Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

House on Bare Mountain (1962)

... aka: Night on Bare Mountain

Directed by:
"R.L. Frost" (Lee Frost)

In full drag, "Lovable" Bob Cresse stars as the portly Granny Good and narrates this silly nudie flick from the slammer. At G.G.S.F.G.G. (Granny Good's School for Good Girls), new student Prudence Bumgartner (Laura Eden) arrives with her parents to enroll. She's introduced to her new roommate Sally (Ann "Meyers" / Perry), her parents leave and then the "girls" (many of whom look like they're pushing 30 the hard way) set about doing what they do best. And doing what they do best always seems to involve a curious lack of clothing. So what do these "good girls" do exactly? Well, they like changing their clothes. A lot. One sits on a bunk bed topless chain smoking. Another holds down the world record for most showers in a day. After all, as Granny always says, "A clean body means a clean mind!" One of the more studious of the girls - Honey (Laura Webster) - sits around topless studying nuclear physics and attempts to memorize a dictionary. And there's Anastasia, a Russian exchange student who graduated four years earlier but is still there because Granny doesn't know Russian so she can tell her. All of them are a little on edge because they hear a strange howling noise in the woods every night...

Granny takes the girls out to the pool to help them "develop their bodies," which involves topless swimming, topless sunbathing, topless twisting, topless jump rope, topless sketching and topless beach ball tossing. She should have thrown in some topless squats because most of these ladies have square-shaped asses that are simultaneously flat and jiggly. The whole school turns out to be a cover for Granny's moonshine operation. Down in the basement, hulking handyman Krakow (7'3" "Abe Greyhound" aka William Engesser), who also happens to be a werewolf, is kept locked in a room and paid 13 cents a day to run the distillery. Granny tells him to "stop buggin' the broads" by sneaking out at night, but she'll soon have bigger problems on her hands when federal agents close in on her operation during the annual costume party where guys dressed as Dracula and the Frankenstein monster spike the punch and girls do the jitterbug sans tops. With all this running around, dancing and exercising, you'd figure these chicks would be in better shape!

This is neither raunchy nor all that explicit. In fact, it's all rather innocent and done in good spirits by a bunch of people who obviously had a blast making it. That fun occasionally rubs off on the viewer, though not nearly as often as it should considering this barely runs an hour and is padded out by numerous overlong scenes that deserve being skipped right over... especially that damn dance party. Of course, the girls were the reason this was made in the first place and it showcases them adequately enough. There's barely a single frame that doesn't have bare breasts or ass, though laws at the time prohibited showing any more than that so don't expect too much.

The cinematography is actually quite nice, with lots of vibrant, deeply saturated colors courtesy of Gregory Sander, who'd go on to shoot the classic thriller SISTERS (1973) for Brian De Palma and the cult item Forbidden Zone (1980) for Richard Elfman. The monster makeups were done by prolific Z movie makeup artist Harry Thomas, whose work can also be seen in numerous Ed Wood and early Roger Corman films. Most of the actresses either did little else of note or are using aliases here (the casting director is listed as "deceased!"), though I did recognize Perry from films like The Toy Box (1971) and SWINGERS MASSACRE (1975). She'd go on to become one of the very first female hardcore porn directors and somehow even managed to rope mainstream actor Aldo Ray into starring in the X rated western Sweet Savage (1978) at one point!

Something Weird has always been the home video distributor of this one and it's very much in tune with their other releases. A 2001 "special edition" DVD pairs it with another horror nudie - 1964's Kiss Me Quick! (aka Dr. Breedlove) - and also contains the expected trailers and coming attractions. The set also includes six nudie short subjects (some apparently just scenes swiped from full features), including Hot Hot Skin and The Nudie Watusi (both shot by the same people who did KMQ), Natasha's Suburban Sexercise and Strip Tease Queen (both starring Natasha) and Werewolf Bongo Party and The Vampire and the Vixen.


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