Zindy the Swamp Boy (1973)

The entire Cardona movie must have come together on this one, because Sr. directed it (you may have seen his movies Night of the Bloody ApesSanta Claus and Las Mujeres Panteras — at least I hope you have!), Jr. wrote it (you totally should see his movies TintoreraGuyana: Cult of the Damned and The Bermuda Triangle) and III stars in it as Zindy. Our young friend would go on to make Vacaciones de Terror and show up in Cemetery of Terror, ensuring that his family’s history of bizarre movies would continue into the 21st century.

Sr. also plays Abuelo, a fugitive* who lives in the swamp with his grandson Zindy, who has a chimp named Toribio. He’s played by Chucho-Chucho, who was a trained animal who still lives in a zoo. You can also see him in The Holy MountainLas Tarántulas and Chanoc contra El Tigre y El Vampiro.

If you’re tuning in for a feel-good family film, let me warn you. Grandpa drowns — in quicksand no less, a fate I was sure I’d have to deal with in my youth — and Zindy gets mauled to death by a puma. This being a Cardonna film, I am shocked that there isn’t use of heart surgery footage.

*He killed the people who killed Zindy’s parents, in case you wonder why.

You can watch the Rifftrax version of this movie on Tubi.

KAIJU DAY MARATHON: Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

What I loved about the cherished Godzilla movies of the youth: Since I was old enough — and Mom and Dad had no interest — I could be dropped off at the theater and be my own man. That’s a pretty big deal . . . and back then, you could drop a kid off at the theater with no worries. So, there I was, in the summer of 1976 at the local twin cinema, getting my dose of not only Godzilla — but the introduction of the Ultra Man-esque Jet Jaguar. At the time, I was all about Ultra Man, which you could watch on Saturday mornings and watch during the weekdays after school in U.S. syndication.

Can you imagine being a kid and creating a character for a Godzilla film: Toho held a contest for children in mid-to-late 1972. An elementary student submitted a drawing of a mecha-robot called Red Arone, which Toho developed into Jet Jaguar. Awesome.

The 13th film in the franchise, the film also features the battle royale of ol’ Zilla with Megalon and Gigan as, once again, man suffers the err of their nuclear ways when a South Pacific underground nuclear test sends shockwaves across Monster Island that plummets Rodan and Anguirus into the depths of the Earth.

Just as the undersea kingdom of Seatopia call up their civilization’s beetle god, Megalon, to destroy mankind to stop the testing, the Japanese Self Defense Force has completed testing on the humanoid robot, Jet Jaguar.

Then all Kaiju breaks loose.

Megalon is no match for Jet Jaguar and Godzilla, so the Seatopians put out a distress call to their allies in the Space Hunter Nebula M (from 1972’s Godzilla vs. Gigan, which played in the U.S. in 1977 after Godzilla vs. Megalon) to bring in Gigan for the assist. Now, while Godzilla is off fighting Megalon, Jet Jaguar is left to contend with Gigan — and the match evens up as Jet Jaguar develops his own powers and can now enlarge himself to Kaiju size.

No, Godzilla nor Megalon — as did not King Kong in 1976 — ended up on top of the World Trade Center — at least not like in the theatrical one-sheets. You think I would know better after being bamboozled by the theatrical one-sheets for Yog – Monster from Space (1971) — with a giant space octopus clutching the Earth in its tentacles.

Live and learn, you hoped-up-on-Pixie Sticks-and-Mr. Pibb brat.

The more things change, the more things stay the same/image from our review of The Asylum’s Shark Encounters of the Third Kind.

Hey, wait! Do you need a little more Godzilla in your Kong?

Then check out our “Kaiju Week” reviews from last March 2020 for Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) and Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), which also ran as a two-fer review from our January 2020 “Ape Week” blow out to celebrate Disney green-lighting their entry in the Planet of the Apes saga.

And that’s why were are here today: To celebrate the release of Godzilla vs. Kong — finally — in theaters on March 25, 2020.

Screw you, COVID!

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.

Here’s some of the other Kaijus (and sort of Kaiju) that we’ve reviewed. For the rest that we’ve recently reviewed to commemorate the March 2021 release of Godzilla vs. Kong, enter “Kaiju Day Marathon” in our search box to the left to populate that list of films (you may see a few reposted Godzilla reviews, but many new film reviews concerning Godzilla, Kong, and other creatures from the Lands of the Rising Sun).

