When plucking out Herschell Gordon Lewis films from my collection of Something Weird Video DVDs for the last Starter Pack for the Overwhelmed, I was reminded of the staggering number of exploitation gems Something Weird have uncovered. Something Weird Video is undoubtedly the most prolific distributors of exploitation in the home video market. The Something Weird logo, taken from the Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Something Weird (1967), is a guarantee of a good time or, at least, a unique viewing. With over 2,500 films marked with their psychedelic logo, it’s difficult to narrow their releases down to only five must-sees. So I’ve placed some limitations on this Starter Pack. The five picks for my favourite Something Weird releases will contain no films by Herschell Gordon Lewis (except for those paired with a non-Herschell film in a DVD double-bill), nor will it contain Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case (1982). Any self-respecting exploitation fan will already have Something Weird’s Basket Case DVD (or blu-ray) in their collection, most likely resting alongside a smattering of Herschell’s filmography. I will also focus only on DVD releases. To include Something Weird’s VHS releases would be a daunting task.
With such an impressive back catalogue, chances are most supporters of Something Weird will have a completely different list to mine. Keep in mind these are my personal favourites…
Swamp Girl/Swamp Country, The Ghastly Ones/Seeds of Sin, Take Me Naked/A Thousand Pleasures, Johnny Firecloud/Bummer
GODMONSTER OF INDIAN FLATS
USA, 1973, Fredric Hobbs
The DVD of Godmonster of Indian Flats is also a winner featuring tons of extras. There’s even another feature squeezed on! Best of all is a short film entitled The Geek. This short is inept, but fascinating. I remember watching this with fellow Mondo Exploito writer, Pierre, and being very puzzled as to how it got made and who it was made for. Amazing stuff!
SPEED LOVERS/THUNDER IN DIXIE
USA/USA, 1968/1964, William F. McGaha/William T. Naud
The DVD of Speed Lovers/Thunder in Dixie is decent enough. The print quality of both the films is acceptable and, of course, we are bombarded with a plethora of extras pulled from god knows where.
PS: The trailer below for Thunder in Dixie below is bloody horrible and is a terrible representation of the film.
THE DEFILERS/SCUM OF THE EARTH
USA/USA, 1965/1963, Lee Frost/Herschell Gordon Lewis
The DVD itself has a stack of exciting trailers for other similarly twisted 60s flicks, plus the usual piles of archival weirdness.
NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES/FEAST OF FLESH
Mexico/Argentina, 1969/1967, René Cardona/Emilio Vieyra
… I’ll just let that sink in…
Alongside the story of the ape-man (or man-ape, if you prefer), we are kindly given the story of a female Mexican wrestler. The lady wrestler’s story PRETTY MUCH IN NO WAY INTERSECTS WITH THE MAIN PLOT. Night of the Bloody Apes is fucking hysterical and even features some fun gore and ape rape – yep, there’s not many films I enjoy more than this, good or bad. Feast of Flesh is a more subdued affair. A man in a frightening monster mask uses a trippy song to lure ladies to his love den where he injects them with drugs and sometimes he dumps their dead bodies on a nearby beach. Yes, this one is also a keeper. Dull at times, but with enough originality and creepiness to warrant a viewing.
The DVD is a winner too with its pile of monster related trailers and some super weird shorts. Prepare yourself for a whole lot of gorilla suits!
A SMELL OF HONEY, A SWALLOW OF BRINE/A SWEET SICKNESS/THE BRICK DOLLHOUSE
USA/USA/USA, 1966/1968/1967, Byron Mabe/Jon Martin/Tony Martinez
The DVD is a little low on extras (by Something Weird standards, that is), but come on! There’s three features on the disc!
I couldn’t find a trailer for A Smell of Honey, so here’s quick and quotable line from it.