Sideburns Don’t Need Your Sympathy

beatniks1

You won’t find these cats swinging to wild jazz or reading subversive poetry…their bag is armed robbery! That is, until their fearless leader Eddie (Tony Travis) is heard crooning in a greasy spoon and becomes an overnight pop star. His crew doesn’t take kindly to being pushed aside in favor of his new legit career…especially not loose-as-a-goose-cannon Mooney (Peter Breck in a balls-to-the-wall gonzo performance second only to his breakdown in Shock Corridor). Can Eddie shake his past and become the next Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon…or will his cronies drag him back into the gutter? Sure, there’s no beatniks in it…alot of movies in the early 60’s tried to cash in on the counterculture by slapping the word “Beatnik” or “Beat” onto the titles of their movies…and even the ones who did have beatniks in them were written by middle aged squares who had only read about the beat generation in pulp novels and tabloids. But The Beatniks is a fun little J.D. flick…which just so happens to have been written and directed by prolific voice actor Paul Frees…you may not know his name but I guarantee you’ve heard his voice if you’ve ever watched Bullwinkle cartoons or an old dubbed Japanese movie… 

beatniks2

Mission: Implausible

marsneeds1

Back in ’66, Mars has become a total sausage fest, so they send Dop (Tommy Kirk, basically reprising his role from Pajama Party) and his crew to pick up some chicks. When beautiful Earth women begin vanishing into thin air, NASA swings into cock-blocking action…but can they save the babes in time? Mars Needs Women is classically cheesy on every level, with its wetsuit-and-headphones spacesuits, the stilted pseudo-scientific dialogue and not-so-special Fx…but the real reason to watch this quickie from Larry Buchanan (who made alot schlocky sci fi flicks in the 60’s and 70’s) is the lovely Yvonne Craig as the sexy Earth scientist…

marsneeds2

She’s so gorgeous, intelligent and charming that she livens the movie up when it threatens to become tedious. And really, the reason I’m writing this review is an excuse to pay tribute to Yvonne, who just passed away from cancer. She’s best remembered as Batgirl in the campy 60’s Batman series…and for a vast number of guys (and perhaps some girls as well) of my generation, she was our first pop-culture crush. ( Oh that skintight costume…and the graceful, slinky way she moved…thanks to her years as a dancer. ) She was also Marta the green Orion slavegirl on Star Trek…and quite a prolific pinup. She’s largely responsible for my lifelong love of smart, tough women…

yvonnecraig13

Tough As Nail

switchbladesisters1

Switchblade Sisters is the ultimate JD/gang flick…Newcomer Maggie (Joanne Nail) just happens to be sitting at the wrong table when the ruthless Dagger Debs show up. She defends herself so impressively that the Debs leader Lace (Robbie Lee in a scene-stealing, scenery-chewing, exhilaratingly maniacal performance) asks her to join the gang. Patch (Monica Gayle), Lace’s right-hand girl, is immediately jealous of Maggie and Lace’s burgeoning friendship…so she decides to make like Iago and destroy Maggie…even if it means destroying Lace and anyone else who gets in her way. There are so many great, gonzo performances in this movie…Dominic (Asher Brauner) the brooding, brutish leader of the Silver Daggers. Hook (Don Stark) his lunkheaded second-in-command…Crabs (Chase Newhart) the sleazebag, drug-dealing leader of the Daggers’ rival gang, with his Pete rose haircut and Elton John wardrobe…Marlene Clark as a Panther-like black revolutionary…This movie is just filled with outrageous moments and quotable dialogue. Director Jack Hill’s greatest gift, though, is that through all of it, no matter how absurd the situations get…he makes you actually care about his characters. So join the Dagger Debs if you dare…

switchbladesisters2

Bring On The Nubiles

requiemforavampire1

Requiem For A Vampire aka Caged Virgins is Jean Rollin’s most popular vampire movie…probably due in no small part to its rampant fur-baring nudity and softcore humping. Like most of his films, don’t expect a whole lot of coherent plot…his films are sumptuous visual and sensual feasts that operate on fairytale/dream logic, and completely disregard most vampire lore, changing the rules from film to film. This one begins in the middle of a car chase/shootout with the two female leads (Marie-Pierre Castel and Mireille D’Argent) dressed like this…

requiemforavampire2

Who they’re running from and why is barely, offhandedly explained. They spend the rest of the movie dressed as pigtailed schoolgirls…in the fleeting moments when they are dressed. Eventually they find themselves in the dungeon of a regal lady vampire and her lecherous lackeys. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Rollin film if the girls didn’t end up in each other’s arms…

requiemforavampire3

Baby’s In Black

exorcism

Exorcism aka Demoniac stars auteur director Jesus Franco himself as a Catholic Priest/Serial killer who targets Satanists (and it was the 70’s, when Satanists were everywhere…at least in the movies). He believes that they are possessed by the Devil and that by killing them he is liberating their souls…and if he gets to strip and chain up gorgeous women while he’s at it (including Franco’s soulmate, actress Lina Romay, who’s always fascinating to watch) well, it’s all in a day’s work…

exorcism2