Wednesday, December 16, 2015


We know you enjoy your classy movies and your Oscar winners, but deep down, there's a part of you that is never happier than when the crud seems to be oozing out from your TV screen. That's what we're here for!  Here are five titles from the schlock wing of our extensive film library...
PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES (1956) Hideous atomic mutant strikes from the depths! Sheer horror as a living nightmare stalks the ocean floor! You know the story: A radioactive rock at the bottom of the ocean causes a sea creature to mutate into a horrible, amphibious monster. This seemed to happen a lot in the 1950s. Director Dan Milner (who also gave us From Hell It Came, a film about an evil tree stump) hits all the right notes here, helped by a cast that includes Kent Taylor, Cathy Downs, and Michael Whalen. Also, pay special attention to the score by Ronald Stein, who graduated from the Yale School of Music to become the Tchaikovsky of B-Movies, scoring such “classics” as Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, and Invasion of the Saucer Men!

In a close-up view of the creature, strings can be seen on top of its head holding up the fin!

THE WILD WOMEN OF WONGO (1958) Untamed maidens capture their mates! Savage in battle... primitive in love... prehistoric beauties live by the code of the jungle! This schlock epic from Jaywall Productions (Naked Africa) is about a tribe of beautiful women on the tropical island of Wongo. They discover that the other side of the island is inhabited by a tribe of handsome men. But a tribe of evil ape men live on the island, too, and that’s never any fun. Joyce Nizzari, Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the month in Dec. 1958, stars as one of the Wongo babes. Plus, Ed Fury, who would go on to appear in several Italian made ‘sword and sandal’ epics, is here as ‘Gahbo’, and Welsh rugby star Rex Richards appears as the king of Wongo. Filmed in Florida!

 Some of the stock music in the film was also used in Plan 9 From Outer Space...

THE KILLER SHREWS (1959) Your skin will crawl with fear at their nearness...They had to eat 3 times their body weight each day... OR STARVE! Maybe they’re just dogs wearing fake snouts and tails, in a low budget movie filmed in Texas by the same group that gave us The Giant Gila Monster. But suspend your disbelief, and they’ll become mutant, killer shrews, created by a mad scientist. Starring James Best (TV’s 'The Dukes of Hazzard'), this howler has some good things going for it, namely a creepy musical score by Harry Bluestone and Emil Cadkin, and some solid direction by Ray Kellogg. If nothing else, this slice of schlock heaven may help answer the question, “What the heck is a shrew?”

This miniscule budget feature became one of the most successful “regional films” of its era. Unlike other regional films, it received national and even foreign distribution. It was released in West Germany as ‘Die Nacht der unheimlichen Bestie’ (translation: The Night of the Creepy Beast.)

THE GIANT GILA MONSTER (1959) Only Hell could breed such an enormous beast. Only God could destroy it! Well, if not God, how about a heroic hot-rodding teenager? That’s the idea behind this independent slime fest from the same Texas film company that produced another low budget “classic”, The Killer Shrews. Both were directed by Ray Kellog, a special effects specialist and second unit director who would eventually work on some of Hollywood’s biggest pictures, including Cleopatra and The Green Berets. In 1959, though, it was all about Gila monsters and revved up teens. This low-budget mess starred Don Sullivan, a veteran of several low budget monster films, and Lisa Simone, the French contender for Miss Universe of 1957. If there’s a schlock Hall of Fame, this one belongs!

Filmed near Dallas, the film was budgeted at $175,000 and was produced by Dallas drive-in theater chain owner Gordon McLendon, who wanted co-features for his main attractions. In exchange for doing the special effects, Kellogg was allowed to direct the film. Ken Knox, who played Horatio Alger "Steamroller" Smit in the movie, was an actual disc jockey working at radio stations in Texas owned by McLendon...


What was the unspeakable secret of the sea? Here’s a Roger Corman quickie from the golden age of Drive-In junk! In this spoof of horror and spy thrillers, American gangster Renzo Capetto (Anthony Carbone) decides to kill members of his bungling crew and blame their deaths on a legendary sea creature. What he doesn't know is that the creature is really out there! Shot in five days with a creature made from tennis balls and Brill-O pads,  the film was marketed as a straight thriller, and not a spoof. What was Corman thinking? 

Oscar winning screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown, Shampoo) did some acting  in his younger days and has a small role in Creature from the Haunted Sea. He plays Sparks Moran / Agent XK150 / and serves as the narrator…

All of these schlockbusters are available from @FilmDetective, a group dedicated to restoring vintage films. Even the schlocky ones...


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