly where he met Aristide Massaccesi, who was the cinematographer of this before we started to know him as Joe D’Amato amongst many names.

Director Maurizio Lucidi made movies in just about every genre, including giallo (The Designated Victim), peplum (Hercules the Avenger), crime (Stateline Motel, Street People) and comedy (Il marito in collegio). In the 90s and as late as 2003, he was splitting time between TV movies and making adult videos under the name Mark Lander. Writer Adriano Bolzoni’s scripts include The MercenaryThe Man With Icy EyesYour Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the KeyThe Humanoid and many more.

Arrow Video’s Vengeance Trails box set has 2K restorations of this movie, as well as Massacre TimeAnd God Said to Cain and Bandidos, as well as a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by author and critic Howard Hughes plus a double-sided poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx. My Name is Pecos has new commentary by actor Robert Woods and C. Courtney Joyner, new interviews with actor George Eastman and actress Lucia Modugno, a new documentary featuring a new interview with Fabio Melelli and an archival interview with cinematographer Franco Villa, and the Italian trailer. You can order this from MVD.

It’s also available on the ARROW player. Head over to ARROW to start your 30 day free trial (subscriptions are available for $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly). ARROW is available in the US, Canada and the UK on the following Apps/devices: Roku (all Roku sticks, boxes, devices, etc), Apple TV & iOS devices, Android TV and mobile devices , Fire TV (all Amazon Fire TV Sticks, boxes, etc), and on all web browsers at https://www.arrow-player.com.

The Sorcerers (1967)

The original story for this movie came from John Burke, who for the majority of his career wrote the novelizations for movies such as A Hard Day’s Night, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, two volumes of The Hammer Horror Omnibus, Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang BangMoon Zero Two and many more. Director Michael Reeves and his childhood friend Tom Baker — not the scarf-wearer Time Lord — re-wrote the script, including making Boris Karloff’s character more sympathetic at the actor’s request.

Burke only got an idea by credit, but after his death, his estate published a limited edition of the original script, as well as letters and legal documents related to the film.

The Sorcerers is very 1967 and I mean that in the best of ways. There are places within the London of this film that feel ancient and shopworn while others feel vibrant and new. The technology seems old and the movie is more than fifty years old, but it still feels like something that could be made today.

Dr. Marcus Monserrat (Karloff) has invented a hypnosis-based machine that allows him to control people and feel what they feel. His wife Estelle is part of his experiments and as their device allows them to live the lives of others, a frisson occurs between them. Marcus wants to document and publish his experiments; Estelle wants to live a youth free of consequences through others. She destroys the device, making all of his work meaningless, and asserts herself as the stronger of the twosome. Now that she has complete control of Mike (Ian Ogilvy), she uses the young man to race recklessly, to steal and even to kill.

Reeves had only made The She Beast and would only make one more movie, the amazing Witchfinder General, before sadly dying from an accidental overdose at the age of 25. He’d been suffering from insomnia and depression, with a variety of treatments being prescribed to help him. An investigation proved that this was no suicide, just a horrible tragedy.

Berserk! (1967)

Joan Crawford’s second-to-last big-screen appearance — Trog would be the final movie she made — Berserk! posits a world where the ageless Ms. Crawford rules a circus and of course sleeps with the hottest performer in the show. Is she in her late forties? Fifties? Perhaps even nearing sixty? Who can say and who really cares, as the world of Joan’s late career films are all completely wonderful and I for one wish that I lived within them instead of my own reality.

Joan is Monica Rivers, who owns a traveling circus along with business manager Dorando (Michael Gough). Gaspar the Great is killed when his tightrope breaks. The police get involved but nothing comes of it. Did she kill him? Will she also kill her business partner? Will she hook up with the attractive new tightrope walker (Ty Hardin, who after acting formed the anti-tax group the Arizona Patriots that quickly became an anti-semetic, anti-black and anti-immigrant group that was amassing weapons and threatening the lives of Arizona politicians)? Maybe. Maybe. And yes, she totally will.

Monica’s daughter has been expelled from school, which oddly feels like a page out of Mommie Dearest, but art imitates life as they say. She’s played by Judy Geeson right before she became a star in To Sir, With Love, even if producer Herman Cohen wanted Christina Crawford.

There’s also the matter of a younger and some would say more attractive — look, I love Joan but Diana Dors (Nothing but the NightFrom Beyond the Grave) is the kind of woman you ruin your life for — girl trying to get with Joan’s boy. She ends up sawed in half for real.

The end of this goes all The Bad Seed on us, with an electrical wire taking out the evil that bad parenting has created.

Director Jim O’Connolly would later make The Valley of Gwangi and Tower of Evil, but neither of those movies have Joan Crawford wearing Edith Head-designed sheer hose and a majorette uniform in them, do they? You know how much Joan cared about this movie? She got up early to make breakfast for the crew every day.

Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

From flesh and innocence, Frankenstein has created the ultimate in evil. A beautiful woman with the soul of the devil!

With a tagline like that, how can you not watch this movie?

The fourth film in Hammer’s Frankenstein series, this is the one where we stop thinking about death as a physical matter and start getting into the question of the soul and what it means.

The movie starts with Hans Werner watching his father executed by the guillotine. Then, we see him as a young man, working as an assistant to Dr. Hertz and Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing, as it always must be). The doctors have learned how to trap the soul before it leaves the body — they must have been watching The Asphyx* — and think that they can transfer it into another body.

They get their chance when Hans is put to death defending the honor of his girlfriend Christina (Susan Denberg, Playboy Playmate of the Month for August 1966) after several rich men abuse her for her deformities and killing her father. After he follows in his father’s footsteps, the doctors are able to extract his soul.

Unable to live without Hans, Christina drowns herself in a river, but the doctors decide to transfer Hans essence into the body of his lover. For months, the two doctors work to heal her physical maladies and make her the perfect woman. The big problem is that she’s haunted by Hans, who she sees as a ghostly apparition, and begins to hunt down the men who killed him and her father.

As the film closes, Christina realizes that she should have never come back to life, so she drowns herself again as Frankenstein somehow learns a lesson and walks away.

Directed by Terrence Fisher, this is the kind of Hammer film that I love, one that moves away from simply being modern versions of classic horror and creating their own commentary on the world through the lens of the fantastic.

*I realize that movie was made five years after this, but the joke was too simple to not use.