For those of you lucky enough to live near Austin, Texas, the fabled Alamo Drafthouse is presenting the William Shatner film Impulse, with a live appearance by director William Grefe, tonight at Midnight.
In the film, Shatner portrays a whimpering, mother-obsessed, polyester-clad killer gigolo who murders his wealthy girlfriends for their money. Written by Tony Crechales (who penned the excellent The Killing Kind), Impulse also features Ruth Roman, Jenifer Bishop (an Al Adamson regular who was engaged to producer Socrates Ballis at the time), Shatner's wife Marcy Lafferty, Blood Feast veteran William Kerwin (in a flashback), and wrestler/actor Harold "Odd Job" Sakata, who nearly perished during his on-screen death scene when a rigging failed and he was left hanging by the neck until Shatner and several crew members came to his rescue. (The photo below shows Sakata and Shatner with Bloodstalkers director Robert W. Morgan in the aftermath of this incident.)
From the Oxnard Press-Courier, March 28, 1972:
Note that this article indicates the film was made some time in 1972 under the original title of Want a Ride, Little Girl?
A few choice quotes:
William Shatner: "I've forgotten why I was in it. I probably needed the money. It was a very bad time for me. I hope they burn it."
Tony Crechales: "[Socrates Ballis] was at an airport. I don't know if it was here or in Florida, and Shatner was coming by. And he handed him the script, and said I would love for you to read it and star in it. Shatner took it! I went to his house not too far from where I live. By the time I re-wrote the script with his suggestions, I had one page of the original. It was all William Shatner."
Jenifer Bishop: "The one that I fell madly in love with was Harold Sakata. We became very good friends. He took me dancing at the Roosevelt when he came out to California. Sweet man, dear man. Wonderful dancer."
Robert Morgan: "If you look at that one shot, you take a look at Harold Sakata's tongue coming out of his mouth. We're all down below and we suddenly realize that that harness had slipped. He was literally strangling. Shatner grabbed him down below and tried to pick him up a little bit. A couple of us scrambled to the top and cut him down. He was in serious trouble."
William Grefe: "Shatner came down that rope and broke his finger, and to this day his finger is still crooked. He never got it set properly."
Upstate New York experienced the Invasion of the Blood Farmers (1972) thanks to producers Ed Kelleher and Ed Adlum (interviewed in my upcoming book). They followed up with Shriek of the Mutilated (1974).
The Legend of Blood Mountain (1965) Atlanta, Georgia
Local movie host George Ellis (as Bestoink Dooley) starred in this obscure Georgia horror comedy that had an incredibly convoluted second-life under a number of alternate titles. After its initial release, low-budget producer and spook show magician Donn Davison added bigfoot footage and re-released the film as Legend of McCullough's Mountain in the mid-1970s. Distributor Jeffrey C. Hogue later acquired the film and re-released it as Blood Beast of Monster Mountain (Something Weird released this version on video several years ago), and yet another version (the original cut, but missing a significant chunk of footage) was issued on video as Demon Hunter.
It's an invasion of walking catfish -- Zaat (1972), a.k.a. Bloodwaters of Dr. Z, a staple of late-night TV back in the 1980s. Director Donald Barton is one of the 13 interviewees in the upcoming book version of The Dead Next Door.
Here's an intriguing bit of lost film history -- an independent film, made entirely by a crew of women filmmakers, featuring cinematography by none other than New York's own Roberta Findlay. Anyone know what happened to the 1973 production Double Circle, a.k.a. The Waiting Room? Director/producer Karen Sperling was the daughter of producer Milton Sperling and granddaughter of Harry Warner. She previously made the film Make a Face (1971).
The Dead Next Door is a blog about regional or "backyard" horror and science fiction films made from the late 1950s to the earlyl 1990s (and beyond). These films were released during the peak years of independent film production, created by a motley crew of seasoned pros, gifted amateurs, and enthusiastic genre fans, along with dozens of eccentric dreamers -- doctors, lawyers, insurance salesmen, publishers, commercial filmmakers, TV production crews and moonlighting pornographers -- all looking for their big break or a fast buck or both.