2020 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge: The Antichrist (1974)

DAY 23. A REST IN THE PIECE IS ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING DRAMATIC PAUSE: Morricone soundtracks only.

The beauty of Morricone is that for every big budget or quality film that he did music for — The Hateful EightDays of HeavenOnce Upon a Time In America — you can find scores he did for movies that aren’t as well thought of, from giallo like What Have You Done to Solange? and A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin to outright ridiculous films like Butterfly and, well, this movie.

And I love it.

I love every single minute of it.

Ippolita (Carla Gravina rocking a Mia Farrow haircut) is a paralyzed young woman with major issues, all because her mother has died. So her shrink does what any psychologist would do in 1974: he sends her brains back in time to remember when she was a witch getting killed during the Inquisition. That ancestor takes over and before you know it, our heroine is screwing and destroying men. It’s time for this movie to stop ripping off Rosemary’s Baby and start being The Exorcist!

Also released as The Tempter, this was directed by Alberto De Martino, who also made the amazing poliziotteschi/giallo hybrid Strange Shadows In an Empty Room and the downright weird superhero film The Pumaman, not to mention Miami Golem.

There’s a decent cast, with Mel Ferrer, Arthur Kennedy, George Coulouris, Alida Valli (Miss Tanner!), Anita Strindberg (Your Vice Is A Locked Room and Only I Have the Key), Umberto Orsini  (Jean from the Emmanuelle movies) and Mario Scaccia (The Perfume of the Lady In Black) all on hand.

There’s way more nudity and sexuality than the majority of American The Exorcist clones, but this is Italy and Aristide Massaccessi is the director of photography. That’s Joe D’Amato, in case you didn’t know, so when Ippolita says cock numerous times and there’s a lengthy Satanic orgy, one of the few I can think of set to tunes by Morricone (that said, he did so many films* that I’m sure there’s at least one more key party for the First of the Fallen set to his music), you can just say, “Hell yeah, the Italians might be all repressed Catholics, but they sure know how to make a Satan movie.”

The scene in the ruins at the end? That’s the kind of stuff my dreams are made of. More movies should be this unabashedly out of control, you know? Another great example of this level of craziness is another De Martino ripoff that somehow has great Hollywood actors in it, 1977’s Omen Xerox film, The Chosen, also known as Holocaust 2000.

*Notable Morricone soundtracks that I love include Danger: DiabolikThe Bird with the Crystal PlumageShort Night of Glass DollsWho Saw Her Die?, The Fifth CordMy Name Is Nobody, AutopsyExorcist II: The HereticOrca and so many more.

SLASHER MONTH: Axe (1974)

Shot in North Carolina on short ends for $25,000 in a house that cost $25 to shoot in, Axe has risen above its humble beginnings to end up on the Video Nasties section one list. Writer-director Frederick R. Friedel dreamed of making a film by 25, despite never having been on a film set in his life. He also ended up playing the morally conflicted Billy, which was to save the expense of hiring another actor.

Originally released as Lisa, Lisa, this North Carolina regional film was re-released in 1979 by Harry Novak as Axe (it was also called California Axe Massacre in the UK and it also played as The Virgin Slaughter). While Friedel felt that Axe felt that Novak’s title didn’t have the subtlety, surprise, and irony of his intended title, it certainly sells better under that simply — and yet sinister — name.

Three thugs — Steele (Jack Canon, who is also in Friedel’s Kidnapped Co-Ed), Lomax and Billy — beat a man named Aubrey to death, but not before they make him eat a lit cigar. After seeing the carnage, the victim’s boyfriend jumps out the window. They follow this mayhem up by assaulting a shopgirl, firing a gun over her head and pouring soda all over her.

They end up at the farmhouse of Lisa (Leslie Lee, who is an otherworldly figure in this and sadly, stopped acting after this movie), who lives alone with her grandfather. She keeps them a secret even from the police and has even more skeletons in her closet, as she’s slicing herself in the bathroom when no one is watching.

That night, Lomax tries to assault her. She responds by slicing his throat open and cutting him to pieces with an axe and shoving him into a trunk. She convinces Billy to drag it upstairs and when he learns what is inside, she tells him Steele did it.

There’s a great scene here where Billy takes her into the woods and tries to tell her that he will protect her. She pulls out her razor and he thinks that she’s trying to give him a weapon to battle the more physically imposing Steele. The viewer knows better.

