Our Man Flint: Dead On Target (1976)

Originally airing March 17, 1976 on ABC, this forgotten third Derek Flint movie sadly deserves to be that way. A pilot for a weekly series, luckily it wasn’t picked up, if the quality of this effort was to be any indication of how bad the show would be. Dead On Target indeed.

Ray Danton — who became a director for TV after this (he also helmed Deathmaster and Psychic Killer) — is Flint. He had a long career in Eurospy films like Secret Agent Super DragonCode Name: Jaguar and Lucky, the Inscrutable. This would be his last acting role.

What the film fundamentally gets wrong is the fact that Derek Flint is a man continually looking to better himself and seek a higher plane. Why would he decide to become a normal everyday private investigator? Maybe he was following in the footsteps of Matt Helm, whose Tony Franciosa-starring TV series had him become a gumshoe.

Well, he does exactly that, helping Benita (Gay Rowan, The Starlost, the Robert Fuest-directed Revenge of the Stepford Wives) learn to be a private dick and battle the terrorists known as B.E.S.L.A. (Bar El Sol Liberation Army). They’ve kidnapped an oil tycoon named Wendell Runsler, who must be rescued, which again seems like something Flint would probably have an issue with.

There’s a blink and you’ll miss it appearance by a nascent Kim Cattrall as a secretary. Otherwise, I can’t find much here to recommend to you. Truly, this is the lowest of the low where the Flint movies are the highest of the high.

One of Flint’s lines is “It’s like the blind man said when he passed the fish market. “Hello, ladies!”” That makes no sense. This movie being so horrifically bland doesn’t either.

Redneck Miller (1976)

Quentin Tarantino screened this hicksploitation “radio on film” obscurity during a three-night festival (on a “Redneck Night” that featured 1974’s Hot Summer in Barefoot County and 1977’s Polk County Pot Plane) to mark the May 2007 closing of the iconic Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown, Austin, Texas.

I once owned a copy of this redneck radio romp on VHS from a TV (edited) taping, which I think was purchased through the VHS grey market dealer VSOM: Video Search of Miami. Or was it Sinister Cinema? Something Weird Video? It was a while back from one of those greys that advertised in the back pages of either Psychotronic Video or Cult Cinema magazines.

Anyway, I lost my copy of Redneck Miller, along with The Dirty Mind of Young Sally (an X-Rated sex-bore about a radio station secretary who ran a pirate radio station from the back of her pimp’s 18-wheeler) and Dennis Devine’s Scream precursor, Dead Girls (1990; a rock flick; not a radio flick), to a bad case of mold—which happens from time-to-time with low-grade VHS tapes from bargain-imprints. Live and learn.

I had always hoped the Q would release Redneck Miller as part of his Rolling Thunder Pictures imprint, but Miramax shut down the specialty label before we got a restored VHS copy. And since this has never been released on VHS home video, there’s no online VHS rips. Not even a copy of the trailer or any photo stills.

Shot in Charlotte, North Carolina, and making the rounds on the Southeastern U.S Drive-In Circuit via numerous double and triple bills in throughout 1976 and 1977, Redneck Miller stars Al Adamson stock player Geoffrey Land as DJ “Redneck” Miller, a disc jockey on a decrepit, small-town radio station. He finds himself on the wrong side of the local thug-pimp when he beds Pearl, Supermac’s (Lou Walker) squeeze. So while Red is bedding his best friend’s wife, Rachel, Supermac’s gang kidnaps her. And when Red thwarts the kidnapping, they steal Miller’s beloved chopper in retaliation and use it to transport drugs—and set up Red as a drug mule. Between all of the sex and fighting, Red works to clear his name.

Geoffrey Land’s career mostly consists of Al Adamson’s (Brain of Blood, Satan’s Sadists) Drive-In/Grindhouse trash-fests The Female Bunch (1971), Jessi’s Girls (1975; western “Death Wish” with a female), Black Heat (1976), and Doctor Dracula (1978). His best known works are two of Adamson’s most successful films: 1975’s Blazing Stewardesses and the Exorcist knockoff, 1978’s Nurse Sherri.

