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.
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.
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.