Friday, September 16, 2011

R.I.P.: Paul Hunt

Paul Hunt
14 Oct. 1943 (Redondo Beach, CA) - Tuesday, 13 Sept. 2011 (Redondo Beach, CA)

There are filmmakers out there that, despite a career spanning decades, have never directed a truly good film. Paul Hunt, who died of a heart attack at the age of 67 in his home town of Redondo Beach on Tuesday, September 13, was one of them. Which is not to say he did have a career worth noting.
A surfboard maker by trade, Paul Hunt made his acting debut as a surfer in 1964 in the movie North Swell, a seemingly lost film about which nothing is known; two years later, in 1966, he directed and filmed his first film, another lost film entitled The Psychedelics – from there on, he not only produced, wrote and directed numerous B-movies of his own, but also worked as a cinematographer, gaffer, sound recordist and editor for other directors, often under the pseudonym H.P. Edwards, and even worked with Orson Welles on the latter's controversial unfinished film The Other Side of the Wind (1970).

His obituary at Variety claims that he also was also active as a producer in underground films, but the films he produced were perhaps less underground art than Z-grade and mondo exploitation, many of which he distributed in the 1960s through his own company, Canyon Films (and, later, Pacific International Pictures, Filmmakers International Releasing and United Filmmakers). According to Paul's surfboard firm website, Canyon Films "made over 60 films [...] and released experimental films for all the top filmmakers of the time including Andy Warhol". According to some sources, he worked in one form or another with such noted filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, John Huston, Frank Marshall, Don Siegel, Claude Chabrol, Paul Mazusky, Curtis Harrington, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and many others.

Paul Hunt – may he enjoy the ultimate waves wherever he is now.

Below, a selection of the films he participated in; some of those of which we could find no documentation on the web (like House of a Thousand Dreams [1969], an assumed lost project supposedly starring David F. Friedman) are not included.

North Swell
(1964, dir. unknown)

Hunt plays one of the surfers in this film, the "plot" of which is unknown, just like the director... more or less. The poster/ticket graphics shown here are by Grant Rohloff), a "well known" surfer photographer and filmmaker. Thus, although we could find not verifying source on the web, we would hazard to guess that Rohloff directed the film as well. Below is a short documentary on Grant Rohloff and his films, made and narrated by his son.
Documentary on Grant Rohloff:

The Psychedelics
(1966, dir. Paul Hunt)

Not to be confused with The Devil's Sisters (1966) by William Grefe, also a lost film from the same year also released at one point under the title The Psychedelics. According to the Pandit Ravi Shankar bio @, Ravi Shankar did the music "in Paul Hunt's English flick The Psychedelics (1966)". This film also seems to be unavailable or lost, for there is a definite dearth of info on it. But more than one site says the films features the cult fave Pat Barrington, her second film after making her film debut on the infamous Ed-Wood-scripted Orgy of the Dead (1965 / clip). Aborgast loves Pat Barrington; we do, too – but her costar of Orgy, John Andrews, didn't: "She thought she was going to be a big fucking star. And she couldn't even scream and make it convincing. She couldn't do shit. And those tits are plastic, by the way." About the last, well, she had a damn good job done 'cause they look a lot more real than what you find in Playboy today. Here at A Wasted Life, we couldn't find visual record anywhere of The Psychedelics, but we did find a nicely psychedelic short set to the music of the Switchblade Symphony featuring Pat, amongst other bosoms; we've included it below for your visual pleasure.
Switchblade Symphony playing Mine Eyes:

Mondo Mod
(1967, dir. Peter Perry Jr.)

Paul Hunt appears as himself in this "documentary". Dvd Drive-In says: "Cruising into Mondo Mod to the strains of its cheesy title tune, one would expect a fabulous time capsule of outta-sight fashions, far-out hairdos, and all the hip dialogue you can stand. But instead, Mondo Mod is rather a documentary not aimed at the Mods it documents, but the outsiders who want to be hip and would like a 10-step program narrated by L.A. DJ Harve Humble in the process. Sure, there's footage of the Whiskey a Go Go and its terrible house bands, a kooky boutique called 'Belinda's,' and some drugged-out footage of a stripper and a love-in, but the Mod comparisons stop there. What does go-kart racing, karate, bikers, and protests have to do with the Mod scene?"

