EVIL TOWN aka DR SHAGETZ (1974/1987) Reviews and overview

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Doctor Shagetz is a 1974 horror film made in Mendocino, California as God Bless Grandma and Grandpa. It was begun by director Curtis Hanson (co-writer of The Dunwich Horror and director of Sweet Kill) and was at one time apparently set to star Zalman King.

Somewhere along the way King dropped out, two additional directors stepped in, Hanson took the pseudonym “Edward Collins” and the title became God Bless Doctor Shagetz, then God Damn Doctor Shagetz, and finally just plain Doctor Shagetz.

The resulting film was to have received a theatrical US release in 1974 via L-T Films but instead faded into obscurity. That is, until 1987 when producer Mardi Rustam (Eaten Alive, Evils of the Night) filmed sleazy new scenes – with Jillian Kesner and nude scenes with Playboy Playmate Lynda Wiesmeier – and released it on video as Evil Town.

An evil scientist (Dean Jagger) has a campaign to achieve eternal youth, through synthesising a drug derived from human pituitary fluid. In extracting the fluid, he creates mindless ‘zombies’ from the donors. Because the local town residents are in on the plot, to achieve immortality, they help the scientist, by abducting visitors who come through town…


‘The original Shagetz footage is slow and a bit bland, but it isn’t completely awful. Having many fine character actors on hand (including Hope Summers, Regis Toomey and Richard Hale) is a huge plus. Scenes of the old people attacking with syringes, boards and shotguns, pulling hair or getting thrown around, punched or kicked – which are usually put in slow-motion – are strange to put it mildly … Considering the new footage is often poorly spliced in, has awful acting and dialogue, doesn’t quite match up looks-wise and sticks thematically close to the original concept yet adds nothing interesting to it…’ The Bloody Pit of Horror

‘ …the raw footage of Doctor Shagetz came into the possession of Mardi Rustam’s Mars Productions … Nevertheless, Rustam didn’t simply clean it up and release it himself. After all, it looked too much like a movie of the previous decade… it felt too much like a movie of the previous decade… and most important, it didn’t have any naked tits in it. So Rustam assembled yet another cast (including a bosomy former Playmate who was willing to take off her shirt), and shot new footage to insert into Doctor Shagetz, to (ahem) bring it up to date.’ Braineater.com

Thanks to Temple of Schlock for the background story on this obscurity.

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