I Saw A Film!
One of those high-contrast, black and white shoots from the heyday of drive-in schlock. Quickly made, and full of people who’s features you can almost make out as they stand in a row delivering their lines toward the camera. Most of the story of this film is given in character exposition, meaning, they just tell you about stuff instead of letting you see it. Most of what you get to see is boating. Lots of small boating with the kids arriving on island and poking about, seeing the teenage zombies and a strangely stiff, big-nosed thug, and then, finally, the dramatic lady-scientist (played by the ubiquitous Katherine Victor-who worked on piles of popular television animations as well as playing Bat Woman) directing it all.
The story is some baddies have hired our Dr. Myrna to produce a gas that will make people utterly compliant. They hope to drop the bombs of this gas and then just tell the masses what to do (we already have that with mass media!). Anyway, the scary thug captures some of the kids, and our cute girls are forced into the gas chamber and made into, gasp, teenage zombies! Now, this stuff is getting a bit into fetish territory. Though, this film won’t have time or interest in delving much into that fun. But the excitement of a totally complicit beauty at your beck and call, definitely has some BDSM-ish qualities that folks sometimes play in and around bedroom. Here however, the girls just sort of stand stiffly and stare and remain emotionless. Thankfully, to liven things up, we have a guy in a gorilla suit. Americans have always had a powerful interest in the potential of great apes for comedy and horror, many films of the period from the silly to the sillier often had a guy in a gorilla suit. A bit later on we’d get actual great apes, live chimps to orangutans to co-star with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Greg Evigan.
The lead teen here is played by Don Sullivan who was in the Giant Gila Monster (and sang a song and played a ukulele) and in the Rebel Set. He’s a recognizable face for these terrific terrible movies, and he sports a marine tattoo. Another unusual aspect of this film is that our antagonists, Dr. Myrna and her spy counterparts are collected by the kids and brought into the authorities instead of being killed by the rampaging gorilla or some other comeuppance. Though, it must be said, having a pasty law-officer ending is much cheaper.
This is running free on Prime (USA) and just terrible, despite giving the lead antagonist role to a lovely lady, which isn’t completely unique at all, but unusual enough to bear mentioning.