Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fiend of Dope Island

When I was a kid, I saw a serial called Hawk of the Wilderness. It starred Herman Brix. Later on, I saw Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and there was a guy in it named Bruce Bennett, who looked and sounded exactly like Herman Brix. As it turned out, they were the same guy. Brix had given up his he-man roles (he was also a screen Tarzan) and gone legit. He made over a hundred movies, several of which I've seen and enjoyed. He seldom got a leading role, but he was often prominent, and often pretty good.

However, later on he co-wrote and starred in what must be one of the worst movies ever, Fiend of Dope Island. Sure, it has a great title. The Cramps even ripped it off for the title of one of their albums. And, yes, I have to admit that any movie that co-stars a woman referred to in the credits as "The Yugoslavian Bombshell" has a lot going for it right there. In fact, Tania Velia, the aforementioned bombshell, isn't all that bad, and she looks fantastic. She never made another movie, though. And then there's Robert Bray, was on Lassie and just about every TV western ever made. He looks tired and bored. I don't blame him. Bruce Bennett's alleged acting is a sight to behold, but he does wield a mean bullwhip. That counts for something.

You want to see the worst fight scenes ever filmed? Look no further. Appalling sentimentality, atrocious "comedy," jaw-dropping direction? You got it. A musical score that has to be heard to be believed? Check. Sets that couldn't have cost more than a buck ninety-five? All there in black and white.

I can't even begin to describe the two wonderful dance sequences, so I won't try. All I can say is that this trailer doesn't begin to present the awesome awfulness that is Fiend of Dope Island. Check it out.


Peter Rozovsky said...

A frank, adult comment seldom equalled in the blogosphere: That narration rules.

When does the Criterion Collection's Tania Velia series come out?
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Todd Mason said...

I'm limp with excitement already.

Todd Mason said...

And, btw, thanks for this...comparable to Ed Gorman's reminiscence of his early book collecting in his blog yesterday.

Dan said...

I got into an extended argument once over who was the beter actor: Herman Brix or Bruce Bennett.