SON OF KAIJU DAY MARATHON: Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)

M Space Hunter Nebula is a dying planet whose inhabitants are giant cockroaches who have decided that Earth is the next planet that they will use up and move on to afterward. They take the shape of dead people to create a theme park called World Children’s Land and call upon the monsters King Ghidorah and Gigan to destroy the planet.

Godzilla movies will continually mess your mind up with their outlandish plots and I would not have it any other way.

A manga artist learns about the plan and somehow is able to contact Godzilla, who brings along his former enemy Anguirus to help. The army thinks that the monster just want. to destroy Tokyo, but with the aliens trying to take over, a change of heart has occurred.

The aliens may have a Godzilla Tower with a blue laser in it, but they don’t have atomic breath. The King of Monsters has completed his face turn and despite how boring they can be, humans can finally feel safe.

Toho did their own dub of this movie with one major change. There’s a scene where Godzilla and Anguirus speak to one another and use comic book word balloons. In the U.S. version, they actually speak, with Ted Thomas actually voicing Godzilla, who speaks perfect English. Cinema Shares International Distribution releasing it as Godzilla On Monster Island.

SON OF KAIJU DAY MARATHON: Daigoro vs Goliath (1972)

This collaboration between Tsuburaya Productions — the makers of Ultraman, whose close ties to Toho provided them with directors and costumes — and Toho was released to Japanese theaters on December 17, 1972. It was originally going to be a Godzilla film entitled Godzilla vs. Redmoon, which would have celebrated Tsuburaya Productions’ tenth anniversary and the character that started it all — Godzilla.

The film would have Redmoon — who arrived from the moon — and Erabus — arriving from Habu Island — being guided together by the Japanese Self Defense Forces to attack and eliminate one another, but instead hooking up and giving birth to a new kaiju named Hafun. However, a carny entrepreneur would exploit and ultimately kill the child, leading both creatures to go wild until stopped by Godzilla.

Instead, we got this.

Daigoro became an orphan after the military destroyed his mother and the one soldier who stood up to the order has adopted the kaiju as his own child. In order to pay for his huge food bills, he’s had to start a business all around the monster, so you can see some hints of the canceled film in the final product.

Meanwhile, another kaiju named Goliath has come to Earth and Daigoro decides to prove himself by battling the monster. Since many of the folks in his hometown didn’t trust Daigoro, they had been feeding him an anti-growth drug that makes him too weak to defeat Goliath.

He nearly dies but recovers and trains hard every single day, coming back to save humanity, who strap Goliath on a rocket and send him into space.

Daigoro is made up of parts from Red King, one of Ultraman’s best-known foes and he has a roar that would later be used for Godzilla Jr. in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla. As for Goliath, he was made from the canceled Redmoon costume. He has Astromons’ roar.

While a more child-friendly kaiju movie, it’s still a blast.

You can watch this on YouTube.

REPOST: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: While not fully a Barry Mahon movie, this film — originally watched on December 24, 2017 — has one of two different Barry Mahon films inside it. Read on — this is probably the most insane movie I’ve ever watched and I still think about it all of the time.

This movie was made for children. Let’s keep this in mind as we discuss it.

Sure, it was created by R. Winer to use existing Barry Mahon films — either Thumbelina or Jack and the Beanstalk — and create a framing device of Santa so that it could be released over Christmas. But what emerged was a piece of cinematic horror that can try even the bravest of souls.

In the North Pole, the elves are worried about Santa not being there. Where is he? Oh, stuck in the sand on a beach in Florida, with the reindeer flying away because of the heat. Santa sings a song about his problems, then he falls asleep.

Santa uses telepathy to reach out to children, several of whom are fistfighting. They race to help him, asking him logical questions like, “Why don’t you just get on a plane?” He says he cannot abandon his sleigh, so a pig, a sheep, a donkey, a horse and a gorilla come to help while Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn watch.

This movie is drugs.

Santa tells the kids to not give up, then tells them a story, which would be one of the two stories discussed earlier. Santa then tells the kids to always believe and a girl reveals that her dog, Rebel, can do anything.

Santa gives up — even after the advice he gave the kids — and goes to sleep. But then the kids come back in a fire truck driven by the Ice Cream Bunny, a scene which ruined my already tenuous grip of sanity, leaving me lying on the couch holding my sides while my eyes cried deep tears of laughter.

Yes, Rebel the dog knows the Ice Cream Bunny, who drives Santa to the North Pole, leaving behind the sled, ruining the main conceit that Santa had brought up before, that he would never leave his sled behind. The children wonder what to do and then the sled disappears.

