Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ghost Of Dragstrip Hollow!

I don't know what made me watch Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow -- really I don't. Maybe it's the oddball blending of hotrods and haunted houses and I had a lame curiosity to see how this shambles might unfold. It was a shambles and it did unfold, but weirdly it was fascinating to watch.

The reason is simple - Paul Blaisdell. Paul Blaisdell was a monster maker on the cheap who worked for Roger Corman, the meister of many a low-budget bonanza. Contracted to develop weird creatures of all stripes for movies which offered only really exposure Blaisdell managed somehow to make the absurd fall into place. If the phrase "suspension of disbelief" ever meant anything, it's what happens when you behold a Blaisdell monster amble onto the screen.

This movie begins as a hotrod movie, dedicated to teen car culture of the late 50's. Hipster lingo and beach music dominate a story of a hot-rod gang trying to go legit and find success of sorts in the adult world which looks down upon their hobby. The movie works mightily to make hot-rodding seem like a normal teen activity and suggests that it can be pursued with relative safety and order if the adults would only see their way clear to give the kids a chance. There are glimmers of rumbles as rival hotrodders show up and make some noise but any action, apart from a race at the very beginning of the movie is off-screen.

The movie gins up finally to its main point when the hot-rodders looking for a new hangout try out an old haunted house. Despite all manner of noises, groans, moans, and visitations they remain committed to the joint and hold a ghost ball which serves as good cover for the monster to slither out among them unnoticed. That monster is quite recognizably the "She-Creature" from the movie of the same name, the creation of Paul Blaisdell.

As the movie winds up, the monster is unmasked and it turns out to be the monster-designer Blaisdell himself who proclaims that he's done with the business. As it turns out, he was and went off to work as a carpenter and on the fringes of the movie business until his untimely death.

This ain't a good movie by any stretch, but it does hold your attention somehow, like a car wreck designed by Dali. See for yourself.

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