August 26th, 2009

GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW (1959) **

A gang of hotrodders lose their lease on their beloved garage. Even though they don’t have a place to store their custom hotrods, they still go to dances and have slumber parties.  When the gang hears about an old woman’s haunted house, they offer to rid the poltergeists from the abode and in exchange, the old bag lets them use the joint as their new clubhouse.  In the end, the gang holds a costume party in the haunted house (complete with dancing skeletons) where one of the kids invents a talking car that forces the ghost out of hiding.

 

Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow is harmless and dumb but it moves along at a brisk pace and the scant 64 minute running time certainly helped.  The problem is that it takes 40 minutes before anyone MENTIONS Dragstrip Hollow or the ghost!  Till then you have to put up with a lot of unfunny comic relief (there’s a talking parrot), impenetrable hip jive talk (“Hop on it and blow!”), and terrible songs (there’s a song called “Geronimo” that’s basically “Tequila” except they say “Geronimo” and another similarly unoriginal song called “Charge”).

 

I think the thing that bugged me the most about Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow was that a lot of the flick’s running time was devoted to the gang TALKING about hotrodding and not actually doing it.  (There is one drag race that lasts about ten seconds.)  The mercifully brief running time was also victim of too much padding as there was an unending amount of boring teenage dance parties.  (At least one of them is a pajama party featuring cute chicks in lingerie.)  The performances are all pretty bad but what the teen cast lacks in talent, they more than make up for with enthusiasm.  (I particularly liked the hot geeky girl with glasses.)  If anything, the movie gives you a rare glimpse of man-in-monster-suit legend Paul Blaisdell without a mask on.

 

Best line:  “This place is loaded with ectoplasm isn’t it?”

THE GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI (1966) * ½

The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini was the final AIP Beach Party movie and wouldn’t you know it, it features none other than Boris Karloff!  The producers couldn’t afford Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello so they got Tommy Kirk and Deborah Walley instead.  They also couldn’t afford to film on the beach either, but there is a brief pool party.  I know what you’re thinking:  No Frankie, no Annette, and no beach… so how the heck is this a damn Beach Party movie?  Your guess is as good as mine.  But hey, did I mention Boris Karloff is in it?

 

Boris plays a recently deceased corpse who has to do a good deed in 24 hours in order to get into heaven.  Since his million dollar fortune is in the process of being swindled by a greedy lawyer (Basil Rathbone), Boris decides to help the rightful heirs get the money.  Boris enlists the aid of his old flame; a ghost (Susan Hart, wife of producer James H. Nicholson) who goes around in her invisible bikini influencing things. 

 

Yep it’s another one of those stupid Fake Haunted House Deals Where People Dress Up as Monsters to Scare Away Relatives Entitled to a Million Dollar Will movies, complete with a gorilla on the loose and a “Chamber of Horrors” wax museum.  The imbecilic screenplay is filled with a barrage of lame sight gags and depressingly stupid jokes that weren’t even funny back in the 60’s.  The titular “Invisible Bikini” is a gyp and a half too because you never see the chick’s titties underneath.  It’s more like one of those camouflagey “invisible” deals.

 

I’ve never seen any of the Beach Party movies before and this one didn’t necessarily make me wanna rush out and see any of the others.  Since I’m a huge Karloff fan, it was my solemn duty to sit through it.  Sadly Boris isn’t given much to do and is kept on the same crumbling crypt set throughout the whole movie.  Rathbone looks thoroughly embarrassed and barely escapes with his dignity intact.  Despite being the “star”, Tommy Kirk is hardly even in the movie and quickly gets lost in the shuffle.  Nancy Sinatra also shows up looking all kinds of hot and sings one forgettable song.  The sexiest chick in the bunch however had to be Quinn O’Hara, the gal who played Rathbones’s voluptuous nearsighted daughter.  She also sings a tune but I wasn’t listening; I was too busy ogling her goodies. 

 

The best part of the movie for me was seeing AIP’s old monster suits, sets, and props being recycled.  The gorilla named Monstro is the same gorilla suit from the cult classic Konga and the monster costume from Attack of the Eye Creatures also makes a cameo.  And you know, as dumb and corny as most of this is, the climax is lively, the final joke is actually kinda clever, and there is at least ONE funny line of dialogue:  “I can think of three reasons why they like her… 38, 24, 36!”