Li'l Rickey's Sinister Urges!


Li'l Rickey's 50-Foot Reviews!!!


"Fire in my brain - agony - it's torture, it's torture!"

"It wouldn't surprise me if this operation was another boner."

"You mean I have Lover's Catarrh?"

"This skirt is so confining. I think I'll just slip it off."

"I told him that my mind is an open, but empty, book."


COMMON-LAW WIFE (1963)

Cast:

Lacy Kelly - Jonelle "Baby Doll"
Shugfoot Rainey - Uncle Shugg
Annabelle Lee - Linda
Jody Works - Sheriff Jody
Bull Connors - Bull
Emma Lou Watkins - Brenda

COMMON-LAW WIFE is a feast of southern fried incest, adultery, murder and moonshining. The story opens with Uncle Shugg Rainey, a dirty old rich oilman, throwing darts at his live-in girlfriend, Linda. Even though Shugg's wardrobe consists only of a flea-bitten bathrobe which looks like it was picked up at the Salvation Army, we know that he's rich because he has a living room with a twelve-foot ceiling and ten-foot door. Anyway, the townsfolk all know Linda as "Mrs. Rainey," but the truth of the matter is that she and Uncle Shugg never made it to the altar. Now Shugg wants her out, because he has invited his niece "Baby Doll" to move in and "take care" of him. Out with the old, in with the new.

Linda heads to town to see a shyster. She explains that she was down and out five years ago when Uncle Shugg met her at a bar and picked her up. Later they checked in at a motel, and he registered them as "Mr. and Mrs. Shugg Rainey." He then brought her home with him, and since then they've been living together. The shyster has good news -- those facts mean that Linda is Uncle's Shugg's common-law wife, so he can't just toss her out.

In the meantime, Baby Doll (who has a Bettie Page hairdo and favors Lolita-esque sunglasses) shows up on a bus and does a very Shanty Tramp-esque walk through town. It seems that she was run out of town after some unpleasantness five years earlier and has been making her living stripping and twisting in towns like New Orleans and Miami. We learn that she had a brief fling with Jody, the town sheriff, who is now conveniently married to her sister, Brenda. When Baby Doll was a teenager, Uncle Shugg used to have her model clothes for him, and then she would practice undressing in front of him, and...well, you can guess the rest.

Baby Doll goes out to the house to see Uncle Shugg, but Linda drops the bombshell that she and Shugg are legally married. So Baby Doll decides to move in with her sister while she mulls over her options. This proximity to Sheriff Jody stirs up old passions. Before long the two of them drive to a secluded club for some skinny-dipping in the pool and they wind up doing the nasty in the clubhouse. By the time they're ready to leave, they have mysteriously acquired a change of clothing, but no one seems to care.

Baby Doll and Jody stop off at a club, where a bunch of geeky white folk are twisting the night away. Baby Doll's wandering eye irritates the sheriff, and then things come to a boil when "Bull," a moonshiner, shows up. It seems that Bull used to play house with Baby Doll, and before long he and Jody are brawling. Bull wins this round, and he takes Baby Doll out in his boat to see his still. During the trip to the still we are treated to some night-to-day-to-night-to-day-to-night sequences, futher enchancing the general feeling of disorientation the plot is instilling in the viewer. Bull is a bit like Ralph Kramden, only less refined. He puts the moves on Baby Doll but she inexplicably runs away through the woods (she puts out for everyone else, apparently).

The next day Baby Doll is confronted by her sister Brenda, who became suspicious when Jody arrived home at midnight with a black eye and Baby Doll didn't roll in until dawn. Brenda tells Baby Doll that she wants her out of the house. Meanwhile, Baby Doll is trying to figure out how she can get her hands on Uncle Shugg's money. She goes back to the club and makes up with Bull. Bull agrees to help Baby Doll get rid of Shugg, but first there is the little matter of unfinished business from the night before. So back to the still they go.

That evening Jody confronts Baby Doll in her bedroom. Before long they're making out on the bed, when who should walk in but Brenda. She grabs the sheriff's gun and tells Baby Doll to get out of the house. Baby Doll hastily packs and her suitcase is hurled into the front yard. She does a quick change of clothing in the yard and stomps off to a motel, where she calls Bull and tells him it's time to swing into action.

In the meantime, Linda is pleading with Shugg to like her again. Just then, Baby Doll shows up at the door with a bottle of white lightning that's been laced with cyanide, courtesy of Bull (it seems not to have occurred to Baby Doll that the authorities might get suspicious when her fingerprints are found all over the bottle). Linda pours some of the moonshine into an enormous goblet, which is big enough to double as a small baptistry. She then demands to know why Shugg doesn't want her anymore, and she strips down to her yoooondergarments to show him how good she looks. Just when it appears that she is getting through to Shugg, he takes a few gulps of moonshine and croaks on the spot.

I won't spoil the ending of this tawdry tale by spilling the beans about who eventually ends up inheriting Uncle Shugg's dartboard -- the finale must been seen to be believed!

**********

COLLEGE CONFIDENTIAL (1960)

Cast:

Steve Allen
Jayne Meadows
Mamie Van Doren
Walter Winchell
Conway Twitty
Mickey Shaughnessy
Elisha Cook, Jr.

Director: Albert Zugsmith

This epic tale of a sex scandal on campus opens in a courtroom, with radio announcer Walter Winchell setting the stage for "the most important trial since the Scopes case." It seems that the campus of Collins College has been shocked by "midnight showings of movies that aren't listed in any college catalog."

Flash back to a few nights earlier. Sally Blake (played with aplomb by Mamie Van Doren), a Collins College student, is out necking with her boyfriend (Conway Twitty). We then cut to her home, where her father (Elisha Cook, Jr.) is going crazy because it is nearly 3 a.m. and Sally isn't home yet. Suddenly a car screeches to a halt, Sally jumps out, and the car roars away down the street.

Dad grills Sally about the name of the "pick-up" she's been out with. Sally cleverly makes up a story that she has been out with her Sociology professor, Steve McKinter (Steve Allen). It seems that Steve has been doing a survey of student behavior, including their (gasp) sexual practices. Dad is shocked at this revelation, and asks Sally what she told Professor Steve.

Sally replies, "I told him that my mind is an open, but empty, book."

The next day Sally's dad confronts Steve at school. Steve denies that he was out with Sally, and explains that his survey is serious and important business. Sally's dad is not convinced. In the meantime, an anonymous letter-writer has written to the local newspaper, accusing Steve of "indoctrinating" the college kids into sexual behavior. Steve is engaged to Lois, the Dean's daughter, but she is very nervous about the letter. It seems that Steve has a past, and Lois is afraid that the newspaper will dig up some unspecified dirt on him.

"You can't erase the past, and you can't erase a police blotter," she sternly warns her father. Lois decides to beat it out of town before the **** hits the fan.

Steve is not alarmed. He's busy documenting college kids at play by filming them while swimming and cavorting by the river. He discovers that he's being observed by Betty Duquesne (Jayne Meadows), the reporter for the local paper who's been assigned to investigate the anonymous letter. Steve tells her that he's throwing a party for the kids on Friday night, and invites her along. He drops off his film at the local general store. Sam (Mickey Shaughnessy), the proprietor, guarantees that the movies will be ready in time, and promises to deliver plenty of food and soft drinks for the party. Sam's daughter Fay (Cathy Crosby) is one of Steve's students.

Party time arrives, and the guys and gals are dancing up a storm at Steve's bachelor pad. Steve is gulping down the punch, and soon starts acting tipsy. Obviously, someone has spiked the punch bowl. It seems Steve's dark secret is that he's an alcoholic.

Soon the lights go down and the projector comes on. After a few minutes of movies of the kids at play, the picture suddenly changes. We see the words TABASCO PRODUCTIONS and Sally cries out, "She doesn't have any clothes on!"

Yes, it seems that someone has spliced a porno movie onto Steve's home movies! But these are clean-cut American youth, in spite of appearances, so they march out en masse, muttering that Steve has "gone too far this time."

Betty is equally disgusted -- she says to Steve, "I was beginning to believe in you. But what do I see? A drunk showing pornographic movies."

The trial, as it turns out, isn't a trial, but rather a magistrate's hearing. Nevertheless, prominent newspaper writers from all over the country show up for it, and Walter Winchell is broadcasting the proceedings live, sort of a Court Radio. And it's not a courtroom after all, it's actually Sam's store -- Sam also being the local magistrate. The "trial" is pretty dull until Mamie's big dramatic moment. She is testifying that her father was very upset when he heard some of the questions in Steve's questionnaire.

Sam asks her which questions her father disapproved of, and she replies, "He really went off the deep end when I told him about the...the virginity question."

The spectators get into an uproar, and Walter Winchell says, "This is a shocker --- enough to make Dr. Kinsey blush."

I won't spoil the ending, but I should say that Steve Allen gets to chew up some scenery with a moving recitation of Shakespeare and a denunciation of small minds. And if you haven't figured out who sabotaged the party....

My print of COLLEGE CONFIDENTIAL apparently is missing some footage. Maltin says that the movie runs 91 minutes, but I timed mine at about 70 minutes. That probably explains why I never saw Rocky Marciano, even though he's listed in the credits. Incidentally, Steve Allen apparently wrote the lyrics to the song.

All in all, some priceless psychotronic moments.

Lyrics to the song "College Confidential"

Well it sounds kind of corny but it's gotta be said,
There are some among us who have come to fill their heads.
But if you're asking me, I'll say I'd rather be dead
Than stuffing my brain full of knowledge.

You know I don't dig Latin, and I'm lazy too.
I don't want to be a scholar, but what else can I do?
I've got a heart full of love and I just gotta be with you,
And that's why I go to college.

Well now, I know a girl, sweet seventeen,
She just arrived on the campus scene.
But she knows her way around, if you know what I mean,
And she ain't looking for knowledge.

She ain't a Phi Beta Kappa and it's plain to see,
She couldn't be bothered with a Ph.D.
All she really wants is her M-R-S degree,
And that's why she goes to college.

(Chorus)

Hey, it's strictly confidential, keep it under your hat,
Yeah, you shouldn't go around discussing things like that.
Call it adolescence or whatever you please,
It's fundamental, like the birds and the flowers.
And that's why we go to college.

GIRL GANG (1954)

Starring Timothy Farrell and Joanne Arnold

GIRL GANG has it all -- dope fiends, stolen cars, sex, a gas station stickup, even housecall surgery!

A couple of babes hitch a ride with some unsuspecting boob. They convince him to pull over to the side of the road for some necking and promptly waylay him. The girls deliver the car to Joe (Timothy Farrell), for whom stolen cars is a sideline. His specialty is selling Mary Janes to teenagers.

June (Joanne Arnold), who favors see-through blouses and black undergarments, is now up to five or six sticks a day, and she's looking to move up to joy pops. Jack, June's sometime boyfriend, has already graduated to mainlining heroin.

June promises to help Joe out with a scam and bring him some new customers, so Joe agrees to give her a joy pop "on the cuff." She hoists up her skirt, giving us a good long look at her thigh, and Joe shows her how to use the hypo. Jack disposes of the stolen car, and he's rewarded with a mainliner. The girls who copped the car are paid with cash and sticks of Mary Jane.

June introduces Joe to Bill and Wanda, who want to be initiated into the Cellar Club, the gathering place for experienced potheads. When Wanda shows up for her first night at the Cellar Club, one of the female members explains that as part of the initiation rite she has to "do it" with five different boys.

"You mean, have relations with five boys? I don't think I could," protests Wanda.

The other girl reassures her. "You'll have plenty of free sticks from the boys, and you won't even know it."

Thus fortified, Wanda and a boy go into a room which has a sign on the door which reads PRIVATE BUSINESS - KEEP OUT. A light bulb goes on while they're doing the deed, kinda like a darkroom. A few minutes letter, Wanda emerges, nearly in tears.

"I'm scared. I hope nothing goes wrong."

