Posts Tagged ‘mill creek’



When I told you that Bill Zebub’s thoroughly rancid Kill The Scream Queen wasn’t his worst movie, I wasn’t in the least bit joking — 2006’s Rape Is A Circle is actually a damn sight worse. How can this be, you ask? Well, as it turns out, when Zebub left things like plot, motivation, characterization, and even basic story progression out of his debut feature, he was actually doing us all a huge favor, because by the time he got around to making this cringe-worthy feature, he figured he had a pretty solid handle on all those things, so they’re all present and accounted for — and it makes everything soooooo much more painful. Plus, he throws in a massive insult to his audience’s collective intelligence for good measure (certainly no small feat given that this flick wasn’t exactly marketed to the cultural elite).

First off, as far as the bare-bones production values go, Billy had $15,000 to play around with this time, not that tripling his budget did him any good. He’s still stuck in New Jersey and he’s still hiring the kind of actresses who frankly would probably appreciate it if I didn’t mention them by name, so I won’t. Needless to say, they’re all better off back at whatever shoe store, strip joynt, fast-found counter, or unemployment line Zebub found them in. He also still displays nothing but the most rudimentary understanding of simple things like how a fucking video camera works, where to place his “actresses” in the frame, how to get competently-delivered lines out of them, etc.Circle08

The “story,” as far as it goes — two women hitch a ride with another woman, automatically assuming she’s “safe,” only to find that she’s as sadistic and brutal as any guy whose car they might have gotten into — isn’t nearly as clever as Big, Bad Bill thinks, and really is nothing but a threadbare disguise to (again, less than cleverly) obfuscate his real motive, which is, plainly and simply, to show three women verbally and physically humiliating each other (and themselves, by even being in this thing) for the better part of 75 minutes. There’s some poorly staged softcore-style sexual violence, nudity aplenty, and a smattering of thoroughly unconvincing movie-of-the-week-style sermonizing about how, ya know, “rape is a circle,” — hence the insult to our intelligence I mentioned, as if any of us are stupid enough to think that Zebub’s point is anything other than getting his rocks off by putting his unfortunate “actresses” through all kinds of lamely-executed degradation — and then we dive head-first into the thoroughly anti-climactic finale in which  the intial two victims plot their revenge and become victimizers themselves (oh, the humanity!).



A lot of the so-called “unspeakable torment” these ladies are out through in this one is only hinted at rather than shown — although the dialogue is dripping with misogynistic ugliness — and that’s definitely more a product of lack of ability rather than lack of intent. Simply put, if Zebub had enough money to even unconvincingly stage some of the shit he implies these women have to go through, not to mention “talent” willing to do it, I have no doubt he would love to give it a go. But I guess he’s learned a few lessons from Kill The Scream Queen, at least when it comes to being made aware of his (rather sizable, it must be said) limitations. Thank God for small favors.

If you absolutely must be a contrary bastard, though, and sit through this wretchedness just to spite me, I again implore you to not do Zebub the favor of buying it as a stand-alone release (either in its original form or its shorter, re-worked version, titled Catherine’s Pain, which I haven’t seen and can’t fairly comment on — but I bet it sucks at least as badly) for ten or fifteen or whatever bucks — instead pick up the Tomb Of Terrors 50-movie, 12-disc set from Mill Creek’s Pendulum Pictures label for maybe $20-$25 and at least get a lost weekend’s worth of shittily-made horror flicks for your money, all with perfectly-serviceable full-frame transfers and stereo sound.




To tell you the truth, though, I’m not so sure it’s fair to refer to the pablum that Bill Zebub churns out as being horror movies, per se, even though sitting through them can be a horrific experience. He actually doesn’t even strike me as a horror fan — he is, however, a rape fan, a torture fan, a humiliation fan, and not at all a fan of women. I dunno. I guess there’s an audience for this kind of shit out there somewhere. I’m just glad I’m not a part of it.


The renaissance in home-made filmmaking that’s taken place in the late 90s and early aughts, and is picking up even more steam these days thanks to HD and streaming video and  what have you, is something of a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s exposed the work of unique amateur auteurs like Todd Sheets, Dave Wascavage, Ryan Cavalline, Jeff Leroy, and others (not all of whom are in any way , shape, or form talented, but that’s not really the point) to a wider audience than they ever could possibly have dreamed of.

On the other hand, it’s also given rise to the likes of Clifton, New Jersey’s Bill Zebub (ha ha, get it?), who really ought to consider looking into factory work at this point.

Zebub’s gotten a bit of notoriety on the fringes of the horror scene for luridly-titled shot-on-video works like Jesus Christ : Serial RapistRap SucksZombiechrist, and his latest, Antfarm Dickhole, but before he discovered the value of not actually taking himself too seriously, he specialized in thoroughly pointless half-assed torture porn along the lines of his 2004 debut effort, Kill The Scream Queen.

Now, normally any flick shot for $5,000 in a titty bar in the armpit of New Jersey during its off hours is one that I would be predisposed to liking, and things like total lack of plot, laughably bad “gore” effects, and risible acting wouldn’t deter my enjoyment of the proceedings in the least. I  have a pretty strong stomach for misogynistic sleaze, too (sorry, mom) so don’t think my distaste for this flick rises from some prudish sense of moralistic outrage. I assure you, I’m capable of finding enjoyment in some of the most depraved shit ever committed to film (or video, as the case may be), from Cannibal Holocaust  to Salo.

So what reservations could I possibly have about a poorly-staged, poorly-acted, largely (I hope, or there’s really no excuse) unscripted SOV movie about a guy who wears a stupid mask and lures unsuspecting females (I know, I know, you expected that to read “young females,” but given that the first victim on offer here is played by Deborah Dutch, who I remember from Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave  back in the day, it’s a safe bet that age wasn’t of nearly as much consideration when it came to Billy-Boy’s casting as was, perhaps, availability and/or a willingness to work on a project that some might shy away from for any number of reasons, be they personal, moral, or financial, all of which is my semi-polite way of saying it’s probably not easy to find actresses willing to take these type of roles, especially considering what little Zebub could probably afford to pay them) to star in his “real-life snuff film” by putting out a casting call for horror movie actresses? Well, let’s take a closer look and examine just where things go wrong here —

KilltheScreamQueen (1)

First off, this movie’s complete and utter plotlessness actually does it no favors : literally nothing  happens here apart from women showing up to be raped, tortured, humiliated, and killed. Not a one of these gals can act, and even worse, neither can the killer, played by Zebub himself. A quick look at the credits reveals that none of these characters actually have names — they’re listed as “The Killer,” “First Victim,” “Rape Victim,” “Humiliation Victim,” etc. — and frankly that’s appropriate, because they’re all just there to either do bad shit or have bad shit done to them. What we call them is of no importance, rather like this movie itself.