(1967, dir. Milton Blair)

Aka Blue Surfari, Blue Surf-Ari; Paul E. Hunt as executive producer. Dangerous Minds says: "There was a glut of sixties Hollywood surfing films in which stars [...] never got wet. And then there were the low-budget indie documentaries that featured bona-fide surfers like Ricky Grigg and Greg Noll riding real waves. Blue Surf-Ari was one of those films. Despite threadbare plots, cheesy voiceovers and lots of footage of teenyboppers milling around waiting for something to happen, these flicks did deliver when it came to awesome wave action. What the low-budget surf films lacked in narrative, they made up in some dynamite footage of surfers shredding down the walls of big-ass waves, shooting the curl and being battered by merciless bodies of water. This is for the old skool."
8:44 Minutes of Blue Surf-Ari:

Killers Three
(1968, dir. Bruce Kessler)

Hunt was only the cinematographer for this hicks-on-the-run exploitation film directed by the man who gave you Angels from Hell (1968 / trailer) and The Gay Deceivers (1969 / trailer), but it stars no one less than Dick Clark, who also produced the film, so we just had to include it here.
Robbery Scene from Killers Three:

Four Kinds of Love
(1968, dir. William Rotsler [as Shannon Carse])

According to imdb, Paul appears uncredited as "Paul" in this sex film directed by Renaissance Man William Rotsler. At imdb, john22900 says: "There's not much to this movie. The women in this movie are much better to look at than the men. For the most part the women have nice bodies and pretty faces. Two of the men that are almost instantly recognizable are Jay Edwards and William Rotsler aka Shannon Carse. The best looking brunette is probably Carol Turner who is very hot but there is a blonde with a nice set of large breasts too. This film is in black and white and most of the film is spent on nudity and sex. No plot to speak of. The film is better when it concentrates on the naked women, not the men who thankfully keep most of their clothes on during this movie."
The NSFW film clip below is not from Four Kinds of Love, but rather from Suburban Pagans, a Rotsler film from the same year... but since the above description literally fits the scene below as well, we're including it for your visual pleasure.
Mostly Nude Go-Go Scene from Suburban Pagans:

(1968, dir. William Rotsler)

Theme Song to Lila:

Better known in (its edited form) as Mantis in Lace. According to imdb, Paul appears uncredited as a member of the audience – a slim connection at best for including the film here, but it is Rotsler's masterpiece and does have a great title song. Plot, per imdb: "A topless dancer attracts, seduces, then murders the men she sleeps with. She does it with a twist, however; she kills them with garden tools." As Girls, Guns and Ghouls puts it: "If you're looking for a nice, humble sleaze-film that relishes its vintage strip-club environs, go no further than Mantis in Lace. It doesn't drench the screen with gore or even that much sex, but there's something quite effective about the whole demented little endeavor.
Trailer to Mantis in Lace:

Blow the Man Down
(1968, directed & written by Hayes Dupree)

Paul Hunt, as H.P. Edwards, produced this film, possibly the first film of Hayes Dupree, whose small number of follow-up films were all hardcore pornography (his next film, Getting Off (1979) featured the body fluids of, among others, two legendary performers, John Leslie and Desiree Cousteau). Peter's Movie Posters says: "Blow the Man Down [proves] yet again that taking drugs, particularly the menace LSD, leads the youth of today down a desperate road to graphic toplessness. A no-budget exploitation film from the pinnacle of the counterculture movement's influence, both the film and the poster provide a licentious warning to troubled teens and the perverted squares who enjoy watching their naked shenanigans." With Pat Barrington (billed as "Camille Grant").
The book cover shown here has absolutely nothing to do with the film, but we like it so much that we've decided to include it anyways.

