(January 24, 1946 – August 10, 2013)
Haji, the Canadian-born actress who most famously starred (with Tura Satana and Lori Williams) in the classic cult movie Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! passed on August 10, 2013, at the age of 67 from an unexpected heart attack.
The LA Weekly gives her "real" name as "Barbarella Catton", but popular consensus says that she was born Cerlet Catton, either of Quebec or Halifax. Her stage name, Haji, was supposedly a term of endearment originally from her brother. Going by this interview here, Haji seems to have been born a Breatherian of sorts. By the time she was 14 she was an exotic dancer, but at the age 21 she decided to give a stab at acting and moved to California where Russ Meyer discovered her talents in a topless club and put her in one of his less-respected roughies, Motor Psycho (1965). She went on to appear in a total of five of his films, thus appearing in more of Meyer's films than any other woman, including his third wife Eve Meyer and his longtime main squeeze, Kitten Natividad.
Haji had long since removed herself from the limelight, even the limited amount that cult stardom offers, but even as she retreated to the trees and ocean of Malibu, CA., where she last resided, she remained a fond memory of many a person, including us here at A Wasted Life.
A career review will follow, eventually, but in the meantime enjoy this video that we discovered thanks to Video Watchdog:
Brian Hyland singing Gypsy Woman
(visual source Russ Meyer's Good Morning & Goodbye!):
(1965, dir. Russ Meyer)
OK, we will admit that Motor Psycho was the first Russ Meyer's film that we ever saw that left us oddly disappointed, but then we saw it at the end a triple feature in which it was preceded by two of his early roughie masterpieces — Lorna (1964 / opening sequence) and Mudhoney (1965 / trailer) — so it did face rough competition that night. Still, although Motor Psycho has both its fans and its plus points, it is not the best of his B&W movies... though Haji, in her film debut, definitely leaves a lasting impression — she almost always did. Others who made their feature-film debut in Motor Psycho include Steve Oliver (29 Nov. 1941 – 5 March 2008), of Werewolves on Wheels (1971 / trailer / full film), and the successful character actor Alex Rocco, of Return to Horror High (1987 / trailer), The Entity (1982 / trailer), and Blood Mania (1970 / trailer). According to TV Guide, which calls Motor Psycho "competent, inventive basement-budget filmmaking for the drive-in crowds," the movie was originally double-billed with Faster Pussycat — Kill! Kill!
Over at All Movie, Robert Firsching gives the following synopsis: "This exploitation film delivers the typically sadistic and fast-paced action expected from cult director Russ Meyer. Alex Rocco stars as veterinarian Corey Maddox, whose wife is raped by a motorcycle gang. The three hoods are led by Brahmin (Stephen Oliver), who was a Section 8 in Vietnam. They kill an old man and terrorize his wife Ruby (Haji) until she gets away and joins up with Maddox. Together, the two of them hunt down the gang. [...] The rape scenes are brutal, though not explicit, and Meyer (who appears briefly as the local sheriff) leavens the film with enough campy humor to make it inoffensive. It would have been odious in other hands, but Meyer is somehow able to present scenes in the worst possible taste and still leave viewers smiling. He made better films than this one, but it is still superior to most similar efforts of the time."
Opening scene & credits to Motor Psycho:
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
(1965, dir. Russ Meyer)
Title track by The Bostweeds & credits:
What we say about this movie at our RIP for Tura Satana could easily apply to Haji: "The film that is she and that she was. (If you have not yet seen this film, you are reading the wrong blog.) Russ Meyer's masterpiece needs no introduction [...]."Trailer:
But just in case you are indeed one of the tragically uniformed, here's the plot as explained at Wikipedia: "Three thrill-seeking go-go dancers — Billie (Lori Williams), Rosie (Haji), and their leader, Varla (Tura Satana) — encounter a young couple in the desert while racing their sports cars. After killing the boyfriend (Ray Barlow) with her bare hands, Varla drugs, binds, gags and kidnaps his girlfriend, Linda (Susan Bernard). On a desolate highway, the four stop at a gas station, where they see a wheelchair-bound old man (Stuart Lancaster) and his muscular, dimwitted son, Vegetable (Dennis Busch). The gas station attendant (Mickey Foxx) tells the women that the old man and his two sons live on a decrepit ranch with a hidden cache of money. Intrigued, Varla hatches a scheme to rob the lecherous old man." According to rumor, an unnecessary remake is underway... the muscle mag below features the unknown weightlifter Dennis Busch on its cover; the GIF is from Novocain Lipstick.The Bostweeds only other known song, Little Bad News:
Good Morning... and Goodbye!
(1967, dir. Russ Meyer)
(1967, dir. Russ Meyer)
"You're the worst lover in town. It's a good thing I know someone in the country."
