Archive for the ‘B-films’ Tag

Monster-a Go Go (1965)   3 comments

aposter

A rocket crash lands on Earth and a helicopter flies out to check for survivors. When the brass arrive, they find the burned, too-small-to-hold-a-human rocket with no astronaut in sight and a dead helicopter pilot. Oh well. They go back to the lab so they can stand around awkwardly and a narrator says things. That’s pretty much Act One.

rocket
“Hey Hank, is this what you were looking for?”

Later, a bunch of forty-something college students dance at a boring party. That’s the a-go-go part. A couple leave the party to go neck and a creature with a pituitary problem and a bad oatmeal masque attack them. The narrator says more things. That’s the monster part.

oatmeal
“Do my pores look smaller to you?”

Now, we’re in a lab manned by quasi-Annette Funicello and an accountant wearing Groucho glasses. They discuss radioactivity and office politics. After Annette leaves, Groucho does sneaky stuff with the antidote she just made and the narrator tells us this scientist is hiding the monster. Groucho goes out for a sandwich and when he comes back, he finds the lab has been destroyed. The narrator lets us know this is the monster’s doing and soon Groucho is getting a good talking to by his boss, Colonel Somebody. He meant well though so they kiss and make up. The monster runs amok again and I lose the will to live. That’s Act Two, I guess.

annette
You could cut the tension with a knife.

Stuff and things and running. Anyway, they corner the creature in a sewer. Do sewers have corners? They’re just about to grab him when…absolutely nothing happens. You’re not surprised because the film has established that pattern already. The End.

aapic
“Lady, I’m tellin’ ya. This is the only way out of the movie.”

What can I say about Monster-a Go Go? Hmm…Herschell Gordon Lewis didn’t want credit for it. A military guy in one scene has no insignia. Budget issues? Another high-level conference scene looks like it’s taking place in a laundromat. Good call, @FanForumsTV ! Oh, the music! The music sounds like it’s being performed, on found instruments, by Yoko Ono’s less talented cousin. In one scene, you can hear someone making a ring sound with his mouth before the guy picks up the phone. I’m not kidding. Actors stand around awkwardly waiting for each other to talk and I swear one guy’s cue cards were on the floor. No one in the film can act and the plot doesn’t move forward…or sideways…or even backwards. It just lies there like a slug waiting to be salted. If it weren’t for Captain Exposition (the narrator) you’d never know what anyone was doing or why. Actually, you still don’t, but at least he doesn’t mumble like the rest of the cast who sound like they’re talking into a tin pail full of mashed potatoes. At least the cinematography holds up. Just kidding.

anyuk
“Why did I order clams in Omaha?”

Bill Rebane directed this muck and The Giant Spider Invasion. Yep. Monster-a Go Go came out a year after The Creeping Terror which set the bar so low you’d think it would take the trophy for crappy, poorly-acted films with too much narration, but no. Monster-a Go Go wins. Painful.

aaout
“I’m outa here.”

Strait-Jacket (1964)   6 comments

jacket poster

Lee Majors picks up a woman in a bar and brings her back to his house. The two lovers sleep soundly after their tryst until Majors’ wife Lucy (Joan Crawford) arrives and spoils everything. Things go poorly for the couple after that. Caught ranting at the scene of the double murder, Joan is shipped off to an asylum wearing…you guessed it.

strait
This is not an original!

Twenty years later, Joan, cured of being insane, heads home to her family’s farm where her grown daughter Carol (Diane Baker), Joan’s brother Bill (Leif Erickson), and his wife Emily (Rochelle Hudson) have promised to care for Joan. If it sounds ideal, think again. Even the tour Carol gives Lucy when she first arrives at the farm has a sinister vibe. Lucy is thrust into her former life twenty years after she left it. She dresses as if she’s a 28 year old floozy and even tries to suck face with her daughter’s beau Michael (John Anthony Hayes). It doesn’t go well. All of Lucy’s personal crises come to a head as people start losing theirs. Will heads continue to roll? Will Michael’s snotty parents approve of their future daughter-in-law’s nutjob mother? Will Pepsi work more product placement into the film? Will Joan continue to wear those annoying charm bracelets? Strait-Jacket’s worth watching to see the story’s unpredictable conclusion.

axy
You only serve Coke?!

Full of director/producer William Castle’s neat little touches, and writer Robert Bloch’s flair for psychopaths, Strait-Jacket has it all. Decapitations, insanity, and more sharp knives and slaughterhouse references than an Upton Sinclair novel. Joan even gets to slap someone. We also see one of George Kennedy’s early film roles as creepy farmhand Leo Krause.

george paint
I’ll use a different brush for the tires.

I recommend Strait-Jacket. It’s a well-made thriller with solid performances that keeps you guessing. If you’ve read any of my reviews you know I’m a big fan of B horror films and this one’s a gem.
Goofy trivia: Mitchell Cox, vice-president of PepsiCo played the part of Lucy’s doctor. Joan Crawford was on the board of directors of the soft drink company at the time.

headless
Teehee.

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