Facebook Twitter



They've returned from the grave!!!

You could be the next to fall under the weird spell that already has seduced millions!!!They are shlock-shock movies of the 1950s and '60s, grade-Z tales of horror that once glowed like atomic dumps in midnight-movie houses and through the windshields that lined drive-in gravel pits.

If you doubt that the invasion has begun anew, consider:

- HBO's filmmaking division has cast Daryl Hannah in a remake of "Attack of the 50-Foot Woman," scheduled to air next winter.

- TNT's "Monstervision" recently showcased such "golden turkeys" as "Plan 9 From Outer Space."

- Director Tim Burton ("Batman") plans a movie biography of the late Edward D. Wood Jr., the cross-dressing director responsible for unintentional howlers such as "Plan 9 From Outer Space."

- Archivists Frank Henenlotter and Mike Vrani have made hundreds of these films newly available by mail-order video. Titles recently disinterred from dusty warehouses include the long-lost "Monster at Camp Sunshine" and "The Curious Dr. Humpp."

Then there's "Matinee," newly arrived at video stores, starring John Goodman in a spoof of basement-level horror shows.

How low is that cellar, you ask?

"They're unlike anything else out there," said Henenlotter, acclaimed director of such recent shockers as "Brain Damage" and "Basket Case."

"You watch these films, take forever to get through a scene and nobody has a clue and nobody yells `cut.' It's like watching life on Venus. But they can be so vague and minimalist, very dreamlike and creepy. Just because that wasn't the intention doesn't mean they're not great."

Another admirer, in a more backhand way, is Michael Medved, co-host of PBS' "Sneak Previews" and co-author of "The Golden Turkey Awards."

"What makes these films so wonderful is that their underlying idiocy is so utterly sincere," Medved said. "They're incompetent, but it's an endearing incompetence. I'd much rather see them than some brain-dead Demi Moore movie."

Echoes Henenlotter: "I'd watch these movies any day before I'd watch the mainstream stuff that's out this summer."

Here are some of the titles offered by the mail-order house Something Weird Video (catalog available for $3 - P.O. Box 33664, Seattle, WA 98133), which stocks hundreds of shockers from the '50s and '60s:

"Mondo Balordo" (with Boris Karloff)

"Bride of the Gorilla" (with Raymond Burr)

"Queen of Outer Space" (with Zsa Zsa Gabor)

"The Strange World of Coffin Joe"

"Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy"

"Werewolves on Wheels"

"Curse of the Doll People"

"Teenage Gang Debs"

"Fiend of Dope Island"

"Mantis in Lace"

"Blonde on a Bum Trip"

"Bizarre Women of Balzac"

"Shanty Tramp"

"Phantom of the Operetta"

"The Killer Shrews"

"Billy the Kid vs. Dracula"