Angel (Alaina Capri)
The first NSFW minute:
Good Morning ... and Goodbye! von uhnyuftz
As Boris Lugosi says at Girls, Guns and Ghouls "I can't think of a single Russ Meyer film that isn't worth owning and viewing numerous times. Good Morning and Goodbye! unreservedly comes with this recommendation, not just for the bountiful bodies and well-choreographed fisticuffs, but for the ability to stay in your mind and make you think about relationships. It's truly a work of art, and you've still got those scenes with Haji in the flower-petal bikini!" In her interview at Shock Cinema, Haji says this is her favorite film. TCM offers the following plot synopsis: "Because of his age, Burt (Stuart Lancaster), a wealthy farmer, is unable to satisfy the prodigious sexual needs of his wife, Angel (Alaina "42-24-36" Capri). The flamboyant affair Angel is having with Stone (Pat Wright [28 Nov 1939 - 9 Dec 2004], the director of Hollywood High [1976 / scene], producer of Frightmare [1983 / trailer / full film] and an actor in an untold amount of drive-in flotsam), a young construction worker — not to mention her wanton behavior with other men — embitters Burt and humiliates Lana (Karen Ciral [23 March 1945 - 27 July 1979] of Love, Swedish Style [1972 / NSFW trailer] and The Cycle Savages [1969 / theme]), his 17-year-old daughter by a previous marriage. Lana resolves to gain revenge on her easily-cowed father by flinging herself on the good-looking Ray (Don Johnson). But, because Ray is also intrigued by the voluptuous Angel, Lana ends up in the arms of the sex-hungry Stone. Then Burt meets a strange forest sorceress (Haji), who revives his long-dormant sexual drive. After he demonstrates his rejuvenated state to Angel, she promptly agrees to end her extramarital activities. Lana, who has been humiliated by Stone's brutal assault, comes home a reformed girl and again takes up with Ray. Stone, however, pays for his monomaniacal sexuality by being brutally beaten by the cuckolded husband of one of his earlier conquests."
(1967, dir. Alexander Mackendrick)
In her interview at Shock Cinema, Haji, when talking about Russ Meyer's ability to make films with a super-small crew, says "So when I got a job at MGM on a Tony Curtis movie, Don't Make Waves (1967), I looked around and said to myself, 'Look at all these people to do one film! How did Russ do it?'" She never mentions the film again, and it is not listed on any of the on-line list of her credits that we could find, so who knows what she actually did on the film, but since she was obviously part of it in some way we'll include this forgotten Tony Curtis swinging sixties comedy here as well.
The movie, based on a 1959 Ira Wallach novel entitled Muscle Beach, was originally touted as Sharon Tate's film debut, but she had actually already appeared (credited & uncredited) in other films, including the 1966 British horror film Eye of the Devil (trailer).
The plot, according to TCM: "When impulsive and reckless Laura Califatti (Claudia Cardinale) totally wrecks a sports car belonging to tourist Carlo Cofield (Tony Curtis of BrainWaves ), she invites the distraught young man to spend the night on the couch of her Malibu Beach apartment. But he is thrown out by Laura's 'patron,' Rod Prescott (Robert Webber), a pompous businessman who runs a swimming pool company owned by his wife. After sleeping on the beach, Carlo goes for a swim, nearly drowns, and is saved by a seductive surfer-skydiver, Malibu (Tate), who gives him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Captivated by the girl, Carlo decides to settle down in the area. Since he has failed to get any compensation for his sports car, he uses his knowledge of Rod's indiscreet affair with Laura to get a lucrative job as a pool salesman. Then, to further his romance with Malibu, Carlo bribes an astrologist, Madame Lavinia (Edgar Bergen), into telling Malibu's body-builder boyfriend, Harry (Dave Draper), that sex is bad for his physique. The romantic entanglements become even more involved when Rod's wife, Diane (Joanna Barnes), announces that she is suing for divorce, naming Laura as correspondent. Eventually, all six participants become trapped in Carlo's cliff-side house during a rainstorm. As it tips over and slides down the incline to the muddy beach below, Malibu is reunited with the muscle-bound Harry, Diane agrees to drop her divorce proceedings, and Laura and Carlo discover they are made for each other." Muscular Dave Draper, by the way, was the 1965 IFBB Mr. America and the 1966 IFBB Mr. Universe.The title track, sung by The Byrds:
(1970, dir. Russ Meyer)
"Prepare to taste the black sperm of my vengeance"
Z-Man (John LaZar)
One of our favorite films! Haji's appearance is just one of the many pleasures of this masterpiece overflowing with eye-candy and kitsch and frantic soap-opera melodrama... She is not a lead character, but is seen often enough and is also far more noticeable than the great Pam Grier (of Black Mama, White Mama , Coffy  and Bones , among many noteworthy films), who supposedly made her film debut in this masterpiece but is impossible to find/see anywhere in the entire movie. For years misunderstood as simply "a dirty, violent movie" (as the Pulitzer Prize winner Mike Royko once described it), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls now finds its way onto many a Top Films list, and rightfully so.
Originally intended as a sequel to the 1967 movie version of Jacqueline Susann's novel Valley of the Dolls (trailer), Meyer and co-screenwriter Roger Ebert instead made a Pop Art exploitation satire of the conventions of the modern Hollywood melodrama, written in sarcasm but played straight, complete with a "moralistic" ending that owes its inspiration to the Manson-inspired murder of Sharon Tate and her guests on August 9, 1969. Aside from the movie's absolutely insane plot, the cinematography is also noteworthy — as are the figures of the pneumatic babes that populate the entire movie. For legal reasons, the film starts with the following disclaimer: "The film you are about to see in not a sequel to Valley of the Dolls. It is wholly original and bears no relationship to real persons, living or dead. It does, like Valley of the Dolls, deal with the oft-times nightmare world of show business but in a different time and context." Dolly Read, seen below, is one of the many babes that lives, loves and suffers before being one of the lucky ones to find happiness...
BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS TRAILER with ERICA GAVIN from Erica Gavin on Vimeo.
The full plot, as explained in detail by B-Movie Catechism: "Determined to find success by any means necessary, the all girl psychedelic soul trio The Kelly Affair heads off to Hollywood to make it big. Things go remarkably well at first as the group is taken under the wings of record producer extraordinaire Z-Man (John Lazar), who changes the band’s name to The Carrie Nations and helps them make a string of hit singles. However, it all begins to go sour as the friends become entangled in a drug, alcohol, and sex fueled soap opera of labyrinthine proportions. Kelly ([May 1966 Playboy centerfold Dolly Read; see above] lead vocals and guitar) develops an infatuation with Lance Rocke (Michael Blodgett [1 Jan 1940 - 14 Nov 2007]), a local gigolo whose real interest lies in Kelly's forthcoming inheritance. This so disturbs Harris ([David Gurian] band manager and Kelly’s ex-boyfriend) that he first takes up with predatory porn star Ashley St. Ives (Edy Williams), with whom he ultimately can't 'perform', and then has a one night stand with the emotionally fragile Casey ([December 1968 Playboy centerfold Cynthia Myers (12 Sept 1950 – 4 Nov 2011)] bass). Now pregnant with Harris' child and determined never to be used by a man again, Casey falsely accuses Harris of rape, reluctantly agrees to get an abortion, and becomes a lesbian. No longer able to bear it all, Harris attempts to kill himself by jumping from the rafters during the taping of a television appearance by The Carrie Nations, but he fails and only manages to turn himself into a paraplegic. Distraught by all the misfortunes which have befallen her bandmates, Petronella ([Marcia McBroom, also seen somewhere in Come Back, Charleston Blue (1972)] drums) seeks solace in the arms of heavyweight champion Randy Black (James Iglehart). Unfortunately, Pet's real boyfriend Emerson (Harrison Page) catches the two in bed and, in a foolhardy attempt to defend his manhood, is run over by a car driven by the half-insane pugilist. Whew. At this point, the movie is only two-thirds of the way through, and we haven’t even covered the sub-plots involving Kelly's fashion designing aunt Susan (Phyllis Davis) and her slimy accountant Porter (Duncan McLeod). Let's just say it all comes to a head at a private costume party thrown by Z-Man where hearts are broken, lives are lost, and seriously WTF secrets are revealed."Strawberry Alarm Clock — Incense and Peppermints:
As an added attraction, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls also featured the appearance of the perhaps now mostly forgotten but still around bubblegum psychedelic band the Strawberry Alarm Clock performing their hit (it reached #1 on the 1967 pop charts) Incense and Peppermints and two other songs... all the songs of the Kelly Affair cum Carrie Nations were lip-synched and actually performed by Lynn Carey (December 1972 Penthouse Pet of the Month)... Aspects of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls were reused in the 1984 no-budget punk movie Desperate Teenage Lovedolls (trailer) and its 1986 sequel, Lovedolls Superstar (trailer).
The Carrie Nations — Come with the Gentle People:
BigfootThe groovy theme to Bigfoot:
(1970, dir. Robert F. Slatzer)
(1970, dir. Robert F. Slatzer)
Haji supposedly appears as "Haji" somewhere in this cinematic Z-film featuring all sorts of Hollywood has-beens, sons and daughters and hanger-ons, the biggest of latter of which is perhaps the director himself, Robert F. Slatzer (4 April 1927 - 28 March 2005). The author numerous Hollywood bios, Slatzer's best remembered books are probably The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe (1974) and The Marilyn Files (1992). Slatzer originated the conspiracy that Monroe was killed for having an affair with JFK, and he also liked to claim that he was actually even married to the famous sexpot for three days in 1952... in regard to the latter claim, he was eventually proven a liar by fellow biographer Donald Spoto, who discovered proof that Monroe was in Bev Hills the day Slatzer claimed they got married in Mexico.
Bigfoot is the third and last film Slatzer ever made; his other films include the inane explioter The Hellcats (1968) and the pseudo-documentary and pro-Vietnam War travesty No Substitute for Victory (1970). Bigfoot, by the way, was co-written with James Gordon White, who has since retrired to Texas to write westerns but once specialized in writing cheap exploitation films featuring motorcyclists, including: The Glory Stompers (1967 / trailer), The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968 / trailer), Hell's Belles (1969 / trailer), The Tormentors (1971 / trailer), The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971 / trailer), The Thing with Two Heads (1972 / trailer) and Ten Violent Women (1982 / trailer).Scene:
The plot of Bigfoot, as explained by one of our favorite blogs, Kindertrauma: "In this movie we find a whole clan of Bigfoot monsters running about, terrorizing a small town. Much like the fish monsters from Humanoids from the Deep (1980 / trailer), these dudes only have one thing on their primitive minds, interbreeding with human ladies to populate their dwindling race. (We know that this type of inter-species whoopee has been successful in the past because there is a little Bigfoot / human hybrid helping them out). One day the monsters kidnap a chick who happens to be the girlfriend of a member of a motorcycle gang that's passing through town and all types of hell breaks loose. Unbeknownst to the Sasquatch tribe, they have started a gang war! In order to preserve the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to, which consists of raping ladies by day and wrestling bears and mountain lions at night, the Bigfoot clan must defend their turf from the not-threatening-in-the-least motorcycle gang." The few, the select, the brave, the idiotic that have seen this film seem to be divided: many simply hate it for being bad, while many enjoy it as a craptastic film with an incredible cast...
A year earlier, oddly enough, the basic idea of horny sasquatch was used in an actual (and totally ridiculous) Z-budget porn movie entitled The Geek 1969 / trailer).Trailer:
Up Your Alley
(1971, dir. Art Lieberman)
Director Art Lieberman only other known credit seems to be as producer of the 1967 "documentary" Something's Happening aka The Hippie Revolt. This film here is aka Bang, Bang, the Mafia Gang, The Melon Affair, Heads 'n' Tails and Sex or Bust.
As is the case with Good Morning and Goodbye!, in her interview in Shock Cinema Haji calls this movie the favorite of all films she made. She also goes on to explain: "I was supposed to be Sophia Loren. I played Sophie, an Italian movie star who comes to America because some mobsters kidnapped her father. If Woody Allen had directed it and played the leading man, it would've been a superb film. It was a cheap film, and the director had never made a film before in his life. When I broke down the script, I found out I had something like six different parts in flashback that I had to play, from different parts of the world and different eras. I went to the wardrobe department, and they were yawning and saying, 'Yeah, well, we got this and that.' I wasn't happy with what I saw, so I said, 'Never mind, I'm gonna do my own clothes.' They never could've made my character as strong as she was, not with what they had. I really had to bring a lot to it. And then the title was changed to Up Your Alley and it was sold as a sex film. [...] Lowlife men who have no taste — they get hold of a film like that and they don't know what to do with it. These are the men who have their brains in their penises. That film went from one lowlife man to another, instead of going to someone with a little class and taste. It's a cute, funny little film."
Temple of Schlock adds the details: "Rated X by the MPAA in 1970, Art Lieberman's wacky sex comedy Bang Bang, the Mafia Gang — starring funny guy Frank Corsentino in full Woody Allen mode and exotic Russ Meyer starlet Haji in sexy-as-ever mode — was released by Headliner and had its world premiere in Tucson with the stars in attendance. A year later the movie was picked up by Group 1, cut for an MPAA-approved R rating and re-released as Up Your Alley. It toured drive-ins and neighborhood theaters for 5 years under this handle before being sold off to producer/showman M.A. Ripps (of Poor White Trash [1961 / opening credits] infamy), who re-titled it Heads 'n' Tails ('Their tails are up, their heads are down, they're the most popular girls in town!') and finally The Melon Affair for a 1978/1979 roll-out through his EMC Film Corporation. The movie is currently available on DVD-R and for download from Something Weird under its original title."
BFI sort of offers a plot: "Wanting to sell stolen jewels to an American crime syndicate, Sicilian mafia boss, Don Marco (Charles Knapp of The Dark Backwards [1991 / trailer]) flies to the States in disguise. He dies before the deal is completed and Maria (Haji) persuades Seymour (Frank Corsentino) to pose as Marco in order to save her step-father who is held hostage by Marco's contacts." The movie also features an appearance of the legendary Uschi Digard as the nurse in a fantasy of Seymour. A non-embeddable trailer to the film can be found here at Something Weird... Haji never looked better.The Hippie Revolt, produced by Art Lieberman:
Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman!
(1975, dir. William A. Levey)
WHAM! BAM! THANK YOU SPACEMAN! (William A. Levey, 1975) (NSFW) from Spectacle Theater on Vimeo.
Haji appears somewhere in an un-credited role as a harem girl in this movie, which was originally made as a soft-core flick but later re-released with hardcore inserts. Director William A. Levey is the same man behind the infamous non-classics as, among others, Hellgate (1990 / trailer), The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington (1977 / trailer) and Blackenstein (1973).Blackenstein trailer:
DVD Drive-in explains this Harry Novak produced cinematic oddity: "Two very blue, giant-headed aliens named Sergeant Jackoff and Private Asshole land on earth in search of females to procreate their species. Our visitors beam up naked ladies aboard their ship and mate with them via a snake-like tongue (penis?) that protrudes from their mouths. They also have blue balloons for ears, and they blow up when they get aroused. Jackoff and Asshole roam around Hollywood looking for eligible babes. This shifts the film into different scenarios such as an oversexed hooker, two lesbians on a porno movie set, a husband who suddenly finds his wife more enticing than a game of golf, and some mate swapping involving a rich couple and a duo of French servants. Loaded with four-letter words and crude toilet humor, the aliens constantly scrutinize the female anatomy ('Look at that pimple on her ass!') and the inadequate size of the male human unit in comparison with their own ('Look at that funny cock'). [...] Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman! is a silly but stimulating softcore offering, made several years before the space movie craze [...]. "Ilsa" herself, Dyanne Thorne (using the pseudonym Rosalee Stein) plays the hooker (yes, she does nudity!) and appears on screen with husband Norman [sic] Maurer. Porn queen Sandy Carey is a sexy maid, and bleach-blond Valda Hansen (star of Ed Wood's Night of the Ghouls [1959 / full film]) is a horny housewife. Valda also does nudity, but looks about 15 years past her prime."
Mania points out that "As directed by the 70s' version of Jean Cocteau, William A. Levey [...], Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman! is a visual masterpiece. One might be fooled into thinking that the film is comprised of nothing more than a series of static shots, edited together choppily, visually engaging only via the color-saturated print. Yet to think that is to be oblivious to the social commentary by the master satirist that Levey is! Don't you see that this is just a subtle way to show the plight of the domesticated American woman, whose life at that time consisted of a series of boring routines, randomly strung together, engaging only via the massive quantities of booze they ingested and the hard-core lesbian trysts they had with other bored housewives?! It's this undercurrent of thought that makes Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman! one of the greatest films of our time and of all time."
The title track is sung by Kay Dennis... we couldn't find it anywhere, but we did find her cover version of Sunny...Cover of Bobby Hebb's Sunny by Kay Dennis:
(1975, dir. Russ Meyer)
Digital Retribution says: "Supervixens is an extremely unusual film. What may at first come across as soft core porn, actually has a pretty good story, and is a hilarious, sexy and is a vicious satire of the times in which it was made. Meyer took the similar themes of his earlier film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and took everything to a more excessive level. The women are bustier, and regularly topless, the violence more horrific and shocking, the chases faster, the set pieces more rural and the obscure, well, more obscure. With many deliberately scandalous moments in this film, Supervixens is in a genre all of its own…"
We here at A Wasted Life find it a fabulous film, though not all who took part seemed to have enjoyed making it: when asked about the movie in an interview at Rock!Shock!Pop!, the Golden Age porn star Colleen Brennan, who plays Super Cherry in the movie and whose last known credit (as far as we can tell) is Colleen Brennan: Porn's 1st Grandma (2007), tritely said: "I sincerely believe that Russ Meyer likes breasts but not their complex life support systems. I didn't like him the first day I met him or the last. [...] And I'm not saying that Meyer was any fonder of me, but I would never have signed up for another one of his misogynistic tit-floggers."
Haji appears as SuperHaji in this multi-violent cartoon of a soft-core sexploitation film almost that literally gives meaning to the word cleavage. Among all the cartoon babes that populate this film, SuperHaji does stand out a bit as the overly sparkly hippy waitress that could but refuses (out of spite) to confirm the hero's alibi. While her unique appearance fits the overall lack of reality of the movie, as she explains in her interview in Shock Cinema, her look was due to a misunderstanding: "Russ said, 'We're gonna be shooting in a nightclub.' At that point, a lot of young people were wearing stones on their faces. Gluing stones everywhere. It took me hours to glue those stones all over me, and when I showed up, it was this little cheap roadhouse! It's like putting an emerald on a fake gold necklace! I said to Russ, 'Why didn't you tell me it was going to be this kind of place? Look at me!' But we went with the scene anyway. It was pretty, but I was just a little out of place. [laughs] There I was, serving beer with stones all over me!"
The lead female of the movie, the intensely beautiful Shari Eubank, plays two roles and left the film business after her next movie, the less-memorable Chesty Anderson, USN (1976 / excerpt), to return to Illinois to teach; she currently works at Blue Ridge High, and her great smile seems to be very much intact. Over at Bright Lights Russ Meyer once claimed the film, the first that he wrote alone ("together with the actors"), is his version of an Horatio Alger tale: "They were always about a young man who was totally good, and he would always set out to gain his fortune and he would always come up against terrible people. They did everything they could to do him in, but he fought fair, you know, and he always survived and succeeded in the end."
And, finally: the plot — as explained by All Movie: "[...] Clint (Charles Pitts) is working at a gas station (run by none other than Martin Bormann (Henry Rowland), who was working as a bartender in Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) when his wife (Eubank) is brutally murdered by Harry Sledge (Charles Napier), a cop with a deeply sadistic streak. Clint tries to bring Harry to justice while Harry attempts to frame Clint for the crime. In the meantime, Clint is constantly pursued by a variety of women with improbable names, voracious sexual appetites and bodies that make Pamela Anderson look like Kate Moss. [...] Supervixens features a villainous performance by Charles Napier, another from Meyer stalwart Stuart Lancaster and several typically cantilevered beauties, including Haji, Shari Eubank and Uschi Digard." Not to mention Christy Hartburg as SuperLorna, the poster girl, in her only film role ever, and the Afro American babe Deborah McGuire as SuperEula...
Trailer — in French:
(1976, dir. John Cassavetes)
Haji plays Haji in this art house crime film directed by auteur John Cassavetes, "a pioneer of American independent film by writing and directing over a dozen movies, some of which he partially self-financed, and which pioneered the use of improvisation and a realistic cinéma vérité style." Haji can even be seen in the trailer. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie was both a critical and commercial flop when it came out; Cassavetes later re-edited the film down to 108 minutes from 135, but the new edit was no better received. Typical of the reaction the movie got is that found at TV Guide, which says "Cassavetes' films can be annoying and enigmatic, but they are usually creative and interesting. Not so with this one."Trailer:
The full plot description from Wikipedia: "The film, set in California, opens with Cosmo Vittelli (Ben Gazzara) making the final payment on a long-standing gambling debt to a sleazy loan shark (played by the film's producer Al Ruban). To celebrate his long-anticipated freedom, strip club owner Vittelli has an expensive night out with his three favorite dancers ('Margo' [Donna Gordon, the "body model for the animated dancer" of the video to Tom Waits for No One], 'Rachael' [Azizi Johari, below, Playboy Playmate of the Month, June 1975] and 'Sherry' [Alice Friedland, naked here from Please Don't Eat My Mother [1973 / trailer]). The evening culminates in a poker game in which Vittelli loses $23,000, returning him to the debtor's position he had just left. Using the debt as leverage, his mob creditors coerce him into agreeing to perform a 'hit' on a rival. Vittelli is led to believe that his target is a small-time criminal of minor consequence, the Chinese bookie of the film's title; but in fact, he is the boss of the Chinese mafia, 'the heaviest cat on the West Coast'. Vittelli manages to kill the man and several of his bodyguards, but is severely wounded before escaping. In addition to the potentially fatal gunshot wound he sustains, Vittelli comes to realize that his assignment was a set-up: that his mob employers double-crossed him and had no expectation he would survive his debut as a hitman. Forced into a corner again, Vittelli manages to kill or elude his assailants, but the film ends with no indication of whether Vittelli will survive his ordeal, as the show at his club goes on."
Of this famously overly long movie, in the interview at Shock Cinema Haji says: "Yes, he [John Cassavetes] shot so much film of me because he liked the stuff I was doing. He just kept the film rolling. When I went to the dailies, I was so happy with my work. He could've released a whole other film of just those seven beautiful girls. Everybody I know who saw that film said, 'How come there wasn't more about the girls? We wanted more of the girls!' If he had left more scenes of us in there, we would've gotten a lot more work from it. His son [Nick Cassavetes] is a director now, and I'd love it if he gave me that film and all the outtakes so I could reedit it. I guarantee you I could make it one hell of a film. Better than it turned out, certainly."
The photo above of Haji in the movie comes from Haji's homepage, which probably won't be up all that much longer...
(1976, dir. Don Edmonds)
Haji, credited as "Haji Cat", plays "Alina Cordova" in this, the first sequel to Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1974 / trailer) — you see her getting tortured in this film's NSFW trailer below and on the Japanese poster above. In the Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, she is a spying belly dancer who first gets her beautiful love pillows crushed when she is tortured for information about her unknown contractor and is then later killed by an exploding diaphragm... As Dr Gore astutely says: "Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks promises nasty sleaze and does not disappoint. Every other scene had either blood or breasts or both. It's a great exploitation movie. I recommend it."The NSFW trailer:
We, in turn, actually saw this movie a decade or two ago in a double feature with Ilsa the Tigress of Siberia [1977 / trailer], but to tell the truth we really don't remember anything about either movie...
Over at imdb, MG basically describes the intricacies of the movie's plot: "Finding a new employer, and looking not a day older since the end of World War II, Ilsa (Dyanne Thorne) works for an Arab sheik (Jerry Delony of The Horny Vampire ) who enjoys importing females to use as sex slaves. An American millionaire's daughter (Colleen Brennan), a movie star (Uschi Digard), and an attractive equestrian are among his latest victims." Ms. Brennan, when asked in an interview at Rock!Shock!Pop! about her appearance in this Ilsa movie and the first one, both films she regrets having been in, disingenuously states, "Okay, here's the rule of thumb I developed too late: Never be in a movie that strives to attract an audience with whom you would not choose to share a theater." Haji is also relatively circumspect about the movie when talking to Shock Cinema, saying: "I will limit myself as far as doing certain things, and some of the stuff they did in that film was a little too funky for me. I liked my part, but I don't think I did a very good job with it."
The infamous and popular Dyanne "Ilsa" Thorne, by the way, is now a minster named Dyanne Maurer who, with her current husband Howard Maurer — the couple appeared in five films together: this Ilsa film here, Ilsa the Tigress, Wanda, the Wicked Warden (1977 / trailer), Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman! (1975) and all of two seconds in Franc Roddam's Liebestod segment of Aria (1987 / trailer) — now conducts wedding ceremonies in Vegas.Franc Roddam's Liebestod segment of Aria:
The Amorous Adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
(1976, dir. Raphael Nussbaum [7 Dec 1931 - 23 Feb 1993])
Aka When Sex Was a Knightly Affair. Director Raphael Nussbaum made his first cheap film, Blazing Sand (1960 / trailer), in Israel, but eventually ended up in the US producing, writing and/or directing trash like Al Adamson's The Female Bunch (1971 / trailer). Today, he is about as forgotten as he is dead.Daliah Lavi, the female lead of Blazing Sand, sings Willst du mit mir gehn:
Haji plays "Cybel" in this soft-core musical version of the classic tale, about which she had little good to say to Shock Cinema: "I saw the film once when it first came out, and I was disgusted with it. When I got on the set, it was totally different from the way they had described it. They showed me one script, and started filming another one. It turned out to be a really sleazy, horrible film."
Over at imdb, lazarillo of Denver, Colorado, and Santiago, Chile, is less derisive of the movie, saying: "Of course, this is not exactly a faithful re-telling of the great 17th century Spanish novel (I've read the book twice and I don't recall either Don Quixote or his sidekick Sancho Panza getting anywhere near this much action). But this is also not just some cheap porno parody either. They actually spent some real time and money on this, especially on the famous windmill-fighting scene. This movie also continues the bizarre 70s' trend of combining softcore (or sometimes hardcore) porn with half-ass musical numbers [...]. Of course, the musical numbers are very low-rent and often pretty stupid [...]. The actor playing Don Quixote (Corey John Fisher) is pretty miscast. He is much too young for the elderly, senile would-be knight. But at least he is half-way believable as the beneficiary of all this hot sex, unlike Hy Pike as Sancho Panza, who gets even more women than Quixote, despite looking like a cross between Ron Jeremy and Danny Devito without being nearly as attractive as either of them. [...] Still, Pike is at least a little more talented acting-wise than your usual male porno stiff."
Corey John Fisher seems never to have made another film, but Hy Pike is seen in Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973 / trailer), The First Nudie Musical (1976 / fan-made trailer), Nightmare in Blood (1977 / trailer) and Spawn of the Slithis (1978 / trailer).A song, not from The Amorous Adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, but from The First Nudie Musical:
Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell
(1978, dir. Larry Buchanan)
Haji, billed as Hadji, "had a very small part" as Laura in this bio-pic, supposedly financed as a tax shelter, from the self-titled "schlockmeister" Larry Buchanan nee Marcus Larry Seale Jr. (31 Jan 1923 − 2 Dec 2004).
The NY Times uses the same text about the film as everyone else, written by Hal Erickson (Rovi): "Everybody knows that Howard Hughes ordered most of his 1930 aviation epic Hell's Angels re-filmed to accommodate his latest discovery, platinum blonde Jean Harlow. Everybody also knows that Hughes and Harlow had an affair. These 'givens' are used as springboard for exploitation filmmaker Larry Buchanan's Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell. Neither Lindsay Bloom nor Victor Holchak are half as fascinating as the real-life characters they portray, and this coupled with a stretched-to-the-limit budget results in a film that never quite reaches its potential. Still, we can't resist that supporting cast: Royal Dano, Adam Roarke and Linda Cristal." Like most Buchanan films, it did little for the careers of its headlining stars — Victor Holchak was history within two years. The photo below, by the way, is of the real Jean Harlow, not her screen incarnation.An early Larry Buchanan "classic" in full: The Naked Witch (1961):
Demonoid: Messenger of Death
(1981, dir. Alfredo Zacarías)
"You either cut off my hand, or I'll kill you!"
Sergeant Leo Matson (Lew Saunders)
Aka Devil's Hand and Macabre, both titles used before by other horror films — the Devil's Hand in 1962 (see below) and Macabre by William Castle in 1958.
William Castle's Macabre (1958):
Haji is "Angela, the moll", who meets her demise in the desert outside of Las Vegas. Video Graveyard explains the plot: "Opening with a topless woman being tied-up and getting her hand cut-off, this bearable if not overly thrilling tale has Samantha Eggar (of The Brood [1979 / trailer]) and her scientist husband (Roy Jenson of Soylent Green ) in Mexico unearthing an ancient cursed 'hand' container which promptly starts to possess people's left hands and make them go on killing sprees." Help comes in the form of Father Cunningham (Stuart Whitman, of Night of the Lepus [1972 / trailer], Eaten Alive / Death Trap [1977 / trailer] and Guyana: Cult of the Damned [1979 / trailer]), an Irish priest whose faith is as shaky as his Irish accent.
Most find the film fun in a bad way, as does the blogspot Talk of Horror: "Demoniod is about as goofy as they get. The plot really doesn't hold up to scrutiny, most of the performances are lackluster, and the film is loaded with moments that are unintentionally hilarious. [...] In spite of its problems, I found myself kind of enjoying this movie. It's not really good, but the whole concept is so daffy that you can't help but go along with it. It's like Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977 / full film) or I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990 / trailer), only played straight and without evil inanimate objects. Apart from that, Eggar and Whitman aren't great, but do their best carrying the material, and there's something perversely amusing about seeing people finding different ways of getting their hands severed, providing some fun bloody moments. Add a great score by Richard Gillis, plenty of (unintentional) laughs and a downbeat (though predictable) conclusion, and you've got yourself an amusing little piece of trash cinema."
