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- Something Weird is happenin’ on Night Flight: Check out our classic cult, hippie & biker flicks, drive-in sleaze and exploitation movies!
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Something Weird is happenin’ on Night Flight: Check out our classic cult, hippie & biker flicks, drive-in sleaze and exploitation movies!
Night Flight are excited to announce our new collection of classic cult, horror and exploitation movies on Night Flight Plus, culled from the legendary Something Weird library!
Something Weird Video was founded by the late great Mike Vraney (1957-2014), a life-long movie fan and pop cultural pioneer.
In the early 1990s, Vraney had the idea to find and release as many lost low budget oddball films from the 1930s-70s as he could, focusing on Exploitation and Sexploitation Cinema, Seventies Sleaze, Roadshow Rarities, Nudie Cuties, and Burlesque — as well a Horror and Drive-In classics.
He began his legendary quest and would go on to find tens of thousands of original and rare 16mm and 35mm film elements which were then transferred and released on home video.
Over the years, Something Weird was able to obtain the films of such celebrated exploiteers as David F. Friedman, Harry Novak, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Doris Wishman, Joe Sarno, Michael and Roberta Findlay, Barry Mahon and countless others, as well as releasing hundreds of hours of nudie arcade loops, campy educational flicks, movie trailers and intermission, and assorted vintage Americana.
Something Weird continues to stay true to the nostalgic and sleazy feeling of a grind house theatre on Main Street USA to this day.
Night Flight are currently offering up an awesome selection of Something Weird titles which break down into the following types of categories:
HIPPIES, BIKERS, MUSIC, SIXTIES COUNTERCULTURE:
The same year that producer-director Laurence Merrick made the oddball vampire film Guess What Happened to Count Dracula, he also unleashed Black Angels, a loopy yet cynical biker flick about a white motorcycle gang vs. a black motorcycle gang that’s jam packed with absurdities, semi-authenticities, and even some ass-kickin’ action. (The film also opens with a chase scene so hilariously sped up that it makes the entire world look like it’s spinning in fast motion.)
Simply put, it’s male bikers vs. female bootleggers. And if that ain’t a perfect example of drive-in-style High Concept, nothing is! With a cast that reads like a Who’s Who of Sixties exploitation. The Girls from Thunder Strip is also one of the very first films to exploit the biker craze that came in the wake of German’s The Wild Angels the same year. But in the hands of director David L. Hewitt (who would dazzle the world three years later with The Mighty Gorga), the result is… well, rather disturbing. With the bikers played as psycho killers, and the backwoods beauties played for laughs, the end result feels like a rollicking, family-style action/comedy… with two rapes and ten murders. All to jovial banjo music. It’s a rather unexpectedly cruel collision of genres. Sort of like “Hee-Haw” with death.
Something happened alright! It was like a bolt of cultural lightning that split the decade – and America itself – in two. It was a radical change In music, fashions, sensibility and politics that separated and polarized generations. It was the birth of Add Culture, Free Love, and the Anti-War Movement. It was sex and drugs and sitar, flower power, free clinics, and freakouts. It was The Hippie Revolt, and It’s all captured here, baby. up close, up front, and In your face, straight from the outta-sight summer of 1967, “Written and Told Like It Is by the Hippies Themselves!…”
Here’s an odd but nonetheless fascinating time capsule of late- Sixties social unrest filtered through the mind of Florida-based sexploitation producer-director Harry Kerwin. Yup, the man who made Strange Rampage, My Third Wife George, and Girls Come Too – and who was also the brother of Blood Feast star Bill Kerwin wanted to tap into the same youth market companies Like AlP were so good at exploiting. But lacking the funds to make something along the lines of an Easy Rider or a Wild in the Streets, Kerwin blissfully dispensed with both fiction and actors and, instead, went out and filmed The Real Thing. Combining (rough, raw) authentic footage of bikers, peace protestors, and the crowd at a rock festival, he created the mondoesque It’s a Revolution Mother! a self-described “Documentary of Love” tied together with an exuberant (and often hilarious) anti-government-anti establishment-anti-Vietnam-war-pro-rebellion rant -written by Tom Casey, director of Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (’71) – delivered by an uncredited narrator who sounds like an AM disk jockey on speed.
“War babies. They want to be different. They don’t want to belong to any mass society. They have their own-type clubs, their own ‘in’ groups.” Thus Malamondo, an elegant look at early-Sixties’ teenage angst and “way out youth,” Euro-style, set to the delirious musical musings of a young Ennio Morricone! “Teenage swingers” ski in the nude in the Swiss Alps! (Skinny-skiing?) At a summer resort in Italy, “the children of the post-war rich” interrupt their boredom to play Who Wants-to-Slaughter-a Pig, and quickly learn that “waste and destruction aren’t so hip after all!” And students in Northern Italy race to the beach at lunch time and “let off steam” with a sea-side striptease!
