Dr. Jekyll vs. the Werewolf (1972) and The Ice House (1969) AKA The Passion Pit
Both of tonight's double feature revolve around the duality of man; where man's civilized side takes turns with his bestial nature. In the Paul Naschy film, Mr. Nice Guy not only has a werewolf side , but also a Mr. Hyde side as well. In The Ice House, the studly blue collar Casanova becomes a violent maniac when a certain trigger occurs. In both films, the bestial side has a tendency to victimize women. Armchair psychologists, you've been summoned. Enjoy the shows!
Dr. Jekyll vs. the Werewolf (1972) AKA Doctor Jekyll y el Hombre Lobo
Imre Kosta (José Marco) is a wealthy businessman traveling to his home town of Baliavasta, near Transylvania. He's brought along his lady, Justine (Shirley Corrigan), who happens to be a stone cold fox.
As tends to happen in these parts, their car breaks down. And as tends to happen in these types of movies, ladies like to wander off alone. Justine ambles into an abandoned castle and gets frightened by a homeless person with a skin condition.
Cue next scene.
The car is repaired and, Imre, ever the romantic, takes Justine to the creepiest cemetery on earth to visit the graves of his murdered family.
But it's not vampires or zombies the couple needs to worry about in this Romanian graveyard. A band of thugs starts messing with Imre's Jag.
Imre attempts to stop the hooligans, but they beat the shit out of him and try to rape Justine. Thankfully, someone comes to her rescue...
If you don't recognize the guy giving the ruffian the Hug of Death, it's the undisputed king of Spanish horror cinema, Paul Naschy. Paul puts a beat-down on these thugs like I've never seen - going completely medieval on their asses.
Justine's out cold. This mysterious karate chopping, head smashing badass carries her to a castle which looks down upon the cemetery - The Black Castle.
I am digging Justine's jacket (ostrich feather?), knee-high boots and, of course, miniskirt. Sadly, when she awakes in the castle, there's been a change of wardrobe...
... which is kind of creepy, because that means Paul had to have changed her clothes while she was KO'd. Anyway, Justine explores the premises holding a candelabra; a necessity in a Gothic horror film.
Justine eventually learns that the castle occupants consist of a witch and her savior, the studly Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy) who always wears a groovy leather jacket with turtle neck. She also learns that Imre is six feet under.
Note: Every time they said"Waldemar" in this film, it sounded like "Voldemort" to my Harry Potter tainted ears.
Waldemar happens to be a werewolf who has a nasty habit of killing idiotic villagers. Eventually they've had enough of his shit, and drive him out of town. Yet another well-worn old-school horror trope is in full effect: the angry villages bearing torches and pitchforks. Waldemar and Justine haul ass out of this dreary Romanian village and don't look back.
On to Swingin' London...
...well, it's 1972, so London isn't exactly swingin' anymore. Anyway, Justine visits her old flame, a certain Dr. Henry Jekyll (Jack Taylor). She tells him the whole story, include the little detail about her new friend, Waldemar, being a lycanthrope.
The intellectual Jekyll is curious. He wants to study Waldemar, and invites him to the hospital to run some tests. There's a full moon tonight. Perfect timing.
Houston we have a problem. Waldemar gets trapped in an elevator with a nurse. They spend a few awkward hours together until the full moon hits, and then he transforms into a werewolf and.... well, as you can predict, things escalate from awkward to deadly real fast.
The werewolf escapes from the elevator, kills a back alley prostitute, then disappears into the night.
I think it's safe to say Jekyll's plan was a failure.
Later that evening at the Jekyll estate, no one is particularly concerned by the dead nurse and prostitute. It's time to move on to Plan B...
Jekyll will inject Waldemar with a chemical formulated by his grandfather, which will turn him into a being of pure evil - Mr. Hyde!
The purpose (in case you were wondering): When Waldemar turns into a werewolf, he will also turn into Hyde, who will drive away the werewolf part of him. It's brilliant!.... wait, no. It's a terrible idea.
It gets worse. Jekyll injects Waldemar with the Hyde potion, but his plans are sabotaged by his lab assistant, Sandra (Mirta Miller), who literally stabs him in the back.
Tip of the Day: Mad scientists should not hire ex-mistresses as lab assistants.
The jealous bitch Sandra and the pervy lech Hyde take poor Justine to the basement where she's tortured. It seems like only yesterday she was being assaulted by Romanian hooligans, now this.
Hyde, looking a lot like a gross Batman TV show villain, enjoys a night on the town, taking in some London strip clubs, before killing another prostitute.
He returns to Jekyll's estate, kills that jealous bitch Sandra, then decides to go back out - this time to a London discotheque.
While at the club, Hyde turns into the werewolf, scaring away all the happenin' young kids. If you haven't caught on by now, this movie is certifiably batshit crazy.
The werewolf then makes it back to the Jekyll estate to dispatch with Justine. No idea how the werewolf got back home - maybe he took a cab, or took advantage of the public transportation system, maybe?
The werewolf attacks Justine, delivering a lethal blow, but before she dies, she fills him full of lead... er, silver. Everybody's dead. The end.
All in all, it was a fun ride. With precious little on-screen gore, scares, or nudity, the film could have benefited from kicking it up a notch. Instead, it all seems a little silly, but gets points for including every horror trope under the sun, with werewolves, dark castles, mad scientists, damsels in distress, Jekyll and Hyde, and even a Jack the Ripper element. Add to that a London discotheque and the smoking hot Shirley Corrigan, and I suppose there's not too much to complain about. Recommended.
The Ice House (1969) AKA The Passion Pit
It starts out promising enough with a groovy fuzz guitar psyche-garage rock intro - plus the credits are illustrated on blocks of ice!
A go-go dancer named Venus drops by an ice house to get some change. The attendant, Fred Martin (David Story) is happy to oblige.
Venus is played by the one-name actress, Sabrina. Jayne Mansfield was originally cast for the role, but died in a horrible car accident. As announced in Variety (on May 31, 1967), Jayne Mansfield had just signed to star in the movie, with filming slated to begin in July in Mexico. Mansfield was killed in a car crash on the outskirts of New Orleans in the wee hours of June 29, 1967.
Mamie Van Doren, Diana Dors and Joi Lansing were considered, but the role ended up going to Sabrina, considered the British Jayne Mansfield, AKA "Britain's finest hourglass".
Studly Ric is hitting on Venus pretty thick; picture Sly Stallone's voice coming out of Bobby Darin's mouth for an accurate picture.
Note the labels "cube" and "block" on the ice dispenser. You put your quarter in, and the ice pops out the slot at the bottom - a contraption that was once common, now largely extinct.
Venus has 3 swingin' gents waiting for her in the car. They're snappin' their fingers to inaudible music, and giving poor Ric some cocky lip. These crazy hooligans are obviously trouble.
But Ric makes quick work of the ruffians 60s Batman-style; one dude in a Byrds T-shirt brandishes a switchblade, but goes down with an uppercut and a pair of ice tongs. Ric is a pretty cool customer for an ice house attendant - he puts the KO'd hipsters in the car, then dumps a barrel of ice over them.
"That'll keep them cool. Compliments of the house, " says Ric.
But just when it's time to celebrate his victory and get the dame, she cracks him over the head with a beer bottle. And this is where Vic's problems begin...
Vic sees a psychedelic kaleidoscope then blacks out. When he comes to, he's strangling his twin brother, Fred, a cop. Fred is played by David Story and this is his only acting credit besides an appearance on The Littlest Hobo TV show five years prior.
That evening, the brothers attend a party. Vic gets down-and-dirty in the back room wearing only his tighty-whities, while the "square" Fred hangs out in the living room with his fiance.
The same hostile beatniks from the start of the film crash the party intent on kicking Vic's ass. Once again, Vic administers a total beat-down on the crew, this time with the help of his bro.
Vic heads to a totally nude strip club called the Magic Mushroom to settle the score with Venus. Inside, the house band is playing "The Scrub" while Venus dances in front of a fake shower (the water is silver tinsel).
I have transcribed the lyrics to "The Scrub" for posterity. It's a wonder this dance craze never caught on:
Turn the water on
Scrubba yourself till the soap's all gone
Rinse off baby
Till you're nice and clean
Scrub it up, girl
You know what I mean
Do the scrub
Grab a towel and rub-a-dub-dub.... yeah!
Vic confronts Venus who wants nothing to do with him. The nudie bar staff have him ejected from the premises.
But Vic isn't through with this dame yet. He follows her home, breaks into her house, waits for her to get in the shower, then undresses and joins her for a "scrub".
Far from being horrified by her assailant, Venus is enamored (WTF?) and they make sweet, sweet love.
Afterwards,. Venus is so smitten, she gives Vic her house key. Unfortunately, when she raises her beer bottle and says "cheers", Vic has a psychotic flashback. Once again, he's seeing psychedelic kaleidoscopes. When he awakes, he finds he's strangled Venus to death!
Vic used to work in the police department with Fred, so he knows how to cover his tracks. He takes a handkerchief and removes his fingerprints, then he takes the body and puts it in the trunk of his car and drives to a remote quarry.
Things have escalated quickly to say the least. But it gets worse..
While he's trying to dispose of Venus (with Hammond organ and fuzz guitar playing in the background), another car rolls up. It's a guy and a girl - and the guy is getting fresh, and the girl doesn't like it. Vic, pushes the would-be-rapist aside, saves the girl, and drives her off to safety. Problem is, he's got a dead stripper in the front seat!
[Note that the would-be-rapist is played by soon-to-be porn legend John Holmes.]
Vic explains to Betty that the lifeless body is his drunk girlfriend. He then drops her off, and heads to the ice house...
Vic decides to store his victim behind blocks of ice - disposing of the body right where he works. Seems like a great plan, right?
Note that at this point there is already a mountain of evidence against him: (1) he was seen accosting Venus at the strip club, (2) he was spotted in the parking garage by Venus' apartment, and (3) Betty has seen him driving around with a lifeless body.
What to do? Vic decides to see a doctor.
The doc explains: "Apparently, you have what we call a 'trauma'." It's all become clear: Whenever Vic sees a trigger (the beer bottle) he blacks out and commit acts of violence.
Vic replies, "Now if I hurt somebody, maybe even kill, I'd face a murder rap because I couldn't prove I wasn't to blame."
Add this little nugget to Vic's growing list of evidence against him.
Miss Wilson, is a rich unhappily married MILF who likes to drop by to pick up "ice" from the strong and handsome Vic whenever she's feeling frisky. She calls Vic up to tell him she'll be dropping by.
Miss Wilson is played by Nancy Dow, who is Jennifer Aniston's mother. You may know her husband as well - John Aniston from Days of Our Lives.
So, Ms. Wilson shows up at the ice house only to discover the frozen Venus. She faints, and Vic carries her inside in a scene clearly designed to show repeated shots of Brad Pitt's ex-mother-in-law's panties.
When she comes to, Vic explains that it was just a prank by some teenagers. "But she looked so real," says Ms. Wilson.
And the evidence keeps piling up.
Ms. Wilson tries to seduce her favorite ice man, but he's not in the mood. So, she strips to her underwear and recommends they have a few drinks. She raises a glass for a toast.... uh-oh - you know what that means....
....aaaaand Jennifer Aniston's mom is dead.
So, Vic heads back to the Magic Mushroom for some drinks - which is probably a bad idea considering he has a tendency to murder people when around bottles of booze.
One of the club's waitresses, Kandy Kane, recognizes Vic and alerts the authorities. They soon arrive, a motorcycle/car chase ensues, and there's a showdown between brothers Vic and Frank.
I won't spoil the ending except to say it's actually a pretty satisfying little twist.
Overall, The Ice House is pretty repetitive, simplistic, poorly acted, and its ultra low budget shows. But what do you expect from a grindhouse/drive-in flick like this? I'd say it delivers on all counts: it's tasteless, relentless, and best of all, the ladies are beautiful and plentiful. Gilligan recommends.