Steele is no match for her, as she soon dispatches him with an axe and serves his blood up as soup to her grandfather. Billy notices the villain’s ring in the broth and then the body magically falls from the fireplace, sending him running outside and into a gunshot from the cops who’ve come back.

Not a 100% slasher by any means, as we said before, the ad campaign and video nasty image of the Axe re-release give it a historic reason to include as a movie in our slasher month. This is the kind of movie where nothing happens for long stretches, only to have moments of extreme violence quickly destroy the narrative tension. It’s a really intriguing film and I wish that Friedel had made more than just four movies.

You can get this from Severin.

Evil of Dracula (1974)

The third entry in director Michio Yamamoto’s Bloodthirsty Trilogy, this Toho-produced vampire film ends this non-connected cycle by telling the story of Professor Shiraki (Toshio Kurosawa, Lady Snowblood), who comes to teach at a new school and discovers that he may not be ready for this strange place.

You have to love a vampire movie that has Dracula finding himself shipwrecked in Edo period Japan, a time when Christianity was illegal. Forced to spit on the cross and wander the desert, he is forced to drink his own blood to survive. Acquiring a taste for it he soon begins feeding on the blood of the locals.

It turns out that the past principal was also a vampire and has been feeding on his student body. This involves shredding their clothes off their bodies and drinking right from their breasts, which leads me to believe that this movie is more inspired by the later, more naughty side of Hammer.

Shin Kishida is the vampire again — he also played one in Lake of Dracula — but there isn’t any mention of him being the same character. That said, the love going even past death theme that exists in so much Hammer and in later films like Bram Stoker’s Dracula is in full effect here.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime or buy the entire Bloodthirsty Trilogy from Arrow Video.

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

Okay. So we told you about the celluloid hodgepodges of two the Harrys, aka Hope and Tampa, with their respective films Smokey and the Judge (from our “Fast and Furious Week”) and Nocturna (from our now showing “Vampire Week”).

Now, if you enjoyed (I sure did!), but thought Hope’s grafting hicksploitation into disco was nuts, and that Tampa’s splicing vampires into disco was insane, then you’ll go bonkers for this intercontinental boondoggle of a co-production between Britain’s horrormeisters Hammer Studios and Hong Kong martial arts purveyors Shaw Brothers:

In 1804 seven vampires clad in gold masks were resurrected by Count Dracula. 100 years later, in 1904, Professor Van Helsing is hired to kill the fanged hoards.

We’re not kidding. That’s the plot: A mix of ancient Chinese legends with Bram Stoker-inspired vampires—who just happen to be martial arts masters—and experienced Hammer vampire hunter extraordinaire Peter Cushing. The ensuing 75-minutes of karate bloodsucking mayhem became one of the biggest bombs in cinema history and shut the doors on Hammer Studios. And caveat those alternate titles of The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula and Dracula and the Seven Golden Vampires. In the end, is this as bad as the bunny-hopping vampires in the Mill Creek public domain ditty Robo Vampire (1988)? No. Did this need, not backflipping vamps, but Qing Dynasty Jiangshi-inspired vamps of the Midnight Vampire variety? Yes. . . but this Roy Ward Baker-directed fangsocky is way, way better than Nocturna, that’s for sure. (We’re blowing out Robo Vampires as part of our tribute to the 50-Film Mill Creek set, Sci-Fi Invasions, in November; sorry, shameless plug.)

So . . . do we blame Roy Ward Baker for this? Hah, he gave us Quartermass and the Pit (1967), the Hammer-Warner Bros. piece of the Kubrick pie with the “space western” Moon Zero Two (1969) (a childhood favorite, but another Hammer film-hybrid flop that contributed to their demise), The Vampire Lovers (1970; Ingrid Pitt! Schwing!), and Sam’s favorite, The Monster Squad (1989). So all is well, Mr. Ward Baker.

Hi-yah! Sensei Ward!

You can watch this on You Tube or pick up the Shout! Factory DVD restoration that’s wildly available at traditional and online retailers.

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

The Hand That Feeds the Dead (1974)

“Dude. We’re in the middle of ‘Vampire Week’ and this a Frankenstein-styled flick,” rants Sam with an aggravated toss of concentrated strawberries into a vodka-filled blender. Yep. It’s a “Feed the Dead” movie-themed alcohol brewand it’s not even a Saturday Night Groovy Doom Double Feature Watch Party with Bill Van Ryn of Drive-In Asylum.