The bit part, B-Movie career of familiar black actor Lou Walker culminated with roles support roles in Mississippi Burning (1988) with Gene Hackman, My Cousin Vinny with Joe Pesci (1992), and The Firm (1993) alongside Tom Cruise.

Screenwriters Joseph Alvarez and W. Henry Smith knew their backwoods: they also collectively wrote 1974’s Hot Summer in Barefoot County and 1975’s Trucker’s Women. I’ve never heard of or seen their early ‘70s precursors Preacherman and Preacherman Meets Widderwoman—and good luck finding those two obscurities (yeah, it figures Sam heard of it!). The same goes for director John Clayton’s Summerdog (1977) and Duncan’s World—never seen them on VHS or UHF-TV.

Say what? You need more redneck flicks? Then check out our “Top 70 Good ‘Ol Boys Film List” that round-ups our month-long reviews of downhome, hicksploitation obscurities released from 1972 to 1986. And you can learn more about Quentin Tarantino’s love of film with “Exploring: The 8 Films of Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder Pictures.” And we’re reviewing movies set inside radio stations all this week, which we will round up with another one of our patented “Exploring” featurettes his coming Saturday at 6 PM with even more radio flicks.

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

Squirm (1976)

With Blue SunshineJust Before Dawn and Remote Control, Jeff Lieberman has proven himself a reliable creator of horror that doesn’t fit into any neat box. Speaking of not being neat, this entire movie will upset any clean freak, as it deals with worms that climb up from the dirt to destroy human beings. Lieberman was inspired to make this movie thanks to a childhood event involving the ground being electrocuted and worms coming out.

September 29, 1975. Fly Creek, Georgia. A transformer knocks into the ground and the worms are turned evil by 300,000 volts of electricity, including a shipment of 100,000 bloodworms and sandworms.  escape the truck. That’s when we meet our hero Mick (Don Scardino, CruisingHe Knows You’re Alone), just as he finds one of those worms in his egg cream — a cold beverage consisting of milk, carbonated water, and flavored syrup that contains neither milk or cream.

At least he has an attractive girlfriend named Geri, played by Patricia Pearcy from Cockfighter, who believes him when all the local yokels make fun of our man Mick. Before long, those worms are doing more than just pranks — they’re eating people, dropping trees on them and even crawling into someone’s face to possess them. Rick Baker used prosthetic makeup for the first time in his career on this film.

This movie used so many sea worms — ordering a quarter-million at a time — that they wiped out New England’s supply of Glycera fishing worms for the rest of the year. And if everyone looks freaked out when the tree crashes into the room while everyone is eating dinner, that’s because Lieberman actually launched a real tree through the window from a crane and as everyone runs, they really believed that they were running for their lives.

Think people love this movie? Pittsburgh musician Weird Paul made the album Worm in My Egg Cream al about the worm in my egg cream scene, with all sixteen songs titled “Worm in My Egg Cream.”

You watch this movie for free on Tubi.

Strange Shadows in an Empty Room (1976)

Known in Italy as Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta (A Magnum Special for Tony Saitta) and Blazing Magnum in the UK, this movie caught my attention with Stuart Whitman as a “Dirty Harry” type detective named — you guessed it — Tony Saitta solving the giallo-esque murder of his sister.

She was played by Carole Laure, a Quebec singer whose first major acting role in Sweet Movie nearly ended her career. She plays a Miss Canada who is married off to a milk tycoon on the basis of her virginity. The film has coprophilia, emetophilia, implied child molestation and footage of remains of the Polish Katyn Massacre victims. And Laure left the production after growing increasingly upset over what was required of her, especially after a scene where she had to give a handjob. Ah, art! At least she’d go on to be in the Pele, Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone movie Victory.

