The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? (1964) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
126 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Incredibly strange... and boring... and funny SIMULTANEOUSLY.
Infofreak2 November 2001
One of the most famous BAD movies ever made, mainly because of its legendary title, which is arguably the best thing about it. Look this is an awful movie, everybody knows that, but the question that should be asked is is it worth watching? And the answer is HELL YES.

Ray Dennis Steckler lies somewhere between Ed Wood, Jr and Russ Meyer for me. Wood made laughably bad genre movies that have continued to fascinate because of their campy silliness. His movies are still tons of FUN all these years later. Russ Meyer was certainly not incompetent, but he created bizarre movies populated with strange, sex obsessed characters, who found themselves involved in twisted, often indescribable plots spouting absolutely insane dialogue.

Steckler like both those directors creates his own unique world. He is closer to Wood because of his sheer ineptness I suppose, but unlike Wood's movies his are tough going at times. Truly (unintentionally) hilarious sequences are repeatedly interspersed with some of the dullest and most pointless scenes you'll ever see. That makes his movies totally unlike anyone else's before or since. 'Incredibly Strange Creatures...' is arguably his most consistent effort, and even this one is dragged down by the endless musical numbers. Even so it is a movie that HAS to be watched at least once by any trash fiend or cult movie enthusiast. You really have to see it to believe it!
42 out of 50 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I finally watched this Ray Dennis Steckler movie with the really long title
tavm20 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, so after occasionally clicking on this movie on the Crackle site and just watching through the beginning credits, I finally decided to watch the whole thing right there, right now. I don't really want to recount the plot, so I'll just say that what starts as a horror flick turns into a musical revue with some not-bad singers and some mildly entertaining dancers and a somewhat sexy stripper though the comedian that's showcased here is lame, lame, lame. Then the lead character-played by the director Ray Dennis Steckler under the name Cash Flagg-gets hypnotized to commit some murders and there's some excitement. After that, it does get a little more ridiculous and the dialogue becomes a little more stilted but if you turn off your brain, you'll probably consider this movie a hoot like I did. Oh, and knowing that one of the victims was his then-wife Carolyn Brandt makes me wonder just what kind of mind this Steckler has...
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?
Scarecrow-889 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?" is most certainly a one-of-a-kind experience. Madame Estrella(Brett O'Hara) doesn't like being ridiculed or questioned by detractors. When an old drunk turns down her sexual advances(!)she gets really angry and, trust me, you don't want to see her(..or hear her squeaky voice)when she's angry. If you make Madame Estrella mad, you not only get acid tossed in your face(..this turns your face into silly putty)but a prison behind her purple curtains is your brand new home. Almost always by her side is hideous hunchback, Ortega(Don Russell)who assists her in disposing bodies and grabbing innocents(..he even pops up in nightmares and hypnotic trances caused by Estrella). A customer(..a boozing club dancer who has a rather uninspired act with a male partner) desiring to know her future fate finds Estrella's "xombie prison"(..I spelled zombie with an x because of have no idea what these ugly fiends should be labeled)and is targeted for execution. She'll find a dope in "I'll try anything once"(..the world is my college)Jerry(Ray Dennis Steckler)who is entranced with popular stripper Carmelita(Erina Enyo). Carmelita, in league with Estrella, will trick him into coming backstage where he will be hypnotized into killing those who threaten to expose her prison. Estrella chose Jerry when he, pal Harold(Atlas King, with an unbearably laughable accent), and girlfriend Angela(Sharon Walsh)wanted to try out a "reader". I guess Jerry pushed that "no-no" button when he poked fun at her magical crystal ball. Anyways, hoody-up and eyeballs wide-open, Jerry, along with his incredibly shiny butcher knife, stabs the singer and her dance partner(?!)in the face during their act on stage. Haunted by one hell of a bizarre nightmare, Jerry awakens to a blur wondering what happened the night before when he went backstage to meet with Carmelita. Soon another dancer, who happens to oh so eloquently mention she had seen the murdered girl meeting with her, gets the knife(..along with a date, the barker who brings the salivating males to dance shows)treatment. Soon, though, Estrella will make on fatal mistake, keeping open the prison a little too long as the xombies soon revolt, shredded clothes and hands that strangle. Soon Jerry will get acid-faced, on the lam as blank-faced police, guns-a-firing, give chase with Angela, her bro Madison(Pat Kirkwood) & Harold is hot pursuit. The closing of the film features a VERY long run across a rocky beach front as Jerry stumbles, falls, returns to his feet, and repeats the clumsy cycle for our amusement, performed so melodramatically.

I'll admit that I found the carnival atmosphere particularly effective, it's all spontaneous and random, scenes where Jerry and friends are living it up. I realize that many will giggle at the lack of spirit or choreography for the MANY musical dance interludes which populate this bizarre 60's token of campiness, but I kind of figured it be this way in real life..this isn't The Chorus Line, you know. The transitions from scene to scene are jarring to say the least, and the sound is rather tepid. I had a great difficulty hearing what was being said half the time(..maybe that's a good thing?). I thought the nightmare sequence was a hoot, dancers with painted faces, images of Estrella and Ortega giving Jerry commands, and what seems like cigarette smoke steaming upward(..and the spinning spiral, a constant, returning Jerry to his homicidal ways). As MANY others have mentioned, this is far from a good movie and suffers from lack of real experience, but "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?" is such a strange experience I couldn't turn away, wondering what was gonna happen next. Lots of dead air and oddly structured camera shots of characters' faces. I must admit that I rather enjoyed some of the music sprinkled throughout and it was kind of neat getting a peek at certain parts of LA during such a cinematic era where independent filmmakers(..good and bad)were finding opportunities to make movies.
13 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Incredibly Strange film worth watching
funkyfry15 October 2002
Incredibly Strange, yes..... but is it alive? No, it's got some good points ("hallucinogenic hypnovision", which is detailed in a preface not seen in most U.S. video prints, turns out to involve ushers in monster masks, hardly the doctor's prescription for a happy trip) but overall dull and slack and looking exactly like five dollars. Still, it's a movie that shows Steckler's love for film, even if this somhow doesn't make up for LENGTHY semi-burlesque dance sequences and the absence of any real "zombies."

B-movie fans in the bay area have been treated over the last few years to Steckler's appearances at Will Viharo's "Thrillville Revue", and I'm happy to say that Steckler is a director who can sit in a theater and laugh at his movie with an audience (you just have to take my word for it that there are A LOT of directors who make bad films and take them VERY seriously... just listen to the director's commentary on the film "the Bone Yard" for an example). This is not his best effort (see "The Thrill Killers" for that), but it's pretty fun if you see it with popcorn and a bunch of drunk people. And heck, that's what movies are all about, isn't it?
21 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mike Nelson: "He WON'T go to sleep if you keep slamming the Steadicam against his forehead!"
lemon_magic19 June 2005
This is a fascinating artifact from another era of pop culture; From the convoluted title (complete with "!!?" at the end) to the open mike "Amateur Night" numbers to the horribly muddled sound recording to the goofy throwaway dialog to the discombobulated ending to the paper-thin plot, this one has to be seen to be believed.

You know the old saw about a movie being 'like a train wreck - you can't look away'?? Well, imagine if a school bus ran into the train wreck and a 727 crashed on top of it and then a herd of lemmings swarmed over the smoking remains on their way to go over a cliff. And then the Jolly Green Giant picked up everything and threw it over the mountain range and into the next state.

The movie piles one jarring, disorienting choice after another in rapid succession. First 'Jerry' rubs boogers out of his eyes on camera, then 'Harold' is jamming our ears with his Lithuanian/Chicano accent, and then 'Angela' throws off the composition of an entire scene with her Mile High Beehive of Hair, following which a bunch of 'dancers' perform bad choreography with all the precision of a dance recital for kindergarten girls, and then some dick-weed who can't carry a tune in a bucket sings the most insipid love song in the history of music while strumming a guitar that sounds like a ukulele. Then Elizabeth Taylor spins a pinwheel to make Jerry commit badly staged murder to cover up the fact that she threw acid in the face of a lumpy alcoholic, following which Jerry dreams that he got his face painted at a Renaissance festival and leaps about like a Thompson's Gazelle while a montage of women point and laugh at him. Then a mechanical wind-up monkey shrieks that we should "GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!!!" and a bunch of people who previously got acid thrown in their face and were drawn by the Rat Fink Hod Rod guy and have apparently been living on Angel Dust and Pop Tarts break loose and rampage through an Inuit/Swedish/African dance revue until the police come and shoot everyone, including Jerry who also had acid thrown in his face just before the titular 'zombies' got loose. Oh, and there's no moral, THE END.

I'm making the movie sound more coherent than it really is.

And yet, the whole mess is somehow entertaining and amusing, and I ended up being glad I saw it. If I were to meet Steckler (unlikely), I'd shake his hand and comment on how weird the movie was and ask him "WHAT THE HELL WAS HE THINKING?" when he made it.

MST's riffs on the movie are inspired and their version is worth getting hold of. But the movie stand on its own as a lunatic pinball of weirdness, careening randomly off the walls of our expectations of pop culture.

See it if you have a fondness for silly stuff. Otherwise, stay far, far away.
42 out of 62 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dali with go-go girls and gorillas
El-Stumpo8 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Ray Dennis Steckler is true original American DIY auteur whose eccentric takes on pulp culture and almost expressionistic editing look and feel like the films of the Kuchar Brothers but sillier and without the self-conscious artiness. Free-form to the point of experimental, his movies Rat Pfink A Boo Boo and The Lemon Grove Kids Meet The Monsters are a triumph of determination and imagination over a complete absence of budget. There's no denying Steckler's charm; you just need a special kind of eyes to appreciate his innate genius.

So to The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies, Steckler's second film after 1962's Wild Guitar for Arch Hall Senior and Junior. It's billed as the world's first Teen Monster Musical, and I'm certainly not going to argue the point. Set in a carnival that by 1963 was already looking like a more seedy version of Nightmare Alley, we meet the boozy Marge Nielsen (Steckler's then-wife and favorite muse Carolyn Brandt), a lush whose endless tangos with the bottle are putting her dancing career on the skids. She crosses palms with Estrella, the carnival's resident fortune teller with an accent that would make Bela Lugosi blanch and with a wart the size of Romania, but the prognosis isn't good.

It's then "teens go wild", in one of the film's many schizophrenic leaps in internal logic. Meet Jerry and his mate, a pair of cheerful would-be delinquents who look suspiciously like Nicolas Cage's old man and Sean Penn Senior, as they pick up Angie, a good girl with a yen for adventures with bad boys. Jerry – played by Steckler as his on-screen alter ego "Cash Flagg", who obviously fancied himself as a receding Jimmy Dean - ditches his girl to watch the bump-and-grind routine of the exotic gypsy dancer Carmelita, who just happens to be the gypsy crone's sister. Between the two and their grotesque chain-smoking henchman (an unspecified rubber-faced stereotype that Goebells would have been proud of), they hypnotize Jerry with a crazy hypno-wheel.

We're never quite sure if Estrella the gypsy hates all men, or just the ones with penises. Whatever the reason, Jerry is now one of her back-room collection of hypnotized "zombies", hideous acid-scarred creatures (and I'm not talking about hippies here): hood up, eyes bulging, and going hammer and tongs at Carolyn Brandt with a knife. Fading in and out of the hypnotic state, he's haunted by visions of a bloodied Carolyn and, in the film's most perfectly realized scene, has an extended hallucination – it's Salvador Dali's dream sequence from Spellbound, but with ballerinas, go-go dancers and gorillas.

Words can't describe the experience of The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies, and its twisted variety format crossed with old-fashioned spook show, only with real-life Muppets. At times dreamlike and hyper-real, with stunningly garish color photography by Vilmos Szigmond, the film's weirdness is heightened by a seemingly endless parade of musical numbers, all filmed over one day on the same threadbare set until the dancers were on the point of collapse. The Rockettes they ain't, but the costumes are fantastic. You're left with the impression it's a script-less Bollywood production where most of the meager budget's been spent on papadums and silly putty.

Roll back to 1963 when The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies first opened – during the Freaks-inspired ending, hooded "zombies" would run through the crowd in rubber masks holding rubber knives, and scare the living Bejeebers out of an already-befuddled audience. I wish I could be in your house now, but like Santa Claus, there's a lot of children to visit. So, just imagine I'm coming up behind you as we let loose The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies.
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Proof again that the only bad film is a boring one!
cjmcgrane20 April 2004
I recommend this film for those of you who, like me, work out of the home and enjoy having warm, harmless, unimposing movies playing quietly in the background during the workday. Many critics have commented negatively about this movie's novel title, confusing plot (or lack thereof), queerly dated characters, unintelligible dialogue, garish color, inferior sound, etc. But in this connection, I can think of no other film that keeps on simultaneously garnering so much praise, while incurring an exactly proportionate censure, over precisely the same agreed "shortcomings." For example, some viewers balk that the film's dance numbers are both irrelevant and amateurish, therefore doubly unendurable. Others, like myself, find them so deliciously preposterous and unaccountably charming in their dated foolishness as to be worthy of repeated viewings. And this dualism just may be "Incredibly Weird. . ."s real strong suit. There's so much I could say in defense of this poorly-made film from a nicer, nostalgic time, when even Hollywood's low-rent district seemed sunny and safe- but much of it has already been said in these reviews, and very well at that. Let me confine my recommendation to this: if you're shopping to buy or rent a notoriously "bad" film, don't choose a jaded, overblown, written-by-committee, painfully self-conscious finger-wagger made c.1994 at a cost of over 50 million, and which was panned as a 1/2-star flop by every critic and moviegoer, yet managed to not only recoup its investment but launched three big-name careers in the process. No, friend, go with a stinker such as this fetid little endeavor, made on a shoestring, enlisting the dubious cooperation of an uninspired carnival sideshow troupe, and which best of all bears the boisterous but distinctive thumb-print of an overly-ambitious director/lead actor/ out-of-his-depth galoot like Ray Dennis Steckler. I couldn't explain it properly here in the space allowed, but "Incredibly Weird" seems to unintentionally exude a charmingly flatulent air biscuit of Americana; and if a film must have warts, this one has the ones that are best had. "Incredibly Weird . . ." - a pleasingly inept offering from the days when a film could be bizarre without giving in completely to the perverse, and could gain an audience with no visible means of sustaining one but its overwrought title and its hopelessly inept charm.
59 out of 72 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Greatest Title Ever!
...Not exactly a masterpiece of film-making though. "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?" - Which fan of cult cinema and amusing camp stuff could possibly resist a title like this? No one, of course, especially since Ray Dennis Steckler's 1964 film has the reputation of being one of the most outrageously awful things ever brought to screen. A reputation which is not completely justified, in my opinion, as while "The Incredibly Strange Creatures..." is doubtlessly a 'bad classic', it is in no way as awful as some other contemporary bombs, such as "Eegah" (1962) or the incredibly tedious "Beast of Yucca Flats" (1961), which also appear on the bottom 100 list of the all-time worst on this site. "The Incredibly Strange Creatures..." is stupid, ridiculous and miserably acted beyond belief, no doubt, but, hey - at least it is entertaining (which really cannot be said about "Eegah" or "The Beastof Yucca Flats"). As a matter of fact, this film is incredibly entertaining for its unintentional fun-factor, even though it sometimes gets very tedious in-between. It doesn't compare to the crème de la crème of bad movies, such as Ed Wood's wonderful "Plan 9 From Outer Space", but at least the film manages to be far more entertaining than some other films which share its bad reputation.

