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

Rating:

aka Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary

USA. 1964.

Crew

Director/Producer – Ray Dennis Steckler, Screenplay – Gene Pollock & Robert Silliphant, Story – E.M. Kevke, Photography – Joseph Marcelli, Music – Libby Quinn, Makeup – Tom Scherman, Art Direction – Mike Harrington. Production Company – Morgan-Steckler Productions

Cast

Cash Flagg [Ray Dennis Steckler] (Jerry), Brett O’Hara (Madame Estrella), Sharon Walsh (Angie), Carolyn Brandt (Marge Nelson), Atlas King (Harold), Erina Enyo (Carmelita), Jack Brady (Ortega), Toni Camel (Stella)


Plot

The crazed amusement arcade fortune-teller Madame Estrella throws acid in the faces of the men who refuse her and then keeps them as disfigured monsters locked in the back room of her carnival booth. When teenage layabout Jerry comes to have his fortune told, Madame Estrella hypnotises him to make him become a killer.


The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies is a film of legendary exploitation reputation. It is a reputation that one suspects centres more around the bizarre title than anything else. The truth is that not many appear to have actually seen The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. Should more people do, the film’s reputation would probably undergo instant deflation. The title(s) remain the most interesting thing about the film. Even so, they are meaningless on both counts – there are no zombies, only a hypnotised killer and a few disfigured deformities. In regard to the alternate title Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary, while there is a teenage psycho, there is nobody named Mary in the film.

As a film, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies is too boring for even unintentional laugh potential. Ray Dennis Steckler directs seemingly without involvement. Almost half the running time is taken up by the monotonous rock’n’roll numbers, although these are made near incoherent by the shoddy recording. (If this were a film made in the 1980s or 90s, you would regard the endless songs as a cynical marketing excuse to sell a soundtrack album, but that was not the case back then). Director Ray Dennis Steckler also plays the hero under the name Cash Flagg and manages to give an incredible geeky performance – he is a gangly beanpole, like a Pee Wee Herman played straight. At least the film has colour, which Vilmos Zsigmond, later an Oscar-winning cinematographer for Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), apparently had a hand in.

Certainly, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies and Ray Dennis Steckler have become objects of great fascination to the modern Psychotronic film audience. The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies was Ray Dennis Steckler’s second film, made on a $38,000 budget. Steckler conducted a unique promotional campaign where he would tour screenings and at appropriate intervals jump out at attendees or have actors wearing masks abduct people from out of the audience.

Ray Dennis Steckler’s other films of genre note are:– The Thrill Killers (1964) about maniacs on the loose; the legendary superhero spoof Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (1965); the comedic monster bash The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters (1965); the evil child film Sinthia, the Devil’s Doll (1968); The Chooper/Blood Shack/Curse of the Evil Spirit (1971) about a vengeful American Indian spirit; the terminally confused horror porno Sexorcist Devil (1974); the psycho film The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher (1979) and its sequel The Las Vegas Serial Killer (1986).


Full film available online here:-


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