My Grindhouse Double Feature

No, I’m not talking about that new over hyped Tarantino/Rodriguez flick that critics are drooling over and will no doubt be #10 on the IMDb Top 250 movie list by Monday.

Who needs phony scratches on a 50 million dollar movie when you can watch the real thing? Believe me when I tell you that there are millions of no-budget movies you’ve never seen filled with really bad actors, poorly written scripts, plenty of sex, gratuitous violence and unintentional laughs that are twice as entertaining as anything you’ll find at the multiplex this weekend.

Over at The Horrorblog’s Weekly Roundtable participants were asked to schedule our ideal grindhouse line-up. My answer was a double feature of the sexploitation classic Deadly Weapons (1974) with the blaxploitation classic Welcome Home Brother Charles (A.K.A. Soul Vengeance, 1975).

With The Bleeding Tree’s Trashy Movie Celebration Blog-a-thon already kick-starting into high gear, I figured I’d elaborate a little bit more on why these two films would make up my ideal grindhouse double bill.

Deadly Weapons was made by the late great Doris Wishman, who is the only woman filmmaker I know of that deserves the Trash Queen Crown. Doris Wishman made lots of sleazy films in the sixties and seventies with titles like Diary of a Nudist (1961), Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965), Another Day, Another Man (1966), My Brother’s Wife (1966) Keyholes Are for Peeping (1972) and A Night to Dismember (1983). At a time when very few women were working behind the camera, Doris Wishman was churning out sexploitation films at an impressive rate.

Doris Wishman was not a great filmmaker, but she was creative and even in her most sleazy sexploitation movies you can find interesting ideas not fully realized due to budget constraints. There’s a somewhat surreal element in some of of her films and most of them were dubbed, which added to their other-worldy quality. She couldn’t afford to shoot sound movies so Doris would add in the dialogue later, sometimes even using her own voice for the female characters. This style of renegade filmmaking forced Doris to waste lots of time focusing her camera on inanimate objects or in the case of Deadly Weapons, giant boobs.

Her 1974 film Deadly Weapons stars the big busted Chesty Morgan, who’s out for revenge after the mob kills her man. She goes undercover as a stripper and uses her giant boobs as “deadly weapons” to smother the murderous mob gang. Chesty Morgan stumbles through the film looking tired, confused and a bit miserable at times. The movie is supposed to be sexy, but that’s seriously open to debate.

Adult’s Only Trailer for Deadly Weapons (obviously not work safe)

The second film in my ideal grindhouse double feature is Jamaa Fanaka’s 1975 flick Welcome Home Brother Charles. I’m afraid I don’t know a lot about the director and a quick google search didn’t bring up much information. I do know that Jamaa Fanaka was born in Mississippi and created some great blaxploition flicks including Emma Mae (A.K.A. Black Sister’s Revenge, 1976) and Penitentiary (1979), as well as the utterly bizarre and highly entertaining Welcome Home Brother Charles.

In Welcome Home Brother Charles Marlo Monte plays Charles Murray, a drug dealer who was wrongly put in jail and now seeks revenge after the corrupt cops almost cut off his manhood. Unlike most blaxploitation flicks Charles doesn’t use guns, his fists or kung fu to get back at his enemies, instead he strangles them with his giant penis. Yes, you read that right. Charles uses his giant slab of man meat to choke his hapless victims to death.

If you aren’t laughing yet you will be once you watch Welcome Home Brother Charles, but the movie is not all comedy. It actually takes itself really seriously and there’s plenty of cheer inducing moments involving Charles seducing women and getting back at the white devils who are trying to bring him down. The African American actors all act circles around the white actors in the movie and Marlo Monte seems to genuinely be channeling his inner rage to portray the highly volatile Charles Murray.

Adult’s Only Trailer for Welcome Home Brother Charles

If you want to plan an entertaining grindhouse double feature to watch in the comfort of your own home I highly recommend the double dose of killer body parts that Deadly Weapons and Welcome Home Brother Charles offers. You’d be hard pressed to find a more trashy pair of flicks and both movies are available on DVD.

I’ll share my official contribution to the weekend long Trashy Movie Celebration Blog-a-thon tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “My Grindhouse Double Feature

  1. I saw Double Agent 73 at a drive-in in Buffalo, New York, sometime between 1976 and 1978. It was on a triple bill with George Romero’s Jack’s Wife and Mario Bava’s Four Times That Night. You could say that was the grindhouse l’age d’or!

  2. Kimberly: I have to be in awe of you when you write about a film I’ve never heard of, in this case Brother Charles. As for Grindhouse, I suspect the better reviews will come from those who’ve never even bothered to see a random DVD from Something Weird, or have any first hand familiarity with Tarantino’s frames of reference. My introduction to Chesty Morgan was when a photo of her topless was actually published in the NYU newspaper I wrote for, sometime around the release of the Wishman film.

  3. Flickhead – What a great triple bill that must have been! I love Bava’s Four Times That Night and Double Agent 73 is fun stuff. I’ve never seen the Romero film you mentioned and now I’m curious about it.

    Curt – Glad you enjoyed Grindhouse. I’ve never been a fan of Rodriguez or Tarantino’s movies but obviously I’m in the minority. They’ve both got legions of fans and the critics really love them.

    Peter – I’m glad I could introduce you to Brother Charles. It’s a really unusual blaxploitation effort and I hope you’ll give it a look soon. I kind of got the impression from the reviews I’ve read that a lot of the Grindhouse critics hadn’t actually seen a lot of grindhouse movies. Just looking at the previews and reading about the movie makes it look and sound a lot more like an 80s summer blockbuster such as Terminator or one of the Mad Max movies, and the budget is similar. I’ve read that the budget for Grindhouse is more like 100 million when you start adding in the cost of publicity. That kind of money blows my mind. Can you imagine what someone like Doris Wishman or Roger Corman could have done with that kind of budget? I would have been more interested in seeing Grindhouse if the directors had made their movie for $100,000 with no name actors and shot it on old 8mm or 16mm film stock.

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