The conflict that has driven this movie was all a lie.

Why did we sit through all of the animals trying to pull the sled?

Why did we have to watch the movie within a movie?

Why were Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in this film?

What the fuck did I just watch?

This movie was probably created as part of the Pirates World amusement park in Dania, Florida, which had already produced the two films within the film. But with Disney World opening in 1973, this little enterprise was doomed. Was the Ice Cream Bunny one of their characters? Because we’re led to believe that he’s well-known, but I’ve never heard of him.

This is a movie that will break you.

You think I’ve covered some insane holiday movies?

I really think this one tops it all.

Did I mention that when the Ice Cream Bunny comes to rescue Santa that he almost runs over Rebel the dog? I mean, this genius dog that was able to summon a magic bunny runs in front of a moving vehicle to drink out of a muddy pool of water, nearly being run down by a fire truck driven by a man in a rabbit suit that surely can’t see him! Look for the jump cut where Rebel is back and moved to safety!

And Pirates World is even crazier when you learn that Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and David Bowie all played the theme park! You can see footage of Iron Butterfly playing the park in the movie Musical Mutiny.

The director Barry Mahon, who created the films for the park, lived an insane life that inspired the film The Great Escape. During World War II, Mahon Mahon escaped Stalag Luft III only to be captured on the Czechoslovakian border. He escaped again, was recaptured again, and was finally saved by Patton’s 3rd Army in 1945.

So what did he do when he got back to the USA? He became Errol Flynn’s personal pilot and manager. His directorial credits alternate between children’s fare, like Santa’s Christmas Elf Named Calvin and The Wonderful Land of Oz, and nudie cuties like Fanny Hill Meets Dr. EroticoThe Diary of Knockers McCalla and The Beast That Killed Women. He also directed 1961’s Red Scare shocker Rocket Attack U.S.A.

No one is really sure who R. Winer is, but some think he was Richard Winer, a cinematographer and director whose entire IMDB page is devoted to films he either created or appeared in that were all about the Bermuda Triangle and UFOs. Of course.

This is the kind of film David Lynch dreams that he could make. Alejandro Jodorowsky lives in abject terror of its unholy power. You should have to wear some kind of protective brain plate when you watch this.

I can’t keep this to myself. If you want to subject yourself to the assault that is this film, here it is. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

You can also watch this on Amazon Prime.

Blood Freak (1972)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a ghostwriter of personal memoirs for Story Terrace London and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn

In 2004, I stumbled across a copy of Blood Freak released as a special edition on the Something Weird Video label. I knew nothing about the film before I watched it. 90 minutes later, as the credits rolled, I held up the packaging to the heavens and proclaimed, “Every film I ever watch from this moment forward will be compared to Blood Freak.” Is it good? That depends on your point of view. Do I love it? Absolutely. It is, in this writer’s humble opinion, the best “worst” movie ever made. Not because it’s slow or boring. But because it’s a film that defies all logic. Made equal parts enthusiasm and technical ineptitude in Florida by nudist director Brad F. Grinter on a $25,000 budget, and star Steve Hawkes, it’s positively dripping with WTF moments. Blood Freak exists in a genre all its own somewhere in the center of a “Cult Movie” Venn Diagram featuring Sting of Death, Blood Feast, Reefer Madness, and the collective Christian works of Kirk Cameron.

The plot involves a biker named Herschell (in a nod to fellow Florida filmmaker H.G. Lewis) played by the box-bodied, pompadoured Hawkes himself. Herschell has just finished his service in Vietnam and needs to figure out the rest of his life. After assisting a girl on the Florida turnpike named Angel with her car trouble, she invites him home. There, we find Angel’s polar-opposite younger sister Ann toking up and sniffing poppers with her friends. Ann likes Herschell, who rejects her for an evening at Bible study with Angel and her elderly friend who just happens to need “a husky guy” to help out on his poultry farm. To mellow him out, Ann gives Herschell a laced joint by the pool, causing him to become addicted after one dose. The two quickly fall in stoner love.

Herschell gets a job at the old man’s turkey farm (where the sounds of real turkeys are augmented by human voices gobbling and whistling on the soundtrack) and agrees to eat some experimental samples injected with chemicals. The combination of the spiked weed and the spiked turkey causes him to pass out. He awakens a while later to discover he has transformed into a giant turkey monster. Well, more like a guy with a papier-mâché turkey head and feather scarf, but you get the idea. He’s a mutant game bird dependent on the blood of drug addicts. When he’s not out killing junkies and drinking their blood with his toothy beak, he goes home to Ann and gobbles softly to her about his plight. In response she ponders, “Gosh, Herschell, you sure are ugly. I love you. But if we stay together, what will the children look like?” Then they make sweet, sweet turkey love.