Well, she doesn’t last too long in this movie. At a party where people are faking their deaths to get a reaction, she ends up getting poisoned and really dying at the hands of Dr. George Tracer (Martin Landau!). Working with Ned Matthews (John Saxon!), Tony’s on the case of his sister’s death. And damn anyone who gets in his way.

If you’ve ever wanted to see Stuart Whitman get thrown out a plate glass window by a karate-kicking transvestite, good news. This movie was made for you. And me. Because man, it’s absolutely bonkers.

Seriously, this entire scene is insane. But let’s go back a little bit.

After University of Montreal student — and Tony’s sister — Louise (Laure) gets in a battle with her married lover Dr. Tracer (Landau), she tries to call her brother but he’s in the middle of a busy case. So she turns to her ex-boyfriend Fred and they come up with a scheme to get back at the perhaps not-so-good doctor.

That night, as everyone parties at the home of Professor Margie Cohn (Gayle Hunnicutt, The Legend of Hell House), Louise becomes sick and Tracer is frantically called. He gives her a stimulant and everyone laughs when she reveals she was faking. But soon, after a heart attack, no one is laughing.

Tony comes in from Ottawa for the funeral and despite being 200 kilometers (124 miles) from home, Detective Ned Matthews (Saxon) just decides to let him do whatever he wants, which includes the aforementioned transvestite party fistfight, which starts with one of their number saying, “Cinderella, answer the door,” before Tony beats one into oblivion and announces that everyone needs to settle down. Spoiler: They don’t, tossing him out a window before he violates another with a hot curling iron and throwing the surviving ladyman into a swimming pool. This scene is incredibly baffling, perhaps because I’m viewing it through the lens of 2020 films.

Blind university music teacher Julie Foster (Tisa Farrow!) is the only person who may have a clue as to what’s going on, but there’s also a little person crime boss, several car chases, a graphic stabbing, the aforementioned Ms. Farrow wandering down the street blind through traffic and so much more.

This movie was written by Vincenzo Mannino (Phantom of DeathMurder RockThe Last Shark) and Gianfranco Clerici (Don’t Torture A DucklingThe New York RipperCannibal Holocaust), so you know that there’s no way that this movie isn’t going to involve depravity and mayhem.

It was directed by Alberto De Martino, who also was behind Operation Kid BrotherThe AntichristHolocaust 2000The Pumaman and Miami Golem, a movie I keep meaning to get to.

This is a movie devoted to entertaining you by any means necessary. It’s all wood-paneled 1970’s, mixing the Canadian tax shelter magic with some of that good old fashioned Italian blood and guts. What a recipe!

Hollywood Man (1976)

Jack Starrett may be best known for Blazing Saddles, but he was also in plenty of biker movies like The Born Losers, Hells Angels on WheelsAngels from Hell and Hell’s Bloody Devils. He moved on to directing, making films like Run, Angel, Run; Nam’s AngelsCleopatra JonesRace With the Devil and Kiss My Grits

William Smith is an actor that’s been in oh, somewhere around three hundred films. Let me topline some of his roles: Conan’s dad in Conan the Barbarian, the captain in Maniac CopC.C. and CompanyGrave of the VampireHammerSevenHell Comes to FrogtownTerror In Beverly HillsUncle Sam and he shows up as Pharaoh in two of the Roller Blade Seven movies. He was also the father to Lorenzo Lamas’ character on the TV show Renegade. Smith also produced this film, one of only three movies he put his money behind (Prologue to Wounded Knee and Body Shop are the other two).

This might be autographical — Smith plays Hollywood action film star Rafe Stoker, who has sunk $130,000 of his own money into a movie but can’t get the cash to finish the film. The mob investor agrees to pay, as long as Smith ponies up some big collateral. Then, he hires Harvey and his bikers to sabotage the movie. Plus, the cops are also on Stroker’s case. He can’t win as he and his girl get gunned down by thugs after finishing the movie.

