Wednesday, 24 August 2011

House on Bare Mountain (1962)

House on Bare Mountain belongs to a very obscure exploitation movie sub-genre indeed, the monster nudie picture. Nudie-cutie movies were highly profitable, and so were monster movies, so adding monsters to a nudie movie would surely be a surefire winner. That was the theory anyway.

The nudie-cutie itself came into existence when the US Supreme Court ruled that nudity was not in itself obscene. Exploitation movie producers still had to tread warily though. Nudity might be legally permissible but sex was another matter. So the trick was to make movies with lots of naked women in completely non-sexual situations. It’s a tribute to the ingenuity of exploitation film-makers that they managed to find do many ways to do just that.

The first solution was the nudist camp movie, but this formula proved to be much too limiting. In 1959 Russ Meyer came up with a better solution, adding a plot (a very very thin plot but it was better than nothing) and comedy. The result was The Immoral Mr Teas which was hugely successful. Combining nudity and comedy was a kind of American tradition - this had been the basic formula for burlesque with comics alternating with strippers.

House on Bare Mountain follows the same formula but with added monsters. Well really only one monster, a werewolf. Something Weird Video has paired this one with another monster nudie feature, Kiss Me Quick.

Co-producer Bob Cresse also stars. Cresse was not the most popular person in the exploitation movie business and thus bills himself in this movie as Lovable Bob Cresse.

The plot is simple. Grannie Good (played by Cresse in drag) runs a small but select school for genteel young ladies. It makes an effective cover for her real business, which is bootlegging. To assist in this side of the business she has a werewolf. The advantage of employing werewolves is that you don’t have to pay them very much, and they usually don’t belong to unions. The operation has been running very smoothly but now Grannie Good suspects there’s a spy in their midst, that one of her girls may be working for the police. She turns out to be half-right.

The young ladies are most fairly well behaved but they do have a great deal of trouble keeping their clothes on. But since it’s an all-girls school and the only staff member is Grannie Good no-one worries very much if the girls don’t bother too much with clothing.

It’s moderately amusing but lacks the anarchic quality and the manic energy that made
Kiss Me Quick considerably more entertaining.

It might be a little short on monsters but there’s certainly no shortage of young ladies. All of whom takes their clothes off. Frequently. Very frequently. This being 1962 there’s no frontal nudity but there are bare bottoms and bare breasts in abundance. And being 1962 there are also beehive hairdos and other 60s treats.

Ultimately the question of whether a movie like this is worth seeing comes down to one thing - does it include go-go dancing? In fact it not only includes go-go dancing, it includes naked go-go dancing.

The print looks remarkably good and you get two movies plus a host of extras, so if you have a liking for the weird and wonderful world of 60s sexploitation this is a worthwhile buy. Very tame by todays standards but that’s part of the charm of the nudie-cutie.

No comments: