Category: 1960


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.

Now here’s a classic film, we should see more of: 1960’s The Playgirls and the Vampire, is an early Italian exploitation/horror gem that is notable mainly for showing several attractive young Italian women running in terror through a castle in their see-through nighties. Blogger B2 claims it was the first Italian horror film to mix horror and nudity. More was definitely to come! Maybe bold for its time a half-century ago, its formula has been aped ad nauseum ever since:

You can watch the whole thing here, courtesy of AMC.

Not much to say about the film itself that has not already been said: it’s not a good film, it plods along at a dull pace, and but is interesting nevertheless for being an early horror film, and if you can get into it; it can be a lot of fun for its short run time of 76 minutes.  What I find most interesting here is its context.

Playgirls is an interesting example of a trend mentioned by Danny Shipka–of why early Italian horror films were (arguably) slow to develop:

The Italian population, still reeling from the atrocities of World War II, were unprepared to be taken [back to a] place of horror and despair in their exploitation films.

Here's your Velvet Elvis of Playgirl Maria Giovannini. No, I didn't create this.

Here’s your Velvet Elvis of Playgirl Maria Giovannini. No, I didn’t create this, but there’s more here.

Indeed, looking over the bios of the entire cast, crew, and producers of this film shows–if IMDB is complete, a bigger if for foreign films of this vintage and obscurity–that only one actor was active in the Italian film industry during the war (Alfredo Rizzo, would have been in his late 30s when the war started, and he only made two films during the war). Others–if they were old enough at the time to be employed, only became active in the film industry after the war. Obviously, the war displaced most of the Italian economy and social life, including its famous film industry, and we might assume that the cast and crew of Playgirls were doing other things–like surviving–during the war.

Given the ages of most cast members, it’s reasonable to assume that the war was a childhood experience and memory for most of the them–the “Playgirls” for which we have birth year information (Maria Giovannini, later a well known star of Italian soaps in the late-1950s, and Lyla Rocco) were between 2 and 6 years old at the outbreak of the war.

Lyla Rocco, c. 1953. She later married popular Italian actor Alberto Lupo, and helped him recover from a stroke in 1976 for him to return to television in 1978.

Lyla Rocco, c. 1953. She later married popular Italian actor Alberto Lupo, and helped him recover from a stroke in 1976 for him to return to television in 1978.

Playgirls was directed by the late Piero Regnoli–who was 21 at the start of World War II, and who only passed away in 2001. Regnoli was better known as a screenwriter, who wrote more than 100 screenplays between the 1950s and the early 1990s, the most notable of which were I, Vampiri (1956), directed by Mario Bava–whose centenary is this year–and the Lucio Fulci classic Demonia (1990).

Fun fact: Regnoli’s daughter is the world-class skiing champion, Daniela Ceccarelli,  who earned a gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Lastly, looking at the filmographies of the cast and crew, we see that subsets of the Playgirls cast also are seen in the following films:

The two leading men of Playgirls–vampire Walter Brandi, and the aforementioned Alfredo Rizzo–also appeared together in Bloody Pit of Horror (1965) and Terror, Creature from the Grave (with Barbara Steele), also from ’65:

hawk-of-the-caribbean-movie-poster-1963-1020360989Regnoli wrote and directed the financially troubled Caribbean Hawk (1963), which featured Brandi as a pirate; while Brandi and Marisa Quattrini were both in the better known 1960 Italian horror film featuring a group of dancers entering a vampire’s castle, The Vampire and the Ballerina:

So, in sum, spend some time with Playgirls, and then jump off from there to other work this cast and crew of done–together or separately–since, which is what I’ll be researching and writing about here for the foreseeable future!

Faster pussycatI took a week off, but we’re back.  The “right side” of the original bracket is decided: Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) has beat out all the competition over there, especially I Drink Your Blood (1970); She-Devils On Wheels (1968); Blacula (1972); and Ilsa, She-Devil of the SS (1975), which Faster took on directly.

This week, we wrap on the “Left Side” conference pitting two real works of art against one another. These are different kinds of movies from different eras, so a hard choice.  The winner takes on the Russ Meyers masterpiece of exploitation, above:

See you next week for the last match-up!

 

We’ve arrived, after a fashion, at our final five films, as chosen mainly by you. I say “mainly,” because one match-up that had originally ended up in a tie was re-competed, and ended up in a tie once again. To keep things moving along, I’ve made an executive decision in favor of one film.  Somehow, I doubt you’ll mind.  Because this match-up has lingered a bit, it’s thrown off our nice even numbers, so we have a final five, not final four.  Again, I doubt you mind terribly.

At any rate, here are your Final Five:

1. Black Sunday (1960), after tying with The Day the Earth Stood Still, twice.

2. The Thing (1982), after beating Witchfinder General (1968) 3 votes to 2.

3. I Drink Your Blood (1970) beat The Exorcist (1973) in a 4-0 shutout, the second shutout for IDYB in as many rounds!

4. Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) finally put an end to the reign of terror wreaked by She-Devil on Wheels (1968).

5. Carnival of Souls (1962) is still patiently waiting after beating Grizzly (1976) a couple rounds ago.

So here are this week’s match-ups, awaiting your consideration:

1960s Horror!

Go ahead, watch the whole thing!

The winner of this match takes on The Thing!

Exploitation Championship!

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xmmnfs_i-drink-your-blood_shortfilms

Do yourself a favor while you make up your mind, and give the Badasses, Boobs, and Bodycounts podcast a listen–it’s most recent episode covers this one.

The winner of the round will be our “right side” conference champ, fwiw.

I’m loving, loving, the fact that as our little contest winds down, that the most recent movie still in contention, The Thing, is 32 years old.  Also, how is it the The Thing is 32 years old already?!

This week something happened in Match-Up 6 that I had not anticipated: a tie.  So, we’ll re-compete that one (Day the Earth Stood Still vs. Black Sunday).  Also, the first shut-outs of our competition so far!  Here’s how it shook out last week:

Day the Earth Stood Still–1 vote (50%)
Black Sunday (this week’s “Movie of the Week,” coincidentally)–1 vote (50%)

Carnival of Souls–4 votes (100%)
Grizzly

The Thing–3 votes (100%)
The Birds

Witchfinder General–2 votes (67%)
Them!–1 vote (33%)

I Drink Your Blood–3 votes (100%)
Christine

The Exorcist–3 votes (75%)
ThanksKilling–1 vote (25%)

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!–3 votes (75%)
Blacula–1 vote (25%)

She-Devils on Wheels–3 votes (75%)
Toxic Avenger–1 vote (25%)

All of the above carnage brings us here.  So, here are this week’s matches:

The Re-Match!

Kurt Russell or Vincent Price?

Satan/ists!

Exploitation-palooza!

Next time, Final Four!

At this point, we’ve eliminated half of the films we started with, and have arrived at our Sweet 16! But before we get to that story, I have to go over this story–how Match-Up 4 shook out.

This Story 

Match-up 4 had about half the votes of 3, which is fine, and here’s how it all went down:

Hi-Brow vs. Low-Brow Horror

The Birds (1963)–3 votes (60%)
Night of the Lepus (1972)–2 votes (40%)

Come All Ye Witchfinders!

Witchfinder General (1968)–3 votes (60%)
Mark of the Devil (1970)–2 votes (40%)

Possessions ‘R Us

The Exorcist (1973)–3 votes (60%)
The Devil Rides Out (1968)–2 votes (40%)

Exploitations’ Best Leading Ladies

Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! (1965)–3 votes (60%)
Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS (1975)–2 votes (40%)

That Story

So, with these we have our Sweet 16.  This week we’ll work through these eight matches, so we can get at a Final Four next time out:

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951):

vs.

Black Sunday (1960)

Grizzly (1976)

vs.

Carnival of Souls (1962)

The Thing (1982)

vs.

The Birds (1963)

Them! (1954)

vs.

Witchfinder General (1968)

Christine (1983)

vs.

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

ThanksKilling (2009)

vs.

The Exorcist (1973)

Blacula (1972)

vs.

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

Toxic Avenger (1984)

vs.

She-Devils on Wheels (1968)

Happy Voting, see you at the Elite Eight next week!

Round 1 was a great success–thanks to all who voted!–and the results are in: The Day the Earth Stood Still, Christine, She-Devils on Wheels, and Grizzly are all moving on, while Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Amityville Horror, Chopper Chicks in Zombietown, and Rattlers are done for this year.  Here are the official results:

Classic 50s Horror/Sci-Fi

  • Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)–8 votes (57%)
  • Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)–6 votes (43%)

80s Horror, or Close Enough

  • Christine (1983)–9 votes (69%)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)–4 votes (31%)

Schlock on Wheels

  • She-Devils on Wheels (1968)–7 votes (78%)
  • Chopper Chicks in Zombietown (1989)–2 votes (22%)

Animals On the Loose

  • Grizzly (1976)–9 votes (90%)
  • Rattlers (1976)–1 vote (10%)

Here are the next four contests–my schedule only allows me to do about four matches a week.  As I said on Twitter a bit ago, this is only going to get harder as we go on. . .

Battle of Crazy 70s Cult Leaders!

Here we get two similarly-themed films, with cult leaders led by sadists! Horace Bones v. Alan Ormsby!

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973)

A Troma Classic v. Vengeful Christmas Trees

One’s a classic Troma, another is destined to be a classic (but not from Troma).

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

Treevenge (2008)–full movie (it’s a 16-ish minute short, featuring a Cannibal Holocaust soundtrack!)

Horror: 1960s v. 1970s

Battle of the best horror decades! The 1960s and 1970s.  This is where things get tough.

Black Sunday (1960)–a very good intro sequence for its time.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Sci-Fi: 1950s v. 1960s

Two great classics a decade apart–which monsters will you choose?

Them (1954)

Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)–The original frenemies!

As with last time, I’ll allow a week to vote, and we’ll get into round three roughly this time next week!

Here, Mrs. I Love Terrible Movies and I put together a fun little 32-team bracket featuring bad guys/monsters/villains of horror and exploitation films I’ve seen in the past year or so.  In case you forgot who’s who, I’ve embedded the film trailers below.

Tweet me or comment on this post by a week from today (1 April) for your faves to advance to the Sweet 16.

Yeah, yeah, I know this is going to finish up well after “March Madness” will–sue me.

Klaatu vs. Gill-Man

From Outer Space … A Warning and an Ultimatum

Clawing Monster From A Lost Age strikes from the Amazon’s forbidden depths!

Asa Vajda vs. Dr. Phibes

The Undead Demons of Hell Terrorize the World in an Orgy of Stark Horror!

There are two sides to Dr. Phibes…..both of them EVIL!

Jaws Ripoff-a-Thon!

They’re waiting to slither you!

18 Feet of Man-Eating Terror!

The Man vs. Fuad Ramses

She Escaped Death. Now It Wants Her Back!

A Weird, Grisly Ancient Rite Horrendously Brought To Life In Blood Color!

 John Carpenter Face Off!

Man is The Warmest Place to Hide

It is night. It is cold. It is coming.

Birds vs. Lepuses

…And remember, the next scream you hear could be your own!

How many eyes does horror have? How many times will terror strike?

Mothra vs. Them!

SEE the armies of the world destroyed! SEE the BIRTH of the world’s most terrifying monster! SEE the war of the GIANTS!

A horror horde of crawl-and-crush giants clawing out of the earth from mile-deep catacombs!

Jeff Morrow Slapfest!

PLANET ROBBER TRAMPLES EARTH…STEALING ENERGY FOR OTHER WORLDS!

Flying beast out of prehistoric skies!

Cars vs. Houses!

Body by Plymouth. Soul by Satan.

Houses Don’t Have Memories

Battle of the Nihlistic Cult Leaders!

Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid head.

You’re Invited To Orville’s “Coming-Out” Party…It’ll Be A Scream…YOURS!!!

Recent Zero-Budgets!

Why did the eagles and vultures attack?

Gobble, Gobble, Motherfucker!

The Devil You Say?

The beauty of woman, the demon of darkness, the unholy union of “The Devil’s Bride”

Somewhere between science and superstition, there is another world. The world of darkness.

Vampire Madness!

His bite was outta sight!

It will cost you sweat and tears, and perhaps… a little blood.

Badass Bitches!

The most dreaded Nazi of them all!

Russ Meyer’s ode to the violence in women

Treevenge vs. Troma

The first Super-Hero… from New Jersey!

Badass Biker Babes!

They’re Looking for a Few Good Men.

See! Female Hellcats Ruling Their Men With Tire-Irons As Their Instruments Of Passion!