I can’t lie — I only watched this movie because Mary Woronov was in it. Also appearing are Tom Simcox (Grim Prarie Tales), Don Stroud (The Amityville Horror), Carmine Caridi (who was in second and third Godfather films; he was also the first person to be expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for bootlegging Oscar screeners), Clay Tanner (who played Satan in Rosemary’s Baby), former pro wrestler and bullfighter Don Sebastian (Super FuzzMako: The Jaws of Death) and wah wah pedal innovator Charles Pitts (he’s also in Truck Turner).

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and The Internet Archive.

Snuff (1976)

No matter what Charlie Sheen and Black Emanuelle tell you, snuff movies are urban legends. This movie is probably the reason why so many people think they’re real.

Starting out as a low-budget exploitation film called Slaughter — made by the husband-and-wife team of Michael and Roberta Findlay — it was filmed in Argentina for the low, low price of $30,000. Shot with no sound and concerning a Manson-like cult, it made the film’s moneyman Jack Bravman some money before it was released, as AIP paid to use the title for its Jim Brown blacksploitation vehicle of the same name.

Allan Shackleton, who produced Misty and Blue Summer, had shelved the film for four years when he released with a new ending, shot to look like actual footage, based on an article he had read about South American snuff films. This led to the film’s tagline: The film that could only be made in South America… where life is cheap!

The new ending shows the crew of Slaughter killing one of the actresses for real, with the abrupt ending and lack of credits all planned to make the movie appear legitimate. Then, Shackleton hired fake protesters to picket movie theaters showing the film. That blew up, as even though the fact that the film was exposed as a hoax in a 1976 issue of Variety, it kept getting more popular. At one point, protests reached such fervor that New York District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau investigated the movie.

The plot of this movie is paper-thin. Actress Terry London (Mirta Massa, Miss International 1967) and her producer Max Marsh visit South America. She gets pregnant by another man and a female-filled biker cult led by a man named Satan stalks and murders her.

As for the infamous murder sequence, shot in the New York production studio of adult film director Carter Stevens (who made movies for the Avon Theater chain as well as the adult film Punk Rock), it’s very tacked on. But if you’re coming to see someone get murdered, do you even care about art?

You can get the blu ray of this from Blue Underground or watch it on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

The Demon Lover (1976)

Also known as The Devil Master, Master of Evil and Coven, this movie purported to tell you the whole truth — finally — about demons. It seems that demons are kind of like the kids left behind in my small hometown, stuck drinking in bars, doing drugs and balling because there’s nothing else to do but rot.

It comes from the team of Donald Jackson — yes, he of the Roller BladeRollergator and Hell Come to Frogtown fame — and Jerry Younkins, who only made this film. It was shot close to my wife’s hometown in Jackson, Michigan.

MIT graduate students Jeff Kreines and his girlfriend Joel DeMott, along with soundman Mark Ranc, shot a video diary while filming this movie, entitled Demon Lover Diary. It details the film falling apart as its being filmed. However, it’s been alleged that the incompetence and infighting shown in this video were all made up to get publicity for the film. But who can say? Any movie that ends with Ted Nugent’s guns being fired directly at the filmmakers is totally worth a watch. Kreines and DeMott would go on to co-direct the documentary Seventeen while Kreines would be a cinematographer on the documentary Depeche Mode: 101.

As for the actual film The Demon Lover, it’s all about a group of teenagers hanging around a cemetery that gets involved with a Satanic priest named Lavall (Younkins) who conjures up a demon from hell that looks like an ape that kills all of them. That’s pretty much the entire movie, right there, minus some scenes of the upper class dabbling with the occult that go absolutely nowhere. Oh yeah — there are also disco, nude sex slave and kung fu scenes just to ensure that this regional wonder got to play on some screen, somewhere.

