One Way Ticket To Hell (Teenage Devil Dolls) (1955)

one way ticket to hell (teenage devil dolls) 1955

Not the sexploitation flick the rebranding would have you think. The sexual content is zero and the camp factor is almost non existent. There’s the obligatory withdrawal scene near the end that’s good for a few chuckles but that’s it. The whole thing is narrated by Kurt Martell as Lt.David Jason who is portrayed by Robert A.Sherry. The documentary style avoids hysterics and morality lectures. No one has any dialogue.

It opens with teenage Cassandra on her way to rehab in Lexington, Kentucky in 1952. She and the coppers are being followed by drug dealer Cholo, He’s played by Bamlet Lawrence Price,Jr., the writer and director.

Flashback to when it all started…1949. Cassandra is a sweet high school girl who gets involved with a motorcycle gang. They head out of town to smoke some weed. The gang holds her in suspicion since she refuses to toke. Waiting for her outside of school is the faithful Johnny Adams who has a thing for her.

It doesn’t take long for Cassandra to to do some deep inhaling. She loses her friends and her grades. Johnny is still hanging in there. After graduation Cassandra can’t get into a college to even ask directions. The solution??? Marry Johnny. Soon she finds something worse to bring her down….laundry. To help her fight boredom Johnny gets her a dog. That only lasts a few weeks until she sees a motorcycle go by and she’s hit by nostalgia.

She hooks back up with her old gang and drinks and tokes her life away. One day Johnny finds empty bottles of Seconal, aka/goofballs. She crashes their car and ends up in the hospital. The cops keep her there for three months. She’s released to her parents on parole.

She doesn’t know the cops are keeping tabs on her. Jason poses as a junkie. She eventually falls in with a drug gang that’s selling product from a drive in restaurant where she’s been installed as a car hop. Then the boss puts her in an apartment across from the high school to make it easy for the kids to make buys. She’s a good salesgirl until she becomes too fond of the product.

Jason and his troops raid the joint. Cassandra is given a break if she’ll provide info on the gangs. She’s paroled back home again. One day after that ends she heads for the sleazy part of town. She comes across heroin addict Margo Rossi going through withdrawals in a doorway. It’s the basis for a new friendship. They go into business together and the addicts dig the novelty of buying from women. Margo’s old boss soon shuts that down. Margo is readdicted and Cassandra starts mainlining.

Now the cops get serious and start a clean up campaign. Margo is headed for a bad end and Cassandra is on her way to getting mixed up with a car theft/drug ring headed by Cholo. Can this girl ever be saved?

It’s only an hour but the ending is stretched out too long. The movie isn’t over the top or preachy and is worth a look for at least part of the way just to check out the documentary style. You’ll probably find yourself giving up at some point when the novelty wears off.

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St.Louis Woman (1934)

st louis woman 1934

Western star Johnny Mack Brown trades in his six guns and ten gallon hat for a football uniform and a tux. Since he was an All American halfback at the University of Alabama it’s not much of a stretch.

Jim Warren is in college studying to be a doctor. He also the star of the football team. After a game nightclub owner Harry Crandall comps him to his club. Who can resist seeing St.Louis Lou (Jeanette Loff)?

Jim takes his pal Beezy and another friend to the club. Crandall wants to sign Jim to his pro team the St.Louis Lions. He sicks Lou on him to convince him. Crandall  offered him a deal where he’s get five percent of the gate and twenty grand. Into the club walks a professor sent to make sure none of the team is there boozing it up. A brawl starts and Jim slugs the prof. Since he didn’t know what he was doing the prof doesn’t report him.

Too bad the papers were on hand and Jim made the headlines. That gets him expelled. Crandall wants nothing to do with him now that he no longer plays football. Jim pounds the pavement and ends up in a bread line. Lou spots him and takes him to the club.

Jim sees a police detective trying to get into the back room where’s there’s gambling. He tells Lou who the guy is. She gets Crandall over. As payback, Crandall gives him a shot with the team. He tells the coach to pass along to the players that Jim has a swelled head and they’re asked to sabotage him.

It’s a miserable first half and the crowd boos Jim. Halftime in the locker room. Lou walks in and reads the riot act to the coach. She says all the sports writers know her and she’ll tell them the real story of pro football. That gets their attention. Jim scores the winning touchdown and is a hero.

Crandall’s steamed that a romance has bloomed between Jim and Lou. Jim’s college girlfriend Eleanor (Roberta Gale) isn’t too happy either. Crandall ends up signing him to a five year deal. Jim will later regret it.

