Dropping today is the latest collection of obscure flicks from Something Weird Video titled Weird-Noir. Claiming to offer “sex, crime, and just plain weirdness in this collection of b-movie noirs from the bowels of cinematic strangeness!” Being a fan of the weird and wild world of Something Weird I was thrilled to sit down and indulge in this collection. Here’s a breakdown of the collection by title. Synopsis is direct from DVD cover art.
Girl On The Run (1953): A hootchy-kootchy whodunit set at a small, seedy carnival where a reporter tries to discover who killed his boss while his girlfriend inexplicably joins the burlesque show! Pure carny-noir. And see if you can spot a young Steve McQueen as one of the carnival’s customers.
The Naked Road (1959): When a woman is left with a corrupt Judge as collateral for a speeding ticket (say what!?!), a Good Samaritan bails her out… then holds her prisoner as a future sex slave in this utterly oft-kilter, truly weird Weird-Noir.
The Seventh Commandment (1961): A preacher with amnesia and the power to heal (!) quickly plunges into the gutter when his ex-girlfriend-with-a-grudge shows up to blackmail him in this marvelous pulp mix of sex, revenge, and outright obsession! Hallelujah, brother, hallelujah!
Fear No More (1961): Accused of killing a woman on a train, Sharon Carlin runs home to find another corpse there, too! Oh yeah, did we mention she’s also a mental patient accused of murdering her boss? It all proves once again that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you!
Fallguy (1962): Hot shot teen Sonny Martin stops to help the victim of an auto accident but quickly realizes he’s stepped into a murder in progress. Worse, Sonny is not only framed for the murder by the mob, but a professional hit man is already hunting him down. Yipes! Hasn’t Sonny heard that no good deed goes unpunished?
Stark Fear (1963): After the abusive husband of cult fave Beverly Garland disappears, you’d think she’d celebrate. Instead, she tries to find the bum and, as expected, things get worse. The original theatrical ads warned: “A New Kind of Suspense as You Follow the Psycho into a New Dimension of Horror!” Damn right.
Those of you out there familiar with Something Weird should know what the company’s all about, movies so damn strange nobody’s ever tried to distribute them. With a back catalog filled with some of the best from David F. Friedman, Doris Wishman, and Herschell Gordon Lewis, most of what is released is exploitation gold at it’s finest. Just so you go in with the right frame of mind, Weird-Noir is not like most past releases. Weird-Noir is extremely tame, and I believe Turner Classic Movies could show any of these movies in the middle of the afternoon with no objections. Little to no on screen violence, no on screen sex or nudity. Needless to say, I was disappointed when I realized that this collection was nothing more than lost crime drama’s of the 50’s and 60’s.
Even though I was overall dissapointed in this collection, there are a few really fun movies that are well worth checking out. The Naked Road, The Seventh Commandment, and Fear No More are easily the highlights of this collection. All of them take the crime drama into some twisted areas, and are all a lot of fun to watch. They were also three of the most action oriented movies of the collection.
Definitely for film historians, Weird-Noir is a twisted look back at low budget crime drama of the 50’s and 60’s. As far as Bloodsprayer readers go, expect little action, no blood, and surprisingly no skin. I’m glad I checked it out, and I would definitely recommend watching some of the included movies (especially for the $20 list price), but if you’re looking for weird and wild fun like most Something Weird releases, know what you’re getting into. It’s pretty tame.