SAVAGE CINEMA: The Pink Angels (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This movie originally ran on our site during our Biker Week event on July 24, 2018. It has perhaps one of my favorite trailers of all time. And seeing how it ended up on the Mill Creek Savage Cinema set, let’s take another look at it. 

I have no idea who this movie is for. I would imagine that gay folks would either find it camp or be offended by its horrible stereotypes. Then, I think that bikers would also be upset by the fact that it sends up their culture and points out the homoeroticism at its core. And then, I think that anyone looking for a comedy will be put off by the ending. Even worse, anyone who loves good filmmaking will wonder why they’ve suffered through the endless takes and torturous plot.

But fuck, that’s a great trailer. It has everything good about this movie, including some quotable lines. That’s what a great grindhouse or drive-in trailer is all about: action, baby!

Director Larry G. Brown only created two other films: An Eye from an Eye, a 1973 movie where a children’s television show host stalks and murders abusive parents, and 1986’s Silent but Deadly, which has a poster of a dog farting.

Producer Gary Razdat even posted this on IMDB about the film: “In the genre of cinema verite, I thought that the film was a pure attempt to make a movie and see if it could get distributed…I know that for sure as I am the one that produced the movie. It started out with the best of intentions and the money came and went…the best part was that we actually got it distributed and on the film circuit…The characters were picked from the USC school of film as were a couple of the women, one of which was an actual ‘hooker’ that just wanted to be in the film. It was a real effort to complete the film since the director was insane and had forgotten to film an ending – which we had to re-shoot after everything was wrapped…quite a story, eh?”

Hey — is that Michael Pataki and Dan Haggarty as bikers? Yep. Sure is. They’re straight bikers who the Pink Angels ply with prostitutes. Yet when they wake up, they’ve been made up with hair accessories and makeup by our heroes. Oh, you guys. This scene probably only exists so we can get some female nudity and moviegoers could feel a bit more manly after seeing so much man lust. It’s also when one of the better scenes happens, as the future Grizzly Adams jumps on the black prostitute, who proclaims, “Black is not only beautiful, it’s good.”

There’s also a general who is trying to capture the Pink Angels for some reason. And he gets them in the end, as the film jump cuts to an ending with our heroes, the folks we laughed, love and fought with for over 80 minutes or so lynched in the front yard. I guess after Easy Rider every biker movie had to end on a downer note. That said, this is a real downer.

My advice? Just watch the trailer. You’ll be better off.

The Twilight People (1972)

Turns out The Island of Dr. Moreau is the next one over from Blood Island. This Filipino-lensed production was directed by the always dependable Eddie Romero and stars the equally trustworthy John Ashley. It’s everything you want it to be — trashy, goofy, transcendent.

Matt Farrell (Ashley) is kidnapped by Neva Gordon (Pat Woodell, The Roommates) and Steinman and taken to an island where her father Dr. Gordon is making a super race of animals and humans. He wants Farrell to be his next hybrid, but his daughter falls for him and they decide to let all the animal people — including Pam Grier as Ayesa the Panther Woman and a truly insane looking bat person named Darmo — escape.

Didn’t Eddie Romero already make this movie and call it Terror Is A Man? Ah, quit being a know-it-all and just enjoy.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

Repost: One Minute Before Death (1972)

Author’s Note: This review of Rogelio A. Gonzàlez’s Mexican-shot Poe-adapted horror originally ran as part of our “Pure Terror Month” (recap) of reviews on November 19, 2019, for Mill Creek’s Pure Terror box set. We’re reposting it for “Mexican Horror (two) Week.”

Leading lady Wanda Hendrix, a contract player in the ‘40s and ‘50s with Warner Bros. and Paramount, is best known to film historians for her marriage to WWII war hero-turned-actor Audie Murphy. The storybook marriage—on which the ‘50s gossip sheets thrived—was over in seven months; the controversy surrounding the marriage—Audie’s wartime PDST issues caused outbreaks of marital violence—instigated irreparable harm to Hendrix’s career from which she never recovered.

As did ‘40s starlet Veronica Lake, Hendrix made guest appearance on television series during the ‘60s, and then moved into horror films. While Lake made her final bow with Flesh Feast (1970) and Joan Crawford appeared in Trog (1970), Hendrix closed out her career at the age of 44 with this Gothic, Civil War tale originally released as The Oval Portrait.

Based on the Edgar Allen Poe short-story, this minor “old dark house” flick concerns a woman, Lisa Buckingham (Hendrix), who attends the reading of a will at her uncle’s home. She soon becomes “possessed” by the soul her cousin Rebecca, depicted—and trapped—inside an oil portrait.