The most mixed-up thing about the film are actually not any Zombies (?), but the incredibly confused plot itself. Most of the film is set on a carnival, where a gypsy fortune teller is vengeful for whatever reason. Then there's a young couple who get mixed up by her desire for vengeance. And there's the couple's rock'n'roller friend with greasy hair. And there's an exotic dancer who likes to drink... or something. The plot really doesn't make a lot of sense, and one can be prepared to have forgotten half of it an hour after watching the film, but, as said above, at least it entertains. Overall this is recommendable to fans of bad cinema and cult stuff as well as people who simply like a good laugh. People who only like the "Citizen Kane" type of cinema should avoid this like the plague. There's no doubt that "The Incredibly Strange Creatures..." is incredibly awful, but neither is there a doubt that it's amusing.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hey, where's your sense of humor, folks?
inframan12 June 2000
I admit I first saw this on MST3K, and in that venue it was almost brilliant - no skit on the original Saturday Nite Live ever topped it. The awful make-up, the comically inept sidekick (wild & crazy guys come to life!), the riotous night club dancers, the super-cheesy zombies...It's hard to believe this movie was so deliberately inept without having some other (admittedly pretty subtle) agenda of humor. And, as someone has pointed out, the cinematography is pretty damn good. Well, however it came about, it's still a very watchable movie. Hey, have you sat through Con Air or The Rock (both with a lead who looks a lot like Cash Flagg to me).
25 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Cheesier than Velveeta
jtyroler8 March 2008
If you were born during the spring of 1965, you may have been conceived while this was playing at the drive-in. I watched this on TCM, which didn't have closed captioning as an option, so I don't know if a DVD offers captioning, but it would help. Part of the movie takes place at a carnival midway, which is cool, the rides, the burlesque show, fortune teller, etc. - this almost could pass for a Scooby-Doo episode, and without the song and dance numbers, probably would last as long as one.

Yes, songs and dance numbers in a horror (probably not the right genre) movie. It's low budget, it's cheesy, and gosh darn it, they made an effort to create this, uh, movie.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I like the "!!?" in the title
Mike Sh.8 January 2004
The more attentive (not to say anal retentive) out there will notice that I've reviewed this movie before. But in the five years or so since I last reviewed this, I've had the chance to see this movie again several times (but not in its non-MST3K format; I can't seem to find that anywhere).

I don't really think any more highly of this movie now than I did then. But there are aspects of it that fascinate me almost beyond my power to describe it. First, having been born in 1964, I'm generally fascinated by movies from that era just because they depict, in whatever small way, the world into which I was being born. Whether that movie is "Fail-Safe" or "Eegah!" doesn't seem to matter; I am gripped by the thought of it.

Another thing about this movie that grabs my attention is the hair. Bouffants galore! The period of about 1962-1965 seems to have been the Golden Age of the Marge Simpson 'Do. Some of these hairstyles actually seem to defy the laws of physics. And not just the women's hairstyles, either - the sky-high pompadour of the indescribable and incomparable Atlas King (who played Harold, the indeterminately foreign sidekick)has to be seen to be believed, just as his accent has to be heard to be believed, if not understood.

Then there's the music. There's certainly a lot of bad music out there, but most of it is insipid and unoriginal. The music in this movie is terrible, but it's terrible in a way that is unlike anything else I've ever heard; particularly inimitable is the somnambulistic cowboy folk song gurgling along in the background as our hero broods his way along a funicula (that's one of those elevated trains that carries people from the foot of a cliff to the top of the cliff, as in Quebec City). Most amazing about that song is the fact that it seems to be everywhere, as if a powerful PA system is playing it about half a mile away, but it turns out to be playing on a tinny-looking AM radio (must have been a prototype Bose stereo).

There's so much more - the really awful choreography, the oily faces shown an very, very tight close up, the fact that the movie is rather well photographed, but the sound is about as awful as any I've ever heard in a movie (maybe it was all recorded playing out of a tinny AM radio).

