Thursday, August 18, 2011

Son of Buddha Manstein!

Buddha Man is back with a new pair of feature films -
back to back!

Ring of Fear (Warner Bros., 1954) Now here's the kind of movie they truly do not make anymore: how about a circus-set revenge flick starring lion tamer Clyde Beatty and author Mickey Spillane as themselves? The story has Beatty as the owner of a circus (which he really was in addition to his big cat duties). Former circus employee Dublin O'Malley (Sean McClory - Them!) - and no, that name is not supposed to suggest a specific ethnic origin for this guy - well, Dublin is first seen meeting with a board of psychiatrists who find that he might have homicidal tendencies, a slight understatement in diagnosis. In fact, seemingly moments later, O'Malley kills a guard, escapes from the "rest home", and then kills a railroad worker for good luck. And it is good luck, because as is always the case in sequences like this, he takes the dead guys clothes, and they fit. He then heads back to the Clyde Beatty Circus, having carried on a one-sided long distance relationship with aerialist Valerie (Marian Carr - The Indestructible Man), who is now married to her partner. O'Malley coincidentally also wants revenge against Beatty for laying him off.

Sean McClory - the best dressed psycho in the business.
 As the bodies pile up, Beatty is at a loss to figure out who it could be. Certainly not the guy he previously fired who just happens to have shown back up just as the murders started? So Beatty asks Mike Hammer creator Mickey Spillane to drop by and look into the situation, and the show's general manager, Frank Wallace (Pat O'Brien - Fighting Father Dunne), agrees it's a good idea so he can stop having to be the lead in the picture since Beatty knows that as an actor he makes a good lion tamer. Spillane brings in his pal - little-known tough guy actor Jack Stang - since he always wanted Stang to play Mike Hammer - but they couldn't use the Hammer name here because the rights were tied up with other producers, so Stang plays himself as well. Eventually O'Malley turns loose a man-eating tiger and everyone is in danger of being eaten by the big kitty. Can Spillane solve the mystery before the lunatic spills any more blood?

Jack Stang hopes the audience might help him wrestle the cone
away from Mickey Spillane.

Man, that's some movie entertainment right there - watching real people play themselves not particularly well, and watching the bad guy chew on the scenery like he hasn't eaten in weeks. The script here was co-written by Paul Fix - the marshall on TV's The Rifleman - and the picture was directed by James Edward Grant with an uncredited assist from William Wellman. Also uncredited as a producer is John Wayne - if only he had cameoed, this might have been an absolutely essential flick. As it is, it's still some finely overwrought melodramatic nonsense done to a T in very widescreen and Technicolor, and it is well worth a watch for those so inclined.

Zipperface (Shiman Productions, 1992)  In a non-descript looking Los Angeles, a crazed serial killer terrorizes the nights. Unfortunately, due to the bondage headgear he wears, he is stuck with the name Zipperface, and I think people's reactions when he introduces himself are the reasons he kills... 

Meet Zipperface. Stop laughing.
 A lady cop (I'm not naming the actors in this flick - most, if not all, only have this movie on their resume - so let's save them the embarrassment nearly twenty years later...) ahem. Excuse me. A lady cop is assigned to the case with her older male partner, and they soon find themselves embroiled in the kind of murder case where everyone they meet has undercover connections to each other and/or secrets to hide, meaning any of them might be the psycho. Who could it be, and what will it take to make him stop killing night after night after night...?

Man this movie bites. Make up your own joke.
 Simply put, this is a lousy shot-on-video serial killer flick starring no one famous and used to pad the broadcast day on Showtime in the mid 90's where somehow it ended up in my collection by having the incredible luck to air right before a "Roger Corman Presents" movie I was capturing with the VCR timer.
 I set that sucker an hour and a half earlier, and now I own one of the worst slasher movies ever made! Awesome! In any case, there are no cool character actors, there's no gore, and there's only a smidgen of nudity showcased here; and as a result not a lot of hook to hang your entertainment hat on . The cheap look of the videography puts the final nail in this thing's cinematic coffin and leads me to zip this one up with a loud SKIP IT!

And that's as far as I'm going with this post. Everyone take the rest of the night off too, and always remember... Zipperface really sucks.


  1. omg where did you get this. I'm searching for this movie for ages! (and yeah, I know that it's awful)

  2. Maynard - I really did catch it in front of a Roger Corman Presents movie I was taping in the 90's - I set the timer earlier either knowing they had a horror flick called Zipperface on, or because I knew they'd been showing such movies in the slot before the weekly Corman picture and I took the shot. Finally, about 10-15 years later I finally put the tape in and watched the thing. Whew! Was that ever worth the wait! Contact me through email if you want to chat some more about it - and thanks for coming by and commenting!