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See her Underrated '85 and '75 lists below:
Bad Girls Go to Hell - Directed by Doris Wishman
Doris Wishman was something of a rebel. Even now, the majority of films are directed by men and Doris was directing as early as the late 1950s. Granted, they were nudies, but still, she was out there making movies. Bad Girls Go to Hell marksWishman’s foray into the sexploitation genre. The plot involves a housewife who kills a man for attacking her. She goes on the run in New York City and moves from situation to situation. Doris Wishman films are an amazing time capsule of an NYC long gone. Streets and the people are equally grimy, especially on 42nd Street. You’re also pretty much always guaranteed a lot of shots of women walking around in a lonely and cold Central Park.
Beach Blanket Bingo - Directed by William Asher
Before I met my husband, I had never seen a “Beach Party” movie. Sure, I’d seen pieces of them on the television over the years, but I hadn’t sat and watched one all the way through. And, if I’m honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it all thatmuch. In my film snobby way, I had dismissed these as silly. Well, yeah, they still are that but they are also a whole lot more; they are sweet and charming. They have an innocence about them. Beach Blanket Bingo is the 5th in the series of AIP Beach Party films. Although these movies are supposed to be about Frankie and Dee Dee, it is the co-stars that interest me. This film really packs them in; John Ashley, Debra Walley, Jody, McCrea,Timothy Carey, Harvey Lembeck, and one of my favorite people of all time, Don Rickles. The plot of the movie is just too involved to include here but it does include a mermaid, sky-diving, amazing swimsuits, a buzz-saw, and Rickles laying into Frankie and Dee Dee, “You’re 40 years old!”
Carry On, Cowboy - Directed by Gerald Thomas
My introduction to the Carry On series was when I went to live in England after graduating high school. My uncle was watching Carry On, Cleo. I was hooked right from there. For those who are unaware of the Carry On films, they are your typical naughty British sex comedies. Lots of broad jokes, winks and nudges (know what I mean, know what I mean?), double-entendres and buxom women. The films are set in various time periods in history (Carry On, Cleo) and take on different genres (Carry On, Nurse, Carry On, Screaming). This film takes on the Western. You get silly names like Marshall P. Knutt, Chief Big Heap (these films are not terribly PC, either) and equally silly situations. Kenneth Williams is one of my favorites of the series and he never disappoints. I do not usually like these types of films but there can be something charming about them.
In Harm’s Way - Directed by Otto Preminger
In Harm’s Way is one of my favorite war films. The fact it is shot in black and white lends to the manner in how it depicts World War II in the Pacific before and after Pearl Harbor. The film isn’t flashy or garish; it is no-nonsense. It doesn’t glamorize the war, it tells it like it is. The cast is almost as expansive as its storylines; it includes John Wayne, Pat Neal, Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Slim Pickens, Carol O’Conner, and Burgess Meredith. I’m not the biggest John Wayne fan but he won me over in this. His relationship with Neal is lovely. Great performances all around.
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors - Directed by Freddie Francis
This is the first of the Amicus anthology series of films. I used to think of Amicus as a rather low-rent version of Hammer. But, if it’s good enough for Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, it is good enough for me. The wrap-around story here is five men board a train in London. Another man enters their car toting a pack of tarot cards. He whips ‘em out and proceeds to tell each of the five men their fate. Directed by the most excellent Freddie Francis and starring the aforementioned Cushing and Lee, along with Roy Castle, Michael Gough, Bernard Lee, and Donald Sutherland. The nice thing about these anthologies is if youdidn’t like the story, you didn’t have to wait long before the next one came up.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! - Directed by Russ Meyer
Yeah, yeah, I know, this is another choice of mine that isn’t exactly underrated in the sense that it is one of the most awesome pieces of exploitation ever committed to film. But, if you polled the average American (then again, why would youreally want to?), I’m pretty sure they haven’t heard of Russ Meyer or this movie. So, in that sense, it is underrated and it is going on this list. And, what isn’t there to love about this movie? Three go-go dancers go to the desert and mayhem ensues. If that doesn’t make you want to watch this, there is something wrong with you. Tura Satana, Haji, and Lori Williams are your three pneumatic leads. They kick, punch, and wrestle their way through the film in the most fantastic way ever. If it has been awhile since you’ve watched it, pop it in this weekend and give yourself a little 83 minute black and white treat.