Gamera vs. Barugon
Gamera vs. Gyaos
Gamera: Guaridan of the Universe
Gamera vs. Guiron
Gamera vs. Jiger
Gamera 2: Legion
Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris
Gamera Super Monster
Gamera vs. Viras
Gamera vs. Zigra

Godzilla: Final Wars
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Terror of Mechagodzilla

Bakko Yokaiden Kibakichi
The Beast of Hollow Mountain
Daikaiju Mono
Gakidama: The Demon Within
Gappa: The Triphibian Monster
The Iron Superman
The Great Gila Monster
King Dinosaur
Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon
Planet of Dinosaurs
War of the Gargantuas
Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters
Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts
Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare

King Kong Escapes
King Kung Fu
Queen Kong

Don’t Look in the Basement (1973)

We often refer to movies as “Brownriggian” when we watch films on Saturday nights all night with the Drive-In Asylum Double Feature on Facebook Live. There’s no better example of what this word means than S. F. Brownrigg’s 1973 shocker Don’t Look in the Basement AKA The Forgotten AKA Death Ward #13.

Dr. Stephens, the main doctor at Stephens Sanitarium has a theory that patients should be able to freely act out their insanities in the hopes that someday they will snap back to reality. You know, if I’ve learned one thing about asylum doctors from, well, Asylum and Alone in the Dark, it’s that they’re all just as insane as their charges.

Before one of the older nurses can retire, we have the Judge (Gene Ross) chopping the doctor with an axe and Harriet (Camilla Carr) smashing the nurse’s head inside a suitcase. So when Charlotte Beale (Rosie Holotik, the cover girl of the Apri 1972 Playboy, as well as appearances in Horror High and the ghostly hitchhiker in Encounter with the Unknown) shows up for a new job and things seem weird. Or Brownriggian. In short, everything feels off. Hallways and stairwells seem like passageways to other dimensions and sweaty horror lurks sleeping like some kind of Southern gothic force of dread and menace.

This is a place filled with human children, killer women obsessed with sex, an elderly woman who thinks that flowers are her kids, a military man who lost his platoon in Vietnam and more. Even the sane are driven mad just by being in their presence.

There are plenty of people who decry Brownrigg’s movies, but I’m certainly not one of them. They invite you to worlds that are not our own and seem to come from a dimension far from here. For that and the vacation to the psychotronic that they offer, we should celebrate them.

For an added treat, check out JH Rood’s journey to the set locations, which you can download from the Internet Archive.

The Night of the Cat (1973)

A Carolinas regional wonder by one-time director Jim Cinque, this is what happens when our blonde heroine — is her name Bev or Beth, because the audio in this is as bad as you want it to be — takes a few karate classes and puts on a black wig to avenge her sister, killed by her pimp Mr. Demmins.

So she’s kind of like a cat woman, but the movie doesn’t go so far as to challenge copyrights. Instead, she mostly battles a larger gentleman by the name of Doug. Now, the pimp supposedly has a fear of cats, but this never comes up after its mentioned once, which is very unlike Batman’s origin where a bat crashes through a rich man with PTSD’s window and he says, “You know, instead of trying to get to the root cause of crime, like systemic poverty, I’m just going to dress up in black and beat up street punks.”

I kind of love that they said that this movie had a $100,000 budget, which is around $600,000 in today’s money. Did all of that money go to hire Nick Dennis, who somehow went from SparatcusEast of Eden and A Streetcar Named Desire to being in films like this?

Let me tell you how weird this movie is. We never see our heroine dress up in her costume. She shows up in it after a few scenes and we are just to assume that it is her. This movie doesn’t have plot holes in that it just asks you to write your own story so that it all makes more sense.

The poster, however, is amazing.

In Search of Ancient Astronauts (1973)

If you ever want to get depressed, realize that sometimes your heroes need to get day jobs. For example, Orson Welles may have made the best movie ever first time up to bat, but he still had to appear in exploitation-level films, pseudo-science docs and play a Transformer in his last role.

Rod Serling is another hero who found himself lending his famous voice* to these films with movies like Encounter with the UnknownThe Legendary Curse of the Hope Diamond and this.

An edited version of Harold Reinl’s Erinnerungen an die Zukunft (Chariots of the Gods**), this movie lines up people like Wernher von Braun and Carl Sagan to discuss the theory that maybe we weren’t descended from apes.

