Saturday, March 1, 2014

Astro-Zombies (1968) and other T.V. Mikels films

How bad is it? It has some of the worst dialogue ever (written by Wayne Rogers of "M*A*S*H" fame).

Should you see it? Yes.

This is probably Ted Mikel's most entertaining film (though I have a fondness for "The Doll Squad"). The plot involves a scientist (John Carradine) who is replacing human body parts with synthetic parts and transplants the brain of a psychopathic killer into his creation. Spies of a foreign nation (or three; it's hard to think of one place these people could all belong) have plans to take control of the zombie, while the US government is hot on the trail of all of them.

Carradine's assistant is not a hunchback, but stoops anyway and he squints one eye and goggles the other, he's mute and he's doing his own experiments, which consist of tying a girl in a bikini to a table. Tura Satana changes from one ridiculous outfit to another and tries to act tough; one sees the talent of Russ Meyers in getting such a great performance from her in "Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!" by comparison. The zombie has a battery that is solar powered; in the climactic scene, it has to hold a flashlight to its head to keep going and it's impossible to see it as threatening at that point!

The movie spawned three sequels decades later, which I haven't seen.

Mikels directed several films at the start of the alphabet:

Aftermath (1982): post-nuke biker film. Not bad.
Angel of Vengeance (aka WarCat) (1987?): Survivalists vs. bikers. Dull.
The Black Klansman (1966): a light-colored black man infiltrates the Klan. Fair.
Blood Orgy of the She-Devils (1973): good title, poor film about a witches coven.

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