Category: 1959


tumblr_le9du4WUNz1qb8ugro1_1280This fetching young woman is the late Hungarian actress, Eva Bartok (1927-98), who had a 16-year career in front of the camera between 1950-66. We saw her last in Spaceways (1953). Bartok may have had a child by way of Frank Sinatra from an affair in 1956, but other than that bit of gossip, she’s more-or-less forgotten about these days. Her films tended to be B-list melodrama thrillers, often with a World War II or early Cold War espionage angle.

1952. Also starring Christopher Lee.

1952. Also starring Christopher Lee.

1953. With Nazis!

1953. With Nazis!

1955. Hammer film about trying to exfiltrate a Polish scientist to the West.

1955. Hammer film about trying to exfiltrate a Polish scientist to the West.

1956. Commies using gamma rays to turn children into mutants!

1956. Commies using gamma rays to turn children into mutants!

1958. Teutonic white slavery racket exposed!

1958. Teutonic white slavery racket exposed!

1959. Keeping Nazis from the diamond fortune.

1959. Keeping Nazis from the diamond fortune.

1959. Double-billed with Dinosaurus! (1960)

1959. Double-billed with Dinosaurus! (1960)

1960. Possibly Bartok at her best.

1960. Possibly Bartok at her best.

1964. Mario Bava classic.

1964. Mario Bava classic.

Jackie Coogan (1914-84)

Jackie Coogan (1914-84)

In our last poster collection we ran into Jackie Coogan in Mesa of Lost Women (1953); here are several of his other films. Best known as “Uncle Fester” from the original Addams Family sit-com (1964-66), he was, however, on film from 1919 to 1984, after being discovered by Charlie Chaplin himself when Coogan was just 5 years old.

Exploitation fans will note his role in a couple “teenage angst” films of the 50s, some shlocky sci-fi, some awful sex comedies in the 50s and 60s, and finally turning toward horror in the twilight of his career. He passed away in 1984 at the age of 69 after a heart attack.

Also, Yvonne Craig's first film--you know her as Batgirl from the 1960s Batman series.

1957. Also, Yvonne Craig’s first film–you know her as Batgirl from the 1960s Batman series.

Evidently, the term "weedhead" did not stick.

1958. Evidently, the term “weedhead” did not stick.

Another Jack Arnold joint--he also directed High School Confidential, It Came From Outer Space, and The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

1958. Another Jack Arnold joint–he also directed High School Confidential (1958), The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), and It Came From Outer Space (1953).

Starring the quite white Julie London as the biracial wife.

1959. AKA, The Color of Her Skin, also stars the quite white Julie London as the biracial wife.

When seen in the original theatrical release, audience members were given free "beatnik dictionaries", to decipher "beat" terms and catch-phrases.

1959. When seen in the original theatrical release, audience members were given free “beatnik dictionaries”, to decipher “beat” terms and catch-phrases.

AKA: Teacher vs. Sexpot; The Beauty and the Robot; Sexpot Goes to College; and Teacher Was a Sexpot. All could be porn parodies today.

1960. AKA: Teacher vs. Sexpot; The Beauty and the Robot; Sexpot Goes to College; and Teacher Was a Sexpot. All could be porn parodies today.

First B-movie comedy to riff on Castro, only one to make it a comedy. If by "Girls Take Over" you mean girls are present a party for some soldier dudes in last 15 minutes of the film, then this is aptly named.

1962. First B-movie comedy to riff on Castro, only one to make it a comedy. If by “Girls Take Over” you mean girls are present a party for some soldier dudes in last 15 minutes of the film, then this is aptly named.

Film release delayed for three months when Note Dame University took studio to court for using NDU's name.

1965. Film release delayed for three months when Note Dame University took studio to court for using NDU’s name. Written by William Peter Blatty.

Briefly, a "Video Nasty."

1979. Briefly, a “Video Nasty.”

Coogan's last project, shot in 1978, but not released until '84.

1984. Coogan’s last project, shot in 1978, but not released until ’84.

Linkage: September 2014 Edition

Several good posts to make sure you catch this month, from the usual suspects of good B-exploitation-horror writers. Enjoy!

If you’re into bad cinema, watching Robo Vampire is a mystical experience.

  • The Church of Splatter Day Saints, one of my favorite blogs out there, recently announced their return to active blogging after taking some time off to build a spiffy new site. Looks great and is worth your time.
  • Cult Movie Reviews gives a quick review of a fun little Ichiro Honda film, Battle in Outer Space (1959).

  • Red Letter Media interviews Samurai Cop himself, Matt Hannon, who is very much alive, in two parts:

Shaft Comic

LSD

 

Lastly, Brutal As Hell has a must-read two-parter: Lovely Sort of Death: A Brief History of LSD in Cinema (part 1; part 2)

 

If you’ve not seen these, drop what you’re doing and find them RIGHT NOW.

Anti-Film School

drive-in-theater-30

Today, a little over three hundred drive-in movie theaters remain sprinkled throughout the United States. This means that many Americans are not lucky enough to have a drive-in movie theater close by their home. In the drive-in’s heyday, small production companies would release B-movies tailor-made for the drive-in audience. There was everything from angry extraterrestrials to hip-shaking teenage beach parties, all of which are now enjoyed for their campy special effects and corny performances. Today, many of these films are available on DVD, Blu-ray, or Netflix, and can be enjoyed from the comfort of your couch. If you’re someone without the luxury of a drive-in theater nearby, you can create your own drive-in movie night right at home. Just grab any one of these out-of-this-world flicks, pop some pop corn, cook up a few hot dogs on the grill, grab a date or the kids, throw open the living room…

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Check out this excellent discussion of this great film over at Forgotten Films. Also, check out 50 Westerns From the 50s.

It’s time for another good-sized roundup of good movie reviews from the tweeps.  Love how you folks are keeping exploitation and B-movies in circulation.

With a good-sized H/T to Cultural Gutter, I saw this interesting post on TV criticism vs. TV recapping, among other things.  I liked it because it gives voice to what I’m trying to give birth to on this blog, in the context of exploitation and B-Movies, instead of scripted television dramas:

. . .  carving out a niche for long-form pieces that look beyond the pluses and minuses of a single episode to examine its greater potential and its place in the culture . . .

I’ve been trying to figure ways to take my movie blog that you’re reading now beyond recapping and reviewing individual films, which does seem to me to be the dominant mode of the cinema blogosphere.  Giving as much as I can about the backstory of a film’s making, information sometimes captured in book-length pieces, or trapped in the academic community seems one good way to get there.  Another seems to be the looking into period press, much of which is is not online, to give some idea of how these films I cover were received as they came out seems like a fruitful avenue.  I’ve some other ideas too, which are not ready for prime time yet, but suffice it to say I was glad to see the idea of moving beyond single-film perspectives in the above post.

This last one reminds me of a side-project I just might get going, doing a “movie-of-the-day” about Jaws-rip-offs of various kinds of animals attacking people. If this furlough keeps going, you never know what can happen!

  • Over at Forgotten Films we get some good posts on a variety of fun flicks, a couple of which should be seen annually, I think: Blackenstein (1973) was part of the early-to-mid 1970s blaxploitation series remaking classic horror icons, other examples being the William Marshall vehicles Blacula and Abby (remaking The Exorcist). FF also talks Grizzly (1976), another of the aforementioned Jaws rips; The Awakening (1980) a snoozer in which yet another ancient Egyptian queen comes back to life, this time with no thanks to Charlton Heston’s and Stephanie Zimbalist’s overwrought acting.  Lastly, we get one of two takes this week of my own guilty pleasure, Zombie Lake (1981), about zombie Nazis.  Or Nazis, who happen to be zombies.  Or whatever.  Also, check out Midnight Triple Feature’s separate review of Zombie Lake.

Starring Barbara Steele, who I recently saw in Piranha 18 years after this one, still messing shit up, this time, and yet again, with the wildlife eating people!

Car

Co-starring Sandor Elès, whose death anniversary was a month or so ago.

  • Lost Highway was three fun ones this time: Pieces (1983), a self-explanatory classic slasher ripoff of the irreplaceable Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974); Night Tide (1961) in which young Dennis Hopper falls in love with a woman who may or may not be a mermaid; and Journey to the Seventh Planet (1961), classic B-sci-fi about visiting Uranus.  My tweeps are pretty monster/slasher horror-focused, so seeing some good old fashioned sci-fi/horror here in the bunch is nice and refreshing.
  • The positively essential Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) gets a new review, courtesy of Church of Splatter-Day Saints, not only did this flick introduce the facehugging monster that Alien gets all the credit foe later, but this film helped revive Universal Studios’ flagging fortunes by introducing new possibilities for monster movies when the genre had all but run its course in the mid-1950s.

Lastly, I’ll conclude this post with a fun link over to The Hollywood Reporter and their interviews with all concerned with the making of Evil Dead 2.  “We were like ‘Jackass’ with a plot”!  Enjoy!

Here’s a bit on what I’ve been reading as of late–mainly from those with the sufficiently poor judgment as to follow me on Twitter. Seriously, you folks are awesome, and I wanted to highlight your stuff to the 8 or so people who read this blog 😉  Mainly I read your movie reviews, I’ve seen many of these, but a few I have not, and I’ll be getting to those soon.  I don’t like to review individual films so much–I know my limitations–but enjoy reading yours very much. Here, I thought I would match the reviews to where we can find online viewing of trailers and full movies,just for convenience.  There’s a few non-movie reviews tucked in here, too.

These links are no real order, but do check out these fine purveyors of horror and B-movies!

George Wendt!

  • Horrorpedia and Stigmatophilia both take on Hack-O-Lantern (aka: Halloween Night) from 1988.  I hate it when Grandpa ends up a satanic cult leader!
  • Daily Grindhouse offers a list of “50 Cult Movie Books Every Film Fan Should Own.”  I am a book lover too, so I loved this set of posts: parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.  I think the essentials here are numbers 36, 31, 28, 20, 19, 13 (these last three are my all time favorites) 10 and 2.  Some of the works included seemed like filler to get to 50, while some good ones seemed to go missing.  Maybe we just have different tastes, and I should do up my own list.

Also starring Alan Ormsby of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973), fwiw.

Yes, Paul Sorvino!

  • Isaac’s Picture Conclusions on Scar (2007).  Not familiar with this movie, but throwing it on the “to watch” list, despite its apparent lack of coherence.
  • Lastly, have a look at the Do-It-Yourself Giallo Kit to get your very own (fake) movie title, director, and plot in the Italian crime/thriller spirit. Such as: A Golden Armadillo on the Cold Metal Table (dir. Sergio and Martino de Alberto) in which: “An American model is killing off the members of a certain business.  A female journalist accidentally destroys some crucial evidence about the the killing. When another person is found murdered, she is on the verge of solving the mystery when she is killed by the real culprits: a secret society made up of the people she most trusted.”  Loads of fun . . . for five minutes.

I finally got the blogs and sites from my 500-odd tweeps loaded into my NetVibes, so hopefully every couple days or so I can highlight the posts I find particularly good.  No rhyme or reason, just cool stuff I’m reading, that you should be seeing, too:

  • A great review of a movie I’ve only recently become acquainted with and have loved: First Man Into Space (1959) from Anti-Film School.  

Comprised of strong performances, well-used stock footage, an eerie small town vibe, a gee-whiz cosmic opening, and underlying paranoia about what lies beyond the clouds, First Man Into Space is a first-rate B-movie that deserves the attention of genre fans everywhere.

In less than 3 months, the majority of American drive-in theaters will face closure with the movie industry’s switch from film to digital. Upgrading to digital projection costs roughly $80,000.  We want to preserve this iconic part of American car culture. So we’re taking the first step by starting a drive-in fund and donating 5 digital projectors. Your vote decides where they go.

  • Goreguy gives us a review of a truly bizarre looking Japanese 2001 film The Happiness of the Katakuris.  To give a sense of what this movie offers, here’s Goreguy describing the opening scene:

The first scene in the movie is a claymation sequence containing some cherubic creature flying out of some soup, and tearing out a woman’s uvula because it looks like a heart, and then getting eaten by a bird. This is pretty much spoiling it, but it’s the first scene of the movie, so get over it. I want you to have a good idea what kind of movie we’re dealing with here. Also, aside from a metaphor about the circle of life which I guess you could technically shoehorn into the movie, this sequence has NOTHING to do with anything else that happens after it.

I cannot wait to check it out, but until then, here’s a trailer:

  • The other
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