Problem number two is the flick’s aforementioned complete and utter humorlessness. Mr. Zebub quite obviously takes his work here very seriously — he just doesn’t happen to be very good at it. If you don’t have enough money, talent, or both to stage convincing rape, torture, and murder scenes, then your only possible way to make things at least mildly interesting is to try to be somehow tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing. Zebub eschews that option in favor of a kind of bland and clinical earnestness that places this movie firmly into the category of “There’s No Actual Audience For This Shit,” since it’s too tame and phony-looking for the hard-core S&M crowd, who would be better off trying to score their — uhmmm — “entertainment” from one of the more extreme porn vendors (who shall remain nameless for purposes of this review) littering the internet or reading the latest Peter Sotos book, and it’s too free of tension, characterization, atmosphere, and drama for the horror crowd. Zebub doesn’t even know  how to make his characters so fucking boring that you can’t wait to see them killed. They’re just interchangeable pieces of meat, and he’s just a butcher knife who wears a mask and delivers a few lines.

And that brings us to the cardinal sin committed by Kill The Scream Queen — it’s just plain dull. Yes, folks, when completely stripped of anything even resembling context, the fact of the matter is that rape, torture, humiliation, and murder is some straight-up boring shit. You’ll be looking at your watch before Zebub  finishes off his first victim. Hell, you’ll be looking at it before he even starts in on her, so listless and tepid is the point-and-shoot style of “direction” on display here. I can sit through some pretty excruciatingly monotonous crap, but this flick was a chore even for me. Watching the flagpole rust or your toenails grow would be more involving.


Anyway, if all this relentless criticism still isn’t enough to put you off this thing, or if you’re really fucked up and it’s somehow managed to actually firm up your resolve to survive its non-stop stream of mean-spirited tedium,  then by all means, don’t buy it as a stand-alone release — get it as part of Pendulum Pictures’ (a Mill Creek sub-label) six movie set Crazed Killers, which can usually be had for about five bucks. All the films are presented full-frame with passable-enough 5.1 sound and while not a one of ’em is what I’d call a good movie, the whole package does, at least, represent decent value for money.


As wretched as Kill The Scream Queen is, though, there is one genuinely amazing thing about it — this is not, believe it or not,  Bill Zebub’s worst movie! I’ll get to that in our next review.

"Scream Bloody Murder" Movie Poster, Under Its Original Title "The Captive Female"

Continuing my perusal though the Chilling Classics cheapie 50-pack from Mill Creek last evening, I came across a surprising little gem from co-writer (along with Larry Alexander)/director Marc B. Ray (who apparently primarily made his living writing for kids’ shows like Lidsville and New Zoo Revue) that goes by the utterly ubiquitous grindhouse title of Scream Bloody Murder.

Shot in and around  Los Angeles and Venice, California locations in 1971, this evidently sat on the shelf until 1973 when it was released under the far more plot-appropriate name The Captive Female (but since every single DVD release it’s been given has been under the Scream Bloody Murder tag, that’s what we’ll go with here — it was also re-circulated under the name Matthew around 1976, hoping to cash in, I would guess, on the one-word-psycho title craze in the wake of Damien and all that), and it’s a pleasantly competent and atmospheric little zero-budgeter that features a couple of very strong lead performances from Leigh Mitchell and, most notably, Fred Holbert.

How's That For A Quick Title-Swap On A Poster?

Our story opens with a young kid on a farm who decides to run over his dad with their tractor for whatever fucking reason. He hasn’t thought things though too well, though, and when he falls off the still-running tractor himself, it crushes his hand. Next thing you know it’s a good 10 or 15 years later and the kid (named Matthew, which you’d probably already guessed from the previous paragraph, and portrayed by Fred Holbert, which I’m betting you’d figured out, as well) has been fitted with a hook hand and is about to be released from an extended stay in the loony bin (whoever authorized this hopefully lost their job, because our guy Matthew is quite obviously still batshit crazy right from the outset).  He soon heads home to mother’s farm, and we learn in no time flat that the reason he killed is old man is because he’s got seriously unresolved Oedipal issues and wants to keep mommy all to himself.

Needless to say, when dear mother shows up at the door fresh from her marriage ceremony to a well-meaning “swell guy”-type of fella named Mr. Parsons, Matthew doesn’t take to the new situation too well. He quickly hacks Mr. Parsons to death with an axe, but when his mom discovers the murder-in-progress, a tussle ensues and she ends up breaking her neck on a rock. Matthew’s plan to keep her all to himself has apparently backfired again, just like it did when he was a kid, and next thing you know he’s on the road, trying to thumb a ride out of town before his crimes are discovered.

He’s picked up by a young newlywed couple who seem like nice enough folks, but when they pull over for a quick dip in the river, and get to making out, Matthew’s seen enough and starts throwing rocks at them and screaming “Don’t touch her!!!!!!!!!!!” at the guy. He ends up knocking the poor SOB dead, and when he goes to “rescue” the woman and promise her sweet nothings like “no one will ever have to touch you again,” he starts seeing images of his dead mom flashing in his mind and whaddaya know, he ends up strangling her and leaving the two dead bodies floating in the water.

Matthew’s forced to high-tail it out of town even faster now, and gets a lift in the back of a pickup truck to a serene beachfront community, where he quickly makes the acquaintance of a local free-spirit named Vera (Leigh Mitchell) who’s painting on a canvas in front of her bungalow. Matthew quickly takes a liking to her and asks if he can be her friend and Vera, trusting swinging 70s chick that she is, says sure, that would be nice. He even asks is he can call her Daisy (his late mother’s name), and for reasons I guess known only to her, she agrees.

Things get a bit complicated, though, when a drunken sailor shows up at her door, interrupting their conversation, and we learn that Vera’s a hooker (who apprently works out of her own house), and Matthew’s gotta make tracks so she can attend to business. Needless to say, this doesn’t exactly sit well with our hook-handed Oedipal loon, and he waits outside Vera’s place until nightfall, when the sailor departs , whereby he follows him to a bridge, kills him, and dumps his body in the river (after explaining to the guy that Vera hated it when he touched her, of course).