While it meanders with a slowly unfolding plot awash in muddy cinematography (Are the prints bad or was the director attempting to achieve an “atmosphere”?), this Mexican shot and directed tale by Rogelio A. Gonzàlez has a José Mojica Marins-influence crossed with Mario Bava-styled horrors (Bava’s Lisa and the Devil comes to mind with its aristocrats dealing with the supernatural and necrophilia) as Lisa’s newfound behaviors—such as finding and wearing Rebecca’s old clothes—cause her cousin, Rebecca’s widow, Joseph, to go off the deep end and dig up Rebecca’s crumbly corpse for a little ballroom dance n’ romance.

Is Rebecca back from the dead for revenge? Is Lisa caught in a Let’s Scare Jessica to Death-inspired drive-her-crazy-for-the-money plot? Is the creepy, Paul Naschy-esque red-herring housekeeper giving Joseph the ol’ Henry James screw turn?

Released in the wake George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead—when horror was “hot” again—Wanda Hendrix was hoping for a big horror hit to revitalize her career. It wasn’t meant to be: three times divorced and childless, she died of double pneumonia at the age of 52 in 1981.

The film’s beautiful score is by Les Baxter, who also scored The Dunwich Horror, Cry of the Banshee, Frogs, and the Quentin Tarantino favorite, Switchblade Sisters.

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

Night of 1000 Cats (1972)

La Noche de Los Mil Gatos — known as Blood Feast, despite there being an entirely different movie with that same title — comes from Rene Cardona Jr., who past films have already proven to me must be some kind of maniac. I mean, the dude threw cats at his actors and filmed scenes where cats are launched into the air with no cutting away. He did much worse to birds and other actors in later films, which makes him, well, a movie director.

Luckily, he has Hugo Stiglitz (Nightmare CityBermuda Triangle) in this to play, well, Hugo. And what does Hugo do? Oh, just chase down gorgeous women with his helicopter, pick them up with his sexual charisma and then take him back to his castle where he and Dorgo kill them in increasingly disgusting ways before feeding. them to the cats — rumor there are a thousand of them — that live in a pit. He also keeps the women’s heads like pickled punks in a jar.

Finally, he picks the wrong girl — Cathy (Anjanette Comer, who we all know was in The Baby and that makes anything she does perfect and good and wonderful) — who tears a hole in the fence and lets the cats savor a Hugo smorgasbord. Such is life, where it is cheap!

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

REPOST: Night of the Bloody Apes (1972)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This week, we’re studying up on Mexican horror. That means that we’re also bringing back some of our favorite of la peliculas to share all over again one more time. This movie originally ran on January 1, 2020. 

Oh René Cardona. Here you are remaking the lucha libre movie you did back in 1962, Las Luchadoras Contra el Medico Asesino, or The Wrestling Women vs. the Killer Doctor or Doctor of Doom, as it was called in the U.S.

While this was made in 1969 as La Horripilante Bestia Humana, or The Horrible Man-Beast, this one didn’t play in the U.S. until 1972. With alternate titles like Horror y Sexo and Gomar – The Human Gorilla, this is a fine blend of ladies wrestling with apes and, well, human heart surgery footage.

Rene is also known for his films Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy, the incredibly baffling Santa Claus and Survive!, a movie all about plane crashes and cannibalism.

Female masked wrestler Lucy dresses like the devil and wrestles at the arena — dare we say Arena Mexico? — every Friday, where she often knocks out other girls who dress like cat girls. She wants to retire for a life of leisure — and less stress — with her cop boyfriend.

However, Dr. Krellman (Jose Elias Moreno, who was Santa Claus in the aforementioned film where he battles Patch the demon) wants to cure his son from leukemia. So he does what doctors have always said would work — he puts him a gorilla heart inside his boy. As we all know from health class, this turns his son into a deformed and murderous man-ape with the craziness of the organ donor to boot.

You won’t be bored, what with the nudity, real open heart surgery and rampant murders. A monkey man that rips off dudes’ faces and the clothes of girls? Si, muchacho.

This made the Section 1 video nasties list, probably because its VHS cover art was had a bloody surgeon’s hands holding a scalpel with the words “Warning: this film contains scenes of extreme and explicit violence.”

You can watch this for free on Tubi.

The French Sex Murders (1972)

Casa d’appuntamento (The House of Rendezvous) was known as this title and as The Bogey Man and the French Murder due to it starring professional Humphrey Bogart impersonator Robert Sacchi.

After a week of giallo where I feel like I kept writing, “Why is this movie so boring and listless,” here comes this film to save me. Rosabeli Neri (Lady Frankenstein), Anita Eckberg (Screaming Mimi) and Barbara Bouchet (Don’t Torture A Duckling) all in the same film? What did I do to deserve this, giallo gods?