All the Way Down
(1968, dir. Zoltan G. Spencer)

Cinematography by "Hayes Du Pree". Paul Hunt produces another "underground" film, as sex films were often called back then, directed by an obvious pseudonym – supposedly of one "Spence Criley / Crilly" (although, who knows: it could be the other way around). Supposedly not a hardcore film, despite the following description from Something Weird: "Once you've tasted the fantasy life of Strip Row, you're hooked! There's nowhere to go but All the Way Down! Joe (Joe Weldon) books the talent at a sleazy Sunset Strip go-go club. He's got an eye for the ladies and handpicks dancers [...]. The first dancer we're treated to is Collette [...]. Collette and Joe go back to his place and, while he wheels and deals on the telephone, she performs an impromptu striptease. Lesbians Sultry Sandra and Busty Billie are the star attraction at the club. They perform a nasty S&M routine with Sandra as a masked, whip-wielding mistress and Billie as her shackled love slave. [...] When the gals don't show up for work, Joe convinces Cindy [...] to fill in. He plies her with liquor and sweet talk, then sticks it to her good on a pool table. Cindy immediately enjoys the customers' attention as everyone digs her wide-eyed but not-so-innocent quality. Unfortunately, her sudden star status doesn't sit well with the other dancers...."

The Harem Bunch
(1968, dir. Paul Hunt)

Scripted by the great sleazemeister Bob Cresse, who brought us Love Camp 7 (trailer) the following year. A comedy taking place in the future, in 1984. Plot according to Sandra Brennan: at V-Guide: "The never-ending feud between the Israelis and the Arabs is parodied in this farce. The story begins during a cease-fire. An Israeli leader – who considers fighting a favorite hobby – begins plotting a way to provoke the Arabs into breaking the peace. To do so, he sends three lovely spies into Arab territory where they are willingly captured. This is done to make the enemy believe that trouble is afoot. Then the women meet a handsome Arab leader who beds them all simultaneously. The exhausted, but happy ladies soon reveal the whole conspiracy. This stops the fighting and the Arab and the Israeli leaders become best friends and jointly open a tailor shop." The poster is from, where the plot is told in detail; the film still was found at the, which is a fun site to go through but is way out of our price range.

Wild, Free & Hungry
(1969, written & directed by Paul Hunt)

Once again, Paul Hunt as H.P. Edwards. TV Guide gives it one star and says: "A mega-melodrama about a carnival owner who gets mixed up with the mob and a motorboat racer. Romance, violence, and fast-paced speedboating leave their scars on the carnival owner who eventually loses his wife, fortune, and carnival, while retaining his only true love, a carnival employee. A happy ending has all his lost property returned to him. Tune in next week for another episode of..."

The Pleasure Machines
(1969, dir. Ronald Victor Garcia)

Paul Hunt, executive producer and cinematography. Director Garcia went on to have a real career as a cinematographer and occasional TV director. The plot synopsis from the AFI Film Catalog: "Comedy. Harry Short, an inventor, builds a love machine. His wife, Martha, catches him in the garage with the lifelike, female robot and demands that Harry build a male robot for her own use. Soon, all the neighbors want love machines, and Harry cannot keep up with their requests and his wife's orders for a variety of additional male robots for herself. He constructs two robots for Martha – omitting the on-off switch – and Martha dies of overexertion". Alt. titles: Pleasure Machine, Love Machine, The Love Machine. Released: March 26, 1969 (Champaign, Illinois). Cast: Barbara Lynn, Beverly Walker, Patricia Miller.