So the set-up here is pretty obvious, of course — the sexually-impotent Matthew is looking for a surrogate mommy-figure and is repulsed by the idea of any man getting it on with any of the women he comes across who might fulfill that role. The next morning, though, upon a return visit to Vera’s place (he doesn’t waste much time), he kicks his obsession into another gear and spins her a line of bullshit about how his dad is rich, he lives in a mansion, and he can take care of her from now on and she’ll nevver have to let any sailors touch her again.

Smelling his line for what it is, and finally figuring out this guy might not be that stable, she politely sends him on his way — but he promises he’ll be back to prove to her that his wild claims are true. And that’s when our breezy little psycho- tale takes a sudden turn for the even crazier —

"Sorry, Lady, But I Need The House!"

Casing out a neighborhood in the ritzy part of town, Matthew rings the doorbell of the mansion of an elderly shut-in who’s attended to by her long-suffering maid. He quickly ingratiates himself to her by spouting some nonsense about his car being broken down around the corner and no one in the neighborhood being willing to let him come in and use their phone. She says “don;t that sound just like the people around here” and agrees to let him enter the kitchen and make a call, and he summarily fake-phones-up a non-existent auto repair shop while eyeing up the surroundings. The dog is barking. the maid is cutting up chicken with a meat cleaver.The old bat upstairs is screaming for her to come change the TV channel. She bitches back at her as she heads up the staircase, flips the fucking channel for the demanding wench, and when she comes back down, we’re treated to the very effective close-up of Matthew seen just above, he says those exact words in the caption, and next thing you know —

"Help Wanted : New Maid"

In short order, the old woman and the dog (relax, they don’t show it) are history, too, Matthew dumps their dead bodies in the basement, and he’s got himself a mansion and a Rolls Royce (or maybe it’s a Bentley, I dunno). Time to go romance his lady!

He shows up at her door, talks her into taking a ride over to his (supposed) palatial digs, and when they get there he lays his heavy trip on her about coming to live with him and letting him take care of her and not having to let any man ever touch her again and all that shit. Vera tries to calmly explain to him that she’s not for sale (well, okay, she is, but you know what I mean), and when that doesn’t work out, a hasty escape attempt results in her falling down the stairs and being knocked out cold.

I bet you can guess what happens next, can’t you? Yup, when Vera wakes up, she finds out she’s not going anywhere

Not My Idea Of A First Date, But Hey, We All Have Our Quirks

Now Matthew’s got Vera right where he wants her — namely tied-up and gagged in bed. And while the average movie maniac would take this occasion to — uhhmmm — have his way with the damsel in distress, hook-boy has an altogether different idea of a good time, He mugs an old lady, rips off a store, and soon he’s back home with groceries and art supplies. Regaling her with heartfelt platitudes like “Look what I got you! A steak! Whoever bought you that before, huh? Nobody, that’s who!” and  “See what I do for you? I get groceries, and clothes, and art stuff, and kill people — and do you appreciate it?” , it quickly becomes obvious that’s there’s bound to be some trouble in Matthew’s little paradise.

He feeds her while her hands are bound at the table and she spits the food back in his face. He leads her around the house on a fucking leash and forces her to paint because he knows she loves art. A couple of half-assed attempts at escape go nowhere. And finally Vera’s forced to fall back on her one proven set of skills in order to get out of there. She tells Matthew she needs a bath. He becomes nervous, as you’d expect by now, at the sight of her naked body. She figures he must be a virgin. And the full-on game of seduction begins —

The Object Of Our One-Armed Leading Man's Affections

Will Matthew fall prey to her charms? Will he get over his mommy hang-ups and decide he wants to fuck this admittedly rather fetching lady after all? And will she be able to use the confusion and/or straight-up horniness her feminine wiles cause to effect her escape? I’ve probably given away too damn much already, so I’ll leave that for you to find out!

Obviously, we’ve covered a plethora of films about serial killers with mommy fixations here before, but Scream Bloody Murder is definitely a cut above the rest. As I mentioned previously, both leads are very strong, with Mitchell oozing a type of self-aware confidence throughout, even in the most harrowing of situations and even (hell, especially) when compromising herself, and Holbert turning in a delightfully unbalanced performance that’s equal parts realistic and pathetic. Matthew is never portrayed as a sympathetic figure by director Ray by any means, and what could easily be a misogynistic tale in less capable hands is always quite clearly on the side of the victim, but you can’t help but be drawn Holbert’s utterly involving portrayal. You won’t sympathize with Matthew by any means, but you won’t be able to absolutely hate him, either. It’s a rare performance that’s both unsettling and — dare I say it — a lot of fun.

One Place You Can Find "Scream Bloody Murder" ---

--- And Another.

Scream Bloody Murder is a public domain film and has been released on DVD a number of times. From all I can gather, they’re all struck from the same print — it’s a  full-frame transfer that’s generally pretty crummy and washed-out looking, particularly in the early scenes outdoors, and the soundtrack is mono all the way. Both the rattiness of the visuals and the sound serve the material just fine, though, as this is a flick that’s definitely most at home swimming at the bottom of the grindhouse barrel (where, naturally, much of the best stuff is to be found). If you want bang for your buck, I’d say pick it up as either one of four films on the Blood-O-Rama DVD set from Superchiller (along with Black Mamba, Blood Theatre, and The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism, if you must know), or better yet, get it as part of the 50-movie Chilling Classics box from Mill Creek, where you get hours and hours of pure cinema trash for around ten bucks.

All in all, this film is a genuine rarity — a sleaze flick not only with heart, but with soul. The sympathies of the audience are never once directed towards the killer, but Holbert is so damn convincing as Matthew that you’ll find yourself taken in by his side of the story, if you will, nevertheless. Everyone from a strident feminist to a diehard misogynist will find something to like here, and be able to interpret the events onscreen in a way that fits their worldview. Quite clearly the director’s POV is with the victim rather than the perpetrator, but the fine performances of the actors raise the stakes and even — almost — split your loyalties.

You obviously don’t want your daughter bringing Matthew home, by any means — but at least he’ll probably keep his hands off her. As long as she plays by his rules.

