Monday, July 25, 2022

Short Film: In One Drag (Germany, 2016)

Here's a quick little film that puts a new spin on "the horrors of smoking". The three-minute stop-motion film is by Alireza Hashempour, made while the Tehran-born, freelance 2-D and stop-motion filmmaker was still a student at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg. One might read the short as a wish-fulfillment film: who hasn't wished, at some point in their life, that the jackasses that see fit to throw their non-biodegradable cigarette stubs everywhere wouldn't get their due? (And we say that as an occasional smoker.)
In any event, In One Drag is well-made and stylistically assured, funny and horrific, and definitely doesn't overstay its welcome. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The Deadly Thief (India, 1978)

Well, they sure tricked us on this one: when we picked up this one-dollar double feature DVD at Dollar Tree in Vegas over a decade ago, we thought we were getting some obscure thriller starring a slumming Rex Harrison (5 Mar 1908 – 2 Jun 1990) titled The Deadly Thief. And then, yesterday, after we finally got around to popping the disc into our DVD player, we found we had actually gotten ourselves an obscure Bollywood thriller (?) starring a slumming Rex Harrison titled Shalimar. Or at least a cut of that film, possibly once titled Raiders of the Sacred Stone, which was intended for Western audiences.
Argentinean trailer to
The Deadly Thief:

And as an added pleasure, this unknown, obscure Bollywood thriller stars not only a slumming Rex Harrison, but also features the great John Saxon (5 Aug 1936 – 25 Jul 2020, below not from the film) and an incredibly miscast and wonderfully out-of-place Sylvia Miles ([9 Sept 1924 – 12 Jun 2019] of The Sentinel [1977 / trailer], Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse [1981 / trailer] and Violent Midnight [1963 / full film, with James Farentino]) — all three in their only Bollywood appearances ever. And the wonders of what you learn on the internet: Sylvia Miles replaced the original star signed, Gina "36-22-35" Lollobrigida, who bailed the project shortly after arriving to India.*
* "It is April 1977 in Bombay, and at the muhurat of Shalimar, Bollywood's landmark international flop, Zeenat Aman and Gina Lollobrigida are fighting for supremacy on the lawns of the Turf Club. Their chosen weapons are thigh-high side-slits and plunging necklines. Lollobrigida loses out to a much younger Aman and bails out of the film in disgust, to be replaced by an 'old-looking, shrivelled, passionless and temperamental Sylvia Miles'. [Indian Express]"

"Obscure Bollywood thriller" is naturally a relative phrase. Harold Robbins (who?), for example, is surely an obscure American writer to most people in India — if not, by now and despite his former fame, to most of the world. In its day, Shalimar cum The Deadly Thief cum Raiders of the Sacred Stone may have been a flop in its homeland (likewise not making a ripple in the rest of the world), but studded with names that are well-known in India, the movie was the most expensive Bollywood production to date in 1978, and thus infamous. (Infamous precludes obscurity.)
Supposedly Shalimar cum The Deadly Thief
cum Raiders of the Sacred Stone has since garnered a cult following, while its soundtrack has long since become a popular source of samples. However: the 90-minute English-language version of the movie (the Hindi-language version is around 137 minutes), lacking almost all musical numbers as well as the introduction and a lot of character back-story, leans definitely towards the unknown or forgotten, whether under its rarer title, The Deadly Thief, or its original English title, Raiders of the Sacred Stone.
The great title track to
Shalimar / The Deadly Thief:
Based loosely on the lesser James Hadley Chase (24 Dec 1906 – 6 Feb 1985) novel The Vulture Is a Patient Bird, The Deadly Thief changes the novel's MacGuffin, a poison ring once owned by Caesar Borgia (13 Sep 1475 – 12 Mar 1507), into the largest gemstone in the world, the Shalimar Ruby, and the location of events from the mountainous range around the Drakensberg (where?) to a private island off the Asian continent. The "millionaire and compulsive collector" is turned into the millionaire master thief "dying of cancer", Sir John Locksley (Rex Harrison of Staircase [1969 / full film] & Matt Cimber's A Time to Die [1982 / trailer]), and instead of a troop of agents attempting to steal the ring back, in The Deadly Thief, Locksley invites a selection of the best master thieves alive to come to his estate and individually attempt to steal the stone — at the cost of their respective lives upon failure.
Locksley, as perhaps to be expected, is revealed to have an ulterior motive towards the end of the movie, but prior to its revelation the viewer gets to watch one obviously doomed attempt after the other leading up the movie's nominal hero, the "rank amateur" S.S. Kumar (the big, single-name Hindu star Dharmendra**) getting the girl, otherwise known as Locksley's assistant, Sheila Enders (a truly striking Zeenat Aman of Hulchul [1971 / music]). And the stone, of course.
* The Vulture Is a Patient Bird had a somewhat more faithful if not even more obscure film adaptation in Italy in 1991, starring Donald Pleasence; titled L'avvoltoio può attendere, the movie does not seem to have ever had an English-language release, but here is the Russian release.
** Among Dharmendra's films: the unofficial remake of The Others [2001 / trailer], Hum Kaun Hai? [2004 / full film] and the Hindi version of Superman [1987 / trailer]. Around the time he made The Deadly Thief, he had been voted in India as one of the handsomest men in the world.
Director Krishna Shaw (10 May 1938 – 13 Oct 2013) — who later produced such fine (Not!) films as Hard Rock Zombies (1985 / trailer), Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor (1992 / trailer), Bud Cort's peculiar Ted & Venus (1991 / fan-made trailer), and the oddly meta Evil Laugh (1986 / murders) — may have spent a reported $4 million* to make what he hoped would be the "caper film to end all caper films", but at least by Western standards his movie falls seriously short of being anything other than an uneven, oddly paced and incompetently staged unintentional comedy. Which is not to say The Deadly Thief doesn't look as if it cost money, as it does look as if it had a big budget, it is just that it never even achieves the visual verisimilitude of the worst James Bond film, a comparison that is justified as Sir Locksley's compound is definitely modeled after the generically huge and deadly and opulent lair of the typical Bond bad guy. (At least in The Deadly Thief the allegiance of all the lackies is explained: they are pretty much slaves.)
* In today's dollars, adjusted, that would be a bit more than $26.5 million — hardly a "big" budget in today's world of big money.
Much like the movie lacks a visual verisimilitude, the various characters almost all never achieve any sense of realism or naturalism — the possible exceptions being Harrison's Lockley, Aman's Enders and Saxon's Col. Columbus — and none manage to convincingly come across as a master thief. In this regard, the almost camp Sylvia Miles, as the acrobatic Countess Rasmussen, is a laugh whenever she is on screen: her dialogue is over-the-top positivism, her outfits of a "heterosexual pretending to be a drag-queen" nature, and all her stunt scenes are all done by a foot-taller man in a wig, or through breathtakingly bad editing. (A prime example: her entry scene, where she forward flips over a castle rampart to land standing in an open-topped vehicle, looks less edited than as if it is missing some film stock.)
That any of the thieves would take the challenge would indicate that they are as mentally challenged as they are supposedly masterful at thievery. Prior to the contest, it is even revealed to them that the castle and grounds are fully booby-trapped and under constant video surveillance — indeed, the group of "professionals" all stand together to watch, via surveillance camera, the obviously doomed attempt of the Colonel. What master thief would bother at making an attempt when they know they are being watched and Locksley can raise the alarm as he see fit? (At least, that is, not without first perhaps knocking out the surveillance system, which none of them think to do.) But no, one by one they bravely make their attempt, going to their doom with eyes wide open...
The Deadly Thief is a bad and dated movie, one would hope even by Bollywood standards, but it has its enjoyable points that makes it a fun watch in a psychotronic way. The Colonel, for example, is suddenly (inexplicably by western standards) proclaimed a deity by the Locksley's lackies, which leads to the only dance number not cut from the English print, a fun beachside number featuring the former Bollywood dancer Jayamalini. The Countess's circus-performer-tinged endeavor to get the ruby, in turn, is fit for a Pink Panther film (where, admittedly, the character surely would have been cast with a Playboy-appropriate actress), and is all the funnier by the way her height and figure keeps changing from shot to shot. The final, successful attempt — which then leads to a James Bond-like final scene of the full and illogical destruction of the entire compound — is likewise enjoyable, an almost surreally pop-art like undertaking that ultimately achieves an almost Laurel & Hardy-like funniness that surely was not intentional.
The dance sequence in
The Deadly Thief:
It is, perhaps, a shame that the English version is lacking all but one of the typical Bollywood dance and/or music interludes, for if the one retained dance scene is a decent representation of all that which is cut, they would have been a positive addition to the movie. Indeed, it is the innate Bollywoodism of the movie that is one of its most enjoyable features, if not the special ingredient that turns the whole, failed movie into an enjoyably idiotic time-waster.
From Shalimar, but not The Deadly Thief
One Two Cha Cha:
Again, The Deadly Thief is anything but a "good" film, and it is surely not everyone's cup of chutney. But it is an entertaining fiasco that even young kids might enjoy, which makes it a viable movie to help hone and develop the bad-taste tendencies of any young offspring. Otherwise, a lot of beer and a decent smoke might be advised...
Everything you ever wanted to know about
Shalimar (1978):

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

B.o.Y. – The Women of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Part II: Jacqulin Cole

 
"Using unknowns you avoid highly exaggerated salaries and prima donnas."
Russ Meyer
 
Fifty-two years ago last month, on 17 June 1970, Russ Meyer's baroque masterpiece Beyond the Valley of the Dolls hit the screens in the US of Anal. One of only two movies Meyer ever made for a major Hollywood studio (in this case, Fox), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is without a doubt one of the Babest movies ever made.
 
"This is my happening and it freaks me out!"
Not Austin Powers, but Z-Man (John Lazar)
 
As we mentioned in last month's Babe of Yesteryear entry, we have yet to review the movie here at a wasted life, though if we did we would foam at the mouth in raging rave. We have, however, looked at it before: back in 2011, in our R.I.P. Career Review of Charles Napier [12 Apr 1936 – 5 Oct 2011], and again in 2013 in our R.I.P. Career Review for the Great Haji [24 Jan 1946 – 10 Aug 2013] — both appear in the film.
In Haji's entry, we were wrote, among other things, the following: "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.' [...]"
 
"You will drink the black sperm of my vengeance." 
Z-Man (John Lazar)
 
In honor of the 52nd year of the Babest Film of All Time, we are taking a bodaciously long look at the film careers of the various Babes of Yesteryear that populate Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Russ Meyer films are always populated by amazing sights, but this one literally overflows its cups in an excess of pulchritude that (even if somewhat more demurely covered than in most of his films) lights the fires of any person attracted to women of the curvaceous kind that preceded today's sculptured plasticity. We will look at the headlining semi-knowns in the front as well as those in the back, with the size of their breasts roles being of lesser importance than the simple fact that they are known to be in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls somewhere. That is, but for one notable exception: the National Treasure that is the Great Pam Greer. Though she had her film debut in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls somewhere in the background, and therefore should be included, we feel that a Wonderment of her caliber deserves an entry all of her own — a Sisyphean task we might tackle one day...
Last month, we took a look at Beyond the Valley of the Dolls's singular non-babe of note, Princess Livingston. As of this month and for however long it takes, it's babeness all the way: for however long it takes, we will look deep into the eyes of the various females known to be in the movie, though one or two barely register. But they were all date material (barring, perhaps, the ethereal-looking one that ended up murdering her husband). So, going alphabetically (last name) for now, let us start with: Jacqulin Cole.
 
 
The Babes of Yesteryear
in 
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
 
R.I.P. Career Review of Haji 
Part I: The non-babe of note, Princess Livingston
  
 
Part II: Background babe Jacqulin Cole

Jacqulin Cole (22 Jun 1947 – 2 Feb 2004), otherwise known as Jackie Grumley Clark, was the wife of trash filmmaker extraordinary Greydon Clark, a multi-nontalent who, among his numerous artistic highpoints, "wrote" the anti-classic Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971). In Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, she flits by in a party scene and does not receive a screen credit; nevertheless, her presence in the movie is commonly acknowledged. Her visage graced some truly remarkable "bad films", including some noteworthy Al Adamson and Greydon Clark titles. Indeed, her thespian prowess (or lack thereof) was also one of the magic ingredients that helps make many of those films so enjoyably watchable. Despite the cult value of many of her official credited roles, Cole has never really achieved cult appreciation — indeed, her passing was hardly even noticed by bad-film fans. For that, however, Burbank High School, which she attended, did — the photo used for the image above, taken from the website there, would probably be her yearbook photo. 
 
 
Satan's Sadists
(1969, dir. Al Adamson

Jacqulin Cole, credited as "Jackie Taylor", makes her feature-film debut in this Al Adamson (25 Jul 1929 – 2 Aug 1995) anti-classic written by future hubby Greydon Clark. Her character, Tracy, is the good gal that survives. Regina Carrol (2 May 1943 – 4 Nov 1992) and Bambi Allen (2 May 1938 – 21 Jan 1973) generally get the most attention when one talks of the women of this cheap and sleazy and wonderfully terrible exploitation classic shot in the Mojave and at Spahn Ranch and starring a very much on the career skids Russ Tamblyn. Satan's Sadists is often listed as the movie that killed his career, if only for a few decades. Noteworthy, among other reasons, as possibly being the first film to ever feature someone being killed by having their head stuffed into a toilet, Satan's Sadists was a drive-in hit and remains a favorite among Adamson and bad-film fans everywhere.
Trailer to
Satan's Sadists:
The plot, as found at Cinebeats: "Satan's Sadists stars American movie legend Russ Tamblyn, who plays the leader of a ruthless motorcycle gang called Satan's Sadists. Tamblyn leads his drug-taking gang on a deadly rampage through the California desert as they leave a trail of corpses in their oil-slicked wake. When the bikers unexpectedly come in contact with an ex-Marine named Johnny (Gary Kent) who has just returned from Vietnam, their luck starts to change and the members of Satan's Sadists are soon forced to pay for their brutal crimes." 
From the soundtrack —
Paul Wibier sings Satan:
 
Lyrics to 
Killing for Satan: 
I was born mean 
By the time I was two
They were calling me 
Calling me Satan 
I was born mean 
by the time I was 12 
I was killing 
Killing for Satan 
Yes my mother, she had problems 
Too many, oh oh oh 
She was young and everybody’s girl 
Yes she was 
As a child, oh I was cold 
I was lost, so lost and alone 
In a dark and god forsaken world 
Oh no one cared 
What did anyone give 
What chance did I have 
to relive 
I was born mean 
By the time I was two 
They were calling me 
Calling me Satan 
Oh no one cared 
What did anyone do? 
What chance did I have 
to relive 
I was born mean 
by the time I was twelve 
I was killing 
Killing for Satan
 
"If you have a taste for sex, violence, crazy dialogue, outlaw bikers and the films of Al Adamson, you can't really go past Satan's Sadists. Some people consider it the best biker movie ever made, some detest it. I'm somewhere in between, but it's undeniably entertaining. It's got a great sixties washed-out look to it, and the soundtrack is an absolute must. You'll have the theme song on your mind for weeks. You don't want to miss Regina's sexy dance in the diner. This woman can move. I'm considering getting the DVD to see just what I've missed — hopefully not much. It's all a fantasy of course, I've yet to see a film which I can imagine realistically depicts biker life. [Girls, Guns and Ghouls]"
"After working together on the spy movie/biker flick hybrid Hell's Bloody Devils (1970 / trailer), director Al Adamson and actor/assistant director Greydon Clark planned to collaborate again on a Western called The Last of the Comancheros [...]. Unfortunately, that project crumbled [...]. Adamson was left without a movie to make, but $50,000 of an investor's money within his grasp. Inspired by the 1965 film The Naked Prey (trailer), [...] Clark came up with [...] a movie about a biker gang hunting people through the desert, a story that could easily be filmed outside during the day. [...] As the film begins, a group of characters converge in a diner that is located in the most isolated spot in the California desert. [...] Among the characters are, of course, the titular biker gang, a group of rapists and murderers who are so drugged out they're barely coherent. [...] The bikers' antics don't go over well with their fellow patrons, and when people speak up against them, they retaliate by murdering everyone in the diner. Everyone but two — Gary Kent (of The Black Klansman [1966]) as Johnny Martin, a Marine who recently returned from Vietnam, and college student/waitress Tracy (Jacqulin Cole). Johnny and Tracy manage to escape into the desert, with the bikers in pursuit. Adamson isn't the only one who married a Satan's Sadists cast member. Clark suggested a young woman named Jackie [...] for the role of Tracy, and Adamson cast her. Clark and Jackie had been introduced by their acting coach a couple years earlier, but while Clark had a romantic interest in her, that was not reciprocated. That changed on the set of Satan's Sadists. They remained together until her death in 2003. [...] Satan's Sadists doesn't really provide the thrills it should, but if you're a fan of drive-in era cheapies, you can get some enjoyment out of it. [Life between Frames]" 
Trailer to the
Al Adamson Masterpiece Collection:
In regard to the soundtrack's singer, the forgotten Paul Wibier, Aquarium Drunkard says: "[...] Satan's Sadists is having its second world-premiere in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Jet Drive-In, June 7th, 1969. [...] 15 hours ahead, into the morning hours of Sunday, June 8th, 1969, the singer of the theme song to Satan's Sadists [Wibier] is in Vietnam. He's cut his tracks with the people at Sidewalk — his old friend Harley Hatcher and future Acting-Governor of California Mike Curb — after basic training, but before shipping off. [...] It's June 29th, 1970. Across America, Satan's Sadists is a hit at drive-ins, no matter what anyone says about how shitty it is. Charles Manson sits, squirms, and yells in a courtroom as his trial is beginning. Harley Hatcher has got a song in the #1 movie of the week. And Paul Wibier returns from Vietnam, slipping into the shadows of Southern California for the rest of his life."
Forgotten Hits tracked the man down, interested in learning more about the voice also behind the song Shape of Things to Come, the hit single from the soundtrack to Wild in the Streets (1968 / trailer), credited to the fictitious band Max Frost and the Troopers, but Wilbier "apparently didn't want to be found ... and refuses to discuss his days as a session singer." In 2010, in any event, they tracked the then 62-year-old Paul [Marie] Wibier down to Escondido, CA, where he still resides in obscurity today, a retired old man.
From the soundtrack —
Paul Wibier sings
Is It Better to Have Loved & Lost:
 
 
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
(1970, dir. Russ Meyer)

Eagle eyes have yet to spy where in the movie Jacqulin Cole appears, but she is there somewhere...
Another trailer to
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:
The plot, as found at AFI: "Tired of playing to high school audiences, Kelly (Dolly Read), Casey (Cynthia Myers), and Pet (Marcia McBroom), members of a rock trio, travel to Hollywood, California, accompanied by Harris Allsworth (David Gurian), the band's manager and Kelly's lover. There, they are befriended by Kelly's Aunt Susan (Phyllis Davis), an advertising executive, who, despite the misgivings of her lawyer, Porter Hall (Duncan McLeod), decides to share with Kelly the family fortune. At an orgy the band is discovered by the effeminate entrepreneur host, Ronnie 'Z-Man' Barzell (John La Zar), who rechristens them 'The Carrie Nations.' Among lovers quickly acquired at Ronnie's party are Lance (Michael Blodgett), a boorish gigolo, who enters into a liaison with Kelly; Emerson (Harrison Page), a law student who wins Pet's love; and Roxanne (Erica Gavin), a lesbian designer who captures Casey's heart. As the celebrated trio perform on national television, Harris, distraught by Kelly's infidelity and Casey's impregnation by him, hurls himself from the catwalk. He is rushed to the hospital, where Dr. Scholl (Dan White) informs Kelly that Harris can look forward to life as a paraplegic. Realizing that Harris is her true love, Kelly devotes herself to his care. Touched by Casey's plight, Roxanne arranges an abortion. Ronnie invites Lance, Roxanne, and Casey to a private party, at which costumes are distributed. Dressed as Superwoman, Ronnie attempts to seduce Lance, who is attired in a loin cloth. Rejected, Ronnie binds the gigolo. After revealing that he is, in fact, a woman, Ronnie bears her breasts, brandishes a sword, and chops off Lance's head. She then plunges a gun into the sleeping Roxanne's mouth and fires. Terrified, Casey phones her friends, who rush to her rescue but arrive too late. As Emerson and Kelly attempt to subdue Ronnie, the gun discharges, killing the transvestite. During the fray, however, the crippled Harris is miraculously cured. In a triple wedding ceremony, Kelly and Harris, Pet and Emerson, and Aunt Susan and an old love are united." 
From the soundtrack of BVD,
"The Carrie Nations" sing Find It:

 
The Female Bunch
(1971, dir. Al Adamson)
Co-directed by John 'Bud' Cardos (20 Dec 1929 – 31 Dec 2020), of Nightmare in Wax (1969).
After walking, uncredited, across the background of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Jacqulin Cole returns again as "Jackie Taylor" to appear in a minor role in our second favorite Al Adamson film, the disasterpiece that is The Female Bunch — once again, (supposedly) shot partially at Spahn Ranch. Other filming sites include Hanksville and Capitol Reef in Utah as well as Las Vegas, Nevada. Other trivia of note: although released the same year as Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971), The Female Bunch is generally considered Lon Chaney Jr.'s (10 Feb 1906 – 12 Jul 1973) final acting role... he's pretty much in an alcohol-induced daze throughout the movie. 
Trailer to
The Female Bunch:
"Based on its title and release year, you'd think The Female Bunch was a low-budget riff on Sam Peckinpah's violent Western The Wild Bunch (1969 / trailer). Instead, it's a wobbly mixture of crime, feminism, revenge, and the group dynamics of a cult-like organization. Although the movie contains many interesting ideas and a handful of intense scenes, it also has the usual problems of movies directed by [...] Al Adamson. Scenes don't cut together, sound work is sloppy, and transitions are pathetic. [...] The movie loses focus during a shapeless second act featuring crime sprees, a druggy lesbian scene, and a debauched trip to Mexico. Toward the end of the picture, the plot snaps back into place and the movie's level of violence increases dramatically. So while The Female Bunch has thrills, it also bombards the audience with lots of discombobulated nastiness. [...] Watching Chaney in his last film role is depressing, since he's bloated and his voice is nearly gone [...]. [Every 70s Movie]"
The plot, as found at Girls with Guns: "Las Vegas waitress Sandy (Nesa Renet) tries to kill herself after being dumped yet again, and a friend (Regina Carrol) introduces her to the gang of women led by Grace (Jennifer Bishop), who occupy a ranch in the desert near the Mexican border, take no shit from any man and ride across the border to a town to blow off steam when necessary. This also lets Grace pick up drugs which she both sells and uses. The only rule is no men on the ranch, except for Monti (Chaney), a former stuntman devoted to Grace. When that gets broken, the man responsible is branded on the forehead as a warning, which sets in motion a train of events that end where the film begins — with Sandy and another man, driving through the desert, trying to escape from the pursuing banshees."
"Most of the scenes though go on far too long and suffer from erratic editing. Even worse, just about every scene transition is awkward at best, or downright amateurish at worst. None of it flows together very well, which makes for a frustrating experience. The film also contains some of the worst ADR I have ever heard, with some dialogue being spoken while the actors' mouths are completely closed (and sometimes spoken by an entirely different person). I guess you can attribute that to the fact that director Al Adamson was fired during production and replaced by John 'Bud' Cardos (who also has a small role as a Mexican farmer who is terrorized by the girl gang), but the editing is pretty rough, even by both men's standards. [The Video Vacuum]" 
Bruce Powers sings Two Lonely People
(theme song to The Female Bunch):
If Paul Wibier, who sang the soundtrack to Satan's Sadists has chosen obscurity, the singer "Bruce Powers" is simply obscure: Two Lonely People seems to be the only song he ever had released.
Keep your eyes open for a naked, uncredited Kathie Hilton (17 Nov 1947 – 13 Jun 2015) in the bar scene, about which the tragic beauty told the Rialto Report, "I was in The Female Bunch with Lon Chaney Jr. The problem was that whenever I was hired for a straight movie, it was only to do a nude scene in these productions." Her soft- and hardcore film career ended suddenly in 1974...
 
 
Mothers, Fathers and Lovers
(1971, writ. & dir. Greydon Clark)
Greydon Clark makes his directorial debut, and Jacqulin Cole stars (as he does himself, with Bambi Allen in a secondary role). This film is pretty much a forgotten film, and approximately 20 minutes of the film material was re-used for his second film, Tom a.k.a. The Bad Bunch (1973; see further below), but Mothers, Fathers and Lovers is now available from the auteur filmmaker himself through his website. Little can be found online about this film, which was described in the Dec 1971 issue of Adam Film World (Vol 03, No 08) as an "anti-marriage love story".
In the book Reflections on Blaxploitation: Actors and Directors Speak, Clark explains: "I wrote a script on my own about a guy who comes back from Vietnam, and how he adjusts to society. And this was an anti-war picture, and so forth. But I didn't think it was the type of film that Al would do because it wasn't really as raw exploitation as what he was doing at the time. And I found a guy with $10,000 and decided to make the picture myself. So I made the picture, Mothers, Fathers and Lovers, and appeared in it. And the picture turned out pretty good. It was kind of a social comedy. We had a minor release on it."
Life between Frames has more details about the movie: "Clark wrote, directed, and starred in the film, which centered on a young man who was being pushed into marriage. On his wedding day, he thinks back on his life, to his experiences in Vietnam, to a time before he went to war, and to when he came back from the war and struck up a relationship with the woman who was to become his wife. Because of its counter-culture vibe and shocking story elements — the man and woman were living together before they got married! — the older, more conservative men who ran the distribution companies did not understand Mothers, Fathers and Lovers at all. Clark did eventually manage to make a deal with a distributor, but Mothers, Fathers and Lovers barely got any exposure from that."
A clip with a lot of Jacqulin Cole from
Mothers, Fathers and Lovers:

 

Tom
(1973, writ. & dir. Greydon Clark)

A.k.a. The Bad Bunch, The Brothers and N-word Lover. As Life between Frames points out: "Working with Adamson had taught [Greydon Clark] some unconventional tricks, though. He had watched Adamson turn a spy movie into a biker film with Hell's Bloody Devils (1970 / trailer), and he realized he could salvage Mothers, Fathers and Lovers in a similar way. One distributor had told him that his Vietnam vet character should have gotten involved with violence when he came back to the states rather than falling in love, so Clark took the story in that direction while also working his film into a sub-genre that was doing big business at the box office at the time: blaxploitation. Mothers, Fathers and Lovers had included a scene in Vietnam where Clark's character, Jim, was talking with an African American fellow soldier named Clay (Robert Munk) about racism. A conversation that's cut short when Clay is shot dead by the Viet Cong. Clark decided to use that scene as the starting off point for the reworking, and it is indeed the first scene in the film we now know as The Bad Bunch." 
Trailer to
The Bad Bunch:
To quote Clark himself, when it comes to The Bad Bunch and Mothers, Fathers and Lovers, "I consider Mothers, Fathers and Lovers to be a separate film from The Bad Bunch. They do share some of the same cast and a few scenes. [Gods of Grindhouse: Interviews with Exploitation Filmmakers, by Andrew J. Rausch]" Be what it may, Jacqulin Cole, playing good gal Nancy Dorian, had her second but almost the same lead role in a "new" old movie. Clark supposedly pulled in Alvin L. Fast to help during the rewrite; Fast went on to script Tobe Hooper's under-appreciated Eaten Alive (1976 / trailer), among other stuff.
Over at RateYourMusic, Jason Hernandez says: "[The Bad Bunch is] a bitter and entertaining confection of racial fears, simmering violence and gratuitous sex. It's high tension on a low budget. Trouble starts when a kindly white liberal Vietnam vet (Clark) goes to a black neighborhood to deliver a message to a dead soldier's father (Fred Scott [31 Aug 1918 – 12 Jul 2002] of Sins of Rachel [1972 / trailer], Five on the Black Hand Side [1973 / full film], Abar [1977 / trailer] and Reform School Girls [1986 / trailer]). He barely gets out a few words before he's threatened by a gang of honky-haters with spectacular afros. A couple of racist cops (aging stars Aldo Ray and Jock Mahoney, slinging out slurs like bullets) save his ass from a severe beating, but that only keeps him safe for a short time. The black gang still thinks he needs to be taught a lesson so they proceed to stalk and terrorize him, following him around to groovy headshops and a memorable naked pool party. It's suspenseful, but more than anything, it's a piece of social commentary. This is racial tension at the boiling point and director Greydon Clark [...] wants us to ponder that without taking a side. The black guys are running on misdirected anger, but that anger didn't come from nowhere. Meanwhile, our terrorized white man has all of the personality of cardboard (director Clark plays the role himself and avoids any heavy lifting as an actor [...]. In between is a panorama of racial attitudes from unrepentant bigots, far-out bohemians who find black people endearingly exotic, white men who seek out black prostitutes and an elderly black man who can only shake his head at it all. It's rough-edged and sometimes clumsy, but an intriguing snapshot of the times [...]."
"Makimba might be the hero of a true blaxploitation picture, but here he's only a self-righteous asshole, kept from being an absolute villain only by the irredeemable racism of the cops and the audience's inferred understanding of the reality of places like Watts. He remains obsessed with getting some sort of revenge on the unoffending Jim. Meanwhile, Clark pads the film with an uninteresting love triangle involving Jim, his fiancée (Jacqulin Cole) and a head-shop cashier (Bambi Allen) he cheats on her with. You can't escape the impression that while he's supposed to be our hero, Jim's a bit of a sleaze who socializes at strip clubs, gets drunk and fears commitment. [Mondo 70]"
The actor who played the (on occasion titular character) Tom a.k.a. Makimba, Tom Johnigarn (29 Mar 1942 – 29 Oct 2016), is also found in two Blaxploitation anti-classics of note from the forgotten filmmaker & cinematographer Henning Schellerup (3 Jan 1928 – 12 May 2000): The Black Bunch (1972 / trailer) and Sweet Jesus, Preacherman (1973 / trailer). 
Theme song to
The Bad Bunch:
Caucasian jack of all trades Sheldon Lee (among other things, asst. director of the movie) wrote the lyrics and music to the film's title track above, N-Word Lover (according to the copyright, at least), ably assisted by the equally white Ed Cobb (25 Feb 1938 – 19 Sept 1999), the latter a man best remembered for having written the early garage classic Dirty Water (by the Standells) and the eternal classic Tainted Love (by Gloria Jones and, later, Soft Cell).
At the online archive of The Department of Afro American Research, Arts, and Culture's Archive (DAARAC), they pretty much overlook the fact that the honky Sheldon Lee is basically imitating a Black singer when he sings the theme song: "The Bad Bunch [a.k.a. Tom] (1973) is pretty much a five-fist Blaxploitation film, not because it was a decent film, but because it embodies all the elements you would look for in a Blaxploitation movie. The soundtrack, which was never officially released, was credited to Ed Cobb with some of the vocals done by Sheldon Lee. The soundtrack is fairly groovy with a solid mix of soul, blues, and even some psychedelic funk. Dialect [sic] is pretty much throughout the entire soundtrack. It's possible that some of these tracks may had an official release on a 45 or something, so if anyone comes across a familiar track and has the official release, please let us know." 
From The Black Bunch
Ed Cobb's funky Strip Joint:
As the advert below indicates, the film was screened in Washington DC at the long-demolished Booker T. Theater, "one of only 2 theatres in the DC area brave enough to show the infamous 1970s' film N***** Lover a.k.a. The Bad Bunch... the other area theatre being the Loews Palace Theatre."

 
Black Shampoo
(1976, dir. Greydon Clark)
After Tom / Mothers, Fathers and Lovers, Jacqulin Cole's next project of note is this film, another Blaxploitation movie and hubby Greydon Clark's follow-up project to The Black Bunch, this time the title of which is a bit better known: Black Shampoo. Clark once again shares writing credit with Alvin L. Fast. In-between Clark's two Blaxploitation films, Cole did appear uncredited as an extra in Menahem Golan's Lepke (1975 / trailer), starring Tony Curtis (3 Jun 1925 – 29 Sep 2010, of Brainwaves [1983]), but that is hardly of note. In Black Shampoo, for her mega-tertiary role of "New Receptionist" Jacqulin Cole is credited as "Edith Wheeler" for the first time. (Whenever Clark's films weren't a SAG production, SAG members had to use pseudonyms.)
"Where there's a hit there's a rip-off, and Black Shampoo, as you may have guessed, was a Blaxploitation version of the Warren Beatty comedy drama [Shampoo (1975 / trailer)] which may have been a commentary on society's attitudes to politics, or maybe that was an excuse to have the audience believe the movie was smarter than it was. Nobody would be pondering that here, as director and co-writer Greydon Clark was determined to keep things free of any other thoughts in its head other than getting from one scene of exploitation to the next, meaning sex and violence would alternate throughout the running time until he felt we had seen enough and the picture broke off from the action abruptly after eighty-four minutes. [Spinning Image]" 
From the movie —
The Gerald Lee Singers sing
Mr. Jonathan:
"Ashby's film [Shampoo] is my least favorite of his from the decade, but it wasn't until seeing Black Shampoo that I realized it's because Warren Beatty never goes on a gory chainsaw-wielding rampage at the end of the film. Between this and The Candy Tangerine Man, John Daniels has such an effortless cool and likability that it's a shame he didn't receive much more film work. [...] Another element of the film I value highly is that Mr. Jonathan's two assistants and closest friends are a pair of gay men. Sure, they may be stereotypically camp, but the film never passes judgment on them [...]. It's refreshing to see a more positive portrayal of gay characters in a genre film, considering that ugly homophobia was an unfortunate blight on many of the decade's fondly remembered films (Vanishing Point [1971 / trailer] comes immediately to mind). [Teenage Frankenstein]"
Nevertheless: "Greydon Clark keeps it nice and sleazy in this one, John Daniels looks like black Lou Ferrigno, and Tanya Boyd (and many others) shed their clothes enthusiastically and often. One minor gripe: why have the chick with the best rack by far (Jacqueline Cole a.k.a. Mrs. Greydon Clark) keep her top on? Oh well, you can't win 'em all. [WIPfilms]"
Oh, wait! The plot? Well, Varied Celluloid, which sees Black Shampoo as "a film that makes me happy", has that: "Mr. Johnathan (no last name needed) is a hairdresser, who loves the ladies. He essentially lays just about all of his clients, and is the man around town all the women folk are just dying to get their hands on. After sleeping with a gaggle of women to start our film, Johnathan apparently meets his match in Brenda [Tanya Boyd in her feature film debut], the new receptionist at the salon. However, when Brenda's old flame finds her things get real ugly. See, Brenda used to date the head of a crime family and now that he wants her back; it seems she's going to have to leave the salon. Johnathan promises her he'll protect her — and when the mob goons break into HIS salon and trash the place — things go from personal... to deadly!"
Black Shampoo may be Tanya Boyd's supposed film debut, but that same year, 1976, she (pictured below from he film) also appeared alongside Babes of Yesteryear Marilyn Joi and the Great Uschi in one of that all-time, sleazy exploitation classics, Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, film that also features Haji.
As for stud-muffin John Daniels, his most notable project after this film and Matt Cimber's The Tangerine Candy Man (1975, with Marilyn Joi) is probably Flesh-Eating Mothers (1988). 
From the movie —
The Gerald Lee Singers sing
Can You Feel the Love:
The unjustly forgotten Afro-American music producer and composer Gerald Lee (photo below) came up with the "Gerald Lee Singers" for this movie; he did the music, and singers Stephana Loeb, Debbie James, and Nancy Shanks did the vocals. What became of Gerald Lee, we know not — the last thing we could find is a book he wrote available at Amazon. The bio there indicates that he went gospel.
 
 
Satan's Cheerleaders
(1977, dir. Greydon Clark)
Full film available at the Internet Archives. "Among the locations were Paradise Cove in Malibu, John Burroughs High School in Burbank, and a house in the mountains north of the San Fernando Valley." Clark and co-scripter Alvin L. Fast decided that two Blaxploitation movies were enough, so for their next film they hopped onto the comedy horror jiggle cheerleader wagon — with some real "name" stars in tow: John "Horse" Ireland* (30 Jan 1914 – 12 Mar 1992, of Salon Kitty [1976 / trailer]), Yvonne de Carlo (1 Sept 1922 – 8 Jan 2007, below, not from the film), character actor Jack Kruschen (20 Mar 1922 – 2 Apr 2002, of The Angry Red Planet [1959 / trailer]), and icon John Carradine (5 Feb 1906 – 27 Nov 1988, of The White Buffalo [1977], Shock Waves [1977], House of Frankenstein [1944], The Monster Club [1981] and Vampire Hookers [1978]). This film is the final film appearance of the never-famous son of a famous actor, Sydney Chaplin (30 Mar 1926 – 3 Mat 2009, of If You Meet Sartana... Pray for Your Death [1968 / trailer], the Italo Rialto Wallace film Double Face [1969 / trailer], and So Evil, My Sister [1974 / trailer]).
* "According to forgotten actress Joanne Dru (31 Jan 1922 – 10 Sept 1996), Ireland's "staunch Republican" wife from 1949 to 57, Ireland was hung like a horse: 'I got John, and he ruined me for all other men. [...] John, I'm sure, had more than Monty [Clift], Marlon [Brando] and Jimmy [Dean] put together (Brando Unzipped, by Darwin Porter).' [R.I.P. Umberto Lenzi, Part II]"
This time around, in Satan's Cheerleaders, Clark & Fast wrote Jacqulin Cole a somewhat bigger role: the cheerleaders' chaperone, Ms. Johnson. But, as Outpost Zeta points out: "Jacqulin Cole is Ms. Johnson, the head of the cheerleader team. She's fun, but gets the absolutely worst lines in the film and is on the receiving end of the most egregious transgressions in the whole story." 
Trailer to
Satan's Cheerleaders:
Over at All Movie, Fred Beldin says, "There isn't much wiggle room for a film with a title like Satan's Cheerleaders, and this boneheaded (but thoroughly enjoyable) campfest delivers everything such a ridiculous moniker would suggest: trampy teenage vixens, double and triple entendres galore, and bushels of ersatz Satanism. Though light on graphic violence, sex, and special effects, Satan's Cheerleaders takes a far more entertaining route, offering a quartet of bodacious pom-pom girls wearing extremely flattering uniforms (each with their names stitched across their breasts) who flirt and flaunt their way through the most harrowing of experiences with brainless aplomb. Director Greydon Clark approaches the material with shifting degrees of seriousness, so the Satanists are at one moment vicious rapists, the next bumbling stooges. It's an energetic stupidity that carries this disco-scored horror-comedy, which would be enough to recommend it for drunken parties and late-night sleaze fans, but the film also boasts performances from several familiar character actors that will please lovers of Hollywood trivia. [...] The result is an all-'star' cast having a lot of fun with a script that was too dumb to actually make, yet somehow (thankfully) was financed and released."
"An infamously ridiculous melding of two popular '70s B-movie genres (the demonic horror flick and the cheerleader sexploitation flick), Satan's Cheerleaders begs the question: Is this a scary movie trying to be funny, or a funny movie trying to be scary? How about neither? Deeply silly and mind-numbingly awesome, with chintzy special effects, terrible fashion choices and a story that seems to be made up as it goes along, Satan's Cheerleaders features a surprisingly top-notch cast of seasoned professionals [...] sandwiched in between a bevy of bouncing [wanna-be] Playboy Playmates pretending to be high-school cheerleaders. [Loft Cinema]"
"The girls are: Debbie (Alisa Powell) who is quite slutty, Chris (Hillary Horan) who is quiet but usually speaks up with attitude, Patti (Kerry Sherman) who is soon to be possessed, and in my opinion the hottest of the group: Sharon (Sherry Marks). That girl's got some legs on her, rawr! [...] Patti is then devil-raped by the pervert fallen angel Lucifer, who wants to make her his bride. [Varied Celluloid]"
(Spoiler time!) "This film stars John Ireland, Yvonne DeCarlo, John Carradine and some busty women who don't look much like the teenagers they're supposed to be. Satanists abduct four cheerleaders and a teacher. One of the girls turns out to be a real witch and points out that they can't sacrifice a virgin because they've raped the only virgin... the teacher. DeCarlo has some great lines ('Kill! Mutilate! Destroy!') and she gets killed by dogs. In the end, the girls use their powers to help their school's football team win, because, well, they're cheerleaders. [Zero Star Cinema]"
The theme song —
One for All and All for One
sung by Sonoma:
Gerald Lee, the man behind the music of Black Shampoo, is credited for the music of Satan's Cheerleaders. To what extent he was responsible for Sonoma, the group that sang the above disco ditty, is unknown. Sonoma, for that matter, are also completely unknown.
 
 
Angels' Brigade
(1979, dir. Greydon Clark)

"Women can make a difference!" 
April (Jacqueline Cole)
 
A.k.a. Angel's Revenge and Seven from HeavenAngel's Brigade has a different cut. Charlie's Angels (1976-81) — or maybe The Doll Squad (1973, see R.I.P. Tura Satana) — says hello....
Okay, you're right: Aside from her Adamson movies, Jacqulin Cole really didn't have much of a career outside of the movies that her husband made. But what movies they are! Like this one here, once again scripted by Clark & Fast, about "six sexy women, and a teenage girl, [who] devastate a right-wing militia before doing battle with ruthless drug pushers." 
Angels Brigade
TV spot:
Wikipedia has some details about the seven angels: "Of the actresses who played the movie's seven female protagonists, however, the closest any had previously come to any degree of fame was Susan Kiger,* who had been the Playboy Playmate of the Month for January 1977 (see below). Kiger played singer Michelle Wilson; her co-stars were Sylvia Anderson as stuntwoman Terry Grant, Lieu Chinh (of Hollow [2014 / trailer]) as martial arts instructor Keiko Umaro, Jacqueline Cole as high-school teacher April, Noela Velasco as model Maria, and Robin Greer as policewoman Elaine Brenner. Her younger, real-life sister Liza Greer plays high-school student Trish, who invites herself into the team." (The two Greer sisters have things to tell in You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again.)
* "Susan Lynn Kiger (born 1953 in Pasadena, California) [...] was Playmate of the Month in January 1977 [centerfold below]. She was the first Playmate to perform in a hardcore porno feature Deadly Love (1976, a.k.a. Hot Nasties [full NSFW film]) before posing for the Playboy magazine. [...] She appeared in the cover of Playboy three times: March 1977, November 1977, April 1978. [Boobpedia]" Her films of note (?), other than this one and the horror porn that is Hot Nasties [poster above], include Death Screams [1982 / trailer], The Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood (1980, see Dick Miler Part V), and Galaxina (1980, see Marilyn Joi Part IV).
Grindhouse Effect has the plot to this movie in which there are appearances "by just about everyone with a SAG card on the verge of expiry in 1979"*: "Schoolteacher April and Farrah-haired disco diva Michelle join forces to take on the drug pushers who beat up Michelle's addicted little brother. They enlist the help of a bevy of beautiful commandos to defeat the cartel: martial arts expert Kako, tough stuntwoman Terry, sly policewoman Elaine and ditzy model Maria (yeah, she'll be useful against a drug gang, but I digress). Once banded together, they start hatching a plan of attack. When April's precocious student Trish finds out what they're up to, she blackmails them into letting her join the brigade. [...] This plucky bunch of vigilantes spend the rest of the film pimping out their van with rocket launchers, heisting ammunition from a neo-Nazi militia led by Jim Backus, beating up drug smugglers on the beach while clad in string bikinis, and torturing a street pusher with Kako's samurai sword — all while keeping their hair and makeup looking flawless."
* That would be: Jim Backus (25 Feb 1913 – 3 Jul 1989), Alan Hale, Jr. (8 Mar 1921 – 2 Jan 1990), Pat Buttram (19 Jun 1915 – 8 Jan 1994), Arthur Godfrey (31 Aug 1903 – 16 Mar 1983), Neville Brand (13 Aug 1920 – 16 Apr 1992, of Kansas City Confidential [1952]), Peter Lawford (7 Dec 1923 – 24 Dec 1984) and Jack Palance (18 Feb 1919 – 10 Nov 2006) — the last two as a drug lord and his deputy.
"Trailer" to
Angel's Revenge:
"Angels Revenge [...] is actually closer to something like The Dirty Dozen (1967 / trailer), but, you know, with women. If director Greydon Clark upped the sex and violent quotient, it could've been a decent slice of exploitation filmmaking. Instead, he goes for laughs, and the results are often embarrassing. I mean whenever the ladies hit someone, it makes a stupid cartoony noise like 'Boing-ing-ing' or 'BONK'! [...] I liked that Clark tried to at least make a multicultural group of women who empower themselves and don't rely on their looks to get what they want. However, the clumsy way he handles it winds up making it feel a bit racist and sexist. Oh well. [Video Vacuum]"
"There are lots of stunts, shootings, and blow-ups, and it's all very comic-booky, as reinforced by the 'wacky' scene transitions and star-wipes and such. A lot of what we see is in the editing that way, such as the very cool opening credits sequence and a terrific montage as the ladies prepare for battle with their matching outfits and classic 70s' van. We did think, however, that with a little less goofing around the film as a whole could have been stronger. [...] The girl power message of Angels' Brigade is reinforced by the fact that the ladies are not just a formidable fighting force, but they all had good, independent jobs outside of their Brigade duties. There's no nudity and the exploitation factor is low. The character of Michelle is a professional singer, for example, and a movie highlight comes when we see her Vegas act, and Susan Kiger performs the song Shine Your Love on Me by Patty Foley for a reasonably enthusiastic crowd. [Comeuppance]"
Alex in Wonderland, however, hated the film: "Wow. How do movies like this ever get made? This horrible atrocity is the tale of a group of six busty women (and one not so busty woman) in low cut Evel Knievel jumpsuits who team up to take out a drug processing plant. [...] The Asian babe and the student are the only ones worth taking notice of, even though the extremely limited action scenes are embarrassing at best. [...] Not surprisingly, the girls get all of their leads and information with the aid of their bountiful chests, although there isn't any sex or nudity in the film — just sexual posturing and gratuitous cleavage and leg shots. More than anything, it resembles an after school special preaching about the evils of drugs, told with the aid of heaving bosoms. [...] Just terrible. The Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.) and Mr. Howell (Jim Backus) from Gilligan's Island also show up in embarrassing cameos." 
From the movie — 
Susan Lynn Kiger lipsynching Shine Your Love on Me
(sung by Patty Foley):
The music for Angel's Brigade is credited to Gordon Lee, the film being his fourth and last project with Greydon Clark. He and Marti Sharron wrote the classy disco tunes, but Patty Foley did the vocals. Where Patty went, we know not, but for awhile she did vocals for diverse groups, like here for Cheetah, usually Rinder & Lewis projects. The same year that Patty Foley did her version, but a few months earlier, Vicki Sue Robinson (31 May 1954 – 27 Apr 2000) also did a version of Shine Your Love on Me. Patty Foley never really had a film career, but she did get killed by baboons in the nature-gone-wild exploiter, In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro (1985 / trailer). 
 
 
Wacko
(1982, dir. Greydon Clark)

"Death to all teenagers who fuck." 
The Lawnmower Killer
 
In the three years between Angels' Brigade (1979) and Wacko, Jacqulin Cole's only known credit (as "Edith Wheeler") was for "special visual effects" in Greydon Clark's The Return (1980 / trailer), a film that one of its stars, Cybill Shepherd, has described as "not quite the worst movie ever made but close". In this film here, Clark's follow-up film to The Return, he gave his wife a teeny-weenie role as a librarian. At the time, a film could still be named Wacko and not be about the typically American wackos at Waco. 
Original trailer to
Wacko:
We looked at this "comedy" way back in 2011 in R.I.P. Charles Napier, where we kept things short and sweet: "[Charles] Napier has a cameo as 'Chief O'Hara' in this unjustly forgotten so-unfunny-that-it's-funny horror spoof starring a still hot (despite her hair) Stella Stevens [see: The Terror Within II (1991)] and the eternally slumming George Kennedy [...]. This film, which basically takes a swipe at horror movies past and then-present, comes across as a template for the Scary Movie franchise." 
Vinegar Syndrome trailer to
Wacko:

To that, we now add the plot, as given by Scopophilia: "On Halloween night the infamous pumpkin head Lawnmower Killer murders Mary's (Julia Duffy, of Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker [1981 / trailer], with Susan Tyrrell) older sister. Now, 13 years later, the killer has returned and this time he has his sights set on Mary, but who could he be? Is it her surgeon father (George Kennedy [18 Feb 1925 – 28 Feb 2016]) who tries any chance he can to catch his own daughter disrobing, or maybe it's her boyfriend Norman (Scott McGinnis) who makes lawnmower sounds every time he is aroused. Either way dogged detective Dick Harbinger (Joe Don Baker) is hot on the trail determined to end the mystery that has been haunting him and the town ever since it began." 
Rumour Has It
performed by Avalon:
"Shot in early 1981 and clearly inspired by rapid-fire gag films like Airplane! (1980 / trailer), Wacko is all over the place as it throws in sub-High Anxiety (1977 / trailer) Hitchcock gags (including rival De Palma High School), zany slapstick sound effects, all that creepy business with Kennedy the molester, and even a somewhat interesting twist ending. Clark has since explained that he wanted his cast to overact in the style of soap opera (which explains the very broad style in many scenes), though that seems like an odd approach to take for a horror spoof that could have been more potent if played straight. Neither Baker nor Kennedy were thought of as comedy actors (though the latter would go on to score big in the Naked Gun films later), which gives the film an even more off-kilter feeling. [Mondo Digital]" 
Messin' with My Baby
performed by Avalon
Arthur Kempel (2 Aug 1945 – 3 Mar 2004) may have composed the background music to Wacko, but the obnoxious AOR tunes were supplied by Avalon, a group composed primarily of the musicians Rick Neigher and Chris Cote. The group is seen in the film, and some seem to believe Avalon was the bee's knees amongst the unjustly failed music groups of the 80s. But then some people also like Velveeta, Wonder Bread, Donald Trump and coprophilia.
 
 
Joysticks
(1983, dir. Greydon Clark)

Ah, the resonance of Porky's (1982 / trailer). Sex comedies were suddenly all the rage, so it was only natural that an auteur filmmaker like Clark should jump on the bandwagon: 
"Directed by Greydon Clark, Joysticks is yet another '80s teen sex comedy, this time combining the then-current phenomenon of video arcades with the usual doses of toilet humor and topless beauties. Yet despite its built-in nostalgia factor (I frequented a number of arcades in the '80s, some of which looked exactly like the one in this movie), Joysticks proved to be a tedious motion picture; a limp comedy with a trite storyline and nudity so gratuitous it makes Porky's seem subtle by comparison. [2500 Movies Challenge]" (Sounds good to us.) 
Jacqulin Cole is there in a small part, playing Alexis Wheeler, now much too old for the audience intended to let her breasts jiggle freely (something Clark never really had her do anyways); other, younger women were there to fill in for that department, like Playboy's Playmate of the Month for July 1982, Lynda Wiesmeier (30 May 1963 – 16 Dec 2012), centerfold further above, who plays Candy. 
Trailer to
Joysticks:
Wikipedia currently (12.16.2021) has a rather concise plot description: "Jefferson Bailey (Scott McGinnis, future director of Last Gasp [1995 / trailer]) runs the most popular video arcade in town, much to the chagrin of local businessman Joseph Rutter (Joe Don Baker). With his two bumbling nephews, Rutter aims to frame Bailey and have his business shut down. Bailey, however, is wise to Rutter's plan and teams with best friends Eugene Groebe (Leif Green) and McDorfus (Jim Greenleaf, of Evilspeak [1981 / trailer], with R.G. Armstrong) to stop this scheme, which also involves a video game duel with punker King Vidiot (Jon Gries)."
In an interview at AV Club, the still regularly employed actor Jon Gries, who plays King Vidiot in Joysticks, had the following to say about working on the movie: "I remember the director, Greydon Clark, saying, 'Jon, I'm not gonna be sitting near you while you're filming. I'm gonna be in the other room, watching you on a monitor.' That was the first time I'd ever seen video. Clark was very much an old B-movie director. He was like, 'No one really cares about what you're saying. Just pan to the cleavage. You want to sell tickets, you gotta show tits!' It was a great thrill for me, because I was barely getting by. To have this film come along, even though it was only paying me a few hundred bucks a week, was manna from heaven. Actually, it seems like every time I'm about to pack it in, that's when I get a job."
Over at All Movie, Jason Gibner gives credit where credit is due: "Crude, stupid, and utterly pointless, Joysticks does serve one small, yet important purpose. It is a perfect cinematic time capsule of the point in the early '80s when Porky's rip-offs ruled the theaters and there was nothing more awesome to do than spend a couple hours at a video arcade with a game of Pac Man. [...] As far as being an '80s teen sex comedy goes, Joysticks really delivers by including tons of needless shots of naked girls and close-ups of girls' behinds and wisely leaving out all signs of a plot. Though Joysticks is not a well-made film by any standard, it is such a relic (and so self-knowingly stupid) that it is actually a delight to watch. Besides, who can honestly hate a film where the scene transitions are done by having a giant yellow Pac Man munch across the screen?" 
Title track —
Joysticks by Legion:
Who exactly Legion was is open to conjecture, but virtually all songs were written by Milo Adamo (lyrics) and Ray Knehnetsky (music), with Knehnetsky actually working on every song on the movie tie-in album that eventually got released. Legion never released another record, and even Eczema Records, which has recently rereleased the album, offers no clues to the who, what, where, why and how of the "band".

 
Star Games
(1998, dir. Graydon Clark)
In the 15 between Joysticks (1983) and Stargames (1998), Jacqulin Clark's film career went from sporadic to non-existent. Her only credit we could locate, once again as "Edith Wheeler", was as a "stunt performer" on her hubby's exceptionally ridiculous 1994 sci-fi disaster, Dark Future (1994). 
Dark Future
full movie (1994):
Star Wars, anyone? A lot of Clarks in this kiddy sci-fi fiasco that is also Clark's last film credit: Aside from Clark directing and showing up on screen as Daddy Adam, "Jacqulin Clark" is there to play Mommy Laura ("Edith Wheeler" is also there as part of the visual effects crew), and the two main-character kids are played by the real-life bros/sons Trevor Clark (Brian) and Travis Clark (Kirk).
The plot? Well, Mark David Welsh has that: "[Clarks] is aiming squarely for the children's market with this tale of castaway Prince Kirk [...], who escapes from a space battle being fought by his grandfather, King Fendel (Oscar nominee Tony Curtis [3 Jun 1925 – 29 Sept 2010] of BrainWaves [1982]). In the backwoods of Earth, he teams up with pouty teen Brian [...], who's lost after a close encounter of the ursine kind. Meanwhile, the authorities have formed a search party, accompanied by Brian's mother and father [...]." The kids save the galaxy, but the direct-to-video film — "Clark's magnum opus of insanity" — killed what was left of Clark's bad-film career.
"A bizarre low-budget science-fiction film. Lugos (Conrad Haden), a giant bug who wears a rug, wants to conquer the universe [...]. The special effects are poor even for the period and most of the film consists of aimless running around in the woods. The acting is almost universally terrible and the prop and costume design awful. Kirk, for example, looks like he is a page boy in a Regency drama, Lugos' warriors look like Lego people. In the tradition of low-budget trash movies everything is unintentionally hilarious... especially the hologram computer Happy (Daran Norris), which uses the avatar of a clown! The sheer strangeness makes the film worthwhile. [Quota Quickie]" 
Trailer to
Star Games:
Currently, over at Through the Clutter, Star Games has the honor of being rated the worst "feature" film that Tony Curtis took part in. 
 
 
Coming next month:
Background Babe of
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Bebe Louie
 
Till then — guys: tan those testicles!
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