If it sounds insane, it is. It is the only film I’ve ever seen where the director periodically interrupts the proceedings to explain what the hell is going on. It doesn’t help but it sure is entertaining to watch Grinter glance down at his script every few seconds.

Fortunately, Herschell wakes up to discover the entire episode was all a hallucination. It turns out our hero was already addicted to pain killers from injuries sustained in Vietnam. Angel, Ann and the poultry farmer get him the help he needs and he and Ann walk off happily ever after.

Just prior to the conclusion, director Brad Grinter pays his audience one last visit to warn us of the dangers of chemicals in our food. All while chain-smoking and coughing. The message couldn’t be clearer. Grinter knows he’s a hypocrite. It’s an apt description given that he taught filmmaking at the same time he made a literal turkey of a movie comprising underlit, out-of-focus shots. Me? I love turkey. I searched for many years to find a gem worthy of the “Best of the Worst” title. Blood Freak is the reigning Gobbler.

Trivia: Blood Freak is filled with a lot of big cat imagery. Actor Steve Hawkes was rescued by a lion from a fire while shooting a Tarzan film in Europe. He spent the rest of his life rescuing big cats. Steve was the original Tiger King. 

To find out more about his life, which is worthy of a film on its own, click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Sipek

Gorehouse Greats: Stanley (1972)

Welcome to Mill Creek Month! As you know, we love those Mill Creek sets, so we’re doing an entire month of these films. The first set we got into was B-Movie Blast, which has — as is par for the course with these bricks of films — a crazy gaggle of films. We originally reviewed this movie on November 23, 2020, as part of our William Gréfe week, then again on February 1, 2020, for the B-Movie Blast set.

Well, it’s back again — with a new, second take — as it’s also part of Mill Creek’s Gorehouse Greats 12-Pack.

Does it deserve two takes? Nope. But we are celluloid masochists. And this movie supports animal abuse to get a movie made. You’ve been warned.

If you wanted to know what writer, director, and star Christopher Robinson did before his vanity run for box office gold with The Intruder (1975), welcome to the pre-Jaws when-animals-attack mayhem that is Stanley. Did you see Rattlers in 1976? Okay, so this is the first snake movie. (No, not the Scorpio killer from Dirty Harry (1971), that’s Andrew Robinson; not related.)

Robinson is Tim Ochopee, an f-up Seminole war vet back from Vietnam who wants to just be left alone with his best friend, the snake Stanley, in Everglades seclusion. Not if Richard Thomkins (Alex Rocco; who excels at character actor dickdom), an expert tanner (a maker of leather goods) who is “mobbed up” and kills Tim’s pop.

Remember Willard (1971). Yeah, it’s like that. Only with a pet snake instead of a rat.

Yep. William Grefe seen the box office gold of Willard and decided the world needed a guy with an ESP link to his pet snakes — led by Stanley the snake instead of Ben and Socrates. But it’s a Grefe flick: Sandra Locke didn’t bite the head off a rat and let the blood run down her fleshy breasts. But a stripper dancing on stage does that with a snake, here. And Bruce Davison didn’t kidnap his lady love: Tim kidnaps Rocco’s daughter Susie to to that end.

While this movie piles on the violence, the horrors the snakes endured was worse. So much for a Florida regional horror shot-on-the-fly in the Everglades outside of the eyes of Hollywood execs and PETA. Grefe had snakes defanged. He had the mouths sewn shot on others. When you hear this — even though it is snakes, still — you end up hating Grefe and never watch another one of his films. Ever. Again. Which is why I am not a rabid a Grefe fan as others are. It gets worse: Grefe had Stanley, the lead snake, killed. Then made it into a wallet.

Fuck you, Grefe. You deserved to have a bottom-of-the-barrel career of shit movies than never rose out of Z-moviedom. I can’t believe you got a box set retrospective. Animal killer.

There was talk of a sequel, Stanley in Miami. It never happened, thank god, as the lives of snakes were saved. Sorry, you just don’t mistreat and kill animals for the sake of a friggin’ movie. And a sucky-ass one at that. I can’t recommend this. Find your own freebie streaming links or online store DVDs and Blus.

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

E Poi Lo Chiamarono il Magnifico (1972)

Man of the East is a vehicle for Terence Hill, directed by Enzo Barboni and written by E.B. Clucher*. Barboni had tremendous success parodying the Italian western genre, starting with They Call Me Trinity and then following that with the even bigger Trinity Is STILL My Name!

