Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '65 - Marty McKee ""

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Underrated '65 - Marty McKee

Marty is a movie fan's movie fan and he's seen more flicks than you can shake a stick at in his lifetime. He writes about movies at Marty's Marquee (film reviews):
and Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot (blog):
On twitter @MartyMckee.
See his Underrated '85 list here:


The best-known of AIP’s Beach Party flicks, thanks to its cheerfully silly title, is also its best. BINGO serves up plenty of dancing, singing, surfing, and kissing. A lot happens in this movie, and it all boils down to a 1920s serial cliffhanger orchestrated by the seriously insane Timothy Carey as South Dakota Slim. The delightful Donna Loren belts out “It Only Hurts When I Cry,” the Hondells crank some surfin’ tunes, and slapstick legend Buster Keaton chases Bobbi Shaw around the beach.

A Filipino monster movie by the director of BLOODSPORT? Far out! No-name Robert Winston stars as world-famous New York cop Adam Rourke (!), whose specialty is sex crimes. Manila homicide detective Miguel Ramos (Vic Diaz!) summons him to the Philippines to investigate the serial killings of sexy young women who are found hanging upside down and drained of blood through wounds on their wrists. The dialogue is pretty good, and the intended humor works well. Winston is fine with the quips and the punches—surprising he doesn’t seem to have worked very much. The black-and-white cinematography is lovely for a low-budget film that’s more of a procedural than a horror film. 

Excellent special effects and a good deal of suspense successfully counteract the screenplay’s soap operatics and the somewhat stolid acting in this exciting British sci-fi thriller. Scientist Dana Andrews, who’s quietly dying of cancer, believes he can drill to the center of the Earth, bring the molten lava there to the surface, and use it as a virtually limitless energy source for generations to come. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Eugene Lourie, who also directed science fiction movies (like THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS), designed the production and supervised the miniatures and matte paintings and explosions, and it’s all very well done. Some of the physical acting by Kieron Moore and Janette Scott during the climax looks dangerous and adds to the tension.

INCUBUS (1965)
One of the most unusual horror films ever made was never released in the U.S., but it was a critical favorite in France. The reason you never saw it is because writer/director Leslie Stevens (THE OUTER LIMITS) had the unique idea to perform all the dialogue in Esperanto! Creatively, it does work with Conrad Hall’s moody black-and-white cinematography to promote an otherworldly feel. For years, INCUBUS was thought to be lost, until producer Tony Taylor discovered a print with French subtitles in Paris. It’s worth watching, as a demon tires of luring the evil and the infirm to their deaths, and decides to work her sinister charms on a pre-Kirk William Shatner. Mostly shot at Big Sur, INCUBUS is an intriguing experiment for sure, but also a mature and arty film with decent performances that feels unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. 

Russ Meyer's bleak black-and-white thriller is awash in wild dialogue, sleazy action and harsh desert scenery. Three bikers on wimpy Yamahas, led by psychotic 'Nam vet Stephen Oliver, roar through the Southwestern desert, where they rape the sexy wife of veterinarian Alex Rocco and murder the nasty husband of Cajun spitfire Haji. MOTOR PSYCHO's first half is dedicated to demonstrating the insouciant depravity of Oliver’s gang, and the rest to Rocco’s pursuit of revenge, as he and Haji rip through the dusty back roads in his rickety pickup truck. Igo Kantor's musical tracks really swing, and even though there's no nudity in this one, the incredible bodies of the actresses make you comprehend how the men in their lives could become so obsessed with them. 

A plane carrying six men and a woman, including Stuart Whitman, Susannah York, Stanley Baker, and Theodore Bikel, crashes in the African desert. The pilot dies, but the rest of the party manages to salvage some equipment and hike under the blistering sun to a mountain containing fresh water and a cave for shelter. One Alpha male critical to their survival by hunting for game also becomes the film's "villain". Another attempts to rape York, but is later instrumental in the party's rescue. There are no good guys or bad guys, just human beings who sometimes act selfishly and sometimes nobly. Director Cy Endfield's intense desert locations (Spain?) add to the audience's discomfort, as the castaways not only face internal battles, but also a wild pack of baboons. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Got to see a rare 35mm print of INCUBUS a few years ago. Conrad Hall's photography is terrific, and the movie has a unique mood all it's own.

MOTOR-PSYCHO? All I can remember is the scene where the guy crashes his vehicle and then gets bitten by a snake. He grabs the girl with him and forces her head towards the snake bite exclaiming, "Suck it! Suck it!" (referring to the snake venom). Oh, that Russ Meyer!