"The Revenge Of Doctor X" DVD Cover --- One Of Many, Actually

For the last 48 hours, I’ve been obsessed. Not with anything new, mind you, but with a film I’d seen years before and forgotten all about. I’m not sure where to begin this whole thing, so let me just start with Saturday night this past weekend —

Working my way through the Mill Creek Chilling Classics DVD 50movie pack of public domain films (anybody else out there love these cheap-ass Mill Creek boxsets?), I came across a flick I’d seen one time previously on VHS, thanks to the late, lamented Discount Video here in Minneapolis — the 1970 US/Japan (I think — more on that later) co-production The Revenge Of Doctor X.

First off , let’s get some basics out of the way — this movie doesn’t have anything to do with the classic Universal title Doctor X , or its sequel. In point of fact, there’s no character in here named Doctor X — the title character is named Dr. Bragan — nor does the plot have anything whatsoever to do with revenge of any sort. The film was apparently released — to the extent that it was even released at all — under a slew of different titles, some of which make more sense than others, including The Devil’s Garden, The Venus Fly Trap, and The Double Garden (which I’m betting was just a butchered preliminary Japanese translation attempt of the aforementioned Devil’s Garden title, and they got it right later at some point). Confused yet? Hold on, it gets even more perplexing —

Apparently the only film print found for this to date was unearthed in an old warehouse someplace or other (reports of exactly where vary), and there’s a solid chance this thing was never shown on American screens at all. The print was without any opening or closing titles, and the guy who found it, whoever he might be, just cobbled some together quick based on who he thought was in the movie and who he thought made it. And that’s where the next level of confusion comes in, for behold! —

"The Revenge Of Doctor X" VHS Box Cover

A fly-by-night outfit out of New York called Regal Video put out a movie called The Revenge Of Doctor X on VHS. Apparently the film cans the dude the who discovered this lost less-than-classic spooled up inside were labeled (probably with masking tape) The Revenge Of Doctor X, and he thought it was the same movie and just borrowed the credit information on VHS box (or rather some of it) when assembling the plain white-on-black credits reel that kicks this movie off. The problem is —

Back Cover Blurb On The VHS Box For "The Revenge Of Doctor X"

Okay, what’s the problem, you say, right? Looks like a perfectly normal back cover movie description from a VHS case, doesn’t it? Except — that’s not really a description of this movie at all. The flick we’re talking about today features no American journalist, no American adventurer, so search for a missing father, it doesn’t take place on an uncharted jungle island (it’s set in Japan, but might not have actually been filmed there — again, more later), and there’s no half-man/half-beast — although there is a walking plant monster.

You’d think the explanation would be simple enough — that there’s another movie with this exact same title, or that the film cans were just mislabeled, so that what the guy who found it thought he’d discovered, naturally enough, was this  a print of this other movie that really was called The Revenge Of Doctor X, even though it was, in actuality, an altogether different movie.

That makes perfectly good sense. It would certainly explain why Angelique Pettyjohn is listed in the opening “starring” credits even though she’s not in the movie itself — see, she was (at least in theory) in this movie that really is called The Revenge Of Doctor X. Problem solved, right? Not so fast —

You see, John Ashley was listed as being the other star of The Revenge Of Doctor X on the VHS box alongside Pettyjohn, and not only is he not in this film, either, he’s not listed on the credits — the right actor, namely dime-store Clark Gable-wannabe James Craig, is! Some of the other names on the credits are apparently correct, as well. But that’s not the biggest head-scratcher here —

No, friends, the biggest head-scratcher here is that when your host rented a copy of The Revenge Of Doctor X years and years ago — and mind you, this was in the VHS box shown above that lists Ashley and Pettyjohn as the stars and contains the very description reproduced above — the movie on the tape was, in fact, the James Craig plant-monster movie I watched the other night on the Mill Creek disc!

How to explain all this? I really can’t do anything of the sort definitively, but here’s the only plausible theory I can come up with —

There is, in fact, another movie called The Revenge Of Doctor X that does, indeed, star John Ashley and Angelique Pettyjohn. And the plot of this film is, in fact, more or less in line with the box description reproduced above. It’s gotta be a very osbscure flick, since there’s nothing about it whatsoever on IMDB, but maybe it’s better known, and therefore listed, under another title (and in fact some research does show that the two of them appeared together in a movie called The Mad Doctor Of Blood Island — which was directed by Eddie Romero, a fact that will be of significance momentarily). Next up, the guy who found the print he thought was The Revenge Of Doctor X really did just find a mislabeled can (or set of mislabeled reels). He actually watched the movie and recognized that the leading man was not John Ashley but was, in fact, James Craig, so he put the right actor’s name in the opening credits. He didn’t recognize anyone else, though, so so he just stuck with the VHS box credits for the others. At some point, then, this movie went into circulation on VHS, also under the title of The Revenge Of Doctor X, and whoever put it out just stole the cover art from the other release for the other film, which was probably no big deal because the actual Regal Video was long since out of business by then. So at some point there were probably two entirely different films circulating on VHS with the exact same cover art  and the exact same description on back, even though said cover art and back-cover box description applied to only one of the films. Or —

Maybe Regal Video released The Mad Doctor Of Blood Island under the title The Revenge Of Doctor X for some reason, and when the real print of the real movie called The Revenge Of Doctor X was unearthed (this assumes the cans and/or reels the guy found were, in fact, labeled correctly and it was the original VHS release that was either intentionally or unintentionally retitled), Regal, or whoever put the VHS of the actual film out, just kept on using the same cover art and never bothered to change the description on back even though it was wildly inaccurate.

Either of these theories — and mind you, I stress again that they’re only theories — go some way toward explaining some of the riddles surrounding this movie. But not all of them. For instance —

Who directed this thing? The plain white-on-black titles the guy who found it assembled lists the director was being one Eddie Romero, which makes sense if we go with the theory that this guy just copied the VHS credits, since, as mentioned a moment ago, Romero really did direct The Mad Doctor Of Blood Island and that movie really did star John Ashely and Angelique Pettyjohn.  But a lot of knowledgeable folks out there in internet-land say that it was actually directed by Kenneth Crane, which makes sense owing to the fact that Crane had directed some US/Japan co-productions before, most notably The Manster.