"Don't you worry one bit, honey," responds the other girl. "Doc Bedford's on our payroll."

Joe has been juicing June, Jack, Bill and Wanda "on the cuff" for some time, and he decides it's time to get paid. He wants them to stick up a gas station on Sunday morning, since all the Saturday receipts will still be in the cash register. Everyone agrees except Bill, who has to go to church with his parents Sunday morning. "No problem," says Joe. "Just tell them you're going to church early this Sunday."

Needless to say, the stickup doesn't go well. June ends up plugging the attendant, and then for some reason she throws the gun on the ground, right next to him. The attendant manages to get off two shots, killing Bill and wounding Wanda.

The L.A. Police are called to the scene. Thoroughly trained in L.A.P.D. evidence procedures, the lead cop picks up the gun with his bare hands, opens it and removes the remaining bullets. The other cop searches Bill for identification and finds only unused rosary beads.

In the meantime, one of the kids at The Cellar has done a heroin overdose. Thinking he is dead, two of the other boys dump him in an alley, where he is found by a passerby. He's rushed to the hospital and revived. An L.A. detective (who pauses several times in mid-sentence to glance at cue cards)has a discussion with a doctor about a dope peddler.

"He would, without a doubt, shoot heroin into the radiant veins of your 15 year-old daughter, and would then send her into prostitution to supply the money for her addiction. And his."

Asked how the investigation is proceeding, the detective responds, "Well, we got the information we wanted here. The kid says the fellow that supplies them the dope goes by the name of Joe."

Not realizing that the police have narrowed the suspect list down to several hundred thousand guys named Joe, our Joe is sitting at his kitchen table with his girlfriend, Daisy, and Doc Bedford. Suddenly Jack and June burst in, carrying the wounded Wanda. Joe clears off the kitchen table and tells Doc Bedford to remove the bullet.

The good doctor balks. "Look," he says, "I'm a respectable doctor. Even if I haven't got a license."

Joe convinces Doc to operate, and the kitchen table is prepared for surgery. June and Daisy go out into the hallway to wait. June paces back and forth, and Daisy tells her to calm down. Daisy grouses, "It wouldn't surprise me if this operation was another boner." June and Daisy get into a ferocious catfight.

The police, who apparently have narrowed down their list of Joes, burst into the house. Two cops subdue Daisy and June and, while Doc Bedford beats it out the back door, two others grab Jack and Joe.

"What's going on here?" cries one of the cops. "Surgery? Removing a bullet without first notifying the police?"

Doc Bedford flees across the street toward the railroad tracks, with two cops in hot pursuit. After a couple of minutes the cops apparently tire of the chase, because they stop and fire several shots into the back of the unarmed suspect.

"That's the end of him," remarks one of the cops. "Might as well call the coroner."

Timothy Farrell would reprise his role in a sequel called GUN GIRLS -- "Girls without shame, defying society and law!"




**********




USS VD SHIP OF SHAME (1945)

BEVARE!!! This review is not suitable for a family website. Send the kiddies off to bed, then come back, if you dare...

This gem is a Navy training film that is actually titled STORY OF THE DE 733. For those of you who are nautically-impaired, DE is the Navy's designation for a Destroyer Escort ship. The film was produced by Paramount in 1945, and the Navy was still using it as late as 1963.

The story opens as DE 733, badly damaged by torpedos, limps into port. The ship's Executive Officer has to explain what went wrong to his superiors. He then tells the sordid tale of what happened during the ship's last visit to an unnamed American port.

We flashback to the ship, and the members of the crew are getting ready for liberty. One officer pulls out his little black book, on the cover of which is imprinted "Stud Book." He opens it and finds Betty's phone number.

A young, inexperienced sailor asks for advice about finding some action.

"This port is lousy with Victory Girls," one sailor replies. "You can pick 'em up on every corner."

The ship's Hospital Corpsman (who naturally is called "Doc") chimes in, "Yeah, and you can pick up something else, too."

Doc then informs the crew that 90% of the "easy" women in port have VD. He encourages them to "keep your 13 buttons buttoned." But the experienced sailors dismiss Doc as a "chancre mechanic."

As one says, "But Doc, if you don't use it, it will just wilt."

Doc counters, "No, if you don't use it, you'll just have a wet dream."

Upon hearing that, another sailor says, "Ain't nature great?"

The Captain discusses the "VD problem" with the Executive Officer in dialogue that could have been written by Ed Wood. "Strange, isn't it, the hazards of sea life," muses the Captain. "We come safely out of one danger zone, only to enter another - sometimes even more treacherous."

The ship pulls into port, and the sailors hit the beach. As they leave the ship, Doc passes out rubbers and gives the crew some sage advice: "Remember to put it on before you put it in."

A few days later the ship goes back to sea. Slowly but surely the members of the crew stop into Doc's office for treatment.

"Looks like you have gonorrhea," he tells one patient.

The unbelieving sailor replies, "You mean I have Lover's Catarrh?"

Another sailor complains, "They hurt like they been in a nutcracker."

Yet another insists that he can't possibly be infected, because "I douched my canal with whiskey."

Half the crew comes down with one form of VD or another. So many sailors are laid up that the others have to pull double watches. The ship is attacked by a Jap submarine, and the sailor at the helm (who has syphilis, but refuses to get treatment) turns the ship the wrong way, into the path of a torpedo.

Now, I know this movie sounds like a lot of fun, but I should warn everyone that there are three separate scenes in Doc's office where we actually see unsheathed holsters! I personally have nothing against full frontal nudity, but in this case we are talking about holsters which are symptomatic, if you get my drift. Not a pretty sight.

USS VD SHIP OF SHAME is part of a double feature which includes RED NIGHTMARE, narrated by the inimitable Jack Webb.