There’s a method to the madness,” mellows R.D with a causal wipe of Cheetos dust from his chin. Don’t ‘Panico,’ my brother. Just B&S and Keep Calm . . . and read on.


Oh, the lost facial transplant sub-genre of horror films: how ye churn my stomach. If you’re a horror hound, you know the oeuvre: Georges Franju’s La Yeux Sans Visage (aka Eyes without Face, aka The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus), Jess Franco’s “remake” with The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962) and his racier-gorier sequel-remake of that, with Faceless (1988). Then there’s Hiroshi Teschigahara’s Asian take on the genre with Tanin no Kao (aka, The Face of Another (1966). One may also call up John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1966) with Rock Hudson, but that’s a suspense thriller, not a gory-horror film—and if you replace Rock with the Cage, and add over-the-top action, you get . . . John Woo’s gonzos Face/Off (1997). But I digress. . . .

Italian director Sergio Garrone’s face-rip entry—a Turkish (Shameless Plug: all of next week, from the 13th to the 18th, it’s “Turkish Delights Week” at B&S) co-production alternately titled Evil Face—can easily be mistaken as the same-old slash n’ cheeks peel, but this face-cutting entry has two things going for it: the nudity and gore that’s absent from its surgical precursors—and Klaus Kinski. And you know the drill with Kinski. Double K is an all-in-or-nothing actor: he was Nicolas Cage before Nicolas Cage made us his bitch (read our “Nic Cage: Bitch” featurette). And Kinski’s never met a character with a kink he didn’t like. And if they don’t have a psychosexual glitch: KK Freuds ‘em up himself. (Yeah, we know you referred to them “horrible movies,” Klaus. But we love your horror flicks, you mad, German bastard.)

After world-renowned surgeon Baron Ivan Rassimov suffers a horrifying death in a laboratory fire, Tanja, his daughter (the makes-your-heart-weep Katia Christine), lives in seclusion and wears a veil to conceal her own facial mass of scars. An ex-student of her father’s, Professor Nijinksi (Klaus Kinksi) married Tanja (out of loyalty; but also of kink) and carried on Rassimov’s skin-grafting experiments—with the goal of restoring Tanja’s face. However, as with most of these mad-doctors restoring beauty or reanimating the life of a loved one: the flesh, the blood, or some mixture of bodily fluids from beautiful (natch, never the physically unblessed) victims are needed to complete the experiments. To that end: Kinski and his “Igor” venture into the local village to kidnap women to peel off their faces (graphic, very impressive in-camera effects by the great Carlo Rambaldi of Alien and Dune fame).

Sergio Garrone (Django the Bastard*, for you spaghetti western whipper-snappers) utilized the Roger Corman-ethos of filmmaking with The Hand that Feeds the Dead: he shot it back-to-back with his other, similar 1974 Kinski-starring release, Lover of the Monster. And as with the many Corman productions: you’ll also notice both Garrone-Kinski horrors utilize the same sets and actors—and a few scenes are practically shot-for-shot identical. Not that it matters, since it’s unlikely most people—as with Corman’s celluloid recycles—seen both films back-to-back during their initial 1974 drive-in days.

The Hand that Feeds the Dead had an early release on Blu-ray/DVD in August through Full Moon Direct. After streaming on the Full Moon Features channel and app this September, it will expand to a brick-and-mortar and online retail release in October. You can stay current on Full Moon’s releases through their Facebook page.

If you can’t wait for the Blu/DVDs or afford a disc in these trying times, we found a copy The Hand that Feeds the Dead on You Tube, as well as Lover of the Monster on You Tube.


* Did you miss our “Spaghetti Westerns Week,” hombre? Well, saddle up that mouse and scroll on back to Sunday, August 16, to Saturday, August 22, for our week-long homage to Italian and Spanish-shot westerns of the ’60s and ’70s.

Special Thanks Department: To Dustin Fallon or Horror and Sons for the heads up on this latest Kinski reissue. Be sure to visit them on Facebook and Horror and Sons.com.

Shameless Plugs Department: We examined the Kinksi-Herzog five-film oeuvre with our “Drive-In Friday: Klaus Kinski vs. Werner Herzog” and all of Kinski’s Spaghetti Westerns with our “Drive-In Friday: Kinski Spaghetti Westerns” featurettes. And we’re Klaus-heads over here, so check out the rest of our ever-expanding reviews of his films.

“We want a Kinksi box set, Full Moon!”

