Ciak Si Muore (1974)

A giallo that takes place on a movie set, the title of this film (Clap, You’re Dead for those that speak English) refers to the “clapper” that stops a scene from being filmed. It’s directed by Mario Moroni, who also made Mallory Must Not Die!

Annabella Incontrera (Black Belly of the TarantulaThe Case of the Bloody IrisSo Sweet, So DeadCrimes of the Black Cat) stars as quiet actress Lucia, who is in a movie within the movie that sees a director battling with his writer and a yellow gloved killer murdering women every time they take their clothes off.

The director of said movie, Benner, has some of the best outfits a man has ever worn in a giallo. Seriously, the dude’s fashion sense is completely off the rails.

That said, this is more of a comedy giallo which unfortunately has a police chase that ruins any good will that the movie has built up with its funky soundtrack and frequent bursts of sleaze. The ending is pretty fun, with every character all wearing the same costumes and a punchup breaking out and all the misdirection.

It’s not great, but hey, it’s definitely a giallo you may have not seen before.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Delitto D’autore (1974)

Translated as Crime of Author, this giallo has pretensions to high class, as it’s all about a wealthy countess named Valeria Volpi Gerosi has been warned that if she gives away a valuable painting that she will be killed. Instead, the painting is stolen, she is still murdered, her niece Milena (Sylva Koscina, HerculesLisa and the Devil, Deadlier Than the Male) is kidnapped and the police, as always, blundering in the dark.

Look — it’s only 70 minutes long, Luigi Pistilli (A Bay of Blood, Iguana with the Tongue of FireYour Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) shows up, as does Pier Paolo Capponi (who played cops in Seven Blood-Stained Orchids and The Cat o’ Nine Tails). I mean, if you watch this and have a complaint, remember that the hippie body painting scene and Koscina being chased through the Roman baths are pretty great moments.

Director Mario Sabatini also made A Gunman Called Dakota, SquilloSheriff of Rock Springs and Peccato Originale, as well as shooting second unit on 1989’s Blue Island.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Jînzu Burûsu: Asu Naki Buraiha (1974)

Jeans Blues: No Future is the kind of lurid, violent and downbeat film that I adore. And there’s no better star for these kind of movies than Meiko Kaji, who embodies revenge like no other actress ever, thanks to turns as Lady Snowblood and Female Prison Scorpion.

This time, Meiko plays Hijiriko, a bar girl who has stolen all the money from work and a car that doesn’t belong to her. She literally runs into Jiro, who has done the same thing, ripping money off from his gangster friends. They steal another car and try to get away.

As Serge and Bardot once sang, “De toute façon, ils n’pouvaient plus s’en sortir. La seule solution, c’était mourir.” There’s no way out of this that ends well for anyone, you know?

Meiko has gone on record saying that she was embarrassed by this movie, but I didn’t see much that would make me feel this way. Maybe I give her an eternal pass.

Terror on the 40th Floor (1974)

How can this be a ripoff of The Towering Inferno when it came out a few months before that movie? I assume that they read in Variety about that film and said, “Let’s get this on TV in a hurry!” That’s not a bad thing, though.

Director Jerry Jameson made HurricaneHeatwave!The Deadly Night TowerSuperdomeRaise the Titanic! and Airport ’77, so he knows all about disasters (he also made The Bat People and The Secret Night Caller, so he’s a favorite around here). He’s working from a script by Jack Turley (Prey for the WildcatsEmpire of the Ants) and Edward Montagne.

A Christmas party goes on way too long, which leads to a fire starting in the basement and making it to, well, the fortieth floor. But if you love disaster movies, you know that the plot is secondary to the cast of stars who will be sacrificed for our entertainment.

This one has Dynasty star John Forsythe, TV movie vet Joseph Campanella, Lynn Carlin, Anjanette Comer from The BabyMonday Night Football announcer Don Meredith, Pippa Scott, Bon Hastings (who also faced death in The Poseidon Adventure) and more. Yeah, it’s not the kind of cast that Irwin Allen would have assembled. Even stranger, only one person dies. Come on — have we learned nothing from movies like Earthquake, where Hollywood favorites are snuffed out with impunity?

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

The Tenth Level (1976)

The Milgram experiment was a series of social psychology trials conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, who measured the willingness of men to obey an authority figure who instructed them to administer electric shocks to someone else, even forcing them to continue the punishment until they killed someone. Strangely — or not all that strangely, when you realize how humanity can barely put a mask on when they spend ten minutes in a grocery store — a high proportion of the subjects would fully obey the instructions, even when they thought that it was all real.

That’s what inspired this controversial TV movie, starring William Shatner as Professor Stephen Turner, who is shocked when he discovers just how much pain his students can dish out in the name of science.

Written by George Bellak, who worked on the kind of old TV like Playhouse 90 that this resembles, and directed by Charles S. Dubin, who was ABC’s head director for thirty years, this film was so shocking that it took eight months to line up enough sponsors to get it on the air. It’s never been released in any format.

