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The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds (1965)

Johnson, an agent for the Liquor Control Department is dispatched to disband a gang of cut-throat still operators on an island in the everglades run by their leader "Doc". He is discovered ... See full summary »


Bert Williams


Bert Williams




Credited cast:
Bert Williams Bert Williams ... Detective
Ann Long Ann Long ... Showgirl
Chuck Frankle Chuck Frankle ... Harold
Jackie Scelza Jackie Scelza ... Lisa
Larry Wright Larry Wright
Sherry Saxe Sherry Saxe ... Patt (as Sherry Sax)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bruce Bates Bruce Bates
Harvey Ford Harvey Ford
Sheila Ford Sheila Ford ... Secretary


Johnson, an agent for the Liquor Control Department is dispatched to disband a gang of cut-throat still operators on an island in the everglades run by their leader "Doc". He is discovered by the moonshiners and nearly escapes by diving into the crocodile infested swamps. Completely exhausted by the long swim he stumbles and falls and is stabbed by a masked female killer that lurks along the beach every full moon. Finally making his way he stumbles along the Cuckoo Bird Inn run by Mrs. Pratt, a twice-widowed ex-showgirl and owner of the inn. She also has a beautiful daughter named Lisa who is kept chained up in the attic except for at night since she won't escape into the darkness that she fears. Harold, the caretaker of the inn is a taxidermist whose mental and physical deficiencies are advantageous to Mrs. Pratt Johnson is schemed against by the guests of the inn. In the meantime the masked killer has made many unsuccessful attempts on Johnson's life. Later he finds Doc's corpse ... Written by Bert Williams

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Actually filmed in the Florida Everglades...amidst snakes and gators! See more »


Drama | Horror

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Williams' children were on set many days after school due to the fact that him and Peggy both worked on the film. His 6 six year old daughter helped tape dailies together when Bert viewed them on a flatbed editor on set. See more »


The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds
Written by Peggy Williams
Performed by Peggy Williams and Jim Voytek
Guitar: Pete Bonanno
Bongos: Annette Tarrant
See more »

User Reviews

The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds Review.
23 November 2017 | by Ben-HibburdSee all my reviews

Long considered lost in the annals of cinematic history, a 35mm print of this Southern Gothic tale was discovered recently in a New York theatre. The film has since been restored and finally shown to audiences with the help of Mubi and film director Nicolas Winding Refn. This film is a classic case of a myth being built up so much that it doesn't quite live up to the reputation. The film is a passion project from star, writer, director, and editor Bert Williams. Williams plays an undercover cop called Johnson whose cover gets blown whilst trying to infiltrate a gang of violent moonshiners.

As he evades the gang through the murky swamps of the deep South, he finds himself washed on a small island. On this small island there's a dilapidated hotel with three somewhat off-kilter inhabitants. Johnson decides to stay at the hotel whilst the heat dies down, except strange occurrences keep happening to make him believe that he's not quite as safe as he thinks he is.

The film clearly draws a-lot of influence from past genre classics, most notably Psycho and Night of the Hunter. The film has an incredibly creepy atmosphere, alongside a couple of scenes with genuinely disturbing imagery. Unfortunately there's not much more to the film then that. The characters in this film aren't well defined or given much characterisation. The biggest issue I had was that the overall story felt dull, and it's not until the final twenty minutes when the plot starts moving that film becomes intriguing.

The film had a lack of urgency in the script and started to meander midway through. Due to the bland, uninteresting characters (and at times pretty bad acting), this film felt like a missed opportunity as the filler in between the interesting plot developments was poorly developed. The film would've made for a fantastic thirty minute short, but instead it's stretched out even with a short run-time of eighty one minutes. It's a shame because the film has some really great moments but not enough to sustain a feature film. In the end it's a film worth seeking out if you have Mubi for the rarity alone. However what you'll get is a B-movie mash up of Psycho and Night of the Hunter intersected with strikingly original moments that'll make you think this could've been a really great film.

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Release Date:

16 October 2017 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Violent Sick See more »

Filming Locations:

Miami, Florida, USA


Box Office


$127,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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