The football element makes this a bit different. It’s not a movie to search out but worth a look if you happen to stumble across it.

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The Night Spiders-John Lymington (1965)

john lymington-the night spiders

One of Lymington’s better efforts. This is one is more suited for horror fans than SF. A short story writer conjured up a called called “The Night Spiders” a few months ago. He wrote down the idea in his diary. Now it looks like it might be coming true.

Out in the countryside in a small English village Richard Chance, a surveyor and amateur short story writer, lives with his wife Jennifer. Their son is away at school. Ellen is their housekeeper. One morning Jennifer sees a huge crowd of people off in the distance staring at the house. Richard wakes up and can’t remember where he was last night.

Jennifer tells him to get out there and find out what’s going on. After a lot of hesitation he goes out and sneaks a look. He envisions the crowd all turning to skeletons. That makes him get back inside. The local cop, Porch, isn’t much help. Richard has had it and charges back outside. The crowd runs off and then stops when he stops.

Ellen is cleaning the house and keeps finding dead spiders. To add to the problems, Jennifer is jealous of pub owner Barbara Baynes. Her husband took off and now she runs the place. She thinks Barbara and Richard are fooling around. Porch doesn’t help when he says Richard was seen walking with her last night. Now she’s missing.

Richard finally calms Jennifer down and they sit to have some tea. he tells her there’s a can opener in a huge cupboard. What she finds is a naked Barbara. She swears she doesn’t know how she got there.

Stopping by is newspaper reporter Geoffrey Hayles. He says Richard phoned the paper last night with a story about tiny capsules falling from the sky. A Government man named Griswold comes to the house and interviews everyone. Just maybe Richard traveled to the future, in this case the next night, made the call and now everyone is waiting since the paper printed the story. They did make a retraction in a later edition but no one has it yet. Could all this have to do with dead spiders now being found everywhere?

A lot better than the other Lymington books that dealt with horrors in small villages and the madness of the residents.

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Shoestring (1979-80)

Trevor Eve as Eddie Shoestring

Trevor Eve as Eddie Shoestring

Another good British detective show. This one is set in Bristol in England’s West Country and stars Trevor Eve as P.I. Eddie Shoestring. Until having a nervous breakdown he was a computer programmer. Now he’s on Radio West doing a phone-in show.

Opening episode: September 30,1979 – “Private Ear” – Sarah Marshall is an underage hooker. She’s called to go to an A plus client. She’s freaked out when she sees him. She runs to Radio West to see music and talk host David Carn. He used to be a famous actor but fell out of favor. The radio job brought him back into the public eye and ear and he’s once again successful.

He refuses to see Sarah. She steals his Rolls Royce, pumps herself full of booze and pills while driving to the beach and dies there. Shoestring’s landlady Erica Bayliss is a barrister and was invited to be a guest on a talk show. Station manager Don Satchley shows her some letters and has her listen to a tape threatening Carn . He wants Sarah investigated to see how she and Carn are linked.. Erica tells him he needs a private detective. Eddie’s got a client.

Eddie has a habit of drawing sketches of anyone he talking to. One local hood isn’t happy that he thinks he looks like Mickey Rooney. Coming to town are Sarah’s parents under an assumed name She’s been missing for a year. and because of Sarah’s profession her father doesn’t want his real name leaked out. Dad is a big businessman in London.

As the investigation continues Eddie is offered a bribe to drop it. He refuses. Then the man’s boss has one of his hoods work him over. Eddie knows they’re protecting someone but he doesn’t know who it is. He does know it’s not Carn.

I won’t spoil the ending but I will say this sets up the show as he’s hired by Satchley as a private ear. Eve is perfect in his role and the show is very entertaining.


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Out Of Singapore (1932)

oit of singapore 1932

Fun movie despite or maybe because of the terrible acting.

Captain Carroll hires Woolf Barstow (Noah Beery) to be his first mate. Barstow has a bad reputation as a number of ships he’s been on have gone to the bottom. Also along is the Captain’s knock out daughter Mary (Miriam Seegar). Woolf has his beady eyes on Mary.

The second mate overhears a conversation between Barstow and Scar Murray as the men are heading for one day’s shore leave in Singapore. It’s all about Barstow’s racket. Barstow knocks him out and throws him overboard.

At a Singapore bar Barstow plots with owner Fong. He’ll sink the ship on the way to Manila and he and Fong along with Scar will collect the insurance money. Barstow says he needs a new second mate and he and Fong head for the bar. A brawl breaks out and a man named Steve Trent gets the best of one of Barstow’s men. Of course he’s hired as the new second mate.

The lights dim and it’s showtime. Here comes sexy dancer Concha (Dorothy Burgess). After turning on the crowd Barstow joins her in a back room. She’s his old girlfriend…at least she thinks she is. Barstow mentions Mary. That’s all it takes to get her jealous. She tries to stab him. Not even close.

Back on board ship while Barstow is romancing Mary who should come out of a lifeboat she’s stowed away in but…Concha.    She’s icy to Mary. Trent also digs Mary. Trouble ahead. Captain Carroll discovers the racket and Barstow knocks him out. He tells Mary he had a stroke. It’s not long before the Captain dies.

Now everything is going Barstow’s way. He manages to get Trent locked up below after he defended Concha while Barstow was tossing her around. He tells Mary he’s going to marry her and she reluctantly agrees. Now it’s time to put his master plan into action.

It all comes to a fun ending. If you’re not expecting much you make like this one for its own bordering on ridiculous plot and resolution.

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Supertanks-Edited by Joe Haldeman, Charles G. Waugh and Martin Harry Greenberg

joe haldeman-charles g waugh-martin harry greenberg-supertanks

Ten stories from 1954,67,70,75,76,78,79,83. Favorites:

“The Computer Cried Charge! (1975) – George R.R. Martin – A general is presented with various plans to defeat an enemy on a planet below. A computer error could wipe out his entire mechanized tank force.

“An Empty Gift” (1983) – Steve Benson – The U.S. has been virtually destroyed in a nuclear war. A band of children led by a fourteen year old are holed up in a house during the winter. It’s Christmas and the little ones are waiting for Santa Claus. What shows up is a computer controlled Russian tank.

“Tank” (1979) – Francis E.Izzo – A man is lamenting that electronic games are taking over from pinball machines at his local arcade. He spots a game called “Tank”  being set up and decides to give it a try.

“The Tank And Its Wife” (1978) – Arsen Darnay – A stroke victim has his brain put into a tank. The tank is in a warehouse with others of its kind. He decided to leave and visit his wife. She’s in a panic when a tank shows up and starts to write messages to her.

“Damnation Alley” (1967novella  – Roger Zelazny – Fast paced story about a post apocalypse America that’s been devastated by a nuclear war. The nation of California sends Hell Tanner in a special vehicle to drive Damnation Alley all the way to Boston. He’s to deliver a case full of drugs to stop a plague. There’s no crime Tanner hasn’t committed but this ride will get him a pardon. On the way he runs into heavy storms, loads of bats, giant gila monsters that really are giants and the obligatory giant spider. That’s not to mention the gangs out to kill him. Good thing he has rockets, hand grenades and flame throwers. This is a wild read and the pages really do fly by. It was the basis for the 1977 cheezfest starring Jan Michael-Vincent.

Other authors: Gene Wolfe, Walter M.Miller,Jr., Stephen Leigh, David Drake and Keith Laumer.

damnation alley 1977

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Twin Husbands (1934)

twin husbands 1933

One of my favorites from 1934. A man is tricked into getting involved with a robbery. The movie is full of surprises and that makes for a lot of fun.

A man wakes up on a couch in a mansion after being blackjacked at his hotel. The calender says it’s 1938. Greyson the butler (Wilson Benge) says his name is Jerry Werrenden (John Miljan) and he’s the owner of the mansion. He’s been ill for four years. It doesn’t take him long to see through everything and he gets Greyson to admit he’s a character actor that was hired to play a butler. Jerry tells him to keep on playing the part.

The real mans’ wife Chloe (Shirley Grey) comes in and he decides to try some romance. She sticks a gun in his ribs. In walks Colton Drain, the real Jerry’s secretary. They realize he’s figured it out. The real Jerry is a flier and was reportedly last seen somewhere in France. The plot involves the theft of two hundred thousand dollars in bonds. They’re being dropped off by the trustee of the estate, Colonel Gordon Lewis. Jerry agrees. He hears the two discuss leaving for South America with the money. They did offer him ten grand to cooperate.

Lewis comes by and Jerry sees a signed picture of the real person and forges the signature on a receipt for the bonds. He puts them in the safe. No one knows the combination to get them back out. That night two crooks sneak in to rob the safe. When Jerry walks in they recognize him as master thief The Sparrow. He lets them take off before the cops get there.

When the cops arrive they believe it when Colton tells them Jerry is really The Sparrow. The cops says they’re taking Jerry and Chloe to headquarters.

To go further would spoil all the twists and turns that makes this a lot of fun. This is definitely worth seeking out.


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