Shatner gave up his divorce visitation rights on Christmas Day to film this, showing how much he believed in it. It’s pretty stagey — like I said before, it’s very old TV — and even Professor Milgram, who was paid $5,000 as a consultant on the film, thought it was dull.

Somehow, this is my second TV movie in a row with Lynn Carlin in it, so that has to be the universe sending some kind of message. Or maybe she did a lot of 1970’s TV movies, as she was in Silent Night, Lonely NightA Step Out of LineMr. and Mrs. Bo Jo JonesThe Morning AfterThe Last Angry ManTerror on the 40th FloorThe Honorable Sam HoustonThe Lives of Jenny DolanDawn: Portrait of a Teenage RunawayGirl on the Edge of TownForbidden LoveA Killer in the Family and The Kid from Nowhere.

It also has Ossie Davis, Viveca Lindfors, Stephen Macht (in one of his first roles), Estelle Parsons, Charles White, Roy Poole, Mike Kellin (Mel from Sleepaway Camp) ad supposedly a young John Travolta, which may be an urban legend.

You can watch this on YouTube.

The Girl on the Late, Late Show (1974)

Gary Nelson, who made this, also directed The Black Hole and Freaky Friday, which is an interesting set of films to have on your IMDB. He also made this TV noir, which is all about a man trying to find a woman who has faded away.

The cast makes this, including Don Muray (Bus Stop), Van Johnson, Bery Convy (before his game show days, Convy would show up in movies like Jennifer), Joe Santos from The Rockford Files, Yvonna De Carlo, John Ireland, Walter Pidgeon, Cameron Mitchell (!) and Candice Rialson (!!)

The closer the investigation gets to the answers, the more people die. Much like a lot of mae for TV movies, this was a backdoor pilot for a series, which I really wish had happened. This combines so many noir movies into one film, like Laura for one, with a fair bit of Sunset Boulevard.

Gloria Grahame plays the woman who everyone is looking for, who we also see in the film in two clips of her most famous noir appearances, Human Desire and In a Lonely Place. I wonder where else future installments of this series would go.

This was hard to find for a while, but thanks to the internet, we can find it on YouTube.

The Disappearance of Flight 412 (1974)

Before there was The Asylum Studios. Before there were mockbusters. Before there were an endless stream of direct-to-DVD and direct-to-streaming variants of popular movies, there were the “Big Three” networks’ (ABC, CBS, and NBC) endless stream of TV movies that knocked-off popular theatrical films. In the case of this Jud Taylor-directed (TV’s Star Trek and Man from U.N.C.L.E.) airline thriller, it was made by NBC in the midst of the Airport disaster flick series of films made between 1970 and 1979 (read out “Airport: Watch the Series” featurette), which also included ABC’s SST Death Flight and CBS’s The Horror at 37.000 Feet. While ABC’s offering was an adventure-drama and CBS’s a horror-fantasy, NBC’s offering took a sci-fi turn.

Glenn Ford (Jonathan Kent in Superman ’78, but since this is B&S About Movies, we remember him best for The Visitor and Happy Birthday to Me) is an Air Force Colonel in investigating an Air Force base’s rash of electrical disturbances aboard its aircraft. To pinpoint the in-flight problem, he dispatches the four-man crew of Flight 412 piloted by Captain Bishop (David Soul of Salem’s Lot). Shortly into the flight, the flight makes radar contact with three unidentified craft and reports them as U.F.Os; two fighter jets are dispatched and force Flight 412 to land at a remote, abandoned military airfield in the American Southwest desert. Sequestered in a barracks and their craft hidden away in a dilapidated hangar, government officials begin to interrogate and convince the crew they did not see flying saucers. Meanwhile, Ford’s Colonel — and Bradford Dillman — refuse to accept Flight 412 simply vanished — and that it has anything to do with alien contact.

At the time of this NBC-TV production, Peter Hyams had not yet scripted the conspiracy-similar Capricorn One; he came up with the idea back in 1969 while working on the Apollo broadcasts for CBS-TV. Completing the script in 1972, no production company wanted to make it; that is until ITC Entertainment (Space: 1999, Saturn 3) put Capricorn One into pre-production in late 1975 and commenced filming in late 1976. In a coincidence: Capricorn One was — based on its casting of the then popular James Brolin and O.J Simpson — pre-sold to NBC to secure its TV rights, which assisted in augmenting the production’s budget.

While a ratings success during its initial October 1974 broadcast on NBC, contemporary critics decry Flight 412 for its overuse of stock footage, recycling newsreels of individuals speaking of their “close encounters,” and voice-over narration to advance the plot. But those critics seem to miss the point: that the “plot” was based on “fact” and made to resemble a documentary about a “real event” involving a military U.F.O encounter. Flight 412 became a frequently-ran film on NBC’s late night programming blocks and UHF-TV syndication until the mid-’80s, at which time it was given a VHS release.

Courtesy of its casting of Glenn Ford, David Soul, and Bradford Dillman, the film is easily available as a still-in-print DVD and streams on Amazon Prime. But we found You Tube freebies HERE and HERE and on Daily Motion.

Other network TV movies parked at the Hollywood hangers are Paramount Studios-ABC’s The Crash of Flight 401 and Universal Studios-NBC’s The Ghost of Flight 401; both are concerned with a real-life, 1972 Eastern Airlines crash and its supernatural aftermath.

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

Sins of the Flesh (1974)

Director Claude Mulot used the alter ego of Frederic Lansac — a character from his previous film The Blood Rose — to make this movie, which was known as  Les Charnelles (The Carnals) when it was released in its native country.

Of course, Mulot would move on to hardcore with his next movie, Pussy Talk, but he was also known for comedy and thrillers, too. And, well, softcore, as evidenced by Black Venus. Sadly, he drowned at the way too young age of 44. His last film was 1986’s Le Couteau sous la gorge (The Knife Under the Throat).

Sins of the Flesh is all about Benoît Landrieux, the potentially insane son of a rich industrialist who comes into the lives of car thief Jean-Pierre and Isabelle (Anne Libert, who was the Queen of the Living Dead in A Virgin Among the Living Dead, along with appearing in House of 1000 Pleasures and numerous Jess Franco films, such as Sinner: The Secret Diary of a NymphomaniacThe Erotic Rites of FrankensteinThe DemonsDaughter of Dracula and Dracula Prisoner of Frankenstein), who is saved by the duo when she’s being assaulted by her stepfather.

Benoît is many things: maniac, coward, killer and perhaps even an impotent voyeur, as the only way he is able to perform is after watching other couples make love. Now, he has a new goal: to rob his father’s safe, to make his stepmother fall for someone else and blackmail her for it, then finally, to kill and kill again.

The sequence where our threesome ingests psychedelic mushroom tea before swimming and aardvarking amongst fuzzed out acid rock*, strobing lights and statues of alebrijes is the highlight of this affair. It’s a scene filled with crazy lenses and a complete lack of body hair grooming, so it’s pretty much everything wonderful about exploitation circa 1974.

The region free Mondo Macabro release has a brand new 4k transfer from the film negative, along with interviews with Anne Libert, Gerard Kikoine, distributor Francis Mischkind and assistant director Didier Philippe-Gerard. Plus, there is an original trailer, an alternative title sequence** and optional newly created English subtitles.

All hail this label, which continually finds movies I never knew existed and makes the best versions of them that have ever been released. You can get this directly from Mondo Macabro.

*The score is by Eddie Vartan, father of actor Michael.

**Émotions secrètes d’un jeune homme de bonne famille is the other title, which translates as Secret Emotions of a Young Man from a Good Family.

The Get-Man (1974)

A police officer becomes obsessed with The Zebra Killer, who has kidnapped his girlfriend and has kept on murdering people. The Get-Man of the title refers to this cop, who goes by Lt. Frank Savage and is played by Austin Stoker.

In real life, the zebra murders — called that because of the police frequency used to communicate the crimes — were a string of racially motivated murders committed by a small group of Black Muslims in San Francisco.

Some thing that the Death Angels, which is what the killers wanted to be known as, may have killed more people — up to 73 — than all other 1970’s serial killers put together.

This movie, however, has the killer appear as a white man in blackface and afro wig, killing in random ways, much like the Zodiac Killer, who inspired Scorpio in Dirty Harry, which therefore is ripped off by this film.

If you’re making a blacksploitation version of a Hollywood film, go with the best. Go with William Girdler, who also made Abby, which is one of my favorite Xeroxorcist films. You can also find this movie as Combat Cops, which is not anywhere near as good of a title.

The Graveyard (1974)

So, read this explanation: A crippled woman takes pleasure in tormenting her son, blaming him for her condition, all because he killed her cat. Flash-forward a few years and despite a new wife and baby, his mother still owns him and all hell breaks loose.

Now what if I told you that Lana Turner plays the mom?

Directed by Don Chaffey, who also made C.H.O.M.P.S.Pete’s DragonOne Million Years B.C. and Jason and the Argonauts, this is the kind of potboiler that you keep waiting to simmer over and nothing wild happens at all.

Ralph Bates (the great, great nephew of French scientist Louis Pasteur who also played Doctor Jekyl in Dr. Jekyl and Sister Hyde and Frankenstein in The Horror of Frankenstein) plays the son and you kind of wish this had been made in Italy so that all the repressed psychosexual madness would come out in more visually exciting and demented ways. That said, Olga Georges-Picot is fetching.

Also known as Persecution and The Terror of Sheba, file this one under murderous cats.

You can watch this on Tubi.