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

User Reviews

Review this title
127 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
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.
11 out of 12 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.
43 out of 64 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
22 out of 35 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...
11 out of 11 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.
61 out of 74 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?
26 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not so bad
mauriciribera20 September 2005
I took it due to its title and cover. I would like to add that it includes some strange moments and odd filming, even raccord mistakes, but I recognize that it is not so bad as people say. The psychedelic stuff, the low-fi filming and the exotic dances and music are among the best elements of the film. Sometimes images are too dark, but add a creeper atmosphere to the final result. Some sequences appear to be cut and it can be easily appreciated. The sound has very poor quality on VHS. I have not been able to check the DVD version. Check Psycho-Beach party for a better similar movie. I also really enjoyed watching Barbarella.
7 out of 8 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.
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).
26 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
See it for the Cyclone Racer
mk422 August 2001
The only thing this low-budget piece of garbage has going for it is capturing the true white trash feel of the legendary Nu-Pike amusement zone in Long Beach, California during its decline. There are spectacular shots of the late, lamented Cyclone Racer roller coaster (built in 1930...razed in 1968) that are just too good to pass-up. The opening sequences in the park are worth it...a time machine back into the pre-lawsuit days of the unsanitized thrill-ride experience. During these scenes, the shoddiness of the movie's production values ring true bringing a welcome realism to the film that, alas, dissipates once the "real" action begins. At this point, the movie makes no sense whatsoever. See it for the Cyclone Racer...the only real "star" in the picture (even though it's just a cameo role).
27 out of 48 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
4 out of 5 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.
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.
14 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
not as bad as I expected.
AlanBryan211214 April 2008
I gave it a 4.

5 notable things:

1. I loved Angela's Helmet Hair. Gorgeous Big Hair. I could watch that early scene of her talking with mom (before Jerry arrives) over and over. OK--I've revealed my big hair fetish.

2. Cash Flagg/Steckler as Jerry reminds me of Nick Cage.

3. Cash Flagg is Cornhoolio! When killing people he pulls up his hood. Now I'm 48 and I watched some Beavis & Butthead in my day so when I saw the scenes with his hood up all I could think of was "Beavis/Flagg is Cornhoolio!" (Remember when Beavis was Cornhoolio in the B&B movie?)

4. The Cops shoot first. These guys weren't from Adam-12!

5. Overall the film looked pretty good.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
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!
41 out of 49 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.
Awsomely Bad
thepinkmenace26 March 2005
This film is very bad and I cannot lie. You other guys can't deny... Okay it is so awful that it is short of brilliant. But the brilliance frightens you into thinking it's bad. On the other hand this intrigues you into believing that you are enjoying yourself when you are really having a stroke. But then when you recover and get out of the hospital you decide to rent it because you can't remember it. It slowly bores you to sleep so when you wake up you realize that you've slept for a week. Okay... Maybe that was the drugs but by this time you have to return the movie. You rent it again and think that this time will be different and you will drink lots of coffee to keep you awake. When the movie is finally over you wonder what the hell you were thinking and proceed in destroying your VCR. This movie is in the end bad..... Oh and my favorite part is when the zombies randomly come in at the end.
11 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You Feelthy Peegs
postman-1328 May 2000
Incredibly strange describes this one to a tee. You'll find more ham here than in a dozen hog farms.

There's two of the worst attempts at stereotypical accents, Harold sounds like Latka's neighbor, ("Waat d'yu tink weer heer for, tweet?") and the fortune teller is so over the top with her "jeep-see" dialect I'm surprised she doesn't have a nosebleed.

Also there's Ortega, wearing a rubber mask and an obvious pillow under his coat. He doesn't speak much, our Ortega, he just grunts and puffs away on his Camels.

Ray Dennis Steckler, the director, also stars as a early sixties slacker with a rodent's face. No, not makeup or a mask, that's his real face. He drifts through life until the fortune teller gives him a new career opportunity, mass murderer!

