1964, Movies

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964, Ray Dennis Steckler)

The movie begins with a fortune teller getting her minion to attack someone she doesn’t like very much. Though everything about the scene doesn’t work well – the lighting, the audio, the acting – at least it makes you think that his hilariously titled film with have some action. Alas, that is now what happens.

There are two competing storylines at the after the intro. In one, there is a drunken dancer who might lose her job as the, um, featured attraction at a night club. (Where the MC might be deliberately bombing, it’s hard to tell.) The other is a man and his friend, who has a hilariously thick accent, taking the man’s date to the fair. Both of these storylines have very little drama to them and are pretty boring. Though it only takes like 45 minutes to get going, it feels like it takes forever. There are multiple musical numbers padding everything out. Like at least seven of them. In an 82 minute film.

Eventually the guy gets upset that his date doesn’t want to go see some dancers, and he goes himself. There, he is invited back stage and he is hypnotized using one of those hilarious wheels. This is what brings about the highlight of the movie, repeated, aggressive zooms into the protagonist’s face, seemingly the inspiration for the gag from “Monster Chiller Horror Theatre.” Not long after, the camera just spins. First it doze a complete circle and then it goes absolutely crazy.

Then there is an extended dream sequence – because the protagonist is not a zombie in any sense that we understand it now – where all the women of the piece say things to him super-imposed over other images.

I’m not really sure what they were up to. They were hypnotizing people to do their bidding and then scarring them with acid and keeping them? That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Also, if they only got acid on their faces, why did their bodies change so much? Oh yeah, Zombies.

The climax unfolds between the incredibly strange creatures (who are absolutely not zombies) and some police we’ve literally never met before. Also, the climax happens at night. But when Jerry and Angela encounter each other again and he runs outside, it is the middle of the day! That’s a truly great continuity error.

This is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. There are definitely ones that were more boring or even more poorly produced. (The sound is bad here but not the worst I’ve ever heard, and the lighting is only bad in some scenes.) But 7 musical numbers in 82 minutes is intolerable, even if that music is actually better than you would think for such a shitty film. The sheer number of characters for such a short movie with a such a simple plot is also egregious. And the crazy camera work. I think it might be an all-timer.

1/10

Also, apparently the mole on the seer’s face moves throughout the movie.

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