THE GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW
1959/Director: William J. Hole Jr./Writer: Lou Rusoff
Cast: Jody Fair, Russ Bender, Henry McCann, Paul Blaisdell
I am as big a fan of API films as any b-movie fan can be. Some of the best stuff of the 50’s and 60’s came out of the company. But Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow is nothing but a turkey and waste of time and all the more because it seemed like, going into it, that it was going to be something like the very entertaining Dragstrip Girl. The film runs a mere 65 minutes but the time is the only thing that drags in this mess since we only see a brief race at the beginning between two girls. The haunted house segment itself is not even introduced until the last 20 minutes of the film and plays no part in the previous 45. It is just sort of thrown in haphazardly and the movie wraps with a Halloween style party that also does not make much sense. Makeup artist Paul Blaisdell is the ‘ghost’. He dresses up in a slightly modified (sans boobs) She Creature costume and when his identity is revealed at the end he talks in the most annoy9ing falsetto voice you have ever heard and plugs a few other AIP films –something the company often did, plug one film from inside another- and whines and confesses he is haunting the place because AIP did not let him play the monster in some other films. I can’t imagine audiences of the time knowing who Blaisdell was or getting the ‘in jokes’. The longest 65 minutes of my life. The film does seem to earn it reputation as one of AIP’s truly worst films. And that is some dubious honor indeed.
1968/Directors: Gerardo de Leon, Eddie Romero/Writer: Reuben Canoy
Cast: John Ashley, Angelique Pettyjohn, Ronald Remy
Eddie Romero directed a trilogy of sorts of island movies. The first two were Terror is a Man (sometimes referred to as a very loose interpretation of the Island of Dr. Moreau. I do not have this film but am seeking it (NOTE: Since this writing I have gotten not only this film but all five, actually, Eddie Romero Island films in high quality AVI formats). I do have the 2nd film called Beast of Blood but I can’t locate it here in this mess but it will turn up one day. Mad Doctor of Blood Island is a super low budget story of chlorophyll blooded zombies on a tropical island and stars AIP regular John Ashley as the hero. The copy I have looks like hell but this film is pretty fun over all. A mad doctor with a limp, sexy island girls and ultra violent deaths –including disembowelments and beheadings- make up for the film’s shabby quality. I mean shabby even if you get a good copy and not one like I put together from Youtube and tried to restore with some software I have. Really annoying near vomit inducing camera work whenever the monster appears. Has to be seen to believed. The film was produced by Independent-International which also is the company responsible for unleashing most of those Al Adamson films on the world. Sadly coming from me that is a recommendation.
1974/Director: Michael Findlay/Writers: Ed Adlum, Ed Kelleher
Cast: Alan Brock, Jennifer Stock, Tawm Ellis
Great title. Great poster art. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. A whacky college professor invites a group of students out to some remote island to confirm that a Yeti lives there (having got lost from the mountains of Tibet I suppose.) The students are treated to strange exotic foods and stories told by manservant Laughing Crow, who seems to be in competition with Torgo from Manos: The Hands of Fate for the coveted strangest manservant to a twisted master award. The editing and camera work is atrocious really and the acting –overacting more accurately- and dialog even worse. The Yeti is simply unbelievable and if you say to yourself “that looks like a guy in a fuzzy Halloween costume” you have unconsciously unraveled one of the film’s two surprise endings. I do not like to spoil all the surprise endings to an ‘interesting film’. So then nothing can stop me from disclosing that the other surprise ending is that the professor is actually part of a secret society of cannibals who lure students out to the island every few years to feast on them. For fans of z-movies only.
1954/Director: W. Lee Wilder/Writer: Myles Wilder
Cast: Paul Langton, Leslie Denison, Teru Shimada
This 1954 feature from United Artists may well be the very first Yeti/Abominable Snowman film. It may well have served as the inspiration for the much better 1957 film The Abominable Snow from Hammer. In this film however the Yeti is actually captured and transported back to LA where it escape from the refrigerator it is being kept in and runs amok in the sewers of LA. The film suffers from just too much dialog from the actors and not enough Yeti mayhem. The creature hurls a few stones but mostly we see it in the same repeated shot where it walks out of the shadows… the scenes cuts to the actors doing something… the it creature walks backwards into the shadows again. They must do this ten times during the movie. The yeti suit is really weird and I swear the thing has a square ass! Not as bad as Shriek of the Mutilated though and both films are for fans of Bigfoot/Yeti films.