These movies follow a pretty simple formula of Hill and Bud Spencer as a comedy duo. Every once in a while, they’d make solo films, which this one being a good example.

It’s really close to the story “The Tenderfoot” from the Lucky Luke comic. Hill would go on to direct and star in an adaption of the overall comic, so this may be no accident.

Sir Thomas Fitzpatrick Phillip Moore (Hill) has come from England at the request of his father, who had to leave the country behind after an affair got him in trouble. His father wants him to see the country he had come to love, which brings our hero into the orbit of his dad’s associates, stagecoach robbers Monkey Smith (Dominic Barto, Jungle Warriors), Holy Joe (Harry Carey Jr., a John Ford company actor) and Bull Smith (Gregory Walcott, Plan 9 from Outer Space).

Thomas’ father — known as the Englishman — wants his hapless gang to turn his son into a man, as his head is in the clouds. He’d rather ride a bike than a horse and refuses to skip baths. However, he’s great with the ladies, as he quickly woos Candida Olsen (Yanti Somer, Star Odyssey) with his knowledge of Lord Byron.

This puts him into conflict with her rich father Frank (Enzo Fiermonte, War of the Planets), who doesn’t think he’s good enough for her, and Morton Clayton (Riccardo Pizzuti, the creature in Lady Frankenstein), one of their ranch hands who has his eyes set on Candida.

The gang teaches Thomas how to fight, shoot and spit tobacco, which he takes to quite well and ends up winning the day. That’s to be expected. What isn’t is the sadness underpinning this movie, which sees the gang facing the progress of technology and realizing that soon, the west that they know will no longer exist.

Another odd thing to watch out for is the opening credits and subsequent transition shots are B-roll from Support Your Local Gunfighter.

You can get this from Kino Lorber on a new blu ray, which looks gorgeous. Here’s to them releasing more little known Italian westerns!

*E.B. Clucher is…Enzo Barboni. Just look at the initials.

REPOST: Stanley (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to Mill Creek Month! As you know, we love those Mill Creek sets, so we’re doing an entire month of these films. The first set we’re getting into is B-Movie Blast, which has — as is par for the course with these bricks of films — a real mashup of movie mayhem. We originally reviewed this movie on November 23, 2020 as part of our William Gréfe week.

Tim Ochopee (Chris Robinson, who would write, direct and star in 1975’s The Intruder) is a war damaged Seminole just back from Vietnam that wants to live out the rest of his life in the Everglades with his snake Stanley. He didn’t count on Richard Thomkins (Alex Rocco), a maker of leather goods with mob ties, killing his father. Now, all the snakes that Tim has lived with will be the death of everyone who has done him wrong.

Only Grefe could take a ripoff of Willard and somehow make it more disturbing than you’d expect. Yes, this is a movie packed with snakes doing all manner of damage to people and people doing just as horrible things to them, including an exotic dancer playing a geek and biting the head off one on stage as she dances seductively with blood all over her bare chest.

Of course, Tim has to kill everyone in the way and kidnap Thomkin’s daughter Susie (Susan Caroll), but any hope of true love kind of goes the way that you’d expect in a Florida regional horror film that doesn’t stop with just stealing from one film and moves into being a reptile-obsessed Billy Jack.

That said — for a movie so much about protecting snakes, the actual snakes in this movie were defanged and some had their mouths sewn shut. There’s enough human on snake violence in this that you’d expect that it was made in Italy. Grefe still owns the wallet that they made out of the skin of the main snake that played Stanley, which is pretty weird when you dwell on it as much as I have.

Gary Crutcher wanted to do a sequel called Stanley in Miami, but it didn’t happen. He wrote this on two days under the influence of amphetamines, which is the most Florida thing you can say about a movie that is the most Sunshine State movie I’ve seen.

Las Momias de Guanajuato (1972)

The Mummies of Guanajuato are real and are the naturally mummified remains of a number of people who died from cholera in 1833.  They were disinterred between 1870 and 1958 as relatives of these people could not afford the yearly tax for their burial and the bodies were mixed to a nearby building. For some reason, the climate of Guanajuato oftebn leads to a type of natural mummification, which led to these bodies — 59 or so are still on display — being shown in El Museo de las Momias (The Museum of the Mummies).

In 1970, El Santo battled these mummies, returned from the dead, in Santo contra Las Momias de Guanajuato and would return one year later to battle the trio of Superzan, Tinieblas and Blue Angel in El Castillo de Las Momias de Guanajuato.