In short, this is a really, really terrible movie, but I love it anyway. All it needs is some real strippers for its girlie show....
11 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An incredibly strange and thus quite wonderful one-of-a-kind oddity
Woodyanders16 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
An incredibly strange and mixed-up movie indeed! This divinely demented Ray Dennis Steckler doozy actually inspired legendary late, great gonzo madman rock critic Lester Bangs to make a rare foray into wild-eyed film journalism in which he wrote a hilariously lengthy and thorough essay praising this picture to the high heavens for "Cream" magazine. That amazing trivia tidbit alone is a sterling testament to this wacky marvel's stupendously screwball greatness.

Sinister old gypsy fortune teller Madame Estrella (a nicely fat and juicy slice of eye-rolling villainous ham by the bewitching Brett O'Hara) who works in a seedy seaside carnival turns unfortunate guys into zombies by disfiguring their faces with acid and locks the groaning'n'moaning wretched skull-faced worms up in a closet. Meanwhile, mellow, hip-talking unemployed proto-slacker protagonist Jerry (Steckler in a spectacularly stolid performance) falls under the nasty old gypsy hag's evil spell, who along with her scrumptious stripper sister Carmelita (Steckler's ravishing real-life onetime hottie redhead wife Carolyn Brandt) hypnotizes our likeably deadbeat hero into becoming a crazed, knife-brandishing murderous maniac.

Okay, so the messy ramshackle narrative aimlessly (and amiably) meanders all over the place in a hopelessly haphazard manner, but it's this very undisguised all-out ineptitude which is part and parcel to this loopy winner's mesmerizingly askew off-center appeal. Sure, the clumsily choreographed bump'n'grind dance numbers set to raunchy scratchy saxophone music certainly don't hurt matters any; the fact that said burlesque dance routines are pretty racy and really quite sexy for their time only makes things even better. The astonishingly varied acting is another plus, encompassing both dismal flatness and hysterical histrionics in comparable measure (the sublimely incomprehensible Atlas King in particular is weirdly endearing as our hero's loyal best friend). Handsomely shot in beautifully ripe, resplendent, richly saturated color by ace cinematographer Joseph V. Mascelli, with able assistance from future big deal directors of photography Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, the film has an attractive slick look to it and sporadic exhilarating moments of boldly imaginative experimental visual razzle-dazzle which totally transcend the otherwise highly conspicuous spare change budget. A truly astounding kitsch landmark.
12 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Incredible, no...strange, yes...and the only real mixed-up zombies are the audience.
Nightman8517 January 2006
Young man falls victim to a carnival gypsy who has been turning the people who offend her into disfigured zombies.

Ledgendary alone for its insane title, this camp classic from B movie director Ray Dennis Steckler is just as bad as everyone says, but it's amusing enough drive-in fodder. This cheese opera has everything one would expect from a dirt-poor B horror film - lousy acting, cheap effects, saturated color, and less-than-impressive dialog. Not to mention the fact that nearly half of the film is made up of lame side-show musical numbers! In this case, that's just what makes it semi-entertaining. Yet director Steckler (who also stars in the film) does build a true atmosphere of weirdness. There's lots of shadowy imagery, one creepy montage for the opening credits, and a royally bizarre music score.

The cast isn't very impressive, with the exception of Brett O'Hara who comes off menacing enough as the villainous gypsy.

A flawed, yet truly strange cult film that only a B movie lover could enjoy! A real late-night classic.

** 1/2 out of ****
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I have to disagree with most of you - I love this movie
chexmix19 November 2006
I'm not sure how to articulate it ... I guess most of the commenters here would accuse me of simply having poor taste! ... but I have a real soft spot for this film. Yes, there is plenty that is "wrong" with it on a technical level, I guess, and no, there are no "stars" in it. And so on.

Perhaps it's simply that today you just /can't/ find films with this kind of ... cough, innocence. And no, I don't mean "innocence of basic film-making techniques," either, smartass. What I mean is you either can't find, or would spend a great deal of time looking for, another movie that is so obviously set a world apart from the financed-out-the-wazoo, massaged, plastic, Fun Factory-d, corporate "have your girl call my girl" and above all SAFE world of H-wood today. I don't say this only because Ray Dennis Steckler has pretty much confirmed his contempt for Hollywood in interviews (though that has endeared him to me even more).

Plus for gosh sake Steckler was 24 years old when he made it (on a shoestring). Relax and have fun. I'd much rather watch this a 10th or 20th time than ever subject myself again to a Robert Zemeckis "film." I just kinda picked 8 stars at random. The whole rating system falls apart for me here.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES Who Stopped Living And Became MIXED-UP ZOMBIES!!? (Ray Dennis Steckler, 1964) **1/2
Bunuel19766 June 2011
Legendary exploitationer in view of its lengthy and catchpenny moniker; amusingly, it was originally called THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURE OR: HOW I STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME A MIXED-UP ZOMBIE, causing Columbia to threaten suing over its similarity to Stanley Kubrick's DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1963) – with the films' respective directors even getting personally on the phone and Kubrick reportedly dropping the matter when Steckler himself suggested to modify his title in the way it now stands!

Even so, the film is really weird, not just for its macabre elements but for its being dubbed "The First Horror Musical"!; in fact, the narrative takes place around a sea-side luna park (this milieu seemed to be a favorite with indie horror fare around this time, being also at the center of both NIGHT TIDE {1961} and CARNIVAL OF SOULS {1962} – which, likewise, have become cult items albeit on their own artistic qualities rather than mere wacky eeriness!) and includes about a half-dozen musical numbers, none of them having anything remotely to do with the plot and a couple of them being cringe-inducingly bad into the bargain! Another notable aspect is the amateurish nature of the film, augmented by the soft Eastmancolor (the film was shot by the man behind the influential magazine "American Cinematographer", Joseph V. Mascelli, along with then-rookies Vilmos Zsigmond and an uncreditd Laszlo Kovacs!) and, frankly, the ragged state of the print from which the copy I watched was culled. The film is said to be made in a similar vein to the even more reprehensible works of Herschel Gordon Lewis but, though I did recently manage to acquire a few choice titles of his, somewhat ashamedly I admit that I have yet to check out any of them!

By the way, director Steckler himself also essays the leading role here under the ludicrous pseudonym of Cash Flagg – while one of the several women involved i.e. Carolyn Brandt was, for a time, Mrs. Steckler herself! He plays a balding rebellious type (whereas his pal, the no-less oddly-named Atlas King and who apparently furnished the dough when the production ran out of funds{!}, has a prominent rock'n'roll hairstyle) and she a good-looking dancer whose weakness for booze causes her to be embarrassed in front of a packed house! For the record, the horror traits come in instantly, as a villainous fortune-teller (with a conspicuous wart on her face!) is seen taking revenge on the man she is with, after foolishly admitting that he actually prefers her curvy stripper sister, by having her grubby and chain-smoking hunchbacked assistant (called Ortega) hold him upside down while she spills acid on his face (albeit from a bottle labelled "Poison")! Apparently, she keeps a room-ful of such disfigured punters in her tent (the "incredibly strange creatures" referenced by the title, though they are not technically "zombies", "mixed-up" or otherwise!) – no reason is given as to why or how come nobody ever hears or comes looking for them!

Anyway, when Brandt is threatened by her boss with the termination of her contract over the afore-mentioned inebriated conduct, she goes to the fortune-teller to learn what lies in store for her and predictably picks out the death card; panicking, she runs into the ghouls but manages to escape. Next up are the hero, his girl and the inseparable pal and, after she has her hand read, the protagonist is compulsively drawn to watching the stripper's act (which, of course, does not sit well with his sweetheart who storms off, accompanied by the dutiful friend). During the show, the hunchback turns up with a card from the dancer asking him to meet her backstage but, when he does, he comes face to face with her wicked sister who promptly hypnotizes him! We now revert to Brandt's resumed performance (emceed by a stand-up comic!), which is however cut short by the sudden appearance of a hooded and wild-eyed Steckler wielding a knife (a spellbound assassin was liable to be dubbed a 'zombie' before the term was inextricably linked with the flesh-eating living dead) and brutally attacking both the girl and her fair-haired partner (who actually looks a bit like Klaus Kinski)!

Of course, the next morning he does not remember anything but, when presenting himself to his sweetheart with the requisite apologies for his irrational behavior of the night before, he almost does an encore of his unwitting crime when the sun-bathing girl starts twirling an umbrella (thus evoking the whirling shapes that initially triggered him off) and he attempts to strangle her! At this, he runs off back to the carnival to try and make sense of the way his life is going but he only incurs the wrath of the fortune-teller who promptly fetches the acid bottle and disfigures him too! In the ensuing fracas, however, the other freaks are let out and they run amok in the luna park, causing no end of panic and mayhem (though the Police turn up almost immediately and start shooting them down no questions asked – still, with the fortune-teller, her sister and Ortega dead, they could never have gotten the story of what they were doing there anyway!). Steckler himself is chased all the way to the beach, with his girl and best friend also in pursuit – and, after a protracted sequence in which he staggers perilously between the force of the incoming waves and the slippery, jagged rocks, the protagonist too is killed by a cop's bullet.

Mind you, the film is not too bad and certainly undeserving of its ranking among IMDb's "Bottom 100"; however, I do feel that, had the musical numbers been dropped and more attention paid to plot, logic and characterization, it would have greatly benefited the end result: whether it would then enjoy the reputation it has in its present form is another thing entirely and, frankly, debatable...!
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If This Movie Was Well-Made, It Would Not Have Been Any Fun
Spycat25 January 2006

I saw this at the drive-in when I was just a little kid. The film was made in 1964, but I must have seen it around +-1970. Anyway, the newspaper advertised just what the tag-line for the film implied -- that Monsters would go around to each car and abduct people! For me, this was an irresistible enticement, and so I begged to be taken to see it, and finally won out.

