Monday, October 14, 2013

Sixties Shockers!

Have you ever gotten your hands on one of those reference books that hits you perfectly? One that you find compulsively readable because of the subject matter? I love them and I have found another of that type of book in Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark & Bryan Senn. It's an overview of - as the title states- thrillers and horror movies made in the beloved decade of the 1960's. It is this overview format that makes it such an exciting book because it allows the reader to jump around randomly reading the entries on movies which you may or may not be aware.  Each page turn becomes an adventure into movies both familiar and unfamiliar leading from one to another in an almost random fashion. For me this kind of format causes same the kind of thrill of discovery that I got in my younger years as I would flip through the Leonard Maltin Movie on TV guide looking for new titles of interest.

One of the best things about a book of this type is that, like any listing of movies, it creates food for thought, discussion and argument. My first real surprise in Sixties Shockers was the full length review of the (mostly) Tennessee shot cheapie THE EXOTIC ONES (1968) a.k.a. THE MONSTER AND THE STRIPPER! I first learned of this crazed film about a hunt through the Louisiana bayou country for a horrible Swamp Monster years ago in the pages of Psychotronic magazine and soon afterward learned that my buddy (and NaschyCast co-host) Troy Guinn had a personal connection to the sucker. This is a very little known bit of independent cinema and it deserves its lack of reputation. If not for the minor celebrity of Blues musician Sleepy LaBeef who was somehow convinced to play the fabled 'Swamp Thing' being tracked through the low-rent bayou the entire affair might have sunk into obscurity. The fact that the authors sought out this little film and even found some good qualities within it makes me very happy. For me, this demonstrates their desire to be as thorough and complete as possible which is what I want out of a film reference book of this size and on this subject. I know about most of the movies they are going to discuss from the 1960's but spotting this review showed me they had gone the extra mile.

I could complain about the opinions in the book with which I disagree - saying that THE AWFUL DR. ORLOFF "doesn't quite live down to its name, but it's not that good, either" is a slap to a film that has always impressed me. And I am always amused by the need to find characters to 'care about' in a horror tale which seems to be the author's main complaint about three of TOTURE GARDEN's segments. I love watching 'nasty and conniving' people get what's coming to them! But I find the sections on John Gilling's Hammer duo THE REPTILE and THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES to be almost worth the price of the book on their own. The amount of information is fantastic making me want to rewatch each of these movies immediately - which is the highest compliment I can pay to this kind of book. I very much recommend Sixties Shockers and look forward to whatever project Mr. Clark and Mr. Senn tackle next.

No comments: