INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES!!? (director: Ray Dennis Steckler; screenwriters: Gene Pollock/Robert Silliphant/story by E.M. Kevke; cinematographer: Joseph V. Mascelli; editor: Don Schneider; music: Libby Quinn; cast: Ray Dennis Steckler (Jerry), Brett O’Hara (Madame Estrella), Sharon Walsh (Angie), Carolyn Brandt (Marge Neilson), Atlas King (Harold), Erina Enyo (Carmelita), Jack Brady (Ortega), Toni Camel (Stella), Pat Kirkwood (Madison Clarke), Joan Howard (Angie's mom), Titus Moede (Hobo), Bill Ward (Dancer), Gene Pollock (Nightclub Owner); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ray Dennis Steckler; Guilty Pleasures; 1964)

"The only thing incredible about it is the incredibly long title, something Steckler seems to have given more thought to than the lame story."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Cult indie filmmaker Ray Dennis Steckler ("Las Vegas Serial Killer"/"Teenage Hustler"/"Blood Shack"), 23 at the time of the film, should be listed after many other turkeys on any reputable list of the world's worst directors. The amateur-like filmmaker lacks imagination, as he helms this dull rip-off attempt at campy horror that nevertheless manages to get a few professional photographic shots to make the film not without some worth (among the cameramen were such future luminaries as Joseph V. Mascelli, Vilmos Zsigmond, and Laszlo Kovacs). But the only thing incredible about it is the incredibly long title, something Steckler seems to have given more thought to than the lame story. 

It's set in a beach town somewhere in Southern California and has the obnoxious teenager idler Jerry (Ray Dennis Steckler) visit a carnival amusement site with his thrill seeking nice but dumb live-at-home girlfriend Angie (Sharon Walsh) and passive pompadoured heavily foreign accented Greek roommate Harold (Atlas King). They are having their fortunes read by Madame Estrella (Brett O’Hara), an evil fortune-teller who has in secret a roomful of zombies who have been scarred with acid caged in a back room--the incredibly strange creatures of the title. Estrella puts Jerry under a hypnotic spell to follow only her commands. Later in the evening Jerry is lured backstage by a note from stripper Carmelita (Erino Enyo)--Madame Estrella's sister and accomplice--and while hypnotized murders gypsy dancer Marge Neilson (Carolyn Brandt, the director's future wife), who was an earlier visitor to the fortune-teller and drew the Death card of the Ace of Spades. Marge is a drunk who headlines the show at the Hungry Mouth nightclub, where her boss (Gene Pollock) threatens to fire her unless she gives up the sauce. Jerry attended her strip-tease without his two friends, who he chased away after Angie refused to accompany him. That night Jerry has a strange dream, and in the morning visits Angie to makeup. When affected again by the fortune teller's hypnotic powers, after Angie twirls her sun umbrella, he tries to choke her to death. Angie's brother Madison stops the attack and Jerry goes back to the carnival to confront the fortune-teller, while Madison, Harold and Angie try to find Jerry so they can get him some mental help before the police arrive. But in Jerry's confrontation with the fortune-teller and her assistant Ortega (Jack Brady), all hell breaks loose when the back room opens and all the zombies escape and go on the attack.

The slight story is muddled, pointless and uninteresting. It's padded with too many atmospheric scenes of carnival rides and long drawn-out awful rock‘n’roll numbers that have nothing to do with the story. This sorry-ass excuse for a film was Steckler’s second, and it was made on a $38,000 budget--reportedly his biggest budget ever.

REVIEWED ON 3/14/2008        GRADE: D

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"