MESA OF LOST WOMEN (1952)
Directed by Herbert Tevos and Ron Ormond

Cast
Doctor Aranya.................Jackie Coogan
Dan Mulcahey..................Richard Travis
"Doc" Tucker..................Allan Nixon
Doreen........................Mary Hill
Grant Phillips................Robert Knapp
Pepe..........................Chris Pin Martin
Masterson.....................Harmon Stevens
Van Croft.....................Niko Lek
Wu............................Samuel Wu
Frank.........................John Martin
Tarantella....................Tandra Quinn
George........................George Burrows
Narrator......................Lyle Talbot

Also featuring Dolores Fuller and Mona McKinnon in non-speaking parts...

"Strange...the monstrous assurance of this race of puny bi-peds with overblown egos...the creature who calls himself man..."

So begins MESA OF LOST WOMEN, an epic which takes place in the Muerto Desert in Mexico. During Lyle Talbot's opening narration, we watch as Grant Phillips and Doreen struggle to walk across the desert of death. They are saved by Frank and Pepe, two oil company employees who spot the dehydrated pair. After being revived, Grant explains that he is a pilot who crash landed on Zarpa Mesa in the middle of the desert. He wants the oil company to send out people to set the mesa on fire, because it is infested with giant killer insects.

Grant then tells a very strange tale. It starts with Dr. Leland Masterson, a world-famous scientist who has been invited to Zarpa Mesa by Dr. Aranya, a mad scientist who has written brilliant papers about the pituitary glands of insects. It's too bad that Dr. Masterson doesn't speak Spanish, or he would know that "Aranya" is the phonetic spelling of the Spanish word "arana," which means "spider" (incidentally, "zarpa" means "claw"). It seems that Dr. Aranya has mutated some giant spiders, and he has also created a race of super women with giant fingernails by injecting them with extract from the pituitary glands of insects. His efforts to create a race of super men backfired - because male insects are inferior in strength to females, Dr. Aranya's injections turned his male subjects into dwarves.

Dr. Aranya wants Dr. Masterson to be his colleague, but Masterson is horrified and refuses. Dr. Aranya then injects Masterson. Somehow Masterson escapes into the desert, but by the time he is rescued, he has gone insane. He is committed to a sanitarium, but escapes and turns up at a cantina on the U.S.-Mexico border. There he meets Van Croft and Doreen, who are flying to Mexico to be married. Their plane was forced to land because of engine trouble. Masterson is smitten with Doreen, and Van Croft is smitten with Tarantella, one of Dr. Aranya's creations who dances at the cantina. Masterson apparently recognizes Tarantella, because he pulls out a gun and shoots her. He then forces George, a nurse from the sanitarium who has tracked him to the cantina, to drive them out to Van Croft's plane.

At the plane they meet up with Grant and Wu, Van Croft's Chinese servant. Wu is given to profound sayings such as "There is a day to live and a day to die." It is also apparent that Wu secretly works for Dr. Aranya.

Masterson has developed a Messiah complex, and he forces the plane to take off, in spite of the fact that the engine trouble has not been corrected. Wu has tampered with the plane's gyroscope, and Grant unwittingly flies toward Zarpa Mesa, where he is forced to crash land after the plane conks out.

On top of Zarpa Mesa, the unfortunate travelers run into giant spiders, dwarves, and Vampira-esh women with incredibly long fingernails (and no dialogue). The dwarves spend a lot of time running around and giving off menacing looks, but otherwise do nothing. After sundown George, who by this time has passed up at least a dozen opportunities to disarm Masterson, decides it would be a good time to wander off into the underbrush and "take a look around." As you might suspect, he becomes the first victim.

Doreen starts feeling amorous toward Grant, and she admits that she is marrying Van Croft for his money. Van Croft then discovers that Doreen has lost her hair comb, a priceless family heirloom. He sends Wu into the underbrush to search for it. Wu takes this opportunity to meet with Dr. Aranya. We now learn that it was Wu's mission to bring Masterson back to Zarpa Mesa. It isn't clear how Dr. Aranya knew that Masterson would meet up with Van Croft, but this is no time to split hairs. In any event, Wu balks when Aranya informs him that he plans to experiment on Van Croft, Grant and Doreen. Wu is killed when attacked by long fingernails, and Van Croft is eaten by a giant spider.

All of this leads to an amazing climax when Masterson, his sanity returned, sacrifices himself to destroy Dr. Aranya and save Grant and Doreen.

A few production notes are in order. MESA OF LOST WOMEN includes Hoyt Curtin's flamenco score which was also used in JAIL BAIT a couple of years later. Although Ed apparently had nothing to do with MESA, the distributor of MESA also distributed JAIL BAIT, so the score was probably re-used to save a few bucks. A double feature of MESA OF LOST WOMEN and JAIL BAIT, served up with a fifth of Stoli, would certainly make for a most psychotronic evening.

Sadly, Dolores Fuller has no dialogue, although she does have one lovely closeup. Mona McKinnon has a bit part, but I wasn't able to spot her. Richard Travis, who plays the oil company's foreman, appeared in MISSILE TO THE MOON. Allan Nixon, the oil company medic, was in PREHISTORIC WOMEN.

I have a theory that George Burrows, who plays the nurse from the sanitarium, is actually George Barrows, Ro-Man from ROBOT MONSTER.

MESA OF LOST WOMEN drags in spots, but is a worthy addition to any psychotronic library. My copy is an excellent print from Sinister Cinema, and includes the original theatrical trailer for CARNIVAL OF SOULS.




**********




MANIAC (1934)

Directed by Dwain Esper

Cast:

Bill Woods
Horace Carpenter
Ted Edwards
Theo Ramsey
Phyllis Diller (no, not THAT Phyllis Diller)

Dwain Esper is best known as the director of such 30's exploitation flicks as SEX MADNESS and MARIHUANA. MANIAC is a variation on the mad doctor theme, masquerading as an educational film on mental illness.

The film opens with a preface about the vagaries of the human brain: "Fear thought is most dangerous when it parades as forethought... unhealthy thought creates warped attitudes, which in turn create criminals and mania."

The action opens in the laboratory of Dr. Meirschultz (Horace Carpenter). It seems that the doctor has figured out how to bring the dead back to life, and he wants his assistant, Maxwell (Bill Woods) to go to the morgue and purloin a corpse for his experiments.