Death Smiles on a Murder
Schizoid
Footprints on the Moon
Jack the Ripper
The Million Eyes of Sumuru
Target for Killing
Double Face
Slaughter Hotel

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

The Beast Must Die (1974)

Paul Annett mostly directed TV and this is the lone theatrical movie that he directed. It’s one of the few non-anthology releases of Amicus. It’s notable for including a werewolf break, a feature of the film that Annett disliked, saying, “What can I say about it? I hated it. It stopped the film stone dead and I thought it was completely artificial and unnecessary.”

Yes. You have to guess who the werewolf is.

Millionaire Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart, Hell Up In Harlem) has invited a group of people to his English mansion: his wife Caroline (Marlene Clark, Night of the Cobra WomanGanja and Hess), diplomat Arthur Bennington (Charles Gray!), married couple Jan and Davina Gilmore (Michael Gambon and Ciaran Madden), ex-con artist Paul Foote (Tom Chadbon) and archaeologist and a lycanthropy enthusiast Professor Lundgren (Peter Cushing!). Why are they here? One of them is a werewolf. And whoever the beast is…The Beast Must Die.

So who is the werewolf? Why would I go and ruin the werewolf break after Milton Subotsky spent so much time putting it together?

Robert Quarry was originally slated to play the lead, but at the last minute, Amicus went with Lockhart to hope that this movie could take advantage of the success of blaxploitation movies. Somewhere, Vincent Price giggled.

Sadly, this would be the last official Amicus film, even though Madhouse, The Land That Time Forgot, At the Earth’s Core and The People That Time Forgot are considered Amicus movies.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi or buy the new re-release from Severin, which has the best quality version of the movie ever released.

REPOST: Truck Stop Women (1974)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Seeing as how this week belongs to Mark Lester, who am I to deny bringing back this article, originally from August 9, 2019, all about trucks, the mob and Claudia Jennings?

Why would I be awake at 2:51 AM on a school night watching a movie called Truck Stop Women — as well as Road Angels — when I could just as easily be in bed? Well, some would say it’s a devotion to our readers who demand to know more about mid-70’s truck driving action films. But we all. know it’s because this movie has Claudia Jennings in it and that name is enough to make me say, “Well, I’ll at least watch this for a few minutes.” Before you know it, the sun is coming up and I’ve spent all of my beauty sleep hours watching the dearly departed Ms. Jennings skate roller derby or fight the syndicate or play post-apocalyptic games with David Carradine. Tonight is no different.

What can you say about a movie that starts with two gangsters assassinating a naked couple in a bathtub? You roped me in again, Mark Lester, director of CommandoFirestarterClass of 1984Bobbi Joe and the OutlawRoller Boogie and so many other movies that have also kept me awake late into the small hours.

Anna (Lieux Dressler, Grave of the Vampire) runs a brothel for truckers — yes, there was once a thing and I bet there probably still is — in New Mexico. He daughter Rose (Jennings) is one of her girls (so is Uschi Digard!) but she’s tired of her mom running her life and dreams of more money, so she starts working with the Eastern Mafia — led by Smith (John Martino, Paulie Gatto from The Godfather) and Rusty (Speed Stearns, Eat My Dust!)  — to take over the racket.

Oddly enough, $15,000 of this film’s budget came from politician Phil Gramm. There were some articles that made a big stink about it being an adult film, but it’s honestly softcore at best.

Look, any movie where Claudia Jennings yells, “Would Jackie Onassis eat chicken fried steak!?” is going to be one that I end up watching. Whether or not you have the same bad taste as me will determine whether or not you should watch this movie.

Does it help if I tell you that the entire movie stops dead for a montage of an 18 wheeler going across the entire country to the tune of “I’m a Truck,” sung from the POV of the truck itself? Because wow, that totally happens. Hey — Dennis Fimple is in it, so maybe you really should stay up all night. I know that I did.

You can watch this on Tubi and Amazon Prime.

The Girl In Room 2A (1974)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mitchell Hillman is a freelance writer who has spent most of his time in print writing about music, movies, art, and pop culture. He is also a professional artist, occasional pop-up chef, and suffers an addiction to curiosity and discovery. Over the last year he has watched over 300 Giallo and Giallo related movies, finding that they influence not only how he thinks about film, but also art.

The Girl in Room 2A (1974)
‘La casa della paura’
Directed by William Rose

I promised myself that if I ever found a better transfer of this particular Giallo, I’d have to watch it again. The first time I saw it was like watching a muddied copy of a copy from VHS. I came across a much nicer transfer recently and thought I’d indulge myself. It’s got a great story going for it and it’s a completely underrated entry into the genre in my estimation. Perhaps it’s because it’s the crowning achievement in William Rose’s otherwise unremarkable catalog of films that it’s overlooked, but it has charm and mystery and something that sticks with you somehow.  Of note the original Italian title translates to “House of Fear,” but there were several of those in English already, so we get The Girl in Room 2A.

It’s got a pretty brutal opening sequence, with Bruno Pisano’s soundtrack sinister intensity backing it as we see a young women leave a dark boarding house, only to be abducted off the street, thrown in a car, drugged, subsequently tortured, murdered and thrown from a cliff.  It’s a harsh start that leaves you wondering, but it all comes together in the end. Next we see Margaret leaving a women’s prison, and after missing a bus and calling her social worker while being followed by a strange man, she checks into the boarding house run by the strange Mrs. Grant. Nothing is right about the house, from Mrs. Grant, to the blood red stain in her room, to the strange footsteps outside her door as she tries to nap. The creep vibe is everywhere. 

Mrs. Grant invites Margaret to tea and a sedative, while explaining the death of her husband, and her loneliness in the house with her son. She then lays down a heavy speech about how justice and vengeance must prevail over forgiveness and her tone is more than a little worrisome as she talks about the felon that killed her husband. Margaret doesn’t go for any of that. Her first night is a creepy one as she envisions a red clad masked person coming into her room, but does it happen? We don’t know, she may have been dreaming, she was sedated after all.

We then cut to a villa in the countryside where the creepy son from the boarding house is hanging out with a writer named Mr. Johnson who wants to document what the group seemingly led by “Mr. Dreese” is doing. Dreese shows up and it’s the man that was following Margaret, who immediately turns on the writer with a Nietzschean speech about how “everyone must feel the pain of his own sins,” echoing Mrs. Grant’s sentiments from earlier.  Frank, the creepy son is sent back home, by Dreese while Johnson is locked in the parlor. He is subsequently tortured by two other men, and the caped stranger in the red mask from Margaret’s vision. Johnson jumps to his death out the window to escape the torture and they drive his car off a cliff in a fiery cremation.

This sets the stage for all that is to come. On the one hand you have the creepy house and Margaret’s ever-escalating post-prison life trauma, and on the other a weird cult adding a folk horror flare to the whole affair. It’s a pretty detailed intense story and while it could be better acted or shot with a better budget there’s something appealing about it and something deliciously appalling about it. Whether it’s Margaret’s uncomfortable interactions with Mrs. Grant’s strange son Frank, or the stain that keeps returning to the floor, which she dutifully cleans up repeatedly, there’s always something going on that will become clear in the last act. Rosalba Neri is always a delight and here she plays the social worker who arranged the housing arrangement for Margaret.  After confessing her discomfort, Neri promises to help find her new housing and loans her some money, before going out of town. 

Margaret continually professes her innocence, but also seems like the only genuinely decent person here, except perhaps for the social worker.  When she bumps into Jack on the street, the interaction is suspicious and brilliant, he’s looking for his sister who supposedly killed herself while staying at Mrs. Grant’s place. He ends up renting the place across the alley from her. Once Jack is introduced to the story, the movie really picks up. It turns out that a lot, or maybe all of the “troubled girls” who have stayed in 2A have died or gone mad–but what exactly is the connection to the cult that’s hell-bent on maintaining the war of “Good and Evil.” As the two become lovers, they also begin to investigate just what is going on at the Grant house in earnest.

Both times I’ve watched this I thought this would be an amazing film to reboot, there’s much more of a horror aspect to it than the usual gore laden bloodbath. It’s got a great story at the heart of it and I’d just love to see it treated to a decent budget. Everyone is creepy,  it seems that only Margaret and Jack are on the level, but you can never be sure about anything.  There are many elements that are just sheer fun, like Frank’s strange workshop or Mrs. Grant’s odd gatherings discussing vengeance, of course. It’s not a top tier Giallo by any means, but it probably fits inside the Top 100 or Top 150 due to its peculiar originality and rather complex story. The intertwining story between all the players is what keeps you going and the finale more than pays off in the end, and in this case, somehow, I didn’t see it coming. You might not either, which makes its 90-minute weight (and wait) worth it.

Don’t Open the Door (1974)

Don’t Open the Door! was originally released regionally in Texas under the title Don’t Hang Up in May 1974. It was then acquired by Capital Films Corporation, who re-released it in 1979.

Director S.F. Brownrigg made this movie with producer Martin Jurow (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), using a cast mainly made up of actors from Dallas-based actors.

The story is simple: young girl returns home to care for her sick grandmother and encounters weirdness at every turn. It’s Brownrigg’s skill that makes this movie unique.

Despite the lurid feel of this movie, it still has a PG rating. Life was cheaper in 1974.

Susan Bracken plays Amanda Post, who begins the film assured and cocky before returning to Allerton, the Texas town where she watched her mother get killed as a child. This would be the only theatrical film Bracken would do and it’s a shame because she’s great in this.

We live in a world of caller ID that renders so much of this movie a moot point, such as the reveal that the calls are coming from within the house. While that trope replays itself in so many 70’s horror films, I always find it so delightful.

Larry O’Dwyer, who plays the sinister Claude, was done with acting after this movie too. Again, a shame.

If you were born later than me, you may find this movie slow moving and not as filled with terror as you hope, particularly with the sinister VHS cover image that I attached to this review. Not all movies need to have a killing every two minutes and have geysers of gore. This movie does so much more with less.

If you want to know more about this movie and where it was filmed, watch my friend J.H. Rood’s film Don’t on the Internet Archive.

BONUS: You can listen to Bill Van Ryn, J.H. and me discuss this movie on the second week of our streaming web show, Drive-In Asylum Double Feature.

Prey for the Wildcats (1974)

Do you want to see Sheriff Andy Taylor as sociopath? Do you want to see a spineless, suicidal Captain Kirk? How about Mike Brady as a bastardly dolt of a husband? Or Marjoe Gornter (Starcrash and The Survivalist) with a knocked up girlfriend half his age? How about a movie where they’re bedding and cheating with Angie Dickenson (Dressed to Kill) and Lorraine Grey (Jaws)?

Aired on ABC-TV January 23, 1974/image courtesy of blue-ray.com.

Well, Robert Michael Lewis, who made his network teleplay debut with 1972’s The Astronaut, and cut his teeth with episodes of ABC-TV’s The Mod Squad and McMillan & Wife, answered that question with this, his fifth telefilm. The scribe behind the scenes, Jack Turley, was known for his work on Rawhide (where Clint Eastwood got his start), The Fugitive (starring David Jannsen of Inchon), and the show where he met Lewis: The Mod Squad. The duo also worked together on their next telefilm, 1974’s The Day the Earth Moved (starring Jackie Cooper from The Astronaut).

Andy Griffith (No Time for Sergeants) is Sam Farragut, a businessman who hires William Shanter (Big Bad Mama), Robert Reed (Haunts of the Very Rich), and Marjoe Gortner’s advertising executives for an ad campaign shot in Baja, California. But before he’ll sign on the dotted line, Farragut pressures the trio to take a dirtbike trip though desert to “search for just the right location.” Desperate for business — and with no camping or dirtbiking experience — they accept, as the deal could save the agency.

Yeah, you guess it.

Farragut is a reckless sociopath and adrenalin junkie that dragged them into the desert for a little “human death sport” of his own making. The “game” goes sideways after a couple of American hippies at a Mexican bar smart mouth Farragut . . . and now the “Wildcats” are not only Farragut’s game pieces, but murders on the run.

Obviously, not the actual 1974 trailer, but a very funny send up.

Surprising, unlike most high-rated TV movies, this one actually made it to video in 1987. The caveat is that the only official DVDs are the 2012 versions issued on the now-out-print 8 Movies for the Man Cave – 4 and the four-movie Andy Griffith Collection: America’s Favorite Actor sets (which features the TV films A Song for the Season, Street Killing, and Daddy & Them). Any single-DVD issues you find are grey market burns, so emptor that caveat when you buy.

This movie is a really fun watch, as we get to see Andy Griffith as we never seen him before, along with the range of the underated shakespearean trained Robert Reed (Gene Hackman was orginally cast as Mike Brady; when Hackman hit paydirt with The Conversation and The French Connection, it gnawed at Reed until his dying day), and Bill Shatner going way, way out of his comfort zone.

There’s several rips of varying quality on You Tube, but with the way uploads come and go, we’ll give you three to choose from HERE, HERE, and HERE.

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.