Mexican-born director Alfredo Zacarías also directed some other psychotronic flotsam of note such as The Bees (1978 / clip) and The Treasure of the Amazon (1985 / trailer)The Devil's Hand (1962) — Full Movie:
The Double-D Avenger
(2001, dir. William Winckler)
OK, we're not really sure we'll ever get around to seeing this direct to and on video movie, even if it does feature three Russ Meyer alumni, namely Haji, Kitten Natividad and Raven De La Croix. The concept of a breast-obsessed comedy that starts out with — shades of real life to come — Kitten Natividad getting breast cancer appeals to us, dunno, about as much as, dunno, a comedy featuring three children that starts out with a child molestation scene.
Director Winckler, the son of former child actor (usually un-credited) Robert Winkler (seen somewhere, for example, This Gun for Hire [1942 / trailer] and many more) and Betty Sturm of Timothy Carey's The World's Greatest Sinner (1962 / fan-made documentary), offers the following plot description at imdb: "Big, busty Chastity Knott must use her new amazing abilities as the super-stacked costumed crime fighter, the Double-D Avenger, to stop villainous bikini bar owner Al Purplewood and his sexy, murderous strippers." (She gets her powers, by the way, from sucking off a magical cancer-curing plant in South America.)
Horror Talk seems to have liked the film, saying: "Through the miracle of digital video, The Double-D Avenger has some pretty good production values for its meager budget. Yes the script is corny, yes every cliché for breasts is used at one time or another during the film. The bottom line is this movie is good clean fun. Winckler gives us 'Benny Hill' style adult humor and lots of eye candy to look at. With a combination of 'older' and younger endowed stars, The Double-D Avenger is sure to put a few smiles on your face. These older stars could have stayed at home collecting disability for the back problems caused by these massive mammories, yet they come back to please us in The Double-D Avenger!"
The ageist-minded Horror Review, in turn, says "If it were not for Joe Bob's Commentary, I would of just shut this film off. It's worth checking out for his commentary, but as a film it's like a big stupid porno with old has-been stars in it, doing stupid things and so. This is not going to be a big review at all folks I got nothing great to say about this film and I'll leave it at that." B-Independent, in turn, shares our beef with the film: "Right away you see the first problem. What on God's green Earth is funny about breast cancer? Nothing! It's meant to add to the entire boobies-are-everything atmosphere, but after having spent the past 5 years of my life helping a family member deal with the disease, I couldn't find it within myself to so much as crack a smile."
In any event, The Double-D Avenger did well enough: Winckler earned back the money he invested in his home-grown project and even could finance his follow-up direct-to-video movie, Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove (2005 / trailer).
In any event, The Double-D Avenger did well enough: Winckler earned back the money he invested in his home-grown project and even could finance his follow-up direct-to-video movie, Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove (2005 / trailer).
Killer Drag Queens on Dope
(2003, dir. Lazar Saric)
Haji makes a very short cameo as Moonji, a psychic, in this home movie about life in LA. In Thomas Lisanti's book Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969, the late, great Don Edmonds (1 Sept 1937 - 30 May 2009) — director of Tomcat Angels (1991 / trailer), Terror on Tour (1980 / trailer), Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks (1976), Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975), Bare Knuckles (1977 / trailer) and other fun stuff — says of his part in the movie (as "Uncle A"): "I'm brilliant in this, by the way. I played the head of a family of mobsters. I can't put two thoughts together. The character is confined to a wheelchair and I wear a patch over one eye. This is a silly, dumb movie that will probably never see the light of day." He's wrong about the last: the film is easy to find everywhere. Over at the NY Times, Jason Buchanan (of Rovi) says: "Two murderous drag queens whose lives are a blood-spattered blur of drugs and death embark on a violent rampage of stoned-out destruction in this tripped-out homage to the sleazy exploitations flicks of the 1970s. Ginger (the formerly nicely hung Alexis Arquette of Bride of Chucky ) and Coco (Omar Alexis) are two psychotic transvestites who kill for money and pleasure. When their obsession with murder and insatiable appetite for drugs clash in a psychedelic frenzy of bullets and blades, Ginger and Coco begin a harrowing descent into madness from which death is the only escape."
Shocking Images bitches: "Killer Drag Queens on Dope amounts to nothing more than an uninspired waste of eighty minutes. Why, most drag queens would have more fun sifting through the bargain shoe bin at Payless than watching this dreadful exercise. As a drag performer, Alexis Arquette commands some serious attention. Too bad this movie is so boring. Her features look great on film, and makes for a better gay man in make-up than Sarah Jessica Parker. Sorry SJ, my cat claws are just getting sharpened. As Coco, Omar Alexis is dull, dull, dull. Somebody splash some cold Fresca in that girl's face — PLEASE! And that ending? Oh, for all things holy. This movie plays like two teenage gay boys locked in Linda Evan's wardrobe closet playing Pretty, Pretty Princess. Wait, I meant that as in insult. In any case, if you’re absolutely dying for low budget pinksploitation, I suggest Vegas in Space (1991 / long, long trailer) first. But if you must see this film — bring your sleeping mask."
A scene, maybe?:
Haji — may she R.I.P. on whatever planet she's on now.
Post a Comment