Maxwell is a down-on-his-luck actor who specializes in impersonations. He was saved from starvation when Dr. Meirschultz took him in and gave him a job. Now the doctor wants Maxwell to demonstrate his gratitude. When Maxwell protests that he can't get into the morgue, Dr. Meirschultz tells him to impersonate the coroner.

Maxwell responds, "But --- the morgue! Dead people!"

Dr. Meirschultz looks at Maxwell with disdain and comments, "Once a ham, always a ham."

At the morgue, Dr. Meirschultz and Maxwell peek under sheets, looking for an unembalmed body. They find a young woman who committed suicide, and the doctor gives her an injection.

Back at the lab, Dr. Meirschultz puts the woman in a room to recuperate. His mind wanders to another project. He has a human heart which he has been keeping alive in a beaker, and he wants to experiment with it.

He tells Maxwell, "What I want is a victim with a shattered heart."

Maxwell breaks into the undertaker's office, but is scared off by a cat. Dr. Meirschultz goes into a frenzy upon hearing this, and pulls out a gun. He hands the gun to Maxwell, and tells him to commit suicide.

"I will then bring you back to life!"

Maxwell may be crazy, but he's not stupid. He shoots Dr. Meirschultz in the heart. As luck would have it, the doorbell then rings. It is Mrs. Buckley (Phyllis Diller), whose husband is one of the doctor's patients. Mr. Buckley (Ted Edwards) is having some sort of psychotic episode, and needs to see Dr. Meirschultz immediately.

Maxwell tells her to come back in an hour. He decides that he will have to impersonate the doctor. When Mrs. Buckley returns with her husband, Maxwell looks just like the doctor, except that he doesn't have a clue what he is doing. He examines Buckley and decides to give him a placebo injection of water. Unfortunately, he picks up a hypodermic needle containing super adrenalin instead, and shoots this into Buckley's vein.

Buckley immediately goes berserk, shouting "Fire in my brain - agony - it's torture, it's torture!"

Just then, the young woman who was brought back to life by Dr. Meirschultz emerges from her room. Buckley grabs her and runs off into the woods, where he tears off her clothes and ravages her.

Mrs. Buckley looks at Maxwell and says, "What was in that hypo?"

Maxwell then tells Mrs. Buckley that if her husband dies, he will bring him back to life.

"I like that," says Mrs. Buckley. "Then I'll be able to control him."

Maxwell then sends Mrs. Buckley on her way. Of course, Maxwell has a problem - he doesn't know the formula. He decides to bring Dr. Meirschultz back to life, and he will replace his heart with the one the doctor had pickled. However, as he drags the doctor's body to the operating table, he hears a crash. Dr. Meirschultz' black cat has knocked over the beaker, and is eating the heart!

Maxwell decides that he will have to bury the body in the basement. He takes down part of a brick wall and puts Dr. Meirschultz' body behind it. Maxwell then hears the black cat crying at him, and he begins to hallucinate about Satan. We then see a short dream sequence which is remarkably similar to that in GLEN OR GLENDA.

Thinking that the cat is the devil, Maxwell cries out, "Satan -- that gleam! -- stand between me and salvation, will you?"

Maxwell then chases the cat and grabs ahold of it. He plucks out the cat's left eye, which has been giving off the insidious gleam.

He holds up the eye and proclaims, "Why, it's not unlike an oyster -- or a grape! But the gleam is gone!"

I won't tell you what he does with the eye next, but he hadn't eaten all day.

The feline cyclops now jumps into the partially sealed tomb, and Maxwell finishes putting the bricks into place. Meanwhile, the police have been receiving reports of strange activities at Dr. Meirschultz' place.

As one neighbor puts it, "Those that monkeys with what they got no business to, gets queer sooner or later."

We are then introduced to Maxwell's wife, Alice (Theo Ramsey), who has been reduced to working as a lady of the evening. She and three other women are sitting around in a hotel room in their yoooonderwear.

"If it wasn't for me," Alice says, "you'd be sleeping on a park bench with light, fleecy covers made by the great American press."

One of the other women replies, "Press? That reminds me, I have a pressing engagement."

Alice sees a story in the paper that the authorities are looking for Maxwell, because he has been named sole heir to the estate of a long-lost relative who died. Alice decides to track her hubby down.

She shows up at Dr. Meirschultz' office, where Maxwell notices that she has The Gleam in her eye. Maxwell figures that he needs to get rid of both his wife and Mrs. Buckley, so he tells each of them that the other is crazy. He arms them with hypodermic needles and locks them in the basement together, where they have a catfight worthy of Allison Hayes and Beverly Garland. Dueling hypos!

Well, the police show up and break up the fight. The cat starts meowing behind the wall, and Maxwell starts shouting about The Gleam.

Alice and Mrs. Buckley look at each other and say in unison, "Why, he's crazy!"

The final shot shows Maxwell, no longer dressed as Dr. Meirschultz, behind bars. Ever the aspiring actor, he laments, "I only wanted to amuse, to entertain."

The action is interspersed with definitions of mental illness and its relation to sex crimes, which gives Esper an excuse to include some nudity. There is also a little sub-plot about a neighbor who sells cats' fur. Something about the rats eating meat, and the cats eating the rats...actually, all that natural selection was a bit too much for for me to keep up with.

This movie contains several elements which indicate that Esper may have been an influence on our beloved Ed Wood. I am in the process of obtaining a copy of SEX MADNESS (which should make a fine companion piece to USS VD SHIP OF SHAME) and will explore this further.

And some comments by Phred...

I reported on MANIAC somewhat more shortly before you joined us. So I can say you truly captured the genius of this film. Let me just add a few details:

First the psycho episode that Buckley goes through is thinking he is the orang-utan in Poe's story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue". Like Roger Corman, Dwain Esper seems to have been inspired by Poe. Note the bits from "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", "The Tell-Tale Heart", and "The Black Cat" as well as "The Rue Morgue".

Second, that footage of the Devil is from the silent Swedish classic, WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES. Has anyone else here seen this--it is truly a psychotronic must.