Here and now, this movie seems to be a vehicle for Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras, who have so often played second banana to El Santo. The team is in town to defend their tag belts — and for Mil to see his girlfriend Lina (Elsa Cárdenas, who was also in Madame Death) — when one of the mummies named Satan (played by Tinieblas!) awakens from his sleep and remembers that a hundred years ago, the ancestor of El Santo defeated him for his title and put him and these mummies to sleep. Right off the bat, we learn that the Santo we’ve known all along is a legacy hero like The Phantom!

The bad guys go wild while Blue Demon pish poshes the notion that Santo is needed. Soon, he’s kidnapped and an imposter Blue Demon is ruining his good name. That’s when the man in the silver mask gets the call, showing up in his sportscar and telling Mil, “Hey, I think I have a flamethrower or three in my glovebox.” Yes, after ten minutes of Blue Demon and Mil armdragging and chopping mummies, Santo just happens to have the solution.

What follows is astounding: a miniature flamethrower being shot repeatedly at live actors. If you watch that scene and don’t love this movie with all your heart, I have no idea why you’re on our site.

Director Federico Curiel made the Nostradamus vampire movies and plenty of luchador films, so he knows exactly what you want out of this movie. No fluff, no filler, just luchador on monster action. Viva El Enmascarado De Plata! Viva Leyenda de Azul ! Viva Mil Mascaras!

You can download this from the Internet Archive.

Abuso di Potere (1972)

Translated as Abuse of Power and released internationally under the vastly improved title Shadows Unseen, this movie has an awesome poster and a great title that both say giallo, but the movie says poliziotteschi.

It all starts with a journalist who forks over a ton of cash for a ring, then leaves a bar with a mysterious woman before getting jumped and eventually shot. The cops assign Commissioner Luca Miceli (Frederick Stafford, Special KillersWerewolf Woman and, if he hadn’t been tied up making the movie Topaz, perhaps a James Bond) to solve the mystery.

Marilù Tolo plays Simona, who falls for Luca and gets caught between him and the underworld. She was also in Django Kill, Bava’s Roy Colt and Winchester Jack and My Dear Killer. Spoilers — her death is really upsetting, even for the man who orders it.

Everything from that moment on is as tense as it gets, with a car chase that’s absolutely white hot in its intensity. The downer ending is totally expected as well, as I don’t think any film ended happily in 1972.

Director Camillo Bazzoni didn’t make many movies (the last Steve Reeves movie I Live for Your Death, the Aldo Ray war movie Suicide Commandos and Those Who Kill are a few others), but this is filled with enough twists and turns to make it interesting. The slight giallo elements help get it there, as does the score by Riz Ortolani.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Il Sorriso Della Iena (1972)

Smile Before Death* was a revelation to me. I came in expecting nothing and was rewarded with a film that has multiple antagonists and a continually twisting close, a near race to the finish to see who will end up on top.

Marco (Silvano Tranquilli, Black Belly of the TarantulaSo Sweet, So Dead) and Dorothy are trapped in an open marriage that feels incredibly confining. To make things worse, her best friend Gianna (Rosalba Neri, Lady FrankensteinThe French Sex Murders) is his mistress.

Is it any surprise that Dorothy gets killed and it looks like a suicide and that Marco did it? Soon, he’s in charge of her estate until her daughter Nancy (Jenny Tamburi**, The PsychicThe Suspicious Death of a Minor) turns twenty. So Marco retires and lives a life of leisure with his mistress until Nancy returns home.

That’s when everyone starts playing each other, with Gianna trying to get Marco to kill his stepdaughter, Nancy seducing him and — spoiler warning — Gianna falling for her as well.

Silvio Amadio only made one other giallo and that would be Amuck! Much like that film, this one also proves that Silvio was perhaps more interested in filming gorgeous women misbehaving as he was showing the kills when it came to giallo. No matter. This movie has plenty of plot to go around and I was genuinely surprised by the conclusion of this caper.

Roberto Predagio’s theme song — with plenty of scat singing by Edda Dell’Orso — will be burned into your mind by the end of this.

I’d be shocked if this didn’t end up on Forgotten Gialli Volume 3.

*The translation for the Italian title is The Smile of the Hyena. I have no idea what that means in relation to the film’s story and blame the animal-themed demand for post-The Bird with the Crystal Plumage giallo titles.

**Tamburi won the femme fatale role of Graziella in La Seduzione because Ornella Muti, the original actress, was considered too attractive.

You can watch this on YouTube.