After Antoine is blamed for killing one of Madame Collette’s (Eckberg) high class call girls named Francine (Bouchet), he is sentenced to die via the guillotine. He swears that he will have his revenge and escapes, but a motorcycle accident takes his head clean off anyway.

Then a professor steals his head for an experiment before getting killed. Now the ladies of the night are getting killed one by one…and it just may be a headless man taking them out.

This was directed by Ferdinando Merighi, who was the AD on In the Folds of the Flesh. He used the name F. L. Morris here. Who edited this? Oh, just Bruno Mattei. It’s also the film debut of Evelyne Kraft, who would go on to star in The Mighty Peking Man and Lady Dracula.

Producer Dick Randall wrote this movie and he certainly made his share of cheap, trashy and totally wonderful films, including The Girl In Room 2ASlaughter High, Mario Bava’s sex comedy Four Times That Night and The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield. The sleazy American writer in this movie shares his name, which was no accident.

I realize this isn’t a great film. But it’s certainly not boring, what with hooded figures running around a brothel, decapitations and falls off important French landmarks. As Italian Bogie would say, ” Ti sto guardando, ragazzo.”

Knife of Ice (1972)

Inspired by the Poe quote about a “knife of ice which penetrates the senses down to the depth of conscience,” Lenzi and Carroll Baker would team one more time for the story of Martha Caldwell, who watched her parents die in a train accident at the tender age of thirteen. Now an adult, she’s still mute from the shock of what she had seen. Even worse, there’s a black gloved Satanic killer stalking the countryside and she seems like the next most likely victim.

Jenny Ascot (Ida Galli, The Psychic) is a famous singer in town to see her cousin Martha. However, hours after the killer stalks the two of them, she’s dispatched. Yet every time the police arrest someone, the murders continue.

You have to love a giallo that has a Manson influenced killer, much less one played by George Rigaud (A Lizard in a Woman’s SkinThe Case of the Bloody IrisAll the Colors of the Dark).

This is a classy giallo compared to much of the sheer lunacy that I watch. But don’t judge it for it’s lack of sleaze. It’s a well-told film crafted by an expert at this type of movie.

You can get this as part of Severin’s The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection.

The Astronaut (1972)

As the credits roll, you’ll notice this production is headed by Harve Bennett and produced by Universal Television for the ABC-TV television network, which aired this as their “Movie of the Week” on January 8, 1972.

Of course, we all know the connection between Universal Studios and ABC-TV with 1978’s Battlestar Galactica*. But you’ll also notice several familiar names from Bennett’s next production: The Six Million Dollar Man, which aired as a 1973 TV movie, then as a 1973 to 1978 series on ABC. (And near the end of both series, Bennett gave us the coolest do-it-yourself astronaut with Harry Broderick in another great TV movie (and ill-fated series), Salvage 1.

The lead in The Astronaut, Monte Markham, portrayed the Seven Million Dollar Man (as Barney Miller/Hiller in “The Seven Millon Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Criminal” episodes). Of course, we remember his co-star, Richard Anderson, as Oscar Goldman in the series. You’ll also recognized several familiar TV and film support players, such as Susan Clark (Colossus: The Forbin Project; ’80s TV Webster), Jackie Cooper (the original Perry White in 1978’s Superman), and Robert Lansing who, ironically, starred as General McAllister the 1989 TV movie, Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman — but we remember him for the trash classics of 1977’s Scalpel and Empire of the Ants, 1980’s S*H*E and Island Claws, and 1988’s The Nest. (How is it that I watched all of those Lansing movies? I don’t know if that makes me cool, or just very sad). Keener eyes will pick up on ubiquitous TV actor John Lupton (Airport 1975), along with the he’s-everywhere James B. Sikking (TV’s Hill Street Blues, Outland, the ’80s Star Trek movies) as one of the ill-fated Mars astronauts.

The Astronaut was the film, well, teleplay, writing debut for TV scribes Charlie Kuenstle (who went on to write Airport ’77), Gerald Di Pego (who wrote the 1974 pseudo-giallo W, the beloved 1974 Linda Blair TV romp Born Innocent, and a couple The Incredible Hulk TV movies), and Robert Biheller, who continued with his prolific TV acting career (but also worked as a staff writer on TV’s CHiP’s and Charlie’s Angels). Robert Michael Lewis wrote a slew of TV movies throughout the ’70s and ’80s, most notably: 1974’s highly-rate Prey for the Wildcats (yep, with Andy Griffith from Salvage 1) and The Day the Earth Moved (with Jackie Cooper). (Remember that, at the time, Watergate was the crime of the decade, and you’ll see that conspiracy-cover up concept the frames of the teleplay.)