Finally, let's not forget the music which accompanies the descriptions of psychoses. It's brilliant how it destroys all dramatic tension.

Schizophrediac

 

 

 

 

OLGA'S GIRLS (1964)

Cast:

Audrey Campbell - Olga
Rickey Bell - Collette
Ava Denning - Susie
Darlene Bennett - Connie
Jean Laloni - Bunny
Ann Pepper - Kitty
Gil Adams - White Slaver
Perry Peters and Audrey Campbell - Narrators

This much-anticipated sequel to WHITE SLAVES OF CHINATOWN is no disappointment. Once again there is no dialogue (narration is provided by Olga herself, as well as the guy who narrated THE CREEPING TERROR, but hey, who's looking for snappy repartee?), but we do get lotsa naked BBBBBBs, some smut-tay girl-girl activities, dismemberment, a lesson or two about the evils of international Communism, even classical music!

For the first time we learn that Olga's last name is Saglo (this is a George Weiss production, after all). It seems that Olga has expanded her vice operation out of the confines of Chinatown, and she is planning an even larger empire of debauchery. But, as always, her biggest problem is keeping her girls in line. "When Olga put on her special uniform -- Olga would call this her "Cape of Persuasion" -- she really meant business...Olga's greatest pastime was to break and bend her subjects' will to hers -- and this she did well."

Connie has been bad, so Olga drags her down to the "Den of Persuasion" (the basement, complete with asbestos-wrapped pipes). Olga puts Connie into a chastity belt (that will keep her out of circulation for a while) and ties her to a chair. Time for a little scourging ("Don't worry, I won't leave any scars"). Connie's exposed BBBBBBs heave with every crack of the whip.

The plot thickens when the mob, which finances Olga's operation, finds out that one of Olga's girls has tipped off the cops. It's up to Olga to find out who squealed, or Olga will get her own taste of the chastity belt. Not one to waste any time, Olga decides to torture each of her girls, until the guilty one breaks.

In the midst of all this hard work, Olga admits that it's getting to her. "This evening I must relax, I must unwind. Ah, Bunny, the epitome of innocence, her clean, soft skin. If only I could touch her. That would help me relax. Bunny, Bunny, look at me..."

Bunny, whose eyes tend to bug out (kinda like Dino Fantini's victims in THE SINISTER URGE), seems perplexed, so Olga's voiceover says, "Come on now, do what I do." Olga then tosses her wristwatch on the floor. So Bunny tosses her wristwatch on the floor. Olga tosses her shoes on the floor. Bunny tosses her shoes on the floor. "So warm in here," says Olga, "I think I'll take off my blouse."

Then, to the swelling refrain of Tchaikovsky's ROMEO AND JULIET, Olga disrobes. "You will be mine this evening. You want what I have to give, don't you? This skirt is so confining, I think I'll just slip it off..."

Back at work, Olga is frustrated by the continued disobedience of her charges. "When will these girls ever learn that I'm the master here? Tramps! Lousy tramps, every one!" She whips them, applies some electro-shock therapy, confines them to cages, etc. Finally, Kitty confesses that she's the one who tipped off the cops, so Olga hacks off Kitty's tongue. Kitty then OD's on heroin and dies, so Olga slices and dices the rest of Kitty and tosses her into the furnace.

Occasionally some Edwoodian lines are slipped in by the narrator. "The next day, Olga had an unexpected visitor. Gordon, the pimp, had returned -- just as he said he would."

A civics lesson provides the all-important redeeming social value. As Olga pores over a map of Manhattan, the narrator intones, "The FBI is convinced beyond doubt that the spread of narcotics addiction is in line with the spread and growth of Communism, here in New York and elsewhere in the United States. Dope addiction is on the rise and can be definitely traced to Soviet Russia and Chinese Communist agents working underground here. The drug traffic is now the main medium by which Red China supports its massive subversive operation, here and elsewhere in the world." Say what? Chinese agents working here, in the U.S. of A.? Do we know anyone who might fit that description?

Well, Olga's expansion plans hit a snag when some of her girls revolt and decide to set up their own operation. This gives us the opportunity to see some more all-girl parties, with lots of dope smoking and not a little leering. Naturally, Olga isn't going to take this lying down, and there is the third movie in the Olga Trilogy to think about -- OLGA'S HOUSE OF SHAME.

*****

BIRTHRIGHT (1952)

BIRTHRIGHT is another gem from the fine folks at Something Weird. It started out as a health education film made by the Southern Educational Film Production Service and was filmed entirely (well, almost entirely) on location in Gainesville, Georgia.

The satory opens on a chicken farm, where John and Liza Lloyd live with Liza's parents. The old folks, Jeremiah and Maw, look like the American Gothic couple on Prozac. Jeremiah and John have gone into business together, raising chickens, but things aren't going so well. The chickens are dying, and John and Liza satart bickering. He's tired of having to do all the work and listening to Jeremiah whine about the dead chicks.

"Yes, we'll keep on living here. Letting your father decide how we're going to raise our children. Letting your mother decide how you're going to dress."

John stalks out and drives to town. Fortunately, he has his best overalls on so he's dressed for a night out. He meets some old truck driver pals at Jake's Cafe, where he quaffs a few brews. The new waitress, Nell, has her eye on John, but he pretty much ignores her. Finally, it's closing time and John gets the boot. When Nell locks up, she finds John in front of Jake's in a bit of a stupor.

"You can't stay here for the night, chicken farmer," she says. "You'd better come over the my place for some coffee and sober up."

CUT! Suddenly we're inside a house, and there's John -- at least, it's supposed to be John -- only instead of wearing overalls, he's in a pinstriped suit. A pretty clever guy, wearing his Sunday best under his Mr. Greenjeans outfit! Anyway, he's with a babe who doesn't look much like Nell, but she's taking her shirt off, so who's looking at her face, anyway? Then...CUT!

Suddenly John's back in his overalls, leaving Nell's house. The nasty deed has been done.

Now it's a couple of months later, and Liza lets on that she's pregnant.

"Used to be a woman didn't tell her old man until she couldn't hide it," says Maw. "One time I kept my condition from old Jeremiah almost four months."

In the meantime, the Health Department decides that all food service workers have to be examined. And wouldn't you know it -- Nell has syphilis! Of course, it wasn't her fault. Her skunk of a husband gave her the dose right before he ran off with some floozy. Naturally, the Health Department wants to know if Nell's been passing it around, so she tells them that she made it with a "tall, dark-haired chicken farmer named John." Too bad she didn't get his last name, she's told. But they should able to cure him, if they can find him. But if his wife is pregnant, well, that baby could be in for a rough time.

Happily, a while later John shows up in town, and Nell spots him. But before she has a chance to talk to him, he gets talked into getting examined at a Health Fair the town was sponsoring. A few days later John picks up his mail, and he gets an official notice -- he has to see the Health Department doctor right away. Well, he gets the bad news, and now he has to figure out how to tell Liza. She's almost four months pregnant, and he tries to talk her into seeing a doctor. But she's doing fine, and she doesn't need a doctor yet.

"A lot of fuss over nothing," says Jeremiah.

John finally confesses to Liza. "The baby might be born blind, or crippled, or dead," he laments.

The doctor tells them that he thinks there is time to save the baby.

"Of course," he chastises, ignoring John's role in this, "it would have been better had Mrs. Lloyd gone to a doctor earlier."

Her own doctor (naaat played by Timothy Farrell) yells at her, too: "Exactly. You thought you were all right, and yet you endangered the life of your own child."

Well, after lotsa doses of penicillin, Liza goes into labor and off they run to the hospital. John is pacing around in the waiting room, when all of a sudden...CUT!

Now we're into some medical school birthing film, and if I can finish writing this without losing my dinner, it'll be only through the grace of Gaaad and Bennie Hinn! And this isn't just ANY birthing film -- no, this one tells you everything you never wanted to know about a breech birth! I mean, this is naaat a pretty sight. The doctor's using clamps and he's reaching in and twisting and turning and a leg comes out and an arm and it's all messy and I'm thinking, "Jeez, somebody yank that kid out of there and get it over with already." Thankfully, then it's CUT! And we're back to John again.

The baby's born healthy, and John goes into some sort of postnatal depression brought on by guilt over his lustful ways. But all is forgiven, the chickens are doing better, and even Jeremiah shows a glimmer of emotion.

BIRTHRIGHT is an uplifting, moral tale which teaches a valuable lesson. I know that I learned from it. That's why I made an appointment to see my ob/gyn specialist, first thing in the morning.

**********

RED NIGHTMARE (1962)

Cast:

Jack Kelly
Peter Breck
Andrew Duggan
Robert Conrad
Jeanne Cooper
Patricia Woodell

Narrated by Jack Webb

Director: George Waggner

RED NIGHTMARE was produced by Warner Brothers for the Defense Department "under the personal supervision of Jack L. Warner." The film opens in what looks to be a typical American town. A small town, I'll admit, but nevertheless a town of people. People who died.

You see, this isn't an American town at all. It's somewhere in the vastness of the Soviet Union. It's a town where Soviet spies are taught about life in America, so they can infiltrate and enslave us!

Jack Webb, narrating is his usual dynamic style, informs us that we are at risk if we continue to take our freedoms for granted. He takes us into the home of a typical American factory worker, Jerry Donovan (Jack Kelly, aka Bart Maverick).

Jerry is supposed to go to a union meeting after work, but he begs off by telling everyone that his in-laws are visiting. He has a PTA meeting scheduled on Wednesday night, but he doesn't want to go to that, either. And his wife (Jeanne Cooper) chews him out because he also missed his last Reserve meeting. It seems Jerry would rather go bowling.

Jerry's wife informs him that their daughter, Linda (Patricia Woodell), has invited her boyfriend (Peter Breck) over for dinner. At dinner the two lovebirds can't keep their eyes off each other, and Linda pours coffee into her dessert.

Mom asks Linda, "Is there something on your mind?"

Linda replies, "How can you tell?"

Linda then announces that she is engaged, and Jerry throws a hissy fit.

Time for bed, so Jack Webb decides to teach Jerry a lesson by giving him a Red Nightmare! Jerry dreams that he is living in THAT TOWN where everybody is really a Russian. He wants to take the family to a movie, but Mom informs him that "The Commissar" has ordered him to give a speech to the PTA on the "enlightened teachings of Communism."

Suddenly, Soviet troops burst into the house to take Linda away. It seems that she has volunteered to work on a collective farm.

"Why did you do that?" the incredulous Jerry asks.

"The Party convinced me that I should free myself of the lingering influences of bourgeois family life," she responds.

Jerry goes to work at the factory, where he learns that a production quota has been implemented. The lathe breaks down, so Pete (Robert Conrad), a co-worker, goes up to Jerry to find out what the problem is. If they don't meet the quota, Pete reminds Jerry, everyone will be blamed.

"I advise you to work during your lunch hour," Pete warns. "The quota must be met, and Comrade Commissar isn't interested in excuses."

Sunday morning arrives, and Jerry plans to bring his two younger children to Sunday School. The kids have different plans, because they are packing to go off to a "State School."

As his daughter says, "We learned in school that home life does not encourage the growth of the collective character which the Party wishes to develop in its young people."

"It's your fault," his son chimes in. "You should have spent more time training us to think along Party lines. As a member of the Young Pioneers, it will be my duty to report you."

Jerry drags the kids off to church anyway, but he discovers that the church is now the "People's Museum." The museum is showing an exhibit of Soviet inventions, such as the telephone! Jerry flips out and starts destroying things, and he is arrested.

Jerry wakes up just before his execution, and he now appreciates the fact that attending PTA meetings is the key to safeguarding freedom. And, to complete the happy ending, Linda agrees to postpone her wedding until after her boyfriend finishes his hitch in the service.

George Waggner, the director of RED NIGHTMARE, had reached the high point of his career 21 years earlier with THE WOLF MAN. By the late fifties he was reduced to directing things like DESTINATION 60,000.

