Body Fever Is Actually Super Cool

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Super Cool aka Body Fever (Remember folks…pretty much every exploitation flick during the drive-in/grindhouse era was released under at least two titles) is probably the closest Ray Dennis Steckler ever came to making a mainstream movie. It’s a straight up pulp detective story…kinda reminiscent of Donald Westlake’s breezier novels like Somebody Owes Me Money. Steckler makes a pretty good harried, hapless gumshoe. The characters are likable and, for a Steckler film, remarkably normal and low key…Well, “Big Mac” notwithstanding…but hey, every detective story needs a heavy. (Heads up to all you Gen X latchkey kids: Big Mac was portrayed, with extra relish, by Bernie Fine, the mastermind behind Hogan’s Heroes). Super Cool  was shot in ’69, predating the ’70s Noir renaissance which gave rise to Chinatown and The Long Goodbye…but it didn’t see release until the VHS era. Missed it by that much. 

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Oh, and this is the only film (that I know of, haven’t seen ’em all yet) where Ray and his former wife Carolyn Brandt actually play out a romance onscreen. It’s pretty sweet to see…and ironic since their relationship had probably already started to hit the skids at that point. Still, Carolyn continued to lend her inscrutable, ineffable presence to Steckler’s films for years afterward. Which just goes to show that although love may be fleeting, the love of cinema is forever…

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