Bizarre music, drug-like dream sequences, pitifully ugly dancer/strippers and singers, interminably long footage of carnivals, and very poor sound round out this one as another MST3K special. I gave it a 2, because I reserve my 1's for painfully bad cinema. This one doesn't maim, it just might cause contusions
8 out of 17 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.
The title alone is a mouthful
bat-530 June 1999
I nearly fell out of my seat watching this hodge podge on MST. The acting, the script, the direction, and the amazing Ortega make for a very strange and confusing time at the movies. Is there a plot on this one? I really can't tell. There's zombies, fortune tellers, Czech roommates, fey brothers, lame strip tease numbers and Ray Dennis Steckler doing his best Nicolas Cage impression. The part that nearly made me lose it was during that weird dream sequence. Strippers dancing around, Ray doing interpretive dance, spinning whirlpool designs. I know how Tom Servo felt. Odd bit of trivia, Vilmos Zsigmond shot this film. Come to think of it, it was shot rather well.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Terrible and Boring
gavin69428 May 2014
Jerry falls in love with a stripper he meets at a carnival. Little does he know that she is the sister of a gypsy fortune teller whose predictions he had scoffed at earlier. The gypsy turns him into a zombie and he goes on a killing spree.

The film was originally released by Fairway-International Pictures, Arch Hall, Sr.'s studio, who put it on a lower half of a double bill with one of his own pictures. Later, it was matched with "Beast of Yucca Flats", but working with Hall seems far more appropriate -- his films are notoriously trashy, and he had just worked with Steckler on "Wild Guitar" two years prior.

There is really nothing redeemable about this film. Once it gets going, it is tolerably bad, but at least 75% seems to be nothing more than a showcase of women singing and dancing. This adds nothing to the plot. The sound is awful, and cuts out in some places, though even if it were fixed it may not do anything to improve the overall quality of this boring bomb.

Had it not been for a catchy title, this film would have faded into obscurity fifty years ago already...
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What Can I Say?
Flixer195723 August 2002
Warning: Spoilers
**May Contain Spoilers**

What can I possibly say about this turkey that hasn't already been said? Probably nothing, but that's never stopped me before. A fortune teller, a hunchback and a leggy stripper star in a cheap carnival where nasty patrons are caged like animals after having acid thrown in their faces. The good news is that these freaks eventually escape and raise havoc. The bad news is that in the meantime, you have to sit through "The World's First Monster Musical." Stripper Carolyn Brandt appears onstage with holes in her stockings. A stupid emcee tells bad jokes in monotone. There are slow, lame love songs, soporific dance numbers and a hypnotic spiral that recurs with annoying frequency. The interior photography by William (Vilmos) Zsigmond is way too dark, probably due to dime-store budget constraints rather than any failing on his part. Apparently afraid that his half-dozen fans couldn't get enough of him, producer/director Steckler shows up under the alias of Cash Flagg. His character--one of several "teenagers" who look as old as the adults--is hypnotized, which doesn't take long; he picks up a knife and commits some violence of the "painted-on stage blood" variety. The villains all have Mexican names like Estrella, Carmelita and Ortega and one of them has an insultingly broad accent. Steckler would never get away with such characterizations today. Ultimately the most mixed-up zombies of all were viewers trying to stay conscious until the end. At some showings actors in monster masks rushed out to terrorize the patrons. That's one way to wake up an audience. I wish I could have seen theater employees trying to fit that outrageous title onto the marquee. A video dealer once told me that there were three directors whose work he couldn't stand: Al Adamson, Andy Milligan and Ray Dennis Steckler. From what I've seen Steckler makes those other two look like Fellini and Bergman by comparison.
3 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.
26 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Mixed-Up Fun Movie!
dancingcancer4114 May 2005
To tell you the truth, a film with a name as such and a plot like the one this movie has, I wonder how it's slipped past me watching it for so long (it's been about a month since I've bought it). As I read other people's comments on this movie, I seem to think that I might very well be one of the only people that really enjoyed this movie. Not to say it didn't have bad elements, it did, but as an overall picture it was a fun film to watch. On a budget of $38,000, the most money that Ray Dennis Steckler ever had to make a film, you can't really expect a whole lot, yet he did seem to get a real bang for his buck. Yes, the movie can be a little boring or tedious at parts, but it's all part of the Incredibly Strange experience! If you go into the movie not expecting much (as I did) I think that you'll be pleasantly surprised. It's at least a movie that is fairly interesting and very original, which is more than I can say about a majority of the films coming out today, especially in the horror genre. A good movie to not take seriously and just enjoy.
10 out of 12 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."
12 out of 13 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