Monday, December 26, 2011

The Incredibly Strange Creatures...

The second half of tonight's craptacular movie double feature is "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies" (IMDB), a 1964 film about... um, I'm not entirely sure. Supposedly it's a zombie flick, but if you're looking for gory braineating living dead action you're going to be bitterly disappointed. Some brave Wikipedian tried to summarize the plot thusly:
Jerry (Steckler as "Flagg"), his girlfriend Angela (Sharon Walsh), and his buddy Harold (Atlas King) head out for a day at the carnival. In one venue, a dance number is performed by Marge (Carolyn Brandt), an alcoholic who drinks before and between shows, and her partner, Bill Ward, for a small audience. There Jerry sees stripper Carmelita (Erino Enyo) who hypnotizes him with her icy stare and he is compelled to see her act. Carmelita is the young sister of powerful fortune-teller Estrella (Brett O'Hara), and Estrella turns Jerry into a zombie by hypnotizing him with a spiraling wheel. He then goes on a rampage, killing Marge and fatally wounding Bill. Later, Jerry attempts to strangle his girlfriend Angela as well. It develops that Estrella, with her henchman Ortega (Jack Brady), has been busy turning various patrons into zombies, apparently by throwing acid on their faces.

Interspersed through the film are several song-and-dance production numbers in the carnival's nightclub, with songs like "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" and "Shook out of Shape". The titular zombies only make an appearance in the final act, where they escape and immediately kill Estrella, Carmelita, Ortega and several performers before being shot by police. Jerry, himself partially disfigured but not a zombie, escapes the carnival and is pursued to the shoreline, where the police shoot him dead in front of Angela and Harold.

If anything, the movie makes even less sense than the summary does. The one actual scary bit is that our hapless punk-kid protagonist (who's also the film's director) bears an uncanny resemblance to Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. Not sure how they pulled that one off, to be honest. Everyone else in the movie comes off as bored or drunk. Maybe it's just the lighting, or the soundtrack, or the cast just didn't grasp the director's singular vision, or something.

It turns out that (so sayeth IMDB) this movie used the same sound stage as The Creeping Terror, which is the thin thread I'm using to tie this double feature together. Makes more sense than either of the movies, if you ask me.

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