August 31, 1986: Dangerously unhinged serial killer Johnathan Glick gets released from the Nevada State Penitentiary on a technicality. Three days after his release Johnathan arrives in Las... See full summary »
Co-writer / director Ray Dennis Steckler pays homage to film noir with this straight faced little drama. He also stars, as low rent private eye Charles Smith, hired by a man named Ferguson (Alan Smith) to locate his former secretary Carrie Erskine (played by the sexy Carolyn Brandt, who was at one time Mrs. Steckler), who absconded with $150,000 worth of heroin that Ferguson was holding for big cheese mobster Big Mack (Bernard Fein). Big Mack actually doesn't seem to care that much about the theft; he just wants Ferguson dead. And a lowlife bad guy associate of Carrie's, Frankie Roberts (Gary Kent), wants in on the action.
It's interesting to see Steckler, he of the notoriously limited budgets, actually take himself somewhat seriously. The result is a moderately entertaining movie, one with no real fireworks but a story that proves to be at least watchable. It comes up short in terms of exploitable elements - there's no gore and no nudity, and the few sex scenes that occur are done rather tastefully. The cast does some good work. Steckler is likable enough in the lead, and Ms. Brandt, who wears a Catwoman-like costume for the theft, is certainly easy on the eyes, as are the other ladies such as Dina Bryan as Charles's secretary Stella, Bret Zeller as drug addict Carol Hollister, and Pat Jackson as model Julie Richards. Fein and Kent are effective antagonists, and there are also roles for Ron Haydock as the slimy photographer and Coleman Francis (director of the classic "The Beast of Yucca Flats") as Charles's old friend.
B movie aficionados may find this to be a refreshing change of pace for Steckler as it keeps silliness to a minimum.
Five out of 10.
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