About midway thru the film, the Live Invasion began! ...well...the "abduction" consisted of drive-in employees walking around in regular street clothes, sporting cheap plastic dime-store masks (the kind with the elastic string that always breaks) of some indefinite "monster". They would stop in front of a car, murmur an uninspired "boo", then proceed to the next vehicle to repeat the sequence. Looking around, I noticed that like me, no movie-goers had been taken prisoner. *sigh*

Having said that, the movie is a great deal of fun. Its cheesy and over-the-top, and that makes it a winner to me. People who complain that its a bad movie are the same as the folks who enjoy pointing out that pro wrestling is fake. They just don't get it.

The movie stars one of my favorite actors, Ray Dennis Steckler (AKA "Cash Flagg". Imagine a cross between Nick Cage and Pee Wee Herman(!)

His other cinematic delights include Wild Guitar, The Horny Vampire, Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, The Thrill Killers, and The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters. Watch them. Learn them.
27 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Quite possibly the weirdest movie I've ever seen, but not the worst
TheLittleSongbird2 June 2013
I saw this movie after it featured on MST3K, and the "Mystery Science Theater 3000: 10 Worst Movies They Riffed" made it sound every bit as bad as it was made out to be on the show(the episode was entertaining of course but not one of their best for me). Actually, I have seen far worse movies than The Incredibly Strange Creatures..., it is a bad movie but one of the worst ever made? Not for me. I actually thought the photography and editing were quite good and the make-up likewise. The Incredibly Strange also unique for the longest movie title ever(though also giving an indication of what you're in for), that I know of anyhow, and I loved Angela's hair. There is not much else though that is good though. I found very little to remember about the music itself, other than that it sounded like bad scratchy saxophone playing. The choreography is clumsy and it looks awkward too, and the musical numbers go on for too long and with no momentum. The script has a very ramshackle structure, with confused and crass at best dialogue. The story, one that is so paper-thin you can do it in 20 minutes easily, is just weird(the weirdest movie I've seen possibly, though I knew even from the title it was going to be), goes along at a snail's pace and doesn't make any sense, concluding with an ending that is rather pointless and will make you go "what?" The last act is the most eventful it gets, but in a way that doesn't gel with the rest of the movie and it has no kind of tension and such whatsoever. The zombies don't even appear until only the last act, they're alright-looking enough but don't do anything of note and their screen-time is short-lived. The acting is enough to make anybody cringe, Brett O'Hara in particular chews the scenery to pieces in the worst of ways. The actresses for Carmelita and Madison suffer from the fact that their characters don't seem to have any point in the story. To conclude, bad and brings the word weird to a whole new level, but I've seen worse. 3/10 Bethany Cox
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
David Lynch wishes he could make a movie like this.
arthurdamage13 February 2003
What can I say about the Incredibly Strange Creatures...I love this movie. I caught this movie on MST3K and was intrigued enough to find a copy of the movie to watch it without the call backs.

It's the story of lovable loser Jerry (played by director Ray Dennis Steckler, under the name Cash Flagg) who runs afoul of side show fortune teller Madame Estrella and her hirsute henchman Ortega, murder and mayhem ensue. During the course of this gripping "monster musical", you'll meet Jerry's unintelligible roommate Harold(who may be foreign or something), Jerry's helmet haired girlfriend, Angela, and ungainly dancer Marge (played by Steckler's one-time leading lady Carolyn Brandt, talentless stripper Carmelita, and other sketchy characters. The action is periodically interrupted by bizarre and vaguely unsettling musical numbers that add to this movie's nightmarish and surreal ambiance. If you enjoy Strange Creatures check out some of Steckler's other work, particularly The Thrill Killers and Rat Pfink a Boo Boo.

Favorite line:

Angela's mother: (Concerned over her daughter's relationship with Jerry.)

"He doesn't even come to the door for you." Angela: (In all seriousness) "He wouldn't be Jerry if he did."
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
For The Obscure Cult Film Enthusiast
drumfastdieyoung8 March 2008
I can only echo the observations on how poor every aspect of the movie is production-wise. However, if you're a fan of cult films like myself, you'll enjoy watching this. (And the soundtrack is pretty darn good,too.)

Ray Dennis Steckler stars in his own movie under his pseudonym "Cash Flagg".

The actors, lines, and scenes are forgettable.

However, you will not soon forget the movie itself.

I can bring myself to give this movie 8 stars for sheer historical/cult entertainment value.

Check it out if you have time.
17 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
How I wish I experienced the gimmick-era myself
duane-bradley8 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is undeniably the greatest title in film history. Unfortunately it is hard to tell what exactly it refers to. We have this gypsy fortune-teller at a carnival whose gigantic wart seems to be placed differently on her face between frames. She always get mad at the men who don't want to date her and throw acid in their faces before she get them locked up in a closet! Near the climax all these face-burned cretins will break out, for the audience who probably forgot them in the first place, now all wearing cheesy Halloween masks! But are they incredibly strange creatures of mixed-up zombies?

The actual plot is really a remake of 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' (1920), if anyone wants to believe that! The gypsy woman hypnotizes a young man played by the director under one of his various pseudonyms to become a mindless killer. Knowing that Ray-Dennis Steckler himself certainly was an incredible strange creature it could be him who become a mixed-up zombie. The plot was also used to justify the long shots in "hypno-vision". It is told that at the original cinematic run, actors would sneak around the audience wearing glow-in-the-dark masks and assault with rubber axes! Just another reason I'm sad that I never experienced these gimmick-days of horror movies!

The movie was even marketed as the "world's first monster-musical", but there are no songs to speak of! With that said, we do get long (lo-o-o-ong!) scenes of showgirls dancing.

Something that should be noted is, that for a no-budget feature the colors has turned out rather nicely. They might even look better than some studio productions of the same time. It even seems like the director favored this one as there often was a plug in form of posters in his other movies, like 'The Thrill Killers' or 'Rat Phink & Boo Boo'.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Like David Lynch,Luis Bunuel and Pedro Almodovar After Falling Into A Black Hole Together.
louellyne30 August 2012
Imagine those directors being sucked into that black hole, and being stretched and torn into many little pieces. Then,imagine that they are reconstituted into a hot mess of a cinema pile without regards to anything remotely resembling coherence, and maybe you can begin to approach this movie. I said approach, since you won't begin to understand it. In fact, I think that this movie must be seen as an acid-fueled dream,filled with bizarre and senseless images assaulting your eyes while frying your brain. I would like to comment on the cinematography, which is actually quite beautiful. I believe that it was done by Vilmos Zsigmond, who of course went on to do great work for much better films. In fact, the images he shoots for this picture go a long way towards giving it a nice,dream-like effect. Believe it or not, the very famous and credible Movies on T.V. by the great Steven Scheuer gave this title 2.5 stars our of 4, praising it mostly for the work of Zsigmond.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The incredibly horrid celluloid schlock that will make you want to stop living and suck out your soul
moviemeister114 July 2006
If there were only words in the English language to describe how luridly horrid this film really is.It features some of worst acting EVER,has reams of brain-numbing dialogue,and dance numbers so badly done they must have been choreographed by Satan himself.I would attempt to give you a plot outline,but I never could find anything that even RESEMBLED a plot line.If there was one,it was some sort of post psychotic,Tarintino/Hitchcock nightmare,but only in a horrible mind-devouring way.As if Kafka had written it after a four week acid trip/rotgut moonshine drunk.If that were it's only problem it would have been bad enough.But,the wost part is the absoluetly pathetic special effects/set design/costuming.All were absolutely lame to the max.

If you love terribly disgustingly awful films, then this is one you have to see.Otherwise,avoid this film like a dose of the clap.This movie will make you wish YOU COULD stop living,and become blind,deaf,or anything that will allow you to never see anything resembling this film.Ydnar
21 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's fun: that's all that matters.
dmacewen19 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This little, low-budget flick has a great deal of charm and is tons of fun to watch. This is not the so-called "so bad it's good" variety of film-making, like Plan 9 from Outer Space: it's not "bad" cinema, unless you're the kind of viewer who enjoys such middlebrow slop as Titanic and The English Patient. It's quirky, perverse, creative, and entertaining. Furthermore, the photography is excellent, which should come as no surprise: the cinematographer went on to write a classic instructional book on cinematography for film students. So if you're looking for something offbeat, and if John Sayles's films make you want to regurgitate all over the place, then place this one on your rental queue. Or better yet, buy it.
12 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Proof that Ray Dennis Steckler might have been a worse director than Ed Wood, Jr.
planktonrules13 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is the sort of film that bad film lovers naturally would watch and normal people would avoid. After all, given the film's horrible title, it's pretty obvious this isn't Shakespeare!! Me, being a bad film lover, felt a strong sense of obligation to watch this and Steckler's other "masterpiece" RAT PFINK A BOO BOO when they came on Turner Classic Movies recently.

The film has a plot, of sorts, but it is tenuous and at least half of the film is just padding! Steckler was able to get a bunch of 3rd rate performers doing a wide variety of horrid acts (probably from some skid-row night club) and simply filmed them--even the most mundane dancing and singing acts. Then, in a "clever" move, he built a plot around it by inserting a new acting sensation, Cash Flagg--who was actually Steckler himself! The plot, such as it is, is about an evil fortune teller and her henchman who hypnotize poor Flagg and turn him into a killing machine. And when they were done with using him, they did the only logical thing--they threw acid in his face and locked him in with a dungeon of freaks. However, the freaks broke loose and ran amok when they opened the iron door and the cops did what any policemen would do when they see horribly disfigured people--shoot them.

The acting is amateurish, the camera-work atrocious, the writing is practically non-existent and the film looks bad--so bad that I assume Ed Wood might have done a better job if he'd been given a chance. However, don't assume that means the film is unwatchable. For bad movie fans, it's so bad and so cheap that it's a definite must-see.
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed