Movie Madness and/or Mania: Halloween Edition, Featuring A Giant Monster-Head Nightclub

In celebration of Halloween, today we are looking at two movies featuring go-go dancers performing inside of Giant Steam-Breathing Monster Heads, a standard nightclub fixture of the 1960s…

Ok, actually these movies were both filmed in the same nightclub,  The Haunted House, located on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. 

The Animals It's a Bikini World

First featured in one of the last of the “Beach Party” cycle of movies, It’s a Bikini World (Stephanie Rothman, 1965, released 1967), stars teen idols Tommy Kirk and Deborah Walley in a fairly standard battle-of-the-sexes plot. It is notable for being written and directed by Roger Corman protégée Rothman, one of the few women directing drive-in fare of the era (she’d go on to direct The Student Nurses, the inaugural feature for Corman’s New World Pictures, before co-founding Dimension Pictures in the early 1970s), and for its fairly outstanding lineup of musical acts.

Taking a turn inside the Giant Steam-Breathing Monster Head are The Animals (doing “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”);  girl group The Toys (doing “Attack”, the follow-up to their big hit, “A Lover’s Concerto”); and everybody’s favorite Nuggets band, The Castaways, doing their only hit, “Liar, Liar”:

Bobby “Boris” Pickett of “Monster Mash” fame and Sid Haig also figure into the plot.

Tommy Kirk later claimed that the movie was so terrible it effectively killed his career.

A year later The Haunted House would be featured in The Girl in Gold Boots (Ted V. Mikels, 1968), which is a biker movie, a drugsploitation movie, a musical, and a (very) low-budget rip-off of Valley of the Dolls: 

Waitress and wannabe go-go dancer Michelle hitches a ride to L.A. with petty criminal Buzz and hippie Critter (!?!), with the promise that Buzz’s sister, “the #1 girl in a groovy Hollywood nightclub” will get Michelle hired on.

The film is notable for its terrible day-for-night cinematography, rampant continuity errors, and sequences where each actor seems to have been filmed on a completely different set.

And lengthy, randomly inserted capering in a dune buggy.

Also the sleazy nightclub owner is played by Mark Herron, whose only previous film credit is Fellini’s 8 1/2 (!!!)

Also multiple internet sources say that is Booker T & the MG’s Donald “Duck” Dunn playing bass in the band under the opening credits. I don’t know. It kind of looks like him.

Critter, do you have any parting words of wisdom?

“A draft-dodger? You?”

“I don’t know. All I know is I’ve got to find a hole to crawl into, where they can’t find me. That’s the kind of man I am. One that’s got to find a hole to crawl into.”

The Haunted House turns up in at least one more movie, A Sweet Sickness (1968, Jon Martin), an expose/exploitation feature about the dangers of running away from home to become a go-go dancer; the façade is featured in the opening sequence, but I could not tell you if the Giant Monster Head makes an appearance.

Availability:

The Girl In Gold Boots is available on DVD, both “straight” and as a particularly memorable episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000

It’s a Bikini World has not been made available commercially, although Netflix has offered it as part of its streaming service in the past.

A Sweet Sickness is available on DVD as part of a triple feature from Something Weird.

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