It was also a pilot for the TV series In Search Of (so are two other one-hour specials*** made by producer Alan Landsburg, who made a series of books and fifty TV movies before retiring to breed and race horses). Sadly, Serling died before the syndicated series got picked up and Leonard Nimoy took the role.

If you saw the American version of Chariots of the Gods, you won’t get much else other than way better narration. Come to think of it, that’s a great reason to watch this.

*That’s also him saying, “Swan. He has no other name. His past is a mystery, but his work is already a legend. He wrote and produced his first gold record at 14. Since then, he’s won so many that he tried to deposit them in Fort Knox. He brought the blues to Britain. He brought Liverpool to America. He brought folk and rock together. His band, the Juicy Fruits single-handedly gave birth to the nostalgia wave in the 60′ s. Now he’s looking for the new sound of the spheres to inaugurate his own Xanadu, his own Disneyland the Paradise, the ultimate rock palace. This film is the story of that search, of that sound of the man who made it, the girl who sang it and the monster who stole it.” before Phantom of the Paradise.

**That will be on the site this week as well.

***The other ones are In Search of Ancient Mysteries and The Outer Space Connection.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Blood Ceremony (1973)

Also known as The Legend of Blood CastleThe Female ButcherThe Bloody Countess and Ceremonia Sangrienta, this Jorge Grau-directed (The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue) Eurohorror film is a real classic that’s finally getting a great release thanks to Mondo Macabro.

The people of 19th century Europe aren’t ready to let go of their fear of vampires just yet, so they head out into the night and conduct trials over the graves over those who have recently died and are rumored to the undead.

As for Countess Erzebeth Bathory (Lucia Bosè, Fellini’s Satyricon), all she cares about is her quickly fading beauty and her husband’s lack of attention. But there are methods to bring her looks back and him back to bed which involve the dark practices of the ancestor she shares a name with. Blood is the secret and shockingly, her husband is only too willing to get it for her.

Where you’d expect a film awash in blood and gore, this is a movie more about how women deal with aging and men that only see beauty in youth. And yes, there’s still plenty of bloodbathing along the way.

Ewa Aulin (CandyDeath Laid an Egg) is also in this. Sadly, Aulin didn’t enjoy acting and was done by the age of 23.

So many versions of this film were released in the U.S. in PG form. The Mondo Macabro release has the fully uncut International and alternate Spanish cuts of the film, along with interviews with the director and two commentary tracks (Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson; Robert Monell and Rod Barnett).

This is yet another must-have for your horror collection. I wish Grau had made more films in the genre, if only because his movies end up having so many alternate titles.

You can get this from Diabolik DVD.

B-MOVIE BLAST: Santee (1973)

Here’s some trivia you can use on your friends. Santee was one of the first motion pictures to be shot electronically on videotape, using Norelco PCP-70 portable plumbicon NTSC cameras and portable Ampex VR-3000 2″ VTRs.

Director Gary Nelson mainly worked in TV before this, but he has some interesting films to his credit, like the original Freaky FridayThe Black Hole and the Mike Hammer TV movies.

Jody has finally reconnected with his father, just in time to learn that he’s an outlaw on the run from a bounty hunter named Santee (Glenn Ford). There’s not any time for a reunion as the entire gang gets gunned down and Jody decides that he’ll kill Santee himself. However, they end up becoming father and son, as Jody may have lost his father, but the old gunslinger lost his son.

This has a fun cast, with Dana Wynter (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Jay Silverheels (Tonto himself, who for some reason has been showing up in nearly every movie I’ve watched lately), Robert Donner (who also is in Nelson’s Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold), Dark Brothers repertory actor Jack Baker, X Brands (the oddly named actor who may have been of German descent and from Kansas City, but always played Native Americans), Chuck Courtney (who played Daniel Reid Jr. on The Lone Ranger, the character who would grow up to be the father of The Green Hornet) and Lindsay Crosby (Bigfoot).

This was produced by Edward Platt, The Chief on Get Smart, who raised the money to buy the videocameras. One can only assume that he got Nelson the job of directing the TV movie Get Smart, Again.

You can watch this on YouTube.

B-Movie Blast: Superchick (1973)

“A Supercharged Girl! Always Ready For Action . . . of Any Kind!!”
— Copywriter innuendo to make you buy that ticket

While this sounds like a female-spun, Sexploitation-era James Bond knockoff, à la Cherie Caffaro’s Ginger McAllister from Ginger (1971), The Abductors (1972), and Girls Are For Loving (1973) — which, along with Ted V. Mikels’s The Doll Squad and Andy Sidaris’s Stacey, foretold Charlie’s AngelsSuperchick is actually one of film’s first feminist tomes — this one starring Joyce Jillson in her feature film debut after making her mark with the late ’60s, hit U.S. television drama, Peyton Place.

