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Poster for The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?
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The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?

Director: Ray Dennis Steckler Run Time: 82 min. Format: 35mm Rating: NR Release Year: 1964

Starring: Cash Flagg, Atlas King, Brett O’Hara, Sharon Walsh, Erina Enyo, Carolyn Brandt

…or, if you prefer: TISCWSLABMUZ!!? Either way – it’s a monstrous mouthful of manic monster merriment for you to swallow as The Deuce amuses your bouche with the world’s first monster-musical!*  – this September!!? But beware – this wild roller-coaster ride is branded: Not for sissies!!!?

A curiously combative couple: goodie-girl girlfriend, Angela, and her peculiarly petulant beatnik-y boyfriend, Jerry (hilariously acted by writer/director/madman Steckler under his oft-used nom d’acteur “Cash Flagg”!!?) –  with their taciturn tag-along third-wheel, Harold (the brazenly monikered “Atlas King” – seeming a template for Paul Morrissey’s mumble-mouthed “hero” hunks whose “English” is barely decipherable!!?) – take a fateful frolic to a sea-side carnival where the day-time, cotton-candied fun of rides and junk-food fueled rollicking give way to the tawdry titillations half-hidden behind the tapestry of the tented midnight-y midway and the miscreants who make it their milieu: “dancing” girls doing “musical” numbers!!? whilst deliriously drunk even!!? A mesmerizing fortune-telling gypsy madam with a major mole!!? Her chain-smoking hunch-backed mustachioed henchman!!? Crazed creatures kept in cages!!? Weird beauties and shocking monsters!!? And – yes: murderous mind-controlled mixed-up zombies!!? One of which jazzed-up Jerry will become!!? His terrifying transformation into which was telegraphed by his pulling of his hoodies’s hood over his head and tugging its strings taut!!? And this but just one of the 1001 weirdest scenes EVER!!!? – all wrapped in a candy-colored swingin’ ’60s song-and-dance go-go party of G-rated “gore” and goofiness!!?

Boasting (in retrospect) the lensing skills of not only a young Lazlo Kovacs (who would go on to shoot the likes of Easy Rider and a whole hunk of Bogdanoviches), but also a young Vilmos Zigmond (who would go on to shoot the likes of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and a whole hunk of DePalmas) – AND a who-knows-how-old Joseph Mascelli who would go on to write THE book: “The Five Cs Of Cinematography” – still considered by many to be THE Bible on the subject, despite his obvious inability to spell… The three of them – together with their director –  creating the first and only film featuring “Hallucinogenic Hypnovision!” TISCWSLABMUZ is nothing if not a feast for the eyes!!? It is, however, so much more of a smorgasbord!!?

Fresh(ish) off a job cameramanning for Timothy Carey’s vanity whatsit jaw-dropper, World’s Greatest Sinner (itself another prime example of fringe-filmmaking), Steckler set to corralling family, friends, freaks, actors, and Hollywood hopefuls for as little money as could be mustered – with an occasional pocket-pinch from whatever cast-member was willing… further cutting corners with the casting of himself in the “lead” – shooting late-nights on Rock Hudson’s so-upper-floor-level-that-the-Union-boys-wouldn’t-bother-barging-in soundstage… and “At last – a NEW kind of horror movie!” birthed unto a World not ready for New!!?

A movie-making itself such a mix-up of what would become Stekler’s “standard” (when he wasn’t pseudonymously making run-of-the-mill XXXs to pay the bills) of Saturday morning kiddie fare meets exploitation mania, that most of its 1964-era audience who saw it – including those unsuspecting souls of Times Square’s Loew’s State Theatre who could have seen it under this or any of the half-dozen other titles Steckler touted it under (ie: Diabolical Dr. Voodoo, Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary, The Incredibly Mixed-Up Zombie, et al..) – were left so “wtf!!?” at what they’d witnessed that many would – and sometimes “famously” so – go on to deny that said movie even existed “irl”!!? But, boy does it!!? “Girls! Learn if your Boy Friend can take it!” – when we give it to them at The Deuce!!?

*all quotes courtesy of the original press releases for the “World’s Weirdest Movie!“!!?