" The Legend of McCullough's Mountain" (1965) d/ Massey Cramer
Rarely seen regional fare from the sixties and seventies like Ron n' June Ormond's "The Monster and the Stripper" or Brad Grinter's "Blood Freak", offer cheap retro thrills n' chills by the drive-in carload, and tonight's review, a 1965 Massey Cramer cheapie geared towards kids starring early Georgia horror host Bestoink Dooley (an ultra-hokey alter ego of George Ellis) turned 'squatchploitation mockumentary by exploitation icon Donn"The Force Beyond" Davison eleven years later, is no exception. The brisk feature, also known as "Legend of Blood Mountain", and "The Demon Hunter", would become "Blood Beast of Monster Mountain" in Davison's mitts, a title that surely doesn't forget any of the groovy unexplained phenomena buzzwords of the occult-minded decade. The resulting headache-inducingly incoherent, cut n' paste mess is both insulting to fully developed adult brains and hilarious to behold, often at the exact same time...
Bestoink Dooley(George Ellis). No, really, that's your male lead.
After a toe tappin' country title track, we meet self proclaimed "World Traveler, Lecturer, and Psychic Investigator", Donn Davison himself, giving polyester wood ape dissertation in front of a map full of strategic cut-out Bigfoot shapes (and sometimes just in front of some dynamite wood paneling), and even going into the field (translation: nearest state park) to interview eyewitnesses (translation: alcoholics) who've allegedly come face-to-face with the mythical man-ape. Then it's back to 1965, and after watching some drape with ketchup smeared on his face screaming like a chick, we're treated to the trials and tribulations of would-be reporter, Bestoink Dooley (Ellis), who looks like the result of some wise guy slapping lesser Stooges Shemp Howard and Joe Besser together. We watch him oafishly spill his boss' ashtray then crunch his fingers under one of his spats (what's with the spats, anyway?), eat cookies in bed, do some halfhearted calisthenics, and drive around in a convertible bolt-bucket, before embarking on the story of a lifetime on his day off (with his trusty pad and pencil, of course), to report on the mysterious goings-on on the legendary Blood Mountain.
"As the nightfall fell, they smelled a foul-smelling smell. More double-entendre at eleven..."
As local folklore has it, when the mountain starts to bleed, it signals the appearance of a monster. Even after a drape geologist explains the strange phenomenon off as rust deposits (he receives a call confirming that it's blood only minutes after handing off the samples to an assistant, that's some quick work), Dooley still manages to pose the possibility of a monster's existence to him in much the same way a five year old might do it. Cut to some footage of apes at a zoo and more teleprompter speculation and antique Rooseveltian campfire stories from Davison. The monster, which kinda looks like a silhouette of Ted Nugent circa his late Dukes gigs, does show up, snuffs a beehived babe off-camera, and flops its arms around like a mid-70s kung fu extra in a mid-70s Philippines-shot cheapie, while backlit on an over-fogged set. In the end, Dooley somehow sets the beast on fire with an antique flamethrower, and it's not long before a flaming dummy falls limply over a cliff, where it no doubt joined my sanity, having endured seventy plus minutes of this.
A couple of thigh scratches? She's a goner, for sure.
Groucho Marx's ex, Erin Fleming appears here, as does Kenny Rogers' ex-wife, Marianne Gordon. She probably shoulda known when to fold 'em. As primitive as a pair of bearskin knickers and lazy as a quaalude martini at a Stone Mountain picnic, this disaster, which plays like an early H.G. Lewis kiddie feature and looks as though it was edited with a weed whacker, only registers on the scale at all due to the shlocky nostalgic value it holds, and major props are indeed due to the folks at Something Weird for making sure trashy oddities like this never disappear. Still, medicate yourself heavily before you sit down to watch this one, believe me, it couldn't hurt the experience. Uno Wop-po.