Tag Archives: Marty Feldman

A Recipe for Something Amazing

Movie night!

A week that began with Hamilton and a Constitutional Convention of dancing patriots staggers to Howard Vernon madly operating (literally) in Castle of the Creeping Flesh (1968).

Putting aside any false equivalencies one might be tempted to offer of good and bad (or, for that matter, good and evil), there’s no denying both experiences are…special.

But for the sake of true absurdity, let’s save the hip-hoppin’ Hamilton founding fathers for the legions of fans (count me in) and spend a few moments with the mad doctor behind the portcullis.

Sometimes all the elements of shockingly bad film-making fall into place and something amazing happens;

  • Start with lousy dialogue made worse by clumsy dubbing and then spruced up dizzyingly with mad quotes from Hamlet and King Lear.
  • Add Howard Vernon delivering yet another execrable mad doctor performance (Acting Tip #1; Marty Feldman eyes do not enliven deadpan line deliveries – believe me on this…I know).
  • Stir in Byzantine plot contrivances that only exist to risably explain the mid-film introduction of medieval costumes in a film with automobiles.
  • Throw in a tedious sexy eating scene. Tedious. Sexy. Eating. Scene. How is such a thing even possible? Didn’t the director see Tom Jones?
  • Slip in a dash of explicit surgical harvesting of body parts for obscure recycling purposes.
  • Add a hint of a wax museum gallery from nowhere for no reason.
  • Also from nowhere and for no discernible reason, add a murderous bear.
  • Mix it all in soft-focus (artsy euphemism for “blurry”) flashbacks featuring way more bizarre sex in the straw than Goldfinger.
  • Grind in generous amounts of gratuitous gore and nudity at the drop of a bodice.
  • Add a gazillion pink candles (??).
  • And for the coup de grace; no ending…none…nada…zilch.

This and less constitutes Castle of the Creeping Flesh.

And what, pray tell, is the “something amazing” that happens?

Well, aficionados, this film is STILL not as bad as Manos, Hand of Fate.

Did I mention there’s a bear?

Glamora Mora’s Career Peaks!

Movie Night!

Atom Age Vampire; the title pretty well tips you off that we’re takin’ the high road tonight. The title is an issue itself. It’s not a vampire flick. It’s more of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde story, and the connection to anything atomic is incoherent and contrived.

Who cares?

It’s Italian and probably lost something in translation.

We have elements of great film-making present here…if your definition of “great” is generous in the extreme.

  • It’s black and white, and grainy, and the contrast dial is set at “11”. Ouch.
  • We have an “Igor” assistant who of course cannot speak. This always augers well, though I found myself longing for Marty Feldman.
  • We have a handsome leading man who smokes, drinks, hangs out at the strip club, spurns his adoring lover because she works at the strip club, and basically contributes nothing positive to the resolving of the case. Naturally, he gets the girl at the end of the film. Hey! It’s Italian.
  • We have a script that can’t even spell “plausible”.
  • We have cool (sorta) lab equipment like vials that glow and bathtub-like domed chambers that glow. Both seem to do things to people of which the FDA would never approve.
  • We have a cool convertible for the protagonist and his victim to drive around in for no discernible reason. Hey! It’s Italian.

AND what an assemblage of talent!

  • A beloved director; Anton Giulio Majano. What? You’ve never heard of him? Obviously you haven’t watched enough television…Italian television, that is.
  • Alberto Lupo plays the mad scientist/doctor/monster with a George Zucco-ish panache. What? You’ve never heard of him? Obviously you’ve not seen his nuanced work in Minotaur, Wild Beast of Crete and The Giant of Marathon.
  • Susanne Loret (you loved her in Uncle Was a Vampire) wears flimsy well. Unfortunately, her acting does too.
  • Glamora Mora (I kid you not) plays the belly dancer……….and upon that we will discreetly pull the shade…

It’s mis-named, it’s mis-cast, it’s a mistake. I loved it.