Wednesday, November 10, 2010

STRIKE ME DEADLY - H.B. Barnum - "Strange Are The Ways Of Love" (1963)

"Strike Me Deadly" is a pure example of low budget film making at it's economical finest, by one of the masters of WTF?!, Ted V. Mikels in his premiere effort! You might only know Ted from his Astro-Zombies-Corpse Grinders-Worm Eaters features, but everybody had to start somewhere, and this is where it all began for Ted! Completed in 1958, "Strike Me Deadly" would not be released until 1963!

"Strike Me Deadly" is kinda like an elongated Twilight Zone episode! There's a murder out in the woods, and a lone firefighter is the witness! The killer is a guy named Al played by co-author Steve Ihnat, who has gone on to have a considerable contribution to the movie and TV industry with roles in "Outer Limits," "Gunsmoke," and "Star Trek" etc.

The first twenty minutes or so is a chase scene through the woods, with some stock forest fire footage mixed in! It's quite brilliant really, and highlighted by some excellent shots like this from cinematographer Basil Bradbury, the illegitimate son of Basil Rathbone, and Ray Bradbury! I can say that because Basil also has the distinguished position of having done the cinematography for that classic film and Dungeon inspiration, "Invasion Of The Star Creatures" among his three credits!

Ain't this just a beautiful transition shot from past to present? So let's start back at the beginning and the events leading up to this untimely situation, and see where we end up again! The main music for "Strike Me Deadly" was composed by Nicholas Carras, a gentleman whose credits are almost unparalleled in Monster Movie history since he gets the credits on "She Demons," "Missile To The Moon," "Frankenstein's Daughter," and "The Astro Zombies!"

It's a night out on the town, and room-hoppin' is the name of the game, Copper, Sage, and Ranch, all they left out was Romper Room!

Unlike the government, Ted was a smart cat, and only needed a handful of actors to get his point across, and the main ingredients in this cocktail are this fine couple, Jimmy and Lori Grant played respectively by Gary Clarke and Jeannine Riley, no, not the "Harper Valley PTA" one, that was Jeannie C. Riley!

In the list of credits, there is the name of one H.B. Barnum, and as far as I can find out, it's this cat right here playing the piano and singing, and if it is, I'll tell you one thing, he's one heavy cat, and Ted V. Mikels or H.B. himself can correct me if I'm wrong, but H.B. was a pianist, writer, arranger and producer who has been working like forever.

Gary Clarke is another guy we couldn't do without because of his roles in the movies "How To Make A Monster" and "Missile To The Moon," countless 60's TV shows and more! If nothing else, and there's plenty more, Jeannie Riley will be remembered forever for her ongoing role of Billie Jo Bradley in 72 episodes of "Petticoat Junction!"

Hidle Brown Barnum recorded "El Pizza" using the name Dudley, that was a parody of Marty Robbins big hit "El Paso," and he has worked with everybody from The Coasters to Al Wilson, with time for Frank Sinatra and Aretha in between! I don't know exactly who the percussionist is!

Time for Al, the maniac/writer to get himself introduced into the action!

For me, the bar scene was the highlight of the movie, and the tunes are timeless, but what else is new?

But then, eating with chopsticks is always good too!!

Gary and Jeannine are the perfect 1958-1963 nuclear family, and are ripe to be terrorized!!!

And that's just the way that Steve and Ted wrote the story!!


prof. grewbeard said...

wow, never even heard of this one! your post makes it sound very intriguing...

WebMinion said...

Overall a great review, but it wasn't "stock forest fire footage." Ted actually filmed firefighters during training exercises! You'd know this if you'd watched the new documentary "The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels." It's got a lot of cool info. directly from Ted and people he's worked with, and is narrated by John Waters -- check it out.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

I stand corrected! Thanx for the info and the hot link!

Greg Goodsell said...

What is this movie about -- 70 or 90 minutes?

Anonymous said...

H.B. Barnum appeared as a child actor in "Our Gang" comedies. Ted
Mikels brother in Law has a speaking
part in "Strike Me Deadly" and was the actual owner and operator of the
Ranch Room between 1960 and 1964.
Other Central Oregon film locations
included Paulina Creek Falls, Arnold ice caves, the Elk Lake pack station,
and Todd Lake.

Linda J. Alexander said...

Ted gave me a great interview not long before he passed away in reference to Steve Ihnat's involvement in this film. I'm Steve's biographer & his story will be coming out shortly. Ted was very impressed with Steve, & along with what Gary Clarke has told me, the making of this movie was quite an experience for all of those involved.

"The Life and Death of Rising Star Steve Ihnat ~ Gone Too Soon"

EEGAH!! said...

Thanx Linda! I'll be looking forward to my autographed copy of "The Life and Death of Rising Star Steve Ihnat ~ Gone Too Soon!" I'm sure it will be an fascinating read!

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