5. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)
Less a movie than one outrageous set piece after another, this would-be art film tells the story of a demon who somehow transformed into a four-poster bed capable of eating human beings by sucking them inside and digesting them with flesh-stripping gastric juices. After each “meal”, the bed spits out the bones and belches loudly.
Got that? There’s more: the movie is narrated by one of the bed’s first victims, who is now stuck in limbo behind a painting on the wall, forced to listen to the bed snoring and feasting for the rest of eternity. We also learn what the bed is ‘thinking’ – whenever a potential victim appears, we hear excited heavy breathing on the soundtrack.
The victims are hippy chicks and stoner dudes who think nothing of sleeping in a bed stored in a stone crypt in the middle of nowhere, little realizing that this one has super powers – it can open/close doors, light fires and even manages to decapitate one unfortunate with the gold chain around her neck.
Strangely, writer/director George Barry never made another movie.
4. Rat Man (1988)
Any hope that this was going to be a superhero parody in the vein of Ray Dennis Steckler’s Rat Pfink A Boo Boo was quelled by the tagline: “He’s the critter from the shi**er!”
In the main story, swimsuit model Eva Grimaldi is taunting her photographer (“The only thing he’s got that clicks with me is a shutter”) when an attack by the eponymous creature, who does indeed emerge from a latrine, forces them to seek help at a nearby doctor’s residence.
Unfortunately, the doc seems to know more about ol’ ratface than Ms Grimaldi is comfortable with, ultimately ranting about how his “Greatest achievement” was to fertilize a monkey ovum with the sperm of a rat, which he thought would win him the Nobel Prize but instead created a monster (what’re the odds?).
Intercut with this is the arbitrary sub-plot of sister Janet Agren (City Of The Living Dead) and writer David Warbeck (The Beyond) searching for Grimaldi by puttering about in dark, deserted houses and storming ideas for Warbeck’s new novel. Since they never do very much or share screen time with the other performers, their scenes feel like an afterthought tacked on in post-production, as does the abrupt, unbelievable ending.
3. Robot Monster (1953)
Take a $40-a-day stuntman wearing a gorilla suit and a diving helmet, have him wipe out humanity (except for six people hiding in Bronson Canyon) with stock footage of bombed cities and you have this 1953 3D oddity, described by Leonard Maltin as “hilariously, embarrassingly awful.”
Ro-Man (George Barrows) is a “robot man” from the planet Ro-Man, which has declared war on Earth for… oh, some reason or other. Director Phil Tucker couldn’t afford to stage the invasion, so he relies on stock footage lifted from One Million BC (1940) instead. He also couldn’t afford sets, so most of the picture takes place outdoors, with six of the stiffest actors you’ve ever seen delivering lines like “You’re so bossy you ought to be milked before you come home at night.”
The least competent alien ever to arrive on Earth, Ro-Man spends most of his time living in a cave with a bubble machine, and proves surprisingly easy to defeat. When a character calls him a “pooped-out pinwheel” before running away, Ro-Man stands there shaking his fist in the air, as he is wont to do to anyone more than three feet away.
2. Queen Kong (1976)
This is the 70s British sex comedy equivalent of Dino De Laurentiis’ King Kong remake, which means that it was made for about as much as an episode of The Benny Hill Show, with similar jokes.
Venturing to “Lazanga, where they do the konga”, Robin Askwith is kidnapped by the bikinied natives (led by Valerie Leon’s “Queen of the Nabongas”) who want him as a mate for their goddess, Queen Kong. Portrayed by a female dancer in the World’s worst monkey suit, and looking even lamer than the creature in King Kong Escapes (1967), Queenie fights a plastic pterodactyl and, in a scene so bad it looks like a Saturday Night Live parody, a T-Rex that knocks over the “scenery”.
Subdued by a bomb with BOMB written across the front, Kong is captured and taken to London where she’s displayed as “The Greatest Show On Earth”, but of course she breaks free and rampages through the city, stealing the crown jewels before heading towards Big Ben.
It’s at this point that Askwith delivers a stirring speech about female empowerment that brings hookers, housewives and bunny girls to the streets, waving placards and chanting, “Queen Kong – you’re our Queen!”, which naturally convinces the Government to send Queenie “back to Africa”.
1. From Hell It Came (1957)
A picture guaranteed to bring out the worst puns imaginable (“His bark’s worse than his bite”, “what a sap”, “surely knot” etc.), From Hell It Came convincingly depicts the “old legend” of Tabanga, the tree monster who “walked to avenge its wrongs.”
On a “savage island” in the South Seas, populated by white English-speaking extras, a Prince named Kimo is sentenced to death by ceremonial dagger for supposedly murdering a chief. But every b-movie fan knows that when a wrongly-convicted man swears vengeance on his persecutors before being buried in a hollow tree trunk, it’s only a matter of time before he returns as another actor in a silly costume.
Inside the creature costume, former wrestler Chester Hayes had problems of his own as the chicken-wire frame often came loose, cutting the actor and causing the suit to split in the legs, almost revealing his pants.
Unlikely to scare anyone except the film’s financial backers, who likely imagined the shirts disappearing off their backs, Tabanga was designed by an uncredited Paul Blaisdell which isn’t too hard to guess as the ambulatory antagonist possesses the same fluid grace as his finest creation, the conical cucumber creature from Roger Corman’s It Conquered The World.