Thursday, November 30, 2023

Jurassic Prey (USA, 2013)

The plans of Jackie (Danielle Donahue), a woman who wants to rip-off her bank director ex-husband, and three losers — Andy (Jeff Kirkendall), ringleader Sparks (Robert Dennis), and Ed (James Carolus) — who decide to rob the same bank, derail when that trio's stalled car results in them commandeering both Jackie and her car. The four take refuge at a secluded, pond-side house where, unbeknownst to them, a dinosaur, freed by the blasting at a local quarry, is making lunch out of anyone that crosses its path...
Another mystery DVD, this time bought for too much money — €1,50 (roughly €1.60) from a German equivalent of Dollar Tree known as Euro Shop where, once upon a time, everything cost €1, but, as with Dollar Tree, thanks to the capitalistic forces fattening their pockets by milking the excuse of "inflation", prices for poorly made knock-offs and unhealthy fake food (and crappy DVDs) have risen. 
 
DVDs from Euro Shop, of course, like those of Dollar Tree, are often the equivalent of tossing your cash out the window, as the films are seldom worth saving. Our last Euro Shop DVD, for example, was of the Mexican slice o' shit that is Fallen Angel (2010),* which we deemed worthy of receiving special mention as The Turd of the Year on our Ten "Best" of 2022; Jurassic Prey — the title given in the film itself is Meateater — probably won't receive that honor come the end of 2023, if only because it is obviously a no-budget film and is intentionally bad. (Unlike Fallen Angel, which obviously had a budget and is unintentionally a turd sandwich.)
* To be completely honest, occasional treasures can be found at Euro Shop — both Strigoi (2009), which made it to our Ten "Best" of 2022 as a good movie, and the great late-career Barbara Steele film The Butterfly Room (2012), were also found there.
 
Trailer to
Jurassic Prey:
Way back in 2008, here at a wasted life we wrote of Rolfe Kanefsky's shot-on-video, direct-to-DVD movie Corpses (2004), that the movie "sort of feels like a group of actors and their neighbors got together one weekend, smoked a lot of pot and then suddenly decided to make a horror film just for the hell of it. OK, they obviously also decided to spend both a bit more time on the plot and filming as well as more money on the props, effects and locations, but then, as actors (of sorts) they should have higher expectations when doing this sort of thing [...]." 
 
Words that also describe Jurassic Prey to a T, except that, by way of comparison, Jurassic Prey makes Corpses look like an A-level, big-budget production, and the direction of the director of Jurassic Prey, the highly productive no-budget auteur Mark Polonia, makes the direction of the highly productive no-budget auteur Rolfe Kanefsky, well, look positively professional, if not of masterful auteur grandiosity. As directors, Kanefsky is probably closer to Jim Wynorski (see Camel Spiders [2011], Dinocroc vs. Supergator [2010] and Vampirella [1996]) and Fred Olen Ray (see: Venomous [2008] and BioHazard [1985]), one could say, while Mark Polonia is probably closer to one of a wasted life's favorite intentionally bad directors, the German "outsider" filmmaker Jochen Taubert (see: Ich pisse auf deinen Kadaver [1999], Exhibitionisten Attacke [2000], Pudelmützen Rambos [2004] and Zombie Reanimation [2009]).
That said, we find Taubert's unprofessional, extremely terrible films entertaining and funny, while we found Polonia's more-polished and not-quite-as-unprofessional but extremely terrible film, Jurassic Prey, mildly funny but relatively unnoteworthy. Why? Well, despite Tauben and Polonia's shared penchant for using friends and unprofessionals, the acting in Polonia's movie never reaches the deep abysses of the acting found in Tauben's films. 
Likewise, as stupid as the plot and filmic execution is in Jurassic Prey, neither aspect achieves the otherworldly WTF dreadfulness of that found in any given Tauben movie. Particularly noticeable is the difference in plot development: Polonia's is linear and traditional, whereas Tauben's is usually WTF and surreally all over the place. To that, while Polonia does use an odd practical effect — in Jurassic Prey, for example, the wonderfully laughable deadly dino and the blood-smeared manikin head — his overuse of mega-cheap CGI special effects or red-liquid on leaves just isn't as much fun as Taubin's liberal use (in the films we've seen to date) of utterly terrible and ridiculously hilarious practical effects.
Lastly, while it is undeniably pleasant to watch Jurassic Prey's undeniably attractive, acting-talent-challenged final girl Jackie (Polonia regular Danielle Donahue, the strongest thespian of the flick) do a scene in which she prances around outside in a black frilly bra, the obvious American prudery in practice (i.e., the undergarments) prevents the interlude from achieving any of the exploitive sleaziness it attempts to pay homage to and robs the film some needed spice. (For the sake of gender equality in exploitation, Polonia and American prudery also torpedo the chance of male full frontal — something the European Taubin has no problem with — during an early interlude in which the incompetent cops, Cutler [Steve Diasperra] and Forest [Todd Carpenter] shoot some guy [Frank Humes] for keeping a man [Richard Rawson] as dog.*)
* The scene really has nothing to do with the rest of the movie and is purely filler; at best, it that conveys that either Polonia or his screenwriter John Oak Dalton, probably both, obviously believe that one should die if one has a fetish.
In short, Taubin is the worse of the two filmmakers, but has way bigger balls: his films are so unredeemingly terrible that they (at least the ones we have watched) become almost transcendent, and thus better than the singular film of Polonia that we have now seen. Polonia, on the other hand, obviously shares the same admirable creative drive to produce and make, but has gonads of a slightly different caliber: the result, as experienced in Jurassic Prey, is an entertaining if inconsequential example of not-too-extreme, no-budget, DIY filmmaking. Fans of this kind of "bad movie" will find Jurassic Prey diverting and laughable, particularly if watched in a group and under the influence, but will at best end up admiring the filmmaker and cast's gumption and drive more than the movie itself.
People who expect a "real" movie, however, are going to hate this intermittently fun slab of intentional shite. (And it is.) You know who you are and what you like, so choose accordingly. We, for sure, would be willing to watch another Polonia shit-fest in the hope that it might be entertainingly worse... Of course, however, we would never watch another Polonia movie without the certainty  that enough beer and/or weed is at hand.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Dementia 13 (USA, 1963)

(Spoilers.) A.k.a. The Haunted and the Hunted. What do you do when you make a tidy little horror film titled Dementia and then find out that there is already a movie out there — see our not-so-short Short Film of the Month for July 2020 — with that title? In the case of this typically low-budget Roger Corman production, the not-quite directorial debut of the movie's screenwriter and director Francis Ford Coppola,* the solution was to simply, randomly, add the "unlucky" number 13. And while the resulting title is rather catchy, it really has nothing to do with the film, for while there are surely some less than sound minds in the movie, not one (much less some 13) actually suffers dementia — at least not the kind induced by disease, be it Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.
* Prior to Dementia 13, Coppola had already "directed" three films that he apparently would prefer to forget: the nudie-cutie Tonight for Sure (1962 / full film), which at least included scenes he truly directed (from his short film The Peeper), and two other projects that were less directed than re-edited: the nudie-cutie The Bellboy and the Playgirls (1962 / full film), a revision of the German film Mit Eva find die sünde an (1958 / German trailer), and the science fiction flick Battle Beyond the Sun (1962 / full US version), a revision of the Russian film Nebo Zovyot (1958 / full film). (Some footage of the Russian film are also found in Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet [1965].) Coppola was also one of the half dozen or so that participated in that infamous but entertaining joint-directorial project The Terror (1963), but so many cooks took part in that project that it can hardly count as a directorial project. According to the AFI Catalog, Dementia 13 received opened in Los Angeles as a double feature with The Terror, only to subsequently be released nationally on a double feature X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes (1963 / trailer).
Original trailer to
Dementia 13:

Coppola was in Ireland working as a sound technician on the Roger Corman-directed The Young Racers (1963 / trailer), which came in under budget, and he was able to convince Corman to let him use the remaining funds to make a film of his own; Corman agreed, stating that he wanted a cheap Psycho (1960 / trailer) imitation. And so Coppola came up with this B&W, Ireland-set, semi-Gothic film featuring an ax-wielding maniac — a film that has, by now, long become yet another one of Corman's early productions to enter the public domain due to Corman's penchant for saving the copyrighting fees.*
* Supposedly Corman recut Coppola's version of Dementia 13 prior to its release, which is one of the reasons why Coppola released a new and refurbished "director's cut" in 2017 (trailer).
Personally, while we would indeed one day like to watch Coppola's "director's cut", the "original" version out in the public domain might be typically scratchy and slightly damaged, but it still makes for some pretty damn good viewing — here at a wasted life, we have watched it multiple times. Cheap and rushed the movie might be, and yes, the sound microphone does slip into the picture frame occasionally, but Dementia 13 is a tight and well-made movie which, despite some WTF moments, sinks its hooks into the viewer from the start and keeps you watching until the end. And, as inferred, it easily withstands repeat viewings.
Ronald Stein —
main title to Dementia 13:

Dementia 13 actually opens with one such WTF moments. The obviously less than happily married couple John Haloran (Peter Read of The Outcast [1990 / trailer], Freakshow [1989 / trailer], The Brain [1988 / Spanish trailer] and The Dark Side [1987 / trailer], if the imdb can be believed*) and Louise Haloran (Luana Anders [12 May 1938 – 21 July 1996] of The Pit and the Pendulum [1961 / trailer], The Killing Kind [1973 / trailer], and American Strays [1996]) take a rowboat out onto the lake of Haloran Castle** late one night. As they argue about the will of Lady Haloran (Eithne Dunne [30 Oct 1919 – 21 Dec 1988] of The Mutations [1974 / trailer]), which leaves everything to charity, John dies of a heart attack. Louise, knowing that with him dead she no longer has any chance of inheriting, promptly dumps John's anchor-weighted body into the lake, along with the portable radio he had been listening to. Coppola gets a good laugh from the audience even as he shows that he has a truly creative sense of cinema by having the sound of the rockabilly tune on the radio "bubble" through the water as it sinks down to and settles on the body of John, only to then segue into the movie's credit sequence*** and main theme.
* We have our doubts here.
**
Otherwise known as Howth Castle.
***
Like many of Corman's title sequences utilizing background art, the surreally horrific painted images that float and fade in and out behind the credits were supplied by the underappreciated American artist Paul Hull Julian (25 June 1914 – 5 Sept 1995). Highly active in the field of animation, his short masterpiece The Hangman (1964) was our Short Film of the Month for February 2011. Julian also painted the portrait of the dead Kathleen seen in the movie.
The song that bubbles —
He's Caught by Buddy & the Fabs:
Louise's intention, of course, is to keep John's death a secret and somehow work here way into Lady Haloran's graces and get that will changed. It is, of course, a harebrained WTF idea, for even if the will were changed, John's total disappearance would probably come out before any inheritance could be had. But the opening also solidly establishes her as a conniving, cold-hearted gold-digger who will stop at nothing to get what she wants — providing something, or someone, doesn't stop her first. Maybe with an ax?
 
No one may suffer from dementia at Haloran Castle, but more than one person there appears to have some screws seriously loose. Lady Haloran, for example, a mother from hell who in no way is willing to hide her disdain of Kane (Mary Mitchell of The Girls on the Beach [1965 / trailer, see Dick Miller Part II], Panic in Year Zero! [1962 / trailer] and the WTF masterpiece that is Spider-Baby [1967 / trailer]), the American fiancée of Lady Haloran's manly and somewhat choleric artist son, Richard (William Campbell [30 Oct 1926 – 28 Apr 2011]), whose upbringing has obviously given him some anger issues. Since the death of her beloved daughter Kathleen (Barbara Dowling*), Lady Haloran has held an annual memorial service at her grave to which all sons must come, and it is obvious that the youngest son, the pleasant but pushover Billy (Mary Mitchell's then real-life husband Bart Patton, of Gidget Goes Hawaii [1961 / trailer]), doesn't exactly seem to be flourishing under her overbearing nature.
*
The Barbara Dowling [1925 – 26 Apr 2011] currently listed at imdb would have been around 35 years old at the time Dementia 13 was filmed, a bit too old to play the 12-year-old in the film.
If one is unfamiliar with the movie — Spoiler time! — up until the first ax murder, a good half-hour into the movie, the calculating Louise comes very much across as the focus of the narrative, but then Coppola pulls his Psycho-inspired sudden death and switch of focus. While setting up a trick to make Lady Haloran believe that she can talk with the dead Kathleen, Louise supplies the film's prurient scene by stripping down to her undergarments (note how her panties suddenly change color) and going for a midnight swim that she does not survive. First confronted deep underwater by the frightening sight of Kathleen's lying at a tombstone, Louise is promptly dispatched by an ax as she attempts to leave the pond. The ax attack is brutal and shocking, and even today can still make one flinch.
Of course, the viewer does not see who the killer is, but before the film is over he kills again — Simon, the poacher with a terribly fake accent (Karl Schanzer [25 Nov 1932 – 25 May 2014] of Blood Bath [1966 / trailer] and the WTF masterpiece that is Spider-Baby [1967 / trailer]) — and almost does away with Lady Haloran when she takes a midnight stroll to Kathleen's old playhouse. 
But who is the killer? And why does the lifelike body of Kathleen keep showing up and disappearing? Into this turmoil comes Dr. Justin Caleb (Patrick Magee [31 Mar 1922 – 14 Aug 1982], of The Masque of Red Death [1964] and so much more), the house doctor, who seems to have a somewhat contentious relationship with his former patient, Richard. He, like everyone else, might not know that a killer is on the loose, but he knows something is terribly wrong in the state of Denmark.
 
One cannot fault the acting of the main characters of Dementia 13, though Magee does have an arch style and tone that clashes somewhat with that of the American cast. More than once, it is the castle and location that is the true star of the film, upstaging the events occurring. Coppola's direction is excellent, if somewhat raw and hampered by the budget: nevertheless, more than once the framing, the setup, or the progression and buildup of a scene reveals that even in 1962, in his first "real" directorial job, he had an inventive eye and already had the makings of a talented filmmaker.

Dementia 13 might not come anywhere close to being "good" in the way that Coppola's much bigger budgeted The Godfather II (1974 / trailer) or Dracula (1992 / trailer) are, but for a low-budget exploiter made as quickly and on the fly as it was, Coppola's movie is an atmospheric and scary tale of horror that keeps you riveted to the end. It also has a narrative that pretty much holds water, and cinematically it shows a true love of the medium — unlike, for example, the lazy turd that is The Godfather III (1990 / trailer). No matter what the lowly roots of Dementia 13 are, it remains one of Coppola's better films and is well worth watching.
A color indie remake (a.k.a. Haloran Manor), directed by Richard LeMay, was released in 2017 and made absolutely no waves before sinking into oblivion.
Trailer to Richard LeMay's
Dementia 13 (2017):

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Planet of the Sharks (USA, 2016)

It pretty much goes without saying that when one pops in a film produced by The Asylum or SyFy, one knows that one is not going to be watching an Oscar contender. Which isn't to say that one does not at least hope for a certain level of "quality" entertainment — "quality", like "entertainment", being an extremely latitudinous term — because, as many a contemporary film purveyor is able to attest, something "bad" can indeed offer quality entertainment.
Planet of the Sharks is definitely not a five-star movie, indeed, it undoubtedly a "bad" one — but, for that, it is a wonderfully quick-moving slice of intentional ridiculousness that does entertain. When it comes to a typically cheap-ass Asylum cum SyFiy flick, it is unquestionably quality Asylum cum SyFiy garbage and fun to watch — much more so, in all truth, than its subsequent sequel from 2017, Empire of the Sharks (2017 / trailer), a flick somewhat marred by both its uninteresting shark-whisperer plot and the almost saddening presence of former top-liner John Savage in what is, basically, an almost pity-inducing role as that film's big baddie. How low one can fall...
Trailer to
Planet of the Sharks:
In Planet of the Sharks, however, there are no names of note or former renown, so instead of constantly being reminded how far one can fall, one is able to simply enjoy the film for what it is: an entertainingly stupid flick full of laughs, made by obvious genre fans, that not only offers a fun 86 minutes of mindless amusement but passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors and totally fails the Sexy Lamp Test. 
Rest assured: the acting is bad, the story idiotic, and the CGI horrible — it is, after all, an Asylum/SyFi flick. But if you like bad films, this one goes extremely well with a joint and some beers and makes for some true fun. And that despite the total dearth of naked flesh of any gender. (Though we would hazard to guess that Stephanie Beran [of Big Kill (2019 / trailer) and Killer Party (2014 / trailer)], as the brainy and brave and extremely capable Dr Shayne Nichols, was cast less for her acting talent than for how she fills her tank top.*)
* Okay, we understand that exploitive, gratuitous nudity — unlike exploitive, gratuitous violence — is not exactly permissible in American TV productions, but let's be honest: are the support bras really necessary?
Director and scriptwriter Mark Atkins, who also wrote and made the subsequent Empire of the Sharks (not to mention the less laudable Haunting of Winchester House [2009]), who obviously enough gives a nod to the title of Planet of the Apes (1968 / trailer and/or 2001 / trailer), cribs the core setting of his film from the massively budgeted and massively derided (but nevertheless entertaining and, contrary to popular lore, financially successful) Kevin Costner movie Waterworld (1995 / trailer): a future world in which the Earth's ice caps have melted and submerged all land, leaving the survivors to fend for their lives on isolated, floating villages. 
And while there are manly men in Planet of the Sharks (Brandon Auret, the film's main male good guy Dillon Barrick, could be manly with us any day he wants), the planet — unlike in the sequel — is not a patriarchal horror ala Waterworld. Here, men and women are equals; they work together to do what they can to save the situation they find themselves in — and considering that the movie's narrative transpires virtually in real time over the course of a day, they experience and (mostly) conquer a lot of situations. All of which occur on the eve of sending, up into space, a rocket with a transmitter that should alter the world's weather patterns (and thus possible cause the water to recede and land masses to reappear), beginning with a massive school of man-eating sharks suddenly decimating the villages and munching on the residents. (The melting caps means less salt in the water, which means less plankton to feed the normal prey of the sharks, which means a lower amount of traditional prey, which means they are now turning their attention to making humankind their main source of nutrition.) Oh, yeah: a mutation means that the sharks now follow the telepathic commands of an alpha shark...
From the moment the film opens with a ridiculously funny shark-attack slaughter of a small water village, Planet of the Sharks barrels along at top speed, interspacing Star Trek-like, plot-driving techno babble with action scenes and moments of sublime ridiculousness until, after the requisite number of violent deaths and last-minute saves, all occurring as the clock is ticking, all's well that ends well. We know that at the latest when we are treated, in the film's final scene, with a Statue of Liberty visual reference to the better Planet of the Apes film (that from 1968) and smiling, shiny happy people. (Going by the sequel, however, nothing was actually mended, as in that film only the patriarchy is smiling.)
Highpoints include a wonderfully ludicrous drum and dance sequence led by the oddly accented neo-pagan Joanne D'amato* (Angie Teodora Dick of Zombie Tidal Wave [2019 / trailer]) followed by a mass slaughter of ineffectual shark hunters, a oddly thrilling wind-surfing race against time and sharks, some nifty swordsmanship by a South African, and the unexpected heroic death of a lead female. In between, the photography is crisp and clear and the fistfights realistic enough.  
* A name, like that of Dr. Caroline Munro and Dr. Roy Shaw, meant to consciously call to mind genre favorites — in this case, the trash-film emperor Joe D'Amato (see, for example: Erotic Nights of the Living Dead [1980]).
As said earlier, Planet of the Sharks is definitely in no way an Oscar contender. It is a consciously bad film that wants to have fun and be fun, and as such, it fully succeeds.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Part XV: Veronica Ericson


"Using unknowns you avoid highly exaggerated salaries and prima donnas."
 
To repeat, yet again, what we've more or less said time and again since 17 June 2022 in our multi-part Babe of Yesteryear review of the babes of Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Russ Meyer's baroque masterpiece from 1967, one of only two movies he made for a major Hollywood studio (in this case, Fox), is without a doubt one of the Babest movies ever made. While we have yet to review it here at a wasted life (if we did, we would foam at the mouth in raging rave*), we have 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.
 
"This is not a sequel. There has never been anything like it!"
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* While researching this month's Babe of BVD, Veronica Ericson, we stumbled upon a review of BVD at Dreams Are What Le Cinema Are For..., where they did a great description of BVD: "Although released in the summer of 1970, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a '60s movie down to its bellbottoms and sandals. Depicting a burlesque vision of the Swinging Sixties as it existed only between the tragically unhip pages of 'gentleman's magazines' like Playboy; BVD is both groovy and square. A cross between a hyperactive geek fantasy (via 27-year-old screenwriter Roger Ebert) and middle-aged wish fulfillment, the film is a garish, never-a-dull-moment, laugh-out-loud paean to '60s pop-culture excess. Directed with a manic combination of aplomb and amateurism by budget skin-flick impresario Russ Meyer collaborating with first-time screenwriter, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert; BVD is a film so exhaustively steadfast in its desire to affront and entertain, at times it feels like a Tex Avery cartoon come to life." Their lengthy write-up about the movie is well worth reading.
In Haji's entry, among other things we wrote 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.' [...]"
 
"Any movie that Jacqueline Susann thinks would damage her reputation as a writer cannot be all bad."
Vincent Canby
 
Russ Meyer films are always populated by amazing breasts sights, but Beyond the Valley of the Dolls 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. And so, for over a year now, we have taking a monthly look at the diverse nipples film careers of the women of the Babest Film of All Times, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. The size of their bosoms roles has been, and is, of lesser importance than the simple fact that they are known to be in the movie somewhere, if but for a nanosecond in the background. That is, but for one notable exception: the National Treasure that is the Great Pam Grier. 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 one day take on. (That is her below, standing next to Cissi Colpotts, on the set of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.)
To date, Babes of Yesteryear has looked deep into the cleavages film careers of the various females known to be in the movie, although many might barely register. They were all date material (barring, perhaps, the woman that ended up murdering one husband and tried to do away with the second). So far, we have looked at:
Part I: The Non-babe of Note — Princess Livingston
Part II: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the DollsJacqulin Cole
Part III: Background Babe of BVD Bebe Louie
Part IV: Background Babe of BVD Trina Parks
Part V: Background Babe of BVD Lavelle Roby, Pt. I (1968-76)
Part VI: Background Babe of BVD Lavelle Roby. Pt. II (1979-2021)
Part VII: Killer Babe of BVD Samantha Scott
Part VIII: Background Babe of BVD Karen Smith
Part IX: Background Babes of BVD The Five Mysterians
Part X: Background Babe of BVD Gina Dair
Part XI: Background Babe of BVD Cissi Colpitts, Pt. I (1970-80)
Part XII: Background Babe of BVD Cissi Colpitts, Pt. II (1981-88)
Part XIII: Beyond the Valley of the DollsPhyllis Davis, Pt. I (1966-73)
Part XIV: Beyond the Valley of the DollsPhyllis Davis, Pt. II (1975-2013)

 
And now:
Veronica Ericson
Little can be found out there on the World Wide Web about Veronica Ericson (a.k.a. Veronica Erickson, Ingrid Erickson, Erica Ericson, Veronica Reed and Bambi May). Indeed, we could not even confirm for sure what her real name is, as different sources claim different known names as her "real" name, or what she did in life aside from the numerous cheesecake and skin shoots for cheap men's magazines and her rare, usually uncredited background appearance in this or that odd movie. We know not for sure where she was born (here they say Sweden, elsewhere they say the USA — to be exact, if we're to believe an old issue of Fling magazine: Gary, Indiana) or when she was born (the most common date given: 16 August 1944), where she went after she stopped baring her impressive assets, what she did before (Playboy once claimed she was "a Manhattan stockbroker now breaking into films") or after letting it all hang out, or whether she is still alive or long gone. Like so many people who have experienced 15 minutes of mega-minor celebrity, her "presence" has dissipated into the past. Today, online, she is often confused with another pneumatic Babe who appeared in BVD, Joyce Rees (see: BVD — The Five Mysterians).
Obviously enough, she had the pneumatic body of the type that appeals to boob fetishists like Russ Meyer or a wasted life, but for whatever reason she was either unable or uninterested in parlaying her immense natural talents (39-23-37) into a notable nudie-cutie or skin-flick career. One of her career highpoints as a model, in the opinion of a wasted life, in undeniably the time she appeared in Playboy as a live-action version of the magazine's ever-familiar Femlin (photo below).
So, anyone out there know anything about her? Assuming that the current filmography [March 2023] at the imdb is at least partially correct, she is found somewhere in the following movies — a list which includes, aside from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, two other [lesser] Russ Meyer projects.
 
 
Blue Hawaii
(1961, dir. Norman Taurog)
More than one source out there on the web claims that Veronica Ericson has uncredited bit part somewhere — but who know where — in Blue Hawaii. The most financially successful of all of Elvis Presley's movies, it was also the second of nine Elvis movies directed by Norman Taurog (see BVD: Phyllis Davis Pt. I for more about Taurog). It was also the first of the total of three Elvis movies set in Hawaii: the later ones being Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962 / trailer) and Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1965 / trailer). The German poster above was created by Rolf Goetze, a prolific German poster artist of the 50s, 60s & 70s about whom virtually nothing is known.
Trailer to
Blue Hawaii:
Overly obvious ageism in some of the film's casting: Presley was 26 when Blue Hawaii was released; (not-yet Dame) Angela Lansbury (16 Oct 1925 – 11 Oct 2022), who plays his mother in the movie, "the Ultimate Frivolous Woman in Blue Hawaii", was not yet even 36 years old.
The "plot", as found at Cinemaclock: "After two years in the Army, Chad Gates (Elvis) returns to Hawaii, where he defies his wealthy and domineering Southern mother (Lansbury) by refusing to take a job in his father's prosperous pineapple business. Instead, he goes to work as a guide for the tourist agency where Maile (Joan Blackman of Pets [1973 / trailer]), his French-Hawaiian girlfriend, is employed. His first assignment is to escort schoolteacher Abigail Prentace (Nancy Walters [26 Jun 1933 – 29 Sep 2009] of Monster on Campus [1958 / trailer]) and four teen-aged girls around the island. At a luau, Chad gets into a fight with a drunken tourist who has made advances toward one of the teenagers, and he is hauled off to jail. Later, Chad is reprimanded by his mother, who blames the row on Maile's influence. Maile, on the other hand, is suspicious of Abigail's interest in Chad; she is unaware that it is Chad's uncle, Jack Kelman (John Archer [8 May 1915 – 3 Dec 1999] of Bowery at Midnight [1942 / full PD film]), with whom the young teacher has fallen in love. All misunderstandings are resolved, however, and Chad and Maile plan to marry and open their own tourist agency. Chad's father (Roland Winters [22 Nov 1904 – 22 Oct 1989] of Killer Shark [1950 / full movie]), with the sly assistance of Uncle Jack, agrees to let Chad and Maile handle all the arrangements for his company's next convention on the island. Even Mrs. Gates is won over during the colorful Hawaiian wedding."
"Elvis and Hawaii just fit well, and he's helped along by breathtaking photography, exotic South Seas locales, a competent supporting cast, a (relatively) witty script, and a host of good songs. [Teleport City]"
From the movie —
Elvis sings Ito Eats:

 
Europe in the Raw
(1963, writ. & dir. Russ Meyer)
The popularity and success of Mondo Cane (1962 / trailer) says "Hello!", although Meyer only got around to using "mondo" in a title some three years later in Mondo Topless (1966), poster below. (Mondo Topless uses footage from Europe in the Raw, but as far as we can tell Ms. Ericson didn't make the cut.) That said, one could argue that Europe in the Raw owes more to earlier proto-mondos such as, for example, European Nights (1958 / full film, dir. Alessandro Blasetti) or World By Night (1960 / full film, by Luigi Vanzi), both of which were written by Mondo Cane mastermind Gualtiero Jacopetti (the first along with Ennio De Concini).

"Europe in the Raw is one of the more obscure Russ Meyer movies and was one of his last 'nudie cuties'. As with his previous movies, The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959 / full film), Eve and the Handyman (1961 / full film) and Wild Gals of the Naked West (1962, see: Princess Livingston), this movie features no dialogue, but rather narration. The hook this time is an unnamed cameraman visiting different countries in Europe with an suitcase containing a hidden camera (which is rather easily to spot) filming not only landmarks each country is famous for but also several red-light districts and night clubs, giving Americans a look at Europeans in the raw. Europe in the Raw has even less plot than Eve, Teas or Naked West. It's simply a travelogue about several European countries with an occasional boob inserted here and there. Take away the naked girls, of which there aren't actually much, and all that is left is quite a little informative piece about Europe and handy for everybody intending to pay the countries featured a visit. [Mikey]"
Europe in the Raw — Florence:
Despite the fact that Europe in the Raw was released before Russ Meyer's European project Fanny Hill (1964 / see further below), the documentary was supposedly shot after he completed the Artur Brauner & Albert Zugsmith-financed costume movie. All in all, however, like all mondos and proto-mondos, Europe in Raw is more of a faux-documentary than a real one. Sold as filmed in Europe, Europe in Raw supposedly looks at "tourist attractions, including prostitutes and striptease clubs, [...] in Belgium, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna, Venice, Florence, Rome, Pisa, Portofino, Rapallo, Nice, Nancy, and Paris. [AFI Catalog]" That "fact", like just how European the breasts of the movie are, should be taken with a grain of salt. Take note of the wonderful Californian desert scenery, for example, behind the "Dutch" breasts gal below...
 
"Dutch" girl playing ping-pong from
Europe in the Raw: (On Computer)
True, in Europe in the Raw we do see the camera in the bag that Russ Meyer supposedly dragged around, and we do see a lot of exteriors and stuff that are obviously the real thing, many of which are shot in a manner highly reflective of Russ Meyer's composition and style, but most of the interiors are nondescript enough to have been shot Anywhere, USA. Also, not only do we see (above) the big-breasted "Dutch" girl with braided hair playing ping-pong in an obviously Californian landscape, but other women seen lounging outside (if for but split seconds) are lounging in decidedly non-European places... and must we mention the American Cara Peters (of Space Thing [1968 / trailer] & Massacre Mafia Style [1974 / trailer], seen below from a demure 1968 issue of Playboy) as the Amsterdam tourist in a red towel? Even the extremely minor part that the uncredited Veronica Ericson plays screams "fake news": she appears as a "French hooker".
Striptease from
Europe in the Raw:
"Not quite nude enough to satisfy nudie-cutie enthusiasts and just a shade too blue to work as a light documentary on the finer tourist spots in Europe [...]. Conventional wisdom states that it is one of Meyer's most trifling efforts [...]. But, in the year of our Lord 2021, I'm not so sure this assessment is entirely correct given the almost incalculable value viewers will get from seeing beautifully shot Europe as it was in 1963 [...]. So, yes, on one hand, Europe in the Raw is pretty dull. On the other hand, it's at least pretty. [...] We could just classify Europe in the Raw as a travelogue with boobs, and, to the latter point, only sometimes. As a travelogue, Europe in the Raw shows just what a gifted filmmaker Meyer was and, ironically, it is this aspect is the film's greatest achievement as the copious amount of footage of vintage neon signage and staggeringly captured European architecture makes the nudity almost a secondary concern. [...] Meyer bounds through Europe and shutterbugging everything he can, making the film feel like a vacation slide deck where a few errant images of a more adult nature 'accidentally' got slipped into the carousel to liven up the party. [...] While its reputation as a worthless endeavor kind of precedes it, Europe in the Raw is neither fish nor fowl. It's not a sad effort that stirs any adverse feelings [...], but it's certainly not the title I would pull off the shelf when introducing a living room full of people to the work of Russ Meyer. [Podcasting Them Softly]"
At the Astor in beautiful Akron, Ohio, Europe in the Raw seems to have played second fiddle to the 1953 "documentary" Peek-A-Boo (full film below), which is little more than yet another of forgotten Lillian Hunt's* (mostly) stationary-camera, long-shot recordings  of a burlesque shows (in the case of Peek-A-Boo, at the old Burbank Theater in L.A.). As for the main double feature, Diary of a Nature Girl is probably Doris Wishman's Diary of a Nudist (1961 / full movie), in which Doris does a nude cameo, while Living Venus (1961) is of course the early H.G. Lewis nudie melodrama.  
* Born Lily Izen, Lillian Hunt was a former tap dancer who ran away from home as a teen and married an actor in a show she was dancing in. They had a daughter before he deserted her and she moved into the chorus. There she met comedian Leon DeVoe whom she would marry and spend the rest of her life with, eventually moving to California to do choreography at the Follies, a burlesque house in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. [Goddess of Love Incarnate: The Life of Stripteuse Lili St. Cyr by Leslie Zemeckis]"
Lillian Hunt's
Peek-A-Boo (1953):
Elsewhere, at the Art in Birmingham, Europe in the Raw got paired with Barry Mahon's She Should Have Stayed in Bed (1963 / boobs), which we look at in the Babe of Yesteryear entry on Gigi Darlene, Part I. Some of the footage of the babes and boobs of Europe in the Raw was eventually edited into Meyer's other "documentary", the previously mentioned Mondo Topless (1966).
Wet breasts from
Europe in the Raw:
 

  
Russ Meyer's Fanny Hill
(1964, dir. Russ Meyer)

"I felt a movement! I think that there might be a mouse in this haystack."
Fanny Hill (Leticia Roman)
 
Veronica Ericson, credited as "Erica Ericson", has a speaking part as Emily in this Russ Meyer film, but her appearance (above) is far more impressive than her delivery. Fanny Hill is one of the few, if not only, directorial project for which Russ Meyer did not have complete creative control: according to the imdb, Russ Meyer and producer Albert Zugsmith (24 Aug 1910 – 26 Oct 1993) did not see eye to eye during the shoot because Meyer wanted to make a serious movie and Zugsmith was more interested in making a slapstick comedy. (What Artur Brauner wanted is not known.) Based on John Cleland's early and famous novel from 1748, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, which as late as 1963 still led to obscenity charges in the US,* the movie was filmed in Spandau, outside Berlin.
* In 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Memoirs v. Massachusetts that Fanny Hill was not obscene, thus opening the door for its legal publication nationally.
 
We looked at Fanny Hill briefly way back in Dec 2011 in our R.I.P. Walter Giller career review, where we mentioned: "Walter Giller plays 'Hemingway' in this European movie version of John Cleland's novel, which may be one of the weakest and least distinctive of all Russ Meyer films, but is still a Russ Meyer film — so let's put the blame on his co-scriptwriter Robert Hill, who scripted a number of early psychotronic films such as, among others: Dog Eat Dog (1964 / trailer), Confessions of an Opium Eater (1962 / trailer), Sex Kittens Go to College (1960 / trailer), She Gods of Shark Reef (1958 / full film), The Girl in the Kremlin (1957 / hair-shaving scene) and Female on the Beach (1955 / trailer). 
The delicious Letícia Román (The Evil Eye [1964 / trailer]) plays the titular female, while the film legend Miriam Hopkins (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [1931 / full film), Becky Sharp [1935 / trailer] and The Heiress [1949 / trailer]) plays Mrs. Maude Brown, the bordello mother. Others notable members of the cast include Alexander D'Arcy (of Horrors of Spider Island [1960]) and future trash-film director Ulli Lommel,* who shows up in the end dressed in drag to save the virtuous damsel. The plot, according to Eduardo Casais at imdb: "Young, pretty and innocent Fanny Hill has lost her parents and must find her way in life amidst the perils of turbulent 18th century London. She is fortunate enough to find rapidly a place as chambermaid of the effusive Mrs. Brown. Mrs. Brown lives in a large house teeming with female 'relatives' in négligée and with very relaxed manners. She also insists that Fanny meets alone various gentlemen who show an ardent interest in Fanny."

*
The only Ulli Lommel films we had the displeasure of seeing so far are BrainWaves (1982) and Tenderness of the Wolves (1973 / German trailer)... the latter of which is sort of watchable. Lommel is infamous for barely ever making a truly watchable movie. 
Trailer to
Russ Meyer's Fanny Hill:
Fanny Hill is the final film appearance of the German-language actress Karin Evans (25 Sept 1907 – 1 Jul 2004), who once starred in the relatively overlooked (and truly excellent) East German film classic, Blum Affair (1948 / full film). Noteworthy: Russ Meyer met and fell in love the German actress Rena Horten a.k.a Renatte Hutte (11 Feb 1941 – 11 Nov 2009) and her assets on the set of Fanny Hill and was eventually driven to create his unappreciated roughie masterpiece Mudhoney (1965 / see: Princess Livingston) around her.
Although viewed as a lower echelon Meyer film, some people don't find Fanny Hill that bad: "If nothing else Fanny Hill shows how good of a director Russ Meyer truly was. The sleepwalking chase scene is fantastic, as is Fanny's back and forth with an equally shy man who is looking for a woman to sleep with that understands him. Beyond Meyer's direction, the performances are damn good, never crossing the line to being hammy or over the top, which is incredibly easy when dealing with content and style such as this. This is a great little film [...]. [Celluloid Terror]"

 
The Swinger
(1966, dir. George Sidney)
Title track sung by Ann-Margret:
Veronica Ericson appears, uncredited, somewhere in this mostly forgotten movie as a model, as did Beyond the Valley of the Dolls' Babe of Yesteryear, Phyllis Davis, whose breasts career we recently took a look at (go here for Pt. I). You can see the Veronica and Phyllis directly below, sitting next to each other, in the middle of the front row in the photograph of the women of The Swinger.
In any event, when we looked at the film [for a second time] in the Phyllis Davis Pt. I blog entry, we more or less cobbled the following together:
"Director George Sidney (4 Oct 1916 – 5 May 2002), we might add, never made a feature film that we here at a wasted life have watched to the end — although we still hope to make it through Jupiter's Darling (1955) one day...
Yes, it's a trailer to a real film —
Jupiter's Darling (1955):
We took a quick look at The Swinger way back in 2012 in our blog entry They Died in September 2012, Part III, which is when the character actor Lance LeGualt died — the film is his first screen credit.
There, we wrote: 'A 'hip' comedy from George Sidney [...]. TV Guide says: 'Ann-Margret plays a naive girl from Minnesota who wants to become a writer. The editors at the publication she sends her stories to, Girl-Lure Magazine, don't think her material is up to their standards of excitement and sexual exploitation. So Ann-Margret writes a story that will please publishers [Anthony] Franciosa and [Robert] Coote. She lifts lines out of other girlie publications and claims that they describe her own lifestyle. To prove it, she stages an orgy and has her neighbor, a cop, make a bust to heighten the luridness of the situation. This makes Franciosa believe it his duty to reform Ann-Margret. When he tries to do so, he discovers her true background. This film is a humorous satire against overly sex-oriented culture. Ann-Margret is good in a role that takes advantage of her bombshell image. The script also satirizes what that image represents.'"
Also sung by Ann-Margret in the movie,
I Wanna Be Loved:
To the above, we would add: "One of the reasons The Swinger is such an adorably awful piece of cinema trash is that it tries so very hard to be 'hip' and fails at nearly every turn. During the 1960s, Hollywood was woefully behind the times. The counter-culture youth movement left Hollywood filmmakers clueless as to what the American public wanted to see. Old guard director George Sidney (who worked with Ann-Margret on Bye, Bye Birdie, 1963 [trailer] and Viva Las Vegas, 1964 [trailer]) seems at a total loss with the material in The Swinger. [...] With its crazy costumes, wacky musical interludes and faux bohemian concepts, The Swinger is a star vehicle that features everything a bad movie aficionado could ask for. When Ann-Margret is added to the mix, well, that's when a movie like The Swinger truly becomes a slice of bad movie heaven. [Will Kraus]"
While it lasts –
The Swinger:
Robert Coote, who also does the narration in the movie, is found (and killed) in one of our favorite movies, the classic Theatre of Blood (1973)...
Trailer to
Theatre of Blood (1973):
And, lastly, as this blog entry is in theory about her, a scene photo from The Swinger in which Veronica Ericson is clear to be seen at the left.
 

 
No Way to Treat a Lady
(1968, dir. Jack Smight)
Could it be? An uncredited Veronica Ericson supposedly shows up in this New York-shot movie playing a customer at Sardi's. Maybe she was in town for a week or something...
No Way to Treat a Lady is a 1968 black comedy thriller directed by Jack Smight (9 Mar 1925 – 1 Sept 2003), the man who also gave us Damnation Alley (1977 / trailer), The Illustrated Man (1969 / trailer) and The Traveling Executioner (1970 / trailer). Based on the novel of the same name by William Goldman (12 Aug 1931 – 16 Nov 2018), the script was supplied by John Gay (1 Apr 1924 – 4 Feb 2017), who that same year supplied the screenplay to the fun horror flick The Power (1968 / opening credits) and, soon thereafter, the screenplay to the revisionist western Soldier Blue (1970 / trailer).
Trailer to
No Way to Treat a Lady:
The AFI Catalog has the plot: "Christopher Gill (Rod Steiger), the wealthy and elegant owner of a Broadway theater, is a psychotic killer who uses his knowledge of disguise and impersonation to gain admittance into the homes of lonely middle-aged women. Once he has strangled them, the only clue left behind is a lipstick kiss painted on the victim's forehead. Police detective Morris Brummel (George Segal) remarks to the press that the murderer is extremely clever, and Gill responds with a telephone call acknowledging the compliment, thus beginning a series of bizarre conversations between the two men. The one bright aspect of the case is that Brummel has met and fallen in love with Kate Palmer (Lee Remick), a young woman who spoke to Gill when he was disguised as an Irish priest. Brummel tells reporters that his opponent is obviously sexually disturbed, and Gill calls up to complain and inadvertently reveals an obsessive love for his mother, a famous actress who is now dead. In an attempt to trick the killer into revealing his identity, the police falsely report another 'lipstick murder.' His ego wounded, Gill telephones to protest and is kept talking long enough for the call to be traced. When he realizes that he has been tricked, Gill decides to get even with Brummel by murdering Kate. Posing as a caterer, he presents himself at Kate's apartment and announces that Brummel has sent over a surprise feast. Brummel arrives in time to save Kate, but Gill escapes to his theater, where he is finally trapped and shot down by Brummel."
"This off-kilter thriller is [...] solidly buoyed by Steiger's bravura performance — certainly the kind of role actors must relish — with Remick and Segal providing nice support. [Terror Trap]"
Stanley Myers and His Orchestra –
main title to No Way to Treat a Lady:
As an added inside "joke" of sorts, when Rod Steiger's Christopher Gill dresses up in drag to kill his fifth victim, Sadie, the woman is played by "the most famous female impersonator from Flint [Michigan]", Kim August, below on the cover of Female Mimics (1963).

Kim's "official" gender is never alluded to in the film, and her film credit is as Kim August, not her generally unknown male name. Despite their long career, little to nothing is written about Kim August on the web. If we are to believe the Comments section at Studio D in Flint, Kim August had already passed away by 2011; elsewhere (@ A Gender Variance Who's Who), the comments indicate her "original" name might have been William Goode, and lifespan 1935 to 1994. Kim's only other feature film acting job we know of was in Arthur Hiller's The Tiger Makes Out (1967 / some scenes), in which she plays a female impersonator.
 
 
Live a Little, Love a Little
(1968, dir. Norman Taurog)
Seven years after Blue Hawaii, Veronica Ericson appears (again uncredited) in her second Elvis movie as — to quote the imdb — "Woman 2".
Live a Little, Love a Little is also the second Elvis movie Phyllis Davis appeared in, which is why looked at the movie Part I of her BVD entry. There we more or less wrote:
Live a Little, Love a Little is the last of the nine Elvis movie in total directed by the forgotten Norman Taurog (23 Feb 1899 – 7 Apr 1981). The movie is based on a novel, Dan Greenberg's Kiss My Firm but Pliant Lips, from 1965, and at least one review online says the film follows the book relatively closely.
Trailer to
Live a Little, Love a Little:
The "plot" of what could possibly be the Pelvis's only foray into Fatal Attraction (1987 / trailer) territory: "Greg Nolan (Presley) is a photographer who loses his job, apartment and freedom to do what he pleases when he meets Bernice (Michele Carey). To pay for a new apartment that Bernice finds him, Greg works two photographer jobs at the same time while trying to keep his bosses (Rudy Vallee, Don Porter) from finding out. [Comet over Hollywood]"
"Live a Little, Love a Little [...] is a like the Rankin and Bass cartoon Year Without a Santa Claus (1974 / song) in that it contains a single scene of naive surrealism at its most jaw-dropping, 'WTF were they thinking?' level, which almost makes the whole enterprise worthwhile. [Alfred Eaker]"
WTF were they thinking:
TarTarkas explains the WTF moment, a dream: "Imagine that waking you up in the middle of the night [to a man dressed as a dog] and calmly start to discuss your love life. It then insists Elvis walk through the door to a pit of blackness where he is accosted by the entire cast, each taking turns, taunting him with Bernice's true identity and motives. Elvis then must sing a song about how her mysterious nature is driving him wild while different women appear and dance with other men, pretending to be Bernice. [...] But then, Elvis wakes up. And, worse yet, the unthinkable occurs. The movie becomes... boring."
Junkie XL's remix of
a song from the movie:
 
 
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
(1970, dir. Russ Meyer)
The third and last Russ Meyer movie Veronica Erickson (as she is credited) appears in. She plays an unnamed character, the blonde date of the movie's gigolo stud, Lance Rocke (Michael Blodgett [26 Sept 1939 – 14 Nov 2007]), during the movie's big finale.
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."
Nancy Sinatra's cover version of
Sweet Talkin' Candy Man:
"Russ Meyer's concept of the feminine ideal is mired inextricably in the full-figured, breast-fixated 1950s. The lean and lanky hippie silhouette typified by Peggy Lipton on The Mod Squad is nowhere to be found in Meyer's Playboy Pictorial vision of an abundantly well-fed and curvaceous 1970.  'The-head-is-missing!' Dept: that's headless actress Veronica Ericson embraced by the equally decapitated Michael Blodgett. [Dreams Are What Le Cinema Is For]"
Most online sources, when illustrating Veronica's appearance in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, use a photograph of Joyce Rees (see BVD: The Five Mysterians). But, nope: the image below is of Veronica in the movie.
 
 
The Don Is Dead
(1973, dir. Richard Fleischer)
Director Richard Fleischer (8 Dec 1916 – 25 Mar 2006) released two films in 1973, this one here, which you have probably never heard of, and a little film titled Soylent Green. One became a classic, the other became sort of forgotten...
Trailer to
The Don Is Dead:
In what appears to be her last (uncredited) filler appearance in a movie, Veronica Ericson shows up to play "Zutti's Girlfriend". Zutti was played by Lee Delano (19 Jan 1931 – 8 Oct 2017), who is also uncredited.
"Every film deserves a great cast and the one involved in this movie is absolutely eye-watering with the versatile filmmaker Richard Fleischer at the helm [...]. The performances in The Don Is Dead, even those of minor characters, are delivered beautiful authenticity, sucking the viewer into the war between two clans. Horror icon Sid Haig also makes an appearance in the opening scenes of the movie as part of a duo making a drugs deal with Frankie. Although his part is only a brief one, it's always great to see Haig in action. [Horror Cult Films]"
Scopophilia has the plot: "After the death of his mob boss father, Frank (Robert Forster of Alligator [1980] and Uncle Sam [1996]) finds himself embroiled in the middle of a feud between two rival crime families. Don Angelo (Anthony Quinn) comes to Frank's aid and agrees to take over the family business and then once he dies everything will go to Frank. Luigi (Charles Cioffi) and his greedy lover Marie (Jo Anne Meredith of The Psycho Lover [1970 / trailer]) are not happy with this arrangement and in an attempt to weaken the alliance they arrange for Don to meet up with Frank's girlfriend Ruby (Angel Tompkins of The Naked Cage [1986 / trailer] and The Teacher [1974 / trailer]) while Frank is away in Rome on business. The two immediately hit-it-off and begin a hot-and-heavy affair. When Frank returns and finds out about this he flies into a rage by first beating his girlfriend and then swearing further vengeance onto Don. Don in turn puts out a hit on Frank, which escalates an endless bloody mob war."
"The Don Is Dead was only released a year after The Godfather (1972 / trailer), yet feels very tired and staid by comparison. The performances and style are generally pretty accomplished, but the package as a whole is too old fashioned. While later films like Goodfellas (1990 / trailer) show the hypocrisy of the 'principled gangster', The Don Is Dead only perpetuates this myth. If this had come out a few years earlier it might be held up as a classic; instead it feels like a throwback to a style of film that was already disappearing. [Critical Popcorn]"
 
 
The Yum-Yum Girls
(1976, dir. Barry Rosen)
Not to be confused with the earlier and patently ridiculous and dated mainstream comedy from 1963, Under the Yum-Yum Tree (trailer) — something we mention as an excuse to embed that film's credit sequence with title track...
James Darren sings
Under the Yum-Yum Tree:
Could it be? The website Famous Fix is a lone wolf in this, but they list Veronica Ericson as part of the cast to The Yum-Yum Girls, playing "Boom Boom Girl" (imdb, on the other hand, currently claims it is some other woman named "Veronika Erikson").
Ginger Lynn –
The Yum-Yum Girls DVD re-release intro:
Based on a filmscript by Philip Levy and Robert Jahn, the latter of whom, just the prior year, was credited as the screenwriter to a less-infamous Doris Wishman (1 Jun 1912 – 10 Aug 2002) movie, Immoral Three (1975 / trailer), the "sequel" to Double Agent 73 (1974 / trailer); some years later, Robert Jahn scripted the just as obscure but even more violent Thanksgiving-set slasher Blood Rage (1980 / trailer) and then disappeared. Philip Levy, on the other hand, continued to do extra work in films well up into the next century; one his "bigger" roles is in the forgotten 3-D slasher, Silent Madness (1984 / trailer).
The Yum-Yum Girls, a grindhouse T&A disasterpiece, is one of only two directorial projects by Barry Rosen, smiling below, both released in 1976, the other being Devil's Express (trailer), a grindhouse horror WTF disasterpiece that seriously needs to be rediscovered.
The plot to The Yum-Yum Girls, as described by Robert Firsching at All Movies: "Barry Rosen [...] made this confused sex comedy about New York models. Michelle Dow [sic — it's "Michelle Daw"] plays the naive Melody, who comes to the Big Apple from Duncan Falls, Ohio, to pursue her dream. Inevitably, this dream leads to casting-couches, frightening nightmares, rape, and suicide, but there is much humor in the interim. Rosen tries to graft episodic screwball comedy bits involving bad auditions and backstage cattiness onto what is essentially a grim 1930s-style cautionary tale, and it doesn't quite work. The end result plays like a demented hybrid of Showgirls (1995 / trailer) and Valley of the Dolls (1967 / trailer) in which Melody's horrible abuse at the hands of sleazy producers alternates with semi-nude models pulling each other's hair and elderly Edna Thayer [below, not from the film] croaking I'm a Big Fat Mama to a dismayed casting director. The fact that two of the models are played by Judy Landers and Tanya Roberts [the latter of Tourist Trap (1979)] may interest some viewers, but overall this disjointed soap-opera is unsatisfying and trite [...]"

Michelle Daw/Dow never made another movie and fell off the face of the Earth. For those of you who watch The Yum-Yum Girls in the hope of some early career nudity on the part of Roberts and Landers, as the blogspot Every 70s Movie (which thinks the movie is "Skeeve City") points out: "Future Charlie's Angels star Tanya Roberts plays a supporting role and somehow manages to stay dressed throughout her screen time, as does minor '70s starlet Judy Landers, who displays her eye-popping form in bikinis and lingerie. Anyone seeking cheap thrills is sure to be disappointed by The Yum-Yum Girls, and the movie offers nothing else to compensate."
The newspaper advert below was found over at the fitfully kept but always fun website Temple of Schlock. The Twin West was probably Cedar Rapids Drive-in, where it was teamed with Happy Hooker (1975), the film version of
Xaviera Hollander's eponymous Best Seller — we took a look at that film way back in 2012 in RIP Richard Lynch — and the much more idiotically entertaining T&A jiggler Cherry Hill High (1977 / full film).
Serendipity, of sorts: At the Twilight, The Yum-Yum Girls was screened with Cheerleaders Beach Party (1978 / full film), an idiotically entertaining T&A jiggler directed by Alex E. Goitein, the man who brought us Cherry Hill High. Hamburg, City of Sin, release date unknown, is a forgotten (possibly lost) film from the British filmmaker Arnold Louis Miller (20 Oct 1922 – 26 or 28 Apr 2014), whose earlier projects include such fine proto-mondos and post-mondos like West End Jungle (1961 / scene), Nudes of the World a.k.a. Nudes of All Nations (1962 / stuff cut together), London in the Raw (1964 / full film) and Primitive London (1965 / full film / scene), and British exploitation like The Skin Game a.k.a. K.I.L. 1 (1962), Secrets of a Windmill Girl (1965 / full film) and Frustrated Wives (1974 / scenes / La La Loo), often working with Arnold L. Long.

Anyways, with The Yum-Yum Girls, the diaphanous trail of Veronica Ericson a.k.a. Veronica Erickson a.k.a. Ingrid Erickson a.k.a. Erica Ericson a.k.a.  Veronica Reed a.k.a. Bambi May disappears. Anyone know where she went or what she is doing or did after she disappeared?
 
Now go to BVD Part XVI:
Russ Meyer's ex-wife
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