Monte Markham is Col. Brice Randolph, the first man on Mars (in an Apollo rocket and LEM, just like the later Capricorn One from 1978). As Randolph sets foot on the surface and begins to explore, the TV coverage is abruptly cut off. Officially, the story is that it was a slight communications glitch and the crew is heading home. Unofficially, Mission Control officer Jackie Cooper and a few top-ranking officials (Richard Anderson) know the truth: Randolph died on the surface due to a bacterial infection.

If the news of his death gets out: goodbye space program. So, instead of faking the mission or killing off the astronauts in a cover up (as in Capricorn One), NASA recruits a fellow officer, Eddie Reese, and — with a little surgery and a switcheroo at the splashdown site — passes him off as Randolph. But the plan begins to fall apart when Randolph’s wife (Susan Clarke) starts to realize something’s not quite right about her “husband.” And when the Russians announce they’re going to Mars, will the U.S. warn them of the dangers of the Red Planet?

(And if this all sounds a bit like the 1999 did-anybody-actually-see-it Johnny Depp box office bomb, The Astronaut’s Wife, it probably is.)

Markham went back to the moon — alongside Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, Re-Animator) in the 2016 English-language Serbian-Korean-Slovenia co-production The Rift: The Dark Side of the Moon (not to be confused with the underwater Alien ripoff, The Rift, or the better, other Alien ripoff, The Dark Side of the Moon). The plot concerns a sleeper CIA agent in Belgrade dispatched as part of a multi-national team to secure the remains of a crashed satellite in Eastern Serbia. The team comes to discover the satellite has vanished and they work to discover the truth behind the crash and their ill-fated mission. As you can see by the trailer, the production values and acting are of a high quality. (I liked this one, but opinions vary — to the side of “suck,” so you know how that goes.)

The VHS and (grey market) DVDs for The Astronaut are out there, if you want a hard copy for your sci-fi collection, but you can watch an okay taped-from-TV VHS rip of The Astronaut for free on You Tube. You can also watch The Rift: The Darkside of the Moon as a PPV on You Tube and Vudu.

And by the way: We reviewed a pretty cool German variant of the Capricorn One concept with 1977’s Operation Ganymed. Put all three together for a night of viewing.

* Be sure to check our our two-part, month-long Star Wars ripoffs and galactic droppings blowout “Exploring: Before and After Star Wars.”

There are more TV movies to be had with our “Week of Made for TV Movies,” “Lost TV Week,” “Son of Made for TV Movie Week” and “Grandson of Made for TV Movie Week” tribute spotlights to those films that, in many cases, are even better than the movies that played in theatres.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

The People (1972)

Based on pre-feminist science fiction writer Zenna Henderson’s story Pottage, as well as some of her other pieces like Ararat, Gilead and Captivity, this movie stars two of the top stars of made for TV movies: William Shatner (The Horror at 37,000 FeetGo Ask Alice) and Kim Darby (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark). This movie also draws on the love Trekkies had for Shatner and Darby together after “Miri,” an episode of the original series.

He’s there to be a doctor and she a teacher for a commune of Amish-like people who — surprise, it’s 1972 and Erich Von Daniken is everywhere — are space aliens whose origins sound suspiciously like Battlestar Galactica years before that became a movie and TV show.

Diane Varsi from Wild In the Streets, Laurie Walters from Warlock Moon and Dan O’Herlihy — Conal Cochran, Andrew Packard, The Old Man and Grig! — are all in this.

This was the directoral debut of John Korty, who also would make Go Ask Alice, and was produced by Francis Ford Coppola.

There’s a rumor that this was a pilot for a series that never got picked up. What’s an even bigger shame is that there’s never been an official release of this film. I sound like a broken record, hoping that old made for TV movies that I only I care about will someday come out on blu ray.

You can watch this on YouTube:

Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972)

Following What’s the Matter with Helen?, Curtis Harrington directed this psycho-biddy film where Mrs. Rosie Forrest, the Aunty Roo of the title, is known by the children of a local orphanage as a kindly old lady who throws a huge Christmas party every single year for them. The truth is that she’s obsessed with her dead daughter Katharine, whose mummified body lies in state in her attic so Aunty Roo can sing lullabies to her every night.

Mark Lester and Chloe Franks from The House That Dripped Blood play Christopher and Katy Coombs. two orphans who find themselves in Roo’s clutches. She thinks that Katy might be her daughter and things just get weirder and more like Hansel and Gretel from there on.

Ralph Richardson is in this as Mr. Benton, a fake psychic trying to help Aunty Roo connect to the spirit of her long-departed daughter.

The early 70’s are filled with what I call enjoyable junk. This would be one of those films, with Winters practically devouring the scenery. It makes a great double bill with the aforementioned What’s the Matter with Helen?, which is the superior of the two films.