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Year: 1960s - 1970s
Label: Something Weird Video
To celebrate 20 years of Something Weird bringing the world the very best in subversive, disreputable, and cult cinema, SWV is making available these four exceedingly rare, never-before-released jewels that will make any cinephile’s head light up and spin.
Rosie (b&w) is a failed 19-minute pilot for a TV sitcom about a talking dog named Rosie. It is absolutely horrifying. Why? Because the dog is not played by a real canine (or a puppet or a cartoon) but by a large adult in a mangy dog suit with a creepy dog face, clumsily walking around on his hands and knees. That may not sound too terrible on paper, but seeing it acted out is skin-crawlingly perverse. In fact, Rosie more often resembles Big Foot rather than a dog. The plot is about Rosie returning home with a runaway boy whose family doesn’t want to keep him, but the spectacle is watching this human dog crawl on all fours, hide behind furniture, and peek through keyholes. We hate to think what happens when Rosie passes a fire hydrant.
The Weird World of Weird (1970, color) is a loony 47-minute never-aired TV special in which host RALPH STORY explores psychic phenomena, astrology, witchcraft and “all those mysterious secrets hidden in the mystical world of the occult.” with detours to a psychic “balloon reader” and a spook-filled séance at the Magic Castle, and Special Guest Stars TERRY MOORE, ANN FRANCIS, ANTON LEVAY (in footage from the documentary Satanis, The Devil’s Mass) and CRISWELL. In fact, Criswell is used as a recurring joke, popping up about ten times to deliver predictions: “I predict the end of the world will take place on August the 18th, 1999! You be there! Remember this prediction!” Though there’s nothing too outrageous here – this was, after all, made for network television in the days before cable programming – it has a groovy, late-60s psychedelic feel to it all that makes it a wonderfully bizarre time capsule.
Follow That Skirt (1964, color) is a nasty little 26-minute short that was probably intended to be America’s second gore film. Though not released until 1965 when, according to Dave Friedman, it played a single theater in San Francisco, there’s little doubt that Blood Feast was its influence. With sparse narration and a neat jazz score in lieu of any dialogue, a creepy “Thrill Killer” stalks, strangles, and bloodily stabs topless women until… well, let’s just say the poor guy’s sexually confused. Quite the oddity.
Finally, SWV has found the last 20 minutes of The Smut Peddler! Based on the popularity of its trailer, The Smut Peddler (1965, b&w) is among a handful of currently “lost” films that Something Weird (as well as the rest of the world) has been actively searching for. So we were thrilled when we at least found this much in excellent condition. And, yeah, it’s good stuff. A crude oyster-eating publisher, a lesbian secretary, and a French photographer all love mauling and exploiting their lovely nude models while W.B. PARKER (Olga’s House of Shame) is shocked and appalled. Happy Anniversary! -- Frank Henenlotter