And since this is a Crown International Pictures release: John Carradine (Nocturna) is in tow — as a worn out “B” movie actor, so, pretty much himself. And yes, there’s nudity from Joyce and cameoing porn star Candy Samples. So there that to ponder. Oh, and yes, that is an uncredited Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty as a biker. So there’s also that.

To say this is awful is an understatement. But this is one of those picked-up-for-a-dollar home video rentals with bad acting, worst dialog, and clumsy karate action sequences that give you a good ol’ time — in a Rudy Ray Moore as Dolemite kind-a-way.

Joyce’s Tara B. True is a “superchick”: a sexually-liberated bachelorette who works her long blonde hair and even longer, silky legs as an airline stewardess to bed three men — a sexy beach bum, a rockstar musician, and an older, wealthy gentleman — during her weekly trips through New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. Why settle down, when each man has the qualities she needs to feel loved and feel free? In between, she earns a black belt in karate and adds frequent flyer miles to her “Mile High Club” membership.

That freedom is soon jeopardized when the loan shark her Floridian beach bum lover is indebted to blackmails her into committing an in-flight robbery. But she turns the tables and stops the hi-jacking . . . so she is a lot like Cherie Caffaro’s ass-kickin’ Ginger McAllister after all.

Denied! There’s no free rips and it’s been pulled from Amazon Prime. And that’s why we have Mill Creek box sets, such as their B-Movie Blast 50-movie set that we’re reviewing this month.

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

Santo y Blue Demon contra Dracula y el Hombre Lobo (1973)

Santo made eight movies in 1973 and I can honestly recommend every single one of them to you.

That’s because in the world of Santo, anything can happen. Sometimes, Santo movies are just about wrestling. Other times, they are take on whatever trends are hot, like Eurospy films, Hammer movies or even karate films.

For example, this one starts with Santo and his girlfriend Lina (Nubia Marti, Santo vs. the She Wolves) go to visit her uncle, Professor Cristaldi. It turns out that 400 years ago, their family killed Dracula and the Wolfman, who are back for revenge from the grave.

Santo gets Blue Demon on board for help, while the monsters plan on turning Lina and her family into monsters. He even turns Lina’s mom into a vampire and kidnaps her, which is a really devious move.

The werewolf’s name is Rufus Rex. Do you need a better reason to watch this movie? How about Santo and Blue Demon defeat evil by throwing both of them into a put of spikes?

Aldo Monti — as Dracula — menaced Santo before in Santo in the Treasure of Dracula, which was recut and re-released with full color (and full frontal nudity) — to the chagrin of the Santo family — as El Vampiro y El Sexo. 

You can watch this on YouTube.

Terror on the Beach (1973)

Man, Dennis Weaver can’t catch a break when he’s in a Paul Wendkos movie. In The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd, he’s imprisoned for treated John Wilkes Booth. And in Cocaine: One Man’s Seduction, McCloud is blasting nose candy right past his trademark mustache. But here, it’s Last House on the Left or Straw Dogs as a TV movie, with Weaver and his family — argumentative son who doesn’t want to go to college, wife who feels frumpy and nascent women’s libber daughter (Susan Dey!) — going up against an ersatz Manson Family on a beach vacation.

The leader of this group, Jerry, is played by Scott Hylands, who would much later play Dr. Mercurio Arboria, the kindly creator of The Arboria Institute in Beyond the Black Rainbow. He uses psychological warfare, bugs in the family’s RV and a PA system to drive the nuclear unit to madness and eventual revenge.

The cast also includes Michael Christian (Eddie from Poor Pretty Eddie), Roberta Collins (Matilda the Hun from Death Race 2000), Jacqueline Giroux (Snow White in Cinderella 2000 and Linda from Gary Graver’s Trick or Treats) and Carol White (Spider from Chained Heat). If you ever wondered why I love TV movies so much, it’s because there’s such a crossover between them and the exploitation trash I love with an equally impure devotion.

This never gets as crazy as it should, but the scene where the hippies sing back the nursery rhymes that the family had been singing in the privacy of their RV is really unsettling. This could have been even stranger, but hey — it was a movie you got to watch for free.

You can watch this on YouTube.