GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW (1959) Reviews and overview

 

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Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow is a 1959 American comedy horror film about hot rod fanatics who have to move into a reputedly haunted mansion.

Directed by William J. Hole Jr. (The Devil’s Hand) from a screenplay written by producer Lou Rusoff (The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues; Cat Girl).

The movie stars Jody Fair (The Brain Eaters), Russ Bender (It Conquered the WorldThe Amazing Colossal Man; I Bury the Living), Henry McCrann, Martin Braddock, Elaine DuPont (The Beach Girls and the MonsterI Was a Teenage Werewolf), Leon Tyler (A-Haunting We Will Go), Jack Ging (Sssssss; Play Misty for Me), Nancy Anderson, Dorothy Neumann (Tales from the Crypt; The Addams Family; The Terror), Sanita Pelkey (Missile to the Moon), Kirby Smith, Jeanne Tatum (The Astounding She-Monster), Beverly Scott, Bill St. Johns, Tommy Ivo, Paul Blaisdell.

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Plot:

A group of Los Angeles drag-racing fanatics are being pressured by a rival gang and so move into an old deserted mansion. They hold a Halloween masked ball for their next unveiling of a dragster and invite everyone to come dressed as their favourite monster…

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The film was a follow-up to American International Pictures (AIP) teen-aimed release Hot Rod Gang.

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The movie sent up the monster and dragstrip films produced by AIP and has been seen as a forerunner of the 1960s Beach Party movies. Creature feature creator Paul Blaisdell appeared as the monster in his She-Creature outfit (minus the bosoms).

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Reviews:

“Rock and roll songs, haunted houses, Senor Wences impersonations, car crashes, secret passageways behind fireplaces, pretty girls, a really cool song called “Ghost Train,” … a Scooby-Doo unmasking at the end you won’t believe, a talking, thinking car, and even an appearance by the monster from The She Creature (1956).” Cinema Knife Fight

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“The actual ghost only appears for a few moments, but the main point is the dancing, the joking, the cars, and the cheerful (if contrived) hip dialogue: “It’s not a chop, kitten. I purr you! I’m not just making sound waves!” Most is very silly and most is more suitable for adolescents rather than the intended teens. But it’s good for 50s camp and does have likeable characters and genuinely funny moments.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

“If the dialogue is anything to go by, the idea was to make a comedy. In any case, it’s virtually impossible to assess its performance since script, direction and editing are all equally perfunctory.” Monthly Film Bulletin

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The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow fails as a juvenile delinquent melodrama because the bad kids are insufficiently bad, because the good kids are insufficiently misunderstood, and because the climax to that plot thread— the rematch between Lois and Anita— occurs off-camera. It fails as a haunted house movie by not so much as mentioning the existence of the haunted house until the 40-minute mark, and by relying on the same weary old bogus haunting shtick” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“It was an abysmal comedy, a mixed bag of songs and slapstick … Between takes, Blaisdell pulled the head off of his costume to get some air and somebody told him he looked like an old condom.” Mark Thomas McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures

Buy Faster and Furiouser from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

Any hardcore fan of AIP films will appreciate the humor of the final scene with Blaisdell.” DVD Drive-In

Buy with The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

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Cast and characters:

Jody Fair … Lois Cavendish
Russ Bender … Tom Hendry
Henry McCann … Dave
Martin Braddock … Stan
Elaine DuPont … Rhoda
Leon Tyler … Bonzo the Clown
Jack Ging … Tony
Nancy Anderson … Nita (Annita)
Dorothy Neumann … Anastasia Abernathy
Sanita Pelkey … Amelia
Kirby Smith … Wesley Cavendish
Jeanne Tatum … Alice Cavendish (as Jean Tatum)
Beverly Scott … Hazel
Bill St. Johns … Ed
Tommy Ivo … Tommy Ivo
Judy Howard … Sandra
Roy Wright … John Abernathy
Harrison Lewis … Frenchie the Cook
Paul Blaisdell … Man in Monster Suit
Marvin Almars … Leon (uncredited)
George Dockstader … Motorcycle Cop (uncredited)
Jimmie Maddin … Self – Singer (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Montville, New Jersey

Technical details:

65 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1

Fun facts:

In January 1960 this film was widely shown at drive-ins on a double-bill with The Diary of a High School Bride (1959)

The shooting title was The Haunted Hot Rod.

Trailer:

The Renegades perform ‘Geronimo’:

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