Also — Younkins severed a finger at work to pony up the $8,000 to make this movie, so that pretty much explains why he got to do pretty much anything he wanted. He’d go on to write Combat and Survival Knives: A User’s Guide and wears a black glove throughout to hide his missing digit.

According to L.A. Weekly, the filmmakers so loved The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that they “initially consulted director Tobe Hooper for info on film stock, hired Chain Saw cinematographer Daniel Pearl until their money ran out, solicited original Leatherface Gunnar Hansen for a two-day top-billed cameo, and eventually played the Lyric Theater on 42nd Street in New York City, whose marquee can be glimpsed sporting the Chain Saw title in a famous shot from Taxi Driver.”

Damian Kaluta, one of the protagonists of the film, is played by Val Mayerik, who is also one of the creators of Howard the Duck. I’d assume that’s his art on the poster as well. The name of his character Kaluta comes from 1970’s comic book artist Michael W. Kaluta and many of the names in the film are also derived from comic and horror icons of that era, like Detective Tom Frazetta (painter Frank Frazetta, who designed most of Fire and Ice), Officer Lester Gould (Chester Gould, creator of Dick Tracy perhaps?), Profesor Peckinpah (director Sam Peckinpah), Elaine Ormsby (Alan Ormsby of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things), Alex Redondo (Filipino Swamp Thing artist Nestor Redondo), Susan Ackerman (Forest Ackerman, of course), Charles Wrightson (Berni Wrightson, who drew the comic for Creepshow), Jane Corben (Richard Corben, who created Den from the Heavy Metal magazine and movie, as well as the painter of the poster for Spookies), Garrett Adams (Neal Adams), Janis Romero (George Romero) and Pamela Kirby (Jack Kirby).

This movie also features early special effects work by Dennis and Robert Skotak, who would go on to work on movies like Escape from New YorkAliensTerminator 2: Judgement Day, Mars Attacks!Galaxy of Terror and so many more.

While this movie is junk — enjoyable junk that I will force people to watch — there’s a lot to be learned from it. Isn’t that what loving movies is all about? Actually, it’s also what the occult is all about too: the secret messages lurking behind the veneer of what seems like nothing.

You can watch this for free on Tubi or just check out the highlights below.

Rattlers (1976)

Harry Novak, welcome back to B&S About Movies!

You brought us The Child. You brought us Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman! You brought us Dr. Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks, The Sinful Dwarf and Toys Are Not for Children, not to mention Suburban PagansPlease Don’t Eat My Mother! and Indiscreet Stairway.

The Sultan of Sexploitation! The King of Camp! And as H. Hershey, you directed early 80’s hardcore like Moments of Love. You were scum and I say that with the kind of infection I usually reserve for small animals. I wish you were alive so I could hug you.

How can you not love any movie that starts with two young boys getting repeatedly bitten and killed by an entire pit of angry rattlesnakes after their parents pretty much ignore them for cans of beer?

Soon, the local sheriff has to call on underpaid college professor and herpetologist Dr. Tom Parkinson to learn why the snakes are just so darn aggressive. Of course, Dr. Tom can barely keep his own cobras in their cages.

Parkinson and war photographer Ann Bradley soon learn that the military base has authorized the disposal of a nerve gas called CT3 and it’s causing all this commotion. Colonel Stroud, the guy behind it all, ends up killing the base’s medical officer before the cops close in and gun him down, too. The snakes, presumably, are still on the loose.

Director John McCauley waited nine years to make another movie, 1985’s Deadly Intruder. The movie also features Darwin Joston, who was Napoleon Wilson in Assault on Precinct 13 and Dr. Phibes in The Fog.

You can watch the Cinematic Titanic riffed version of this movie on Tubi.

Ape Week: O Trapalhao no Planalto dos Macacos (1976): The Brazilian “Planet of the Apes”

O Trapalhao no Planalto dos Macacos translates to A Tramp on the Plateau of the Apes and is part of a 1970’s series of Brazilian comedy films where The Tramps found their way to all sorts of situations and eventually other movies, such as The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars.