RED NIGHTMARE was re-released by Rhino video a few years ago as THE COMMIES ARE COMING, THE COMMIES ARE COMING. I remember seeing it in boot camp, and I gladly sacrificed four years of my life so that I wouldn't be forced to work on my lunch hour.


Title: THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN
AKA: MADMEN OF MANDORAS
Release Date: 1964

Cast:

Walter Stocker - Phil Daly
Audrey Caire - Kathy Daly
Carlos Rivas - Camine
John Holland - John Coleman
Dani Lynn - Suzanne
Marshall Reed - Frank Dvorak
Nestor Paiva - Police Chief Alaniz
Scott Peters - David Garrick
Pedro Regas - Padua
Keith Dahle - Tom Sharon
Bill Freed - Mr. H.

This is one of those films which make you proud that you're psychotronic. Most of it was shot in the late fifties with fairly ambitious intentions, as evidenced by the fact that the producers hired famed cinematographer Stanly Cortez. What happened to the production isn't entirely clear -- either the producers ran out of money or they lost a reel of film, because by 1963 it still hadn't been completed. As the story goes, some UCLA film students filmed about 30 minutes of additional footage, spliced it into the original and Voila! -- THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN!

The story opens in El Camino, California. A scientist leaves his office with the only known copy of the formula for an antidote to the extremely dangerous Nerve Gas G. Unbeknownst to him, the scientist is being followed by the Blues Brothers, two dudes in black suits and hats who also happen to drive a black Lincoln Continental. The scientist gets into his car, turns on the ignition and is blown to kingdom come. The Blues Brothers chuckle and drive away.

We then jump to CID headquarters (apparently the CIA wasn't available), where the head of the agency calls in one of his operatives, Vic (although Vic wears his hair over the collar, sixties-style, there is a photo of Ike on the wall of the office!). They discuss the case, and Vic drops a bombshell -- it seems that the dead scientist wasn't the only one who knew the formula, because another scientist named Professor Coleman actually developed it. Vic is given orders to investigate the bombing, but he's told to stay away from Professor Coleman. He's also told that an assistant named Tony will be working with him. The CID guy then receives a sinister phone call from the South American country of Mandoras.

The next morning Vic meets up with Tony, who turns out to be Toni, wearing a mini-skirt and bearing a startling resemblance to Rosie O'Donnell. They get off on the wrong foot when Vic condescendingly remarks that it must not be dangerous mission if they assigned him a female assistant. Big mistake, Vic! Anyway, things settle down and Vic and Toni spend the day driving around in Toni's VW bug. Toni wants to see Professor Coleman, but Vic says that orders are orders.

In the meantime, Professor Coleman is lecturing on Nerve Gas G and shows home movies of elephants keeling over after being exposed to the gas. In the audience is his son-in-law, Phil Day, who also works for the CID. Coleman has another daughter named Suzanne, and after the lecture he receives an anonymous call telling him to get over to Suzanne's apartment immediately. He rushes to the apartment and finds Suzanne's boyfriend, David, knocked out on the floor. Coleman and David rush out of the apartment, only to be confronted by two Germans who order them into a car. Suddenly there is a quick edit and the car pulls away from the building -- only now the car is being driven by the Blues Brothers, and David has disappeared. Toni, who decided to disobey orders and follow Coleman, sees what happens and takes off in slow pursuit in her sputtering VW.

Having captured the indispensable Professor Coleman, the Blues Brothers decide that the best place to hold him is a tract home in the suburbs. Toni sneaks up to a window to see what's going on, but she is spotted and a fine day for night car chase ensues. Toni finally gets tired of driving and stops at a pay phone to call Vic. She just manages to tell Vic what's going on (and mentions that Nazis are involved) when the Blues Brothers pull up to the phone and plug her. Vic hops into his car and rushes over to the house where Professor Coleman is being held. But instead of the professor, Vic runs into his boss at the CID, who is in cahoots with the Nazis. Suddenly, a shot rings out and Vic's boss falls to the floor. A door opens and Toni enters. She tells Vic to make a run for it and she hits the deck, dead. Just then, the Blues Brothers return (no explanation as to how Toni, who was mortally wounded at the pay phone, got back to the house before the Blues Brothers). Vic ducks out a window but is seriously wounded as he gets into his car. Another day for night car chase ends when Vic passes out at the wheel and crashes into a power station. That's the end of Vic, and the Blues Brothers congratulate each other on a job well done.

By now we're 35 minutes into the film, there's been no mention of Hitler, and nearly all of the characters have been killed off. We make a sudden switch to Stanley Cortez cinematography, and Phil returns home to his lovely wife, who is decked out in a nightie and is busy mixing drinks. Later they leave to go out for dinner and are accosted by a man who forces them into his car. He tells them that they must help because Professor Coleman has been kidnapped by Nazis and is being taken to Mandoras. Just then the black Lincoln Continental pulls up alongside (this time the two Germans are in the car), a shot rings out and the man keels over.

"What's wrong?" asks Phil, apparently oblivious to the gunshot.

Well, their new friend is deceased, so Phil and his wife shove him into a phone booth.

"They'll find him soon enough," declares Phil.

So it's off to Mandoras, where Phil and his wife meet up with Camine, who explains that at the end of World War II Hitler's body was in bad shape, so his doctors figured out a way to keep him alive by severing his head from the rest of his body (oddly enough, the name "Hitler" is never spoken in the movie -- Camine refers to him as "Mr. H"). Hitler's head was then spirited out of Germany to Mandoras, where he now plans to conquer the world by releasing Nerve Gas G as soon as they have gotten the antidote formula out of Professor Coleman. There are some fine scenes of Hitler's head under glass, flashing a sinister smirk everytime his underlings mention the upcoming gas attack. This is followed by a dizzying series of chases, captures, and escapes, not to mention the sudden and unexplained appearance and disappearance of various characters. The climactic confrontation appears to have been filmed on the set of ROBOT MONSTER. In the final scene Phil Day plants a big smooch on his wife, who suggests that it's time for him to change his name -- to "Night."

SMUT-TAY!!!!