Check out our Night Flight blog post about the film here.
After releasing the exploitation, sexploitation, and even kiddie films of one-man film-industry Barry Mahon, Something Weird has finally found one of his two “lost” rock movies, Musical Mutiny starring Iron Butterfly, a wacky little hippie fantasy which hasn’t been seen since its theatrical release way back in 1970. And, of course, with Mr. Mahon at the helm, it’s also the most minimalist rock movie ever made complete with a plot of such staggering simplicity that it’s almost complex.
Check out our Night Flight blog post about the film here.
Bikers, beach parties, body painting, death by dune buggy, interracial lust, and a good old-fashioned catfight all gleefully collide in Savages from Hell, the manic followup to Shanty Tramp from producer K. Gordon Murray and director José (“Joseph”) Prieto. And while Savages ain’t no Shanty — hell, few films are — it’s still an exuberant blast from Florida’s past which manages to make the entire Sunshine State seem like one of those scary little rest stops somewhere off the main road.
Hippies! Incest! High-School Hookers! Drug parties! lesbians! Free-love! Suicide! And. .. well, psychiatry. Put it all together – with an especially heavy hand – and you’ve got The Wild Scene, a cinematic stew of sex and sociology that gleefully exploits the most overused phrase of the late-sixties,” the generation gap” (“It’s more than a gap, it’s a void”) with a variety of lurid case studies ….
Originally titled Electric Shades of Grey (the on-screen title of SWV’s pristine print), The Psychedelic Priest is a real rarity from the tail end of the hippie movement. According to cinematographer (and un-billed co-director) William Grefe, the producer raised the film’s budget by promoting trading stamps (!), and the shooting schedule demanded a certain amount of improvisation, because the amount of script that had actually been prepared could have fit nicely on the back of an LSD tab. Yet despite these dubious beginnings, The Psychedelic Priest emerges as an interesting and, at times, disturbing little film which manages to use its exploitation base to air some not so flattering views on religion and faith.
“Let’s have no discussion of violence aboard the vessel,” says love-child-turned-thug Daisy (Jeremy Slate) to a Cuban drug smuggler moments before Daisy gets him high, and then shoots him in the gut with a spear gun. This happens in the first few minutes of The Hooked Generation and effortlessly sets the tone for what follows as director William Grefe – the man who previously let a mutant jellyfish man (Sting of Death, ’66) and an Indian mummy (Death Curse of Tartu, ’67) loose in the Honda Everglades — here tosses three drug-crazed criminals into the swamp, resulting in a gritty late-Sixties time capsule of homicide, hypodermics, and hippies gone bad.
It’s not often one gets to see a cinematic Sex Goddess of the Forties wallowing in Sixties drug culture, but that’s exactly what happens when Miss Columbia Pictures, Rita Hayworth herself, enters The Naked Zoo. And, yup, it’s quite a spectacle.
TEENAGERS, JUVENILE DELINQUENCY FROM THE 1950s & ’60s:
Beatniks? What beatniks? Two-bit punks, a closet rock-&-roll star, and an out-of-his-mind psycho: yes. Beatniks: no. Though The Beatniks was probably a last-minute title change to replace a less exploitable moniker, it didn’t make much of a difference to the audiences of 1960. After all, to a world emerging from the Eisenhower era, bohemian artists and beat-generation poets were seen as little more than socially maladjusted misfits in the same category as junkies, Commies, and teenage hoodlums — or the petty-crime crackpots running loose in this fast, fun, and naively hilarious saga of an overage delinquent who becomes an overnight sensation.
Delinquents! Drugs! Interracial Violence! Rita Moreno! Dyan Cannon! And – yipes! – Topless Sex Scenes! Yes, kiddies, here’s another excellent ·but forgotten B-movie, full of racial tension and a couple of big name stars, turned into Sixties Sexploitation via nudie-movie inserts. The mind-boggling end result is that you’re hearing dialogue like “No black monkey’s going to play around with my sister!” one minute, then seeing giggling gals flash their tits the next. Eeeeeeeet..Yowwwwwwww!
Before Beach Blanket Bingo, before Blood Island, before “The A-Team,” teen heartthrob John Ashley was Matt Stevens, High School Caesar. And a sick little puppy he was…. In a nice twist from the usual juvenile delinquent movies, Matt isn’t some lowerclass, underprivileged thug born on the wrong side of town but, instead, a wealthy, spoiled, “pampered little punk” who lives in a big fancy mansion, drives two cars, and has both a butler and a maid at his beck and call. But because his mommy and daddy are off “gallivanting all over Europe,” poor little Matthew feels abandoned, sobs on his bed like a little girl, and… well, takes it out on his classmates. Big time.
“Organized narcotics traffic is big business, and to get to the top, you’ve got to go to the bottom!” says sourpuss Lt. Lacey (a particularly dour, soon-to-be-dead Paul Kelly) in this wonderfully lurid cross between a JD flick, Reefer Madness, and “Dragnet” from the pre-rock-‘n’-roll be-bob bleakness of the 1950s, in which the search for a teenage junkie uncovers a small town festering with high-school hipsters eager to get Hooked.
“Are you beat?” asks coffee-shop impresario Mr. T. “Oh, sure, man,” his sleazy friend Sid replies.”Cool, way out, and long gone, dad!” Actually, although they’re right in the middle of Beatsville U.S.A. – complete with beat poets, chess games, bongo-and-flute music, and beatnik babes in black leotards – they’re both phonies. Sidney – played by instantly-recognizable character actor Ned Glass (the guy who’s always sneezing in Charade) is a weasely little con-man. Edward Platt — best known as The Chief on TV’s “Get Smart” — is Mr. T -for Tucker who looks like a suave hipster but is secretly planning a major robbery: “I’m preparing to steal a million dollars. Appropriate then that they should be at the center of The Rebel Set, an off-balance little B well directed by the man who also helmed I Was A Teenage Werewolf and I Married A Monster from Outer Space – that’s a crime caper pretending to be about the Beat Generation and sold as “Today’s Big Jolt about the Beatnik Jungle!”
Before he became known for distributing such drive-in epics as I Drink Your Blood, I Eat Your Skin, and I Spit on Your Grave, Jerry Gross directed two fascinating little quickies – Girl on A Chain Gang (’65) and Teenage Mother (’67) – that are textbook examples of classic old-school exploitation. In fact. shot-on-Long-Island Teenage Mother seems to take its inspiration from a half dozen old roadshow films, updated for the Sixties, and even concludes with that oldest of exploitation standbys, authentic birth-of-a-baby footage!
CAMPY VINTAGE DRUG & VICE EXPOSÉS:
Assassin Of Youth, the third major marijuana film of the 1930s, borrowed its title from an article written by Harry Anslinger, the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who succeeded in criminalizing the drug in 1937. Assassin of Youth, along with Marijuana and Reefer Madness, convinced the public that dope turned kids into sex crazed murderers. And with the evidence so compellingly presented here, who could doubt it?
From director Irvin S. Yeaworth, the man who made The Blob, 4-D Man, and Dinosaurus, comes the “True-Life Story” of Fred Garland, a liquor-lovin’ producer, talent agent, swindler, and “complete bum” who gets hooked on heroin and ends up becoming… a preacher! Shot in 1952 as Twice Convicted, the film was eventually transformed into The Flaming Teenage when additional non-Yeaworth footage was added of Teenage Alcoholics making damn fools of themselves. The result is one of the oddest – and oddly enjoyable – cinematic mutants: the first story’s hilarious, the second disturbing, and the whole thing refreshingly nasty.
During the golden age of the roadshow, no exploiteer returned to the drug theme more often that Dwain Esper. After the infamous short Sinister Menace and the feature-length Narcotic (both 1933), Esper and his screenwriter wife, Hildagarde Stadie, unleashed Marihuana, the first of the famous trilogy of anti-pot films of the 1930’s which included Reefer and Assassin of Youth. Esper delivered on his promise to show “weird orgies, wild parties, and unleashed passions.”
Of all the filmmakers who toiled in the world of exploitation, no one made films as consistently rude, offensive, and jaw-droppingly outrageous as roadshow pioneer Dwain Esper, the man who made Maniac (1934) and Marijuana (1936). Written by Mrs. Esper, Hildagard Stadie (who allegedly based the main character on an opium-smoking uncle), and filled with enough plot for a dozen exploitation movies, Narcotic claims to be dedicated to “The Prevention of Drug Addiction” which, of course, is just Esperspeak for cramming in so many taboo-breaking moments that it’s still shocking all these decades later.
“The Film That’s Scorchin’ The Nation’s Screens!” The She who Shoulda Said ‘No’! is honeypot Lila Leeds (Lady in the Lake, Moonrise) who was busted for doing doobies with rugged Robert Mitchum just months before this updated upgrade of Reefer Madness. Cashing in on the notoriety of “The Screen’s Newest Blonde Bomb,” Kroger Babb, “America’s Fearless Showman,” promoted the film as “The Story of Lila Leeds and Her Expose of the Marijuana Racket!” (She’s even costumed in the same suit she wore when she was sentenced with Mitchum!)
The Narcotic Story:
Fans of vintage educational shorts will no doubt enjoy this feature produced by a company called Police Science, which combines elements of the juvenile delinquency and classroom-scare genres, and presents them in the manner of a police training film. Sternly narrated by Art Gilmore (and re-released in 1962 as The Dread Persuasion), The Narcotic Story chronicles the life of Joyce, a former “hype” — classic drug slander for a user — and her descent into “the living death” that is heroin addiction.