Where the hell was this thing shot? For all the world it’s supposed to look like it’s Japan, but there’s nothing to actually definitely prove that. If it was, in fact, made in the Philippines it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. The big problem with that, though, is that the IMDB lists some pretty detailed Japanese locations that seem rather definitive, along with stating that it was originally shot in 1966 under the title of Body Of The Prey (I’ve also seen it listed under The Body Of Prey, so take your pick) and that an article covering its filming even appeared in the Japanese edition of Stars And Stripes, the magazine for US servicemen stationed overseas. Who submitted this info, though, and how the hell they would really know, I have no idea. Right now I’m leaning in this direction — if Romero was the real director, it was made in the Philippines, and if it was Crane, then it was made in Japan. But speaking of the IMDB, and getting back to the question of who really directed this thing —

IMBD lists the director (and screenwriter, for that matter) as being some guy named Norman Thomson, who was apparently a low-rent pulp novelist! And I have no fucking idea about anything else about the guy, since this is apparently his only film credit, ever. As for who wrote it—

Those Plain Title Credits I've Been Harping On About

Well, folks, apparently credit for this screenplay has been claimed by none other than one Edward D. Wood, Jr.! And it certainly has all the hallmarks of a Wood script (again, more in a moment). However, apparently Thomson asserted that he wrote the script himself, even though Wood listed it on his resume right up until his death. Of all the mysteries surrounding this flick, however, this might actually be the easiest to solve.  Wood’s resume used the original title of The Venus Flytrap for the film, and he probably sold it to the Toei company (who apparently are the undisputed production backers of the movie) under that name. Then Thomson (or whoever) made some changes to it during production and took full screenplay credit.

So here’s my master theory that covers pretty much all the bases, and incorporates the previously-expounded-upon working theory about the VHS release and the bare-bones homemade title credits — Eddie Romero directed a movie called The Mad Doctor Of Blood Island that starred John Ashely and Angelique Pettyjohn. Regal Video released this movie under the name The Revenge Of Doctor X either because that’s what they thought it was or because they just thought it was a snappy title. Some guy working in a warehouse really did discover a print of the actual The Revenge Of Doctor X, which was just one of many titles this film was known by, he made the homemade title credit reel based on information he took from the VHS box, he recognized James Craig as being the star and put him in the credits rather than John Ashley, he left most of the other names alone because he didn’t know who the hell any of the other people were,  and then he sold it, either to Regal or somebody else, and they kept using the same box cover art and back cover blurb and just replaced it with the “right” movie, even though at this point said cover art and box description had nothing to do with the film on the tape. The flick was directed by Thomson and pretty much entirely written by Wood, but when Thomson made a few editorial changes he took credit for the entire script. Kenneth Crane had nothing to do with any of it and his name just got mixed in with the whole discussion because it looks a lot like his other work, and he was an experienced hand at the whole American/Japanese co-production thing.

How does that sound?

Okay, enough of all that. What’s this flick actually about, you ask?

Our Intrepid Heroes

Dr. Bragan (James Craig —and that’s the only actor I’m going to mention by name because I’m frankly unsure as to the accuracy of the IMDB  (last time I’ll mention it, I promise) credits for anyone else) is a burned-out NASA scientist who has a nervous breakdown on the job and decides to take an extended holiday in Japan at the behest of one of his colleagues, who just so happens to be from there and can set the overworked doctor up with his cousin as a tour guide. Bragan is a botanist at heart who just sort of got side-tracked into the whole aerospace thing (hey, shit happens) and dreams of resuming his plant studies in a secluded environment. He picks up a Venus Flytrap at a gas station while his car is being repaired (it’s a long story, suffice to say the station attendant is also a snake handler) and brings it with him to Japan (even though the plant doesn’t apparently grow there, at least not according to the script, he has no problem getting it through customs) where he plans to crossbreed it with some Japanese underwater carnivorous plant and therefore prove his long-held thesis that because all life originally came from the sea, then mankind really evolved from plants (I told you this was a Wood script! Who else could make that little sense?). With his scientist buddy’s charming female cousin, Naruto, acting his his assistant,  he sets up shop in a huge greenhouse located on an abandoned property owned by her rich dad that’s way up in the mountains and just happens to be in the shadow of an active volcano (“another reason for the decline of my father’s property” — I kid you not) and is tended to by the Japanese equivalent of Igor (he even plays the classic Igor  Bach music on the organ — the entire soundtrack, by he way, is composed of a series of wildly inappropriate and totally overbearing library tracks).

Get Used To Seeing A Lot Of This

Along the way, we’re treated to countless loops of the soon-to-be-mad doctor and his fetching (and very probably lovestruck — he keeps treating her like shit and she keeps coming back for more, talk about taking the stereotype of subservient Asian women to the extreme!) assistant driving up and down treacherous mountain roads (or, more likely, the same treacherous mountain road), and even more scenes of her waking up to the sound of a dog barking at night, whereupon she invariably goes to the window to see Dr. Bragan sneaking off to his greenhouse under the cover of darkness (his white lab coat tends to stand out). The dynamic duo eventually decide to go to Tokyo to get some lab equipment they need and to try to locate the underwater-flytrap-thingie off the coast somewhere, and when they can’t find it on their own diving excursions they enlist the aid of four topless female Japanese divers who find it no problem. Dr. Bragan cuts the giant plant down, brings it back to the greenhouse, and soon they’re in business.

There’s just one problem, though — by this point, Bragan, who has been phony-ass charming and out-and-out abusive in equal turns throughout the picture (and Craig always chews up and spits out ample amounts of scenery no matter what) is by this point stark raving mad, and after splicing the two plants together he, Naruto, and Japanese Igor  hoist his still-covered plant creation up on a wooden slab into the opened greenhouse roof during a violent thunderstorm, which gives Wood the opportunity to pen lines like “The earth was your mother — the rain your blood — the lightning your father!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” All that’s missing is the “BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!” but Craig’s unintentionally comically explosive delivery more than makes up for its absence. The next morning he removes the bedsheet covering his Plantenstein monster and what we get is —

Doctor X --- Er, Bragan's --- Mad Creation

A guy in a rubber rubber suit with boxing gloves and Venus Flytraps for hands and feet that Bragan names “Insectavorus” for some reason or other. Oh, it’ll all end in tears, won’t it?

Actually, it’ll end just like Frankenstein — albeit with a few twists. Bragan, now completely off his rocker, decides he wants his plant creature to start walking, so he goes to the local lunatic asylum, steals some blood from one of the sleeping patients(insert another gratuitous though not unwelcome boob shot here), injects it into Insectavorus, and soon the plant creature is up and moving around, terrorizing a local village, killing a kid (don’t worry, they don’t show it — to save on special effects, whenever Plantenstein kills, they just show him extending one of his flytrap hands and then the screen goes completely red), and then getting chased out of town, and high into the mountains,  by a mob of torch-wielding local peasants. Bragan finds his creature the next morning, lures him out with the promise of a goat to eat, Insectavorus attacks his creator, they both go plunging off a cliff to their deaths — and a totally unnecessary and completely incongruous (that’s putting it kindly — frankly it’s laughably jarring) piece of stock footage showing a volcano erupting is added in just in case we didn’t get the point that they’re good and dead.

"Babyface --- You've Got The Cutest Little Babyface---"

If I were sane, I’d hate this movie, wouldn’t I? Good thing I’m not, then — because God help me, I loved The Revenge Of Doctor X. Maybe it’s just the obvious Wood-isms peppered throughout the dialogue (like when his long-time colleague and apparently closest confidant prefaces his initial suggestion that he go  to Japan by saying “Dr. Bragan, old friend” — leading one two wonder “does nobody call this guy by his first name?”, or Bragan waxes enthusiastically about the long drive up from Cape Canaveral to the airport in Wilmington, North Carolina (what, he couldn’t get a local flight?) where he’ll catch his plane to Tokyo by positively beaming when he says “maybe there’ll be some interesting flora and fauna along the way!”), or the whole Larry Buchanan-on-an-even-lower-budget feel to the positively subhuman production values. I find myself wishing that somehow, some way, Wood himself could have directed this thing, as it;s definitely missing the frenetic and undeniable (if completely misplaced) energy he brought to all his work, but somehow the listless, lackadaisical directorial style of Thomson (or whoever) only heightens the atmosphere of sheer incompetence here. I mean, there’s some actual breathtaking scenery on display here on many occasions, and it still seems fucking dull! That, folks, takes some serious determination!

Mostly, though, I think I love The Revenge Of Doctor X because there’s just no way it could be anything other than what it inevitably became. I mean, no one could look at this script and think it was any good or made anything like sense in the conventional — errrmmm — sense. this movie just has an internal logic all its own — that being, of course, one of complete and total illogic. The story sucks, the acting’s even worse, the cranked-up -way-too-high library soundtrack is atrociously invasive, the pacing is horrendously dull and plodding, the plant-man costume is beyond silly, the special effects are so poorly-realized as to border on the surreal, the direction is uninspired in the extreme, the ending is as derivative and uninspired as anyone could possibly imagine — and yet it all feels hopelessly right, Not good, mind you — just right. Like this is a film that knows its spot in the vastness of the space-time continuum exactly, and proceeds to occupy just that precise location and nothing more.

The "Chilling Classics" 50-Movie Pack From Mill Creek

As mentioned waaaaaaaayyy earlier in this post (that took about twice as long to write as the movie it’s about takes to watch), The Revenge Of Doctor X is a public domain film, and is therefore available from tons of DVD and DVD-R releasing outfits. I recommend getting as part of Mill Creek’s Chilling Classics 50-flick boxset since the every single release of it that I know of is struck from the same shitty-looking print with the same violently unpleasant mono soundtrack. Nobody’s ever done any video or audio remastering on this, and nobody’s ever gonna — frankly, that’s exactly as it should be, since this is a movie that deserves no better — a fact which, strangely enough, I don’t mean as an insult. It would just be a betrayal of everything  it stands for to give it anything like a high-quality working-over, in my view. It should be experienced for what it is — nothing less, and certainly nothing more.

While some films are just plain bad, and some transcend that to become so bad they’re good, The Revenge Of Doctor X doesn’t pass go, it doesn’t collect $200, nothing — it’s so bad it’s beyond good and all the way back to bad again. In other words, for what it is — and that certainly ain’t much — it’s downright perfect.

"The Guy From Harlem" Movie Poster

I know what you’re wondering already : can the movie possibly be as low-rent as that poster?

The answer is : and then some.

Affectionately (I guess) referred to as “The ‘Plan 9’ of blaxploitation” by fans of the genre, Rene Martinez Jr.’s 1977 offering “The Guy From Harlem” is actually, on a purely technical level, even worse than Ed Wood’s unintentional masterpiece — or any of Wood’s films, for that matter. It rivals low-grade 70s porn in terms of sheer artistic inability and leaves a person feeling somehow unclean for having even seen it, even though there’s little by way of nudity or even convincing violence on display. Of the 18 comments posted about the film on IMDB, a good majority of them refer to it as the worst film ever made. And while in many cases that’s simply hyperbole, or even a tag applied by fans of the film in order to gain it a cult following, in this case it might actually be the truth. I’ve seen plenty of cheaply made haphazard films, but few can rival “The Guy From Harlem” for overall incompetence. Many a low-rent production has been referred to as “looking and feeling more like a student film,” but again, in this case it’s  absolutely true —it looks and feels like a student film. Like a 6th grade student film!

Al Connors, daring man of action and mystery

The movie throws us right into the middle of the “action” — a foul-mouthed young black woman with a bad attitude is tied to a chair in what looks to be some kind of cabin. Her captor informs her that she’ll soon be joined by another “of her kind,” in fact, her soon-to-be-arriving guest is from Africa. You can safely put this entire situation out of your mind, though, as we won’t be getting back to our feisty damsel in distress until about halfway through the movie. Now it’s time to meet The Man himself!

As the credits roll — literally — over a scene of an enormously-fro’d dude driving his car, we hear the the film’s constipated-sounding theme tune bumping away : “The guy from Harlem! That cat’s a baaaad dude! Ugh! Watch the moves! The guy from Harlem! Ugh! He’s mean, he’s clean, he’s a fighting machine!”

Good to know he’s clean, huh? We always look for that in a hero.

The first thing you’ll notice, apart from the titular guy from Harlem’s hair, is that we’re not actually in Harlem at all. We’re in Miami, and the whole film in fact takes place in sunny south Florida. That doesn’t mean our hero ain’t from Harlem, though — he never misses a chance to tell anyone and everyone where he hails from (“Tell your boss that nobody messes with the guy from Harlem!” being a favorite line). Remember, the title of the movie is “The Guy FROM Harlem,” not “The Guy IN Harlem.”

So, anyway, our man of the hour is Al Connors, (supposedly) bad-ass private eye who doesn’t take no shit from anyone, doesn’t play games, and scores with every piece of tail that crosses his path. In the hands of a capable actor, Connors could, potentially, be a serviceable, if still entirely unoriginal and uninvolving, two-dimensional cardboard cut-out John Shaft-wannabe.

In the hands of star Loye Hawkins, however, he approaches the level of unintentional caricature, almost a walking parody of the excesses of the entire blaxploitation genre. Think of the comical OTT nature of Rudy Ray Moore’s “Dolemite” character — only the makers of “The Guy From Harlem” WEREN’T trying to be funny. The end result’s certainly the same, though. In fact, “Dolemite” looks like a big-budget blockbuster next to this thing.

Hawkins can’t act. Period. He looks the part enough, I suppose, but he’s got all the screen presence of wet lumber, and emotes about as well. You’d honestly think he was reading directly from cue cards — if it weren’t so painfully obvious that most of the “dialogue” in this movie was just ad-libbed on the spot. Jumbled lines, repeated information from a few seconds earlier, garbled delivery and barely-intelligible exchanges are mainstays of “The Guy From Harlem” — apparently director Martinez either had very little actual film at his disposal and couldn’t spare any to actually shoot more than one take of anything, or else the only words in his vocabulary were “okay, cut — and print.” Quite literally everything on display here NEEDS to have been done in one take — otherwise there’s no, and I mean NO, explaining it.

Al’s got himself a perfectly serviceable little office staffed by a perfectly serviceable-in-the-looks-department secretary named Sue (Wanda Starr), who of course has the hots for him even though he’s prone to tell her things like “how many times do I have to tell you — this phone is for business purposes only!” when she’s talking to her mother.  Some dudes just know how to charm without even trying, I guess.

One morning Al is visited by an old buddy of his from Harlem who just so happens to work for the CIA. We’re told that a visiting African dignitary is coming to town to meet with the Secretary of State and that his wife may be the target of a kidnapping plot, so they need someone they can trust to look after her. They’d normally task one of their own men from inside “The Company” with the job, but they’re worried that there might be a mole, so they’re hiring outside talent to watch her back. Al’s hesitant to take on the gig, but when his friend tells her that she’s cute, he’s in. He’d better be careful, though — as his CIA budy keeps telling him, if he tries to make time with this lady, there could be INTERNATIONAL REPERCUSSIONS! Still, despite Al’s apparently well-established reputation as a hound dog, they figure he’s the man for the job.

Next we head to one of exactly five, by my count, different locations used for the film (the others being Al’s office, an apartment, the “cabin” mentioned earlier, and a piece of outdoor acreage that functions as all the film’s “various” outdoor locales — my best guess is that they’re all either in or right outside of the same building), a hotel suite (where they’ve checked in under the impenetrably clever aliases of Mr. and Mrs. Connors), and Al is showing Princess Ashanti (Patricia Fulton, who’s variously referred to as a Princess, a Queen, or even simply “the wife of a chief of state” — if her exact title didn’t matter to Martinez and co. it sure as hell shouldn’t matter to us) her spacious new temporary quarters.

The Princess (or Queen, or whatever) has a bad back and needs a massage. Al would normally volunteer his own services, of course, but given those INTERNATIONAL REPERCUSSIONS we’re constantly reminded of, he calls the hotel’s masseuse instead. There are some shady characters hanging out in the courtyard, though, so Al decides to keep an eye on the Princess (or Queen, or whatever) while she gets her rub-down for SECURITY PURPOSES, the next phrase we’ll be hearing repeated about sixty times. Damn good thing, too — the masseuse was about to stick a needle into the Princess (or Queen, or whatever).

Dangers are aplenty at this apparently five-star hotel, though, because next up the room service waitress turns out to be, well, not a waitress —

Hey, man, that ain't a man!

How could Al see through this impervious disguise? As he tells Princess (or Queen, or whatever) Ashanti : “I ordered a New York strip steak, and I can smell a New York strip steak from a mile away.” Sure enough, under the silver tray, there ain’t no steak, but a gun! And here I just thought maybe he could smell dick a mile away. Still, besides this feat of chameleon-like daring, this scene also treats us to the first of several inanely-staged fight sequences that will become a staple of the film. You’ve simply never seen “action” choreography staged as unconvincingly as it is in this movie. Punches that obviously don’t even connect send attackers sprawling to the ground, people leap a good few seconds to soon, Al barely taps an assailant and they go reeling — they’re an absolute blast to watch, but there’s no point in mentioning their ineptitude time and time again, so whenever I talk about the guy from Harlem taking on an attacker or two (or more) in the future, just assume it’s an unintentional display of absolute buffoneery. You’ll swear that the fight scenes in this flick were  choreographed by Dick Van Dyke or John Ritter.

Are you ready for another change of scenery? I know, I know — things are moving along at a pretty breakneck speed at this point, but try to stay with me.

Deciding that things are a bit too hot at the hotel, Al take Princess (or Queen, or whatever) Ashanti to a safer place for SECURITY PURPOSES — namely the apartment of a white chick he apparently makes time with when he can fit her into his busy schedule. She’s a pretty good sport about the whole thing and heads out to check into a hotel that Al has fronted her the cash for — I just hope that, for SECURITY PURPOSES,  she doesn’t pick the same hotel that the guy from Harlem and the Princess (or Queen, or whatever) just escaped from.

Exhausted from a long day of running (well, okay, she never really runs—) for her life,  our Princess (or Queen, or whatever) needs a shower, so we get a little bit of toplessness, then we see her putting on one of the white chick’s nightgowns, then it’s down to business as Al scores some (apparently, depending on who’s talking about her) royal pussy. And if you thought the fight scenes were bad, you ain’t seen nothing. “The Guy From Harlem” may have the ambiance and technical proficiency of a shot-on-super-8 porn loop, but the love scenes in this flick are as wooden, stilted, pedestrian, and downright nervous-about-themselves-looking as anything every committed to film. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief when you see this one, and all the others in the film, end when Al strips off the woman’s nightgown, climbs on top of her for an obviously fake kiss, and then we jump to the next day. As with the fight scenes — and the dialogue scenes —, in the “love” scenes  Martinez and DP Rafael Remy — who I’m surprised even a took a credit for his “work” here — show an absolute steadfastness in their refusal to do anything other than shoot things straight ahead from about a medium length. It’s cinematographical paralysis of the highest order, and creates a bizarre occult visual rhythm to the proceedings so incessantly lethargic that on those few occasions when they do actually move in for close-ups or show things from any angle other than dead-center ahead, you feel as if some sort of spell has been broken and the world as we know it turned on its axis.

And that’s it for our Princess (or Queen, or whatever). Al’s apparently safely delivered her back to her just-got-cheated-on husband, and he’s back at the office, mission accomplished.

There’s just one problem — we’re only 45 minutes into the film!

Never fear, though, my friends — the Martinezes (director Rene and screenwriter Gardenia, who’d damn well better be related, otherwise there’s no excuse for this “script” making it in front of a camera) have a plan. Remember that PMSing lady I told you about who was tied to a chair in some remote “cabin” at the start of the film? You can remember her again. But forget anything her captors were saying about bringing some African chick to join her (they apparently have, seeing as how it’s never mentioned again), because apparently that’s the Princess (or Queen, or whatever) that they were talking about and Al just took care of all that.

Into Al’s office steps (again, supposedly) bad- ass gangster Harry DeBauld, portrayed with scene-stealing scenery-chewing amateurish overenthusiasm by “Wildman” Steve Gallon, who would go on to star in Martinez’s only other directorial effort, the amazingly politically incorrectly-titled “The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger” (later renamed “Super Soul Brother,” for obvious reasons, upon its video release during the early-80s VHS boom).Of all the reasons to love this film (what, you’re saying I haven’t given you any?), Gallon’s deliriously gleeful performance has to top the list. Sure, he doesn’t actually know his lines — assuming any were ever written down — any more than anyone else in this celluloid fiasco does, but he’s so brimming-over-with-joy at his own often-incoherence that it just plain doesn’t matter. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

His son Larry (Laster Wilson) and the other henchmen who have accompanied him to the office are as dull and listless as Hawkins or any of the other “actors” in this thing, but Gallon’s is one of two performances in the film (remember the foul-mouthed gal? more on her in a second) that are every bit as unprofessional as the others, but much more eagerly so, if that makes any sense.

Harry’s got a problem. He runs a successful gambling operation, but he’s been trying to take over the local narcotics trade, as well — and along the way he’s into trouble from a guy named Big Daddy, with whom he’s warring over a piece of territory worth, I kid you not, “hundreds of millions of dollars a day.” Wrap your head around that concept! But I digress — as part of his daring plan to get Harry to back the fuck off from his turf, Big Daddy has gone and kidnapped the usually-jubilant gangster’s only daughter, Wanda (Cathy Davis), and is holding her for heavy ransom — a quarter-million dollars’ cash and a whole shitload of coke. Harry heard about what Al did for “that African Queen” (or Princess, or whatever), and figures he’s the man to handle the exchange.

Initially pissed about Harry even knowing about the whole Queen (or Princess, or whatever) thing because “that’s supposed to be top secret,” Al warms up to the idea of working for the crimelord when he checks out a picture of his daughter and decides she’s pretty damn hot. That’s the guy from Harlem for you.

So, he takes the case — Harry forks over an obviously empty envelope (“it’s all there — count it!”), a Ziplock freezer bag full of flour, and Al’s back in action. There’s just one problem — who is this Big Daddy? What does he look like? I’ll let Harry take it from here for a minute —

“That’s the problem. Nobody’s seen him. All I know about him is this — he’s big, six feet tall, and muscles ! You wanna talk about muscles! Curly blond hair, and he always wears these bands around his muscles!”

So — nobody’s seen him, but everybody knows what he looks like.  Only in “The Guy From Harlem.”

Al’s got it all figured out, of course, only he doesn’t let Harry in on the details of his cunning plan — he heads down to the local Gold’s Gym-type place, gets the drop on one on Big Daddy’s lughead henchmen who’s probably twice his size, find out Wanda’s (Ms. bad attitude, in case you hadn’t figured that out already) location, busts her out , a few more inept fight scenes of the sort I mentioned earlier ensue, and suddenly the guy from Harlem is sitting on top of the world with a quarter million – bucks’ “cash,” a half-million – bucks’ woth of “drugs,” and a beautiful, if feisty, female companion who’s grateful as hell for his “daring” rescue of her.

All that's missing from the "fight" scenes in "The Guy From Harlem" are the "Bang" and "Pow!" on-screen captions

Wanda doesn’t want to go home just yet because she’s pissed at her dad for putting her life in danger by getting mixed up in the drug business, so Al takes her back to that white chick’s apartment from before. She’s not nearly so pleasant to deal with this time, but she gets the hell out of there again, with cash fronts her for a hotel again, and after than Wanda takes a shower, puts on the same fucking nightgown the Princess (or Queen, or whatever) was wearing earlier, and we get essentially the exact same “love” scene we got before. Yes, folks, the only thing differentiating this sequence from the one that took place about 40 minutes earlier is the actress, that’s it. And they both have the same identically-huge afros, and remarkably similar bodies,  so who knows if our guy Al really even notices the difference when the lights are out.

Then it’s back to gangster daddy for the exchange at Al’s office the next day, whereupon he informs them that gangster daddy can keep the money, but he’s taking the drugs to the cops, a fact that only pisses off gangster daddy for a second before he’s back to his usual disturbingly jovial self.

There’s still the matter of Big Daddy to be dealt with, though. He’s pretty pissed at the guy from Harlem for messing up his whole life in one day flat, so they arrange for a “meeting” (read: fistfight) to settle the score, and we get one more of those straight-outta-the-Batman-TV-show-but-without-the-word-balloons  “fight” scenes, which Al of course wins, and then we get a final surprise — Al, who has shown no signs of being anything other than the biggest skirt-chaser on the planet, has apparently fallen for Wanda during the course of their (and I use this term loosely, of course ) ordeal, and, as one of her daddy’s henchmen says to her brother, “it looks like you’re gonna need a new suit!”

And so everyone, apparently, lives happily ever after.

Mill Creek's "Drive-In Movie Classics" 50-pack DVD Box Set, Featuring "The Guy From Harlem"

Improbable — maybe even impossible — as it is to believe, “The Guy From Harlem” is available on DVD. It’s part of the ultra-cheapie “Drive-In Movie Classics” 50-film, 12-DVD box set from Mill Creek, masters of the public domain film. The print looks like shit and jumps at several points, the sound is muffled, it’s quite obviously a direct-from-VHS transfer — in other words, it’s absolutely perfect. You can usually score this box for about eight or ten bucks — I;ve even heard of it going for five at Wal-Mart — and is totally worth it for “The Guy From Harlem” alone. You can watch this flick again and again and not get bored in your quest for still more things to find absurd about it.

Beyond bad, beyond cheap, beyond shoddy, beyond comprehension — “The Guy From Harlem” is absolutely without merit on any level whatsoever, and accordingly gets my highest possible recommendation. See it now!