Halloween Drive-In Classics!

First, and foremost, and as I wrote a few days ago, no Halloween is a proper Halloween without first listening to this:

Listening to a few radio shows this morning, they actually neglected this classic in their “best-of for Halloween Weekend” lists! Naturally, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Edgar Winters’ “Frankenstein” were listed, and the rest were stretches — Van Halen’s “Running With the Devil” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” — and others, among the worst songs ever composed — Warren Zevon’s “Werewolf in London.” (IT’S BORING! I don’t care how fun the lyrics are, it is a BORING SONG). Yes, Halloween is about frights, but it’s more about fun without purpose, and a sense of mayhem, from the innocence of going about in a costume to the reckless abandon of egging and TP’ing a house.

But for those of us above store-bought fangs and classics-gone-stale, there’s the drive-in.

Halloween, despite the standard imagery of autumn colors, spider webs, black cats and witches, is our most inventive holiday because fear can incorporate just about anything. But to do it right (in the true spirit of garage rock), you definitely want to have a selection of god awful flicks to get through. Guaranteed, there might be something on the Sci-Fi, Sy-Fy network such as its “Twilight Zone” marathons or its movies-on-the-cheap (“Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus” is an instant classic, as is the made-for-TV flick “Spring Break Shark Attack”), but here are a few of my absolute favorites for Halloween Night. Manos: The Hands of Fate.

A lost family! A desolate cabin! A satanic cult, its demonic master and his slave-brides! Torgo! Long considered to be the worst movie of all time, this flick was filmed on a shoe-string budget and made to fill a bet. The clip above involves a family arriving at an isolate lodge, watched over by Torgo, a man with giant knees. He’s the slave of the Master, a Frank Zappa-look alike who wears a robe featuring an imprint of outspread fingers, and calls upon ‘Manos.’ Watch with caution, as it will bore you with its incredible stupidity, atrocious acting and even more painful dialogue.

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.

Oh, sweet! It’s filmed in TERRORAMA!

Like most drive-in flicks of the late 50’s, early 60’s, the trailer loves to mislead you into thinking it’s something unique — in this case, a “Monster Musical.” What the movie truly is, a gaggle of poor stereotypes in rubbery masks and crazy voodoo gypsies, is a laugh because it tries to bank so desperately on go-go music and pastiche of the Coney Island Freak Show (which, by the way: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND, whether it’s Halloween or not!). In truth, there is really only one, extremely long musical scene. For no reason whatsoever, other than the fact it fits the carnival setting and that there are other sideshows, there’s a never-ending musical sequence. For this one, come for the costumes, stay for the stupid stereotypes.

Teen-Age Strangler.

This is the trailer, I guess, for a fine piece of cinematic youth pandering. The new kid in town with an unjust criminal past is accused of being the Teenage Strangler when women are found around town, gruesomely murdered and smeared with lipstick. It’s more the timid acting and obvious patronizing of the kids that makes this one so awful. Just look at the horror in the face of the girl in pink — like the director begged her to scream just one more time AND REALLY PUT IT IN THE CHEEKS! In fact, here’s the highlight of the whole film, a performance of “Yipes Stripes!” (for some reason, a piece of the trailer is attached).

Love ’em with a passion. Especially that one kid doing the hully-gully.

. . .

Where the hell was the rest of the band?

Blood Orgy of the She Devils.

This flick, released in 1972, it’s most oft criticized for trying to be a rip of “Rosemary’s Baby.” But the reality is that it’s mostly just scenes of witchcraft. No real sense of plot. Or character, not that it matters in a horror flick anyway. Like “Incredibly Strange Creatures,” it is a very misleading title in that it features none of the more attractive elements of these words. No blood. No orgy. No she-devils. More like: Some bored Wiccans get together for an afternoon. They don’t wear much. Some credits roll.

Many of the movies mentioned here were spoofed in the cult-classic “Mystery Science Theater 3000” episode, and this one should have a special place in the hearts of MSTie fans. Though “Blood Orgy of the She Devils” was NOT featured on the show, it was directed by Ted V. Mikels, who directed the awful classic (and it is classically awful) “Girl in Gold Boots!” Also cool: this movie reunites it’s two stars, Tom Pace (Buz) and Leslie McRae (Michelle). In fact, even if you only watch the trailer and avoid this flick, diligent viewers will see Leslie McRae from the quality of her dancing alone — you don’t even need to see her face, which is obscured by a mess of hair.

And best of all, it’s rated PG. So bring the kids.

However you spend your Halloween night, remember: Please be safe. If you go out, wear bright colors and check your candy. If you stay in, please watch your popcorn in the microwave closely to ensure proper popping time. Burnt popcorn is the number one cause of seasonal depression.

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2 responses to “Halloween Drive-In Classics!

  1. Pingback: Propaganda Round-Up. | Electric Comic Book.

  2. If you enjoyed The Incredibly Strange Creatures yada yada yada, then you have to see Rat Phink and Boo Boo or as the typographically challenged credits read Rat Phink a Boo Boo. It starts off as a crime drama and then without warning switches to a campy superhero movie complete with a man in a gorilla suit. It’s my favorite of Steckler’s films so far.

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