The Scavengers
(1969, dir. Lee Frost)

AKA Ambush. Paul plays "Sgt. Ivers" in this exploitation western, for which he supposedly also worked on the music and editing. Directed by the great exploitation filmmaker Lee Frost, maker of numerous trash "crapsterpieces", including Policewoman (1974 / trailer) and The Black Gestapo (1975 / trailer). The Scavengers was rereleased in 1971 with added sex scenes as The Grabbers. For a full plot description and trailer in English, go here to Something Weird.
French Trailer:

The Toy Box
(1971, dir. Ronald Víctor García)

The opening credits:

Paul Hunt, acted as producer (along with the great Harry Novak) and cinematographer for Garcia's infamous trash favorite, The Toy Box. Girls, Guns and Ghouls says: "Ron Garcia [...] created a pure gem of a film in The Toy Box, one of the most enjoyable little movies I've seen in many a year. I can only urge any cult, horror or sleaze fans out there to pick it up, I can't imagine anyone who reads these pages regularly being disappointed. Then again, how any film that shows buxom screen goddess Uschi Digard naked on a revolving bed, being caressed by the bedsheets of the bed can be passed up by anyone is beyond me." (Full review here.)
The great Uschi Digard having fun with bed sheets:

Machismo: 40 Graves for 40 Guns
(1971, written & directed by Paul Hunt)

"Harry Novak presents the first movie bold enough to be called Machismo."
Pycal at imdb says: "This is indeed one of the most incompetent and amateurish looking films I have ever seen. [....] Some of the nighttime photography in this thing is so bad that it makes one of the principal actresses look like a two-headed camel. The film's plot is really nothing new and is essentially a cross between The Magnificent Seven and The Dirty Dozen: A group of Mexican bandidos (led by a Danny Trejo look-alike) receive a pardon for their crimes if they are willing to ride into town and defeat a gang of American outlaws who just made off with a large supply of gold (these details relayed to the viewer through one of the most inept and unintentionally funny voice-over jobs I have ever seen)."

Erika's Hot Summer
(1971, written & directed by Gary Graver)

Paul Hunt produced this early sexploiter by Gary Graver, who went on to do dozens of hand-helping visual aids of gynecological detail under the pseudonym of Robert McCallum. The Erika of the title is no one less than the great Erica Gavin (seen here to the left) of the fun Russ Meyer film Vixen! (1968 / trailer), the Russ Meyer masterpiece Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970 / trailer) and Jonathan Demme's entertaining directorial debut Caged Heat (1974 / trailer). Erika's Hot Summer also features Playboy December 1972 Playmate of the Month Merci Montello (seen here to the right). Plot? Well, basically, Erica vs. Merci for the heart and wiener of "Steve" (Walt Phillips), a fuck-around photographer.
Eight NSFW Minutes of Merci Moanin' & Groanin' in Erika's Hot Summer:

The Clones
(1973, dir. Paul Hunt & Lamar Card)

Paul shared the directorial seat with Lamar Card, who went on to do such intellectually challenging films as Supervan (1977 / trailer) and Disco Fever (1978 / trailer), with a script by Steve Fisher, who wrote the original (great) novel to the great film noir I Wake Up Screaming (1941 / trailer) and tons of other good stuff. Hunt also appears briefly as a physician in the film, which numerous websites claim to have been a hit the year it came out, supposedly even setting box office records – impressive, considering that no one knows anyone who ever saw it (compare, for example, how many people you can probably find who went to see Westworld [trailer], which came out the same year and actually did well enough to garner a sequel. The trailer to The Clones is probably one of the most boring ever made – wonder what the film is like....

The Great Gundown
(1977, dir. Paul Hunt)

AKA Savage Red, Outlaw White. Steve Fisher returns to supply the script to a story by Hunt and Robert Padilla, Padilla being the man who played the lead in Machismo. Hunt also appears in the film as Jim the Gunsel. says: "Violent American film patterned after Italian westerns. Mario, weary of killing for pay, leaves his gang to return home to his wife and son who assumed him long dead. Now he is hunted by both sides of the law and shunned by his wife." Described by "scherpschutter" on as being "a combination of David Hamilton-like erotica and Peckinpah-like violence."

Twisted Nightmare
(1987, dir. Paul Hunt)

Written by Hunt and Charles Philip Moore, who joined forces again three years later for Demon Wind. We actually caught this one at a long-gone grindhouse in downtown San Diego – it was pretty lousy; all we can remember about it are the kitties and the weightlifting Asian character (he had an amazingly crappy haircut but big muscles). Bad acting galore. Made in 1982, it took till '87 to reach the grindhouses, where no one noticed it; today, it could possibly be good in a bad way, but someone else will have to find that out. "A group of teenagers win a trip to a summer camp they had attended as children. However, soon after they get there they begin to disappear one by one."
Paul Hunt once said, "I personally hate horror films and did Twisted Nightmare as a favor for Ed DePriest." In regard to this film, Charles Philip Moore has said: "Twisted Nightmare [...] is the sorriest piece of drek ever put on film. When Hunt wasn't bombed on coke he was coming down with hash. Hunt hired inexperienced wannabes just so he could screw them out of their pay." (See Demon Wind below to learn Hunt's opinion of Moore.)
Twisted Nightmare – Flashback Scene:

The 13th Floor
(1988, written & directed by Chris Roache)

"Even office buildings can be haunted..."
Not to be mistaken with the really nifty 1999 Sci-fi flick directed by Josef Rusnak also entitled The Thirteenth Floor (trailer): No, this is the only film Chris Roache has directed to date – and it isn't surprising, even if it is "Ozploitation". Paul, who must have been there on a surfing vacation, for he shows up as the character "Nick" in this tepid horror flick. Plot from imdb: "As a child, a girl witnesses her father electrocute a young boy. When she grows into an adult, the ghost of the murdered boy appears to her, and together they set out to expose the crimes of her father."
You can watch the whole film for free on YouTube here.

Demon Wind
(written & directed by Charles Philip Moore)

"We have beer, Coke, water and goat's milk."
Paul Hunt helped produce this mildly popular piece of flotsam. The plot description in accordance to the blog the enematic cinematic: "[T]wenty-something Cory (Eric Larson) reconnects with his old drunk of a father only to find him still babbling on about the devil and zombie demons that killed Cory's grandparents years ago...blah, blah, blah. After their awkward encounter, the old man kills himself perhaps out of shame or boredom. Cory then drags his girlfriend and a shit ton of his couple friends out to his grandparents old farm in butt-fuck nowheresville, Idaho (state undetermined) to find out if everything his dad talked about is true. Eventually he learns his grandparents dabbled in a little bit of witchcraft here and evil sorcery there and somehow this all came back to burn them, literally." This film lies in the "To Watch One Day" pile of A Wasted Life.
Of director Moore, Paul Hunt once said: "He's best known for shooting himself in the arm while cleaning his gun and probably one of the most negative people I have ever met. He hates himself more than anyone else that knows him." (See Twisted Nightmare above to learn Moore's opinion of Hunt.)

(1993, written & directed by Paul Hunt)

AKA October 32nd. PG crap co-scripted by Nick McCarty – there's a reason you've never heard of him. Paul Hunt's last directorial endeavor, as always a testament to his talent. He also appears in the film as the Mayor. The guy who played Merlin (Rodney Wood) never made another film after this – are we surprised? Cult actors Richard Lynch and James Hong sleep walk through the film, their careers unscathed – are we surprised? Fantastic Movie Musings & Ramblings explains: "A female reporter discovers that she is the reincarnation of the Lady of the Lake, and she is destined to try to keep the magical sword from falling into the clutches of the evil Pendragon, the son of Mordred. [...] The action sequences are confusing and the storytelling is pretty rotten. Unless you're a big fan of Richard Lynch (who plays Pendragon) or James Hong (who plays the Lady's guardian Leong Tao and who should really shave those hairs on his left cheek), there's little reason to bother with this one."
The first 15 minutes for the masochists out there:

1 comment:

Mike Malloy said...

Thanks for this chronicling and compilation of Paul's little-known career, guys. For about a decade, he also helped David Carradine with David's "hidden" career of personal directorial efforts that barely saw the light of day, if at all. I corresponded with Paul a bit by email, and he seemed pretty bitter about that experience, thinking it was wasted time. His final email to me ended with, "Please don't contact me again. This is too painful."

I'm detailing the whole story of these "lost" Carradine films here in a coming book:

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