5. Wild Guitar * (1962) Genre: Rock ‘n Roll
WOW! How have I not seen this before? Squished-face Arch Hall, Jr. is a dumb country boy come to the big city to make it big playing rock ‘n roll, his dad plays a sleazy manager looking to exploit him, and the director appears as a totally nonthreatening gangster bodyguard. There’s a cross-eyed love interest too, and some absurdly stupid kidnappers whose hideout is filled with werewolf mummies (??!!).
You know that scene in movies like this where the future rock star plays his first song and it cuts to everyone slowly smiling as they realize how GREAT he is? Know how weird and alienating it feels when the rocker in question is definitely NOT GREAT, and is in fact completely awful? I love that feeling.
Seriously, this movie is awesome. There’s some really good second unit photography by Vilmos Zsigmond and the editing is exciting and sometimes avant garde. This is ideal pre-Beatles rock schlock. Director Ray Dennis Steckler went on to make such whimsically titled films as The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? and Rat Pfink a Boo Boo.
6. Night of the Blood Beast * (1958) Genre: Rubber Suit Sci-Fi
And here’s how you make a quality low-budget horror film. Roger’s brother Gene Corman came up with the idea for this one, and was apparently so proud of it that he signs his name in the credits! Well-directed by Bernard Kowalski, who gets serious performances out of the cast and manages to make several scenes genuinely creepy. Some cool queer aspects as a living dead male astronaut is impregnated by an alien and begins to take on the qualities of a caring wife and mother to the parasitic aliens growing inside him. “There’s something inside me!”
The rubber suited alien’s first appearance is unexpected, hilarious, and even a little scary! This is what the movies are all about, folks.
7. Assault on Precinct 13 * (1976) Genre: Urban Zombie Western
Quality John Carpenter movie nerd action that plays as a cross between Rio Bravo and Night of the Living Dead. Bitchin’ soundtrack:
NEXT TIME: Thought the kid getting shot in Assault on Precinct 13 was bad? The next movie has literally piles of dead kid corpses AND a ranting Southern Baptist preacher!