Thursday, November 05, 2015

Blood Beast Of Monster Mountain

Most likely inspired by the massive box office success of Charles B. Pierce’s independently produced regional hit THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK, showman Donn Davison (MOONSHINER’S WOMAN) bought a ten-year-old horror comedy and tried to pass it off to paying customers as something new. Originally titled THE LEGEND OF BLOOD MOUNTAIN, the newer version cuts scenes and splices in some new bits, including a pretty good country western ballad sung by Tim York that opens the film and explains the premise. Of course, none of Davison’s footage matches the stuff originally directed by Massey Cramer (THE FLORIDA CONNECTION), and I doubt anyone was fooled.

Davison even introduces the picture, billed as a “World Traveler, Lecturer and Psychic Investigator.” He stands in front of a very ‘70s wood-paneled wall and explains the Sasquatch legend. Explaining that he wants to mix true facts about Bigfoot with the fun story created by a screenwriter, Davison and his “Mobile Unit One” cut into the plot occasionally with dubious history lessons and (faked) man-on-the-street interviews about face-to-face encounters with Bigfoot. Davison wears sunglasses to hide that he’s reading cue cards, but his stiff recitations and insistence on single takes gives the game away.

To say that these segments fit awkwardly with the slapstick antics of goofy copy boy Bestoink Dooley (George Ellis) is the only thing understated about this picture. Dooley was a character played by Ellis as a horror-movie host on Atlanta television. It’s difficult to explain Dooley’s role in MONSTER MOUNTAIN (the on-screen title of this Davison version; I’m sure there are several) — it really must be seen to be believed — but, basically, bumbling Bestoink begs his boss at the newspaper to cover the news of bleeding rocks on Blood Mountain. The editor turns him down, and Bestoink goes home to sleep, where he has weird dreams, wakes up, does some half-hearted calisthenics, flosses, then leaves and drives around in his roadster. Presumably this is more thrilling than whatever Davison cut out.

Man-child Dooley (“Please, ladies, just call me Bestoink.”) dresses like Joe E. Ross with Shemp hair working blue in the Catskills and has the mental acuity of a post-stroke Fred Flintstone. Ellis exhibits no talent for comedy, and it’s unclear that he’s even trying to be funny. Popping up in a bikini for no reason is Erin Fleming, better known later as Groucho Marx’s controversial companion in the legendary comic’s later years. It’s good to see her, only because it breaks up an absurdly Ed Woodian conversation between Dooley and a geologist about rocks and creatures and whatall bullshit. The geologist and his family have a grouchy, crazy maid, even though all we see of their house is a cheap-looking shack of a living room. If it’s possible for a film to be boring and fascinating at the same time, here’s the poster child.

So what about the monster that’s murdering folks on Stone, rather, Blood Mountain? Ho ho, you didn’t trust Donn Davison, did you?

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