The Tramps are Didi, Dede, Mussum and Zacharias. Throughout the movie, they get in all manner of hijinks, starting when Didi and Dede are mistaken for jewel thieves. This leads them to a hot air balloon which brings them to a hillside where apes speak and treat men as slaves. Kind of like, you know, Planet of the Apes.

There’s even a Nova character, named Hula, and a Forbidden Zone, which kind of makes no sense as the rest of humanity hasn’t ended yet. That said, you should pretty much shut your brain off when watching this movie. It’s a silly Brazilian movie for kids that was made on a low budget and is all about making you laugh. It’s also worth noting that the human is very much Brazilan, so some of it won’t translate.

You can watch the whole thing below:

Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby (1976)

When audiences turned in to the ABC Friday Night Movie on October 29, 1976, they got to see the sequel to one of the biggest horror films ever. However, what they ended up watching had little to nothing to do with its inspiration, 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby, or the Ira Levin-written sequel Son of Rosemary.

The only actor to return from the orginal is Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castevet and we all know that you can’t trust the combination of Old Hollywood and Satan.

Sam O’Steen, an editor on the first movie, directed this sequel. He also directed a ton of amazing films, such as Cool Hand LukeThe GraduateChinatownStraight TimeSilkwood and Working Girl. He also edited perhaps the scummiest and most Italian horror movie to ever emerge from a major American studio, Amityville II: The Possession.

The movie breaks its story down into three different books.

The Book of Rosemary: A coven prepares for a ritual only to learn that Adrian, the son of Rosemary (Patty Duke, who was considered for the original movie, taking over for Mia Farrow) is missing from his room and hiding in a synagogue. Sure, the coven can hurt the rabbis, but because they’re in a house of God, everyone is safe.

The next morning, Guy (George Maharis from Route 66 taking over for John Cassavetes, which is the dictionary definition of several steps down) gets a call from Roman Castevet (Ray Milland taking over for Sidney Blackmer, so at least Old Hollywood stays in the picture) and asks him to keep an eye out for his wife and child. Roman could really care less, because he’s a big Hollywood star now.

While Rosemary calls him, Adrian is bullied by some kids and goes full on Daimon Hellstrom on them. Luckily, a prostitute named Marjean (Tina Louise!) saves them, but you know that she has to be a fallen woman in league with Satan. She calls a possessed bus to pick up Rosemary and drive her away from her son. Now, he belongs to the coven.

The Book of Adrian: Twenty years later, Adrian is living with his Aunt Marjean in a casino and acting up. He’s played by Stephen McHattie (Hollis “Night Owl” Mason from the Watchmen movie) and he loves speeding, drinking, fighting and getting into trouble with his pal Peter (David Huffman, F.I.S.T.). As he arrives at his 21st birthday, Roman and Minnie arrive and drug him, getting him ready for his ascension to be the Antichrist, which pretty much involves him possessing a bunch of people who just want to disco dance and standing by while his father kills his best friend. Oh yeah — Broderick Crawford plays the local sheriff, which means that even more Old Hollywood is here in the service of Old Scratch.

The Book of Andrew: The coven has allowed Adrian to take the murder charge as he wakes up in a hospital. Donna Mills plays a nurse named Ellen who helps him escape. This is probably the second-best thing Ms. Mills has ever done. The first? Her epic self-help VHS tape, The Eyes Have It.

Of course, Ellen is really the granddaughter of Roman and Minnie. Even as they lose Adrian as he runs away after his father hits Ellen with his car — of course she survives — they already have the next generation of the devil all locked up. Why this happens and why we sat through this entire film is the kind of mystery that I’ve made this site for. After all, I’ve watched this epic made for TV turkey so many times that I’m embarrassed to divulge the true number.