indie movie

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Peggie Castle

Once up on a time, in a place called Hollywood Land a beautiful blonde was discovered while sipping a malt in a drug store. Is this fantasy? Or. Is this reality. The story of how Lana Turner was discovered has always been a driving factor for why so many actresses migrated to Hollywood. They pinned their hopes on being discovered in an every day setting. Many said that the Lana Turner story was only made up for publicity, yet, there are many actresses who have a very similar story. One of those actresses is Peggy Castle.

Peggy was discovered by a talent scout while eating in a restaurant in Beverly Hills and soon after signed a seven year deal with Universal-International. In the 30s/50s many starlets would be signed to long contracts and only be used as bit players (if they were even that lucky). Being signed to a studio didn’t guarantee work. In Peggy’s case, she was off to the races almost immediately making her debut in a When a Girl’s Beautiful. (1947) This movie was followed up by Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949), Payment on Demand (1951), The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951) Invasion U.S.A. (1952), Wagons West (1952), 99 River Street (1953), Beginning of the End (1957) and Arrivederci Roma (1957),  and Hell’s Crossroads (1957).

Eventually, she moved onto television, starring mostly in westerns.

Sadly, Peggy died at the young age of 45 from cirrhosis due to alcoholism.

One of my favourites of all of her movies is Beginning of the End (1957). I have posted it below along with as many of her other movies that I was able to find. Enjoy!

Invasion USA (1952)

Finger Man (1955)

Hell’s Crossroads (1957)

Back From the Dead (1957)

Beginning of the End (1957)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! Beach Party Monsters!

As soon as the warm weather hits, so does the craving for Beach Party Monster Movies/Creature Features. I generally kick if all of with all of The Creature From The Black Lagoon movies, even though they aren’t technically beach movies, they still are my all time favourite creature features.

If you want to watch along, I’ve created a list below of the ones we’ve watched or will be soon. These are mostly 1950s/60s bmovies, but as you know, it seems to be the era that is my go to!

When possible, I post links to full movies.

It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)(trailer) This movie is a lot of fun and if you can find a copy of it, I highly recommend it, the special effects make it all worth while!

The Horror of Party Beach (1964) This movie has it all! A cheesy monster, a beach, music and babes! The dialogue and acting might be laughable, but it’s a fun watch, especially just before heading the beachside.

The Beach Girls and The Monster (1965) I‘ve lost count how many times I’ve watched this movie and I keep coming back for more. Unfortunately, there aren’t many good prints of it out there. This seems to be the best. One day I hope to track down a bluRay copy!

The Monster of Piedras Blanca (1959) Another favourite. Mostly because…. well.. wait until you see the costume!

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) The first time I saw this movie was when I was a kid. I watched it with my dad and remember laughing all the way through it. When I rewatched it as an adult and wondered if I was high on sugar as a child. Either way, another bmovie winner for creature features.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Peggy Webber

One of my all time favourite b-movies/horror movies is The Screaming Skull. I’ve mentioned this several dozen times and if you know me, you’ve likely watched it with me. I love everything about it from the sets, to the jump scares, to the cinematography, but me most favourite part, is Peggy Webber.

Peggy Webber is an incredibly versatile actress and performer who I was first introduced to via old time radio broadcasts. (I’ve done a post about them here) If you are a fan of old time radio programs you may have heard her on a variety of shows including, The Dreft Star Playhouse, Dragnet (approximately 100 episodes), Pete Kelly’s Blues, The Damon Runyon Theatre, and The Man Called X and Sears Radio Theatre. Oh, but her talent doesn’t end there, Peggy wrote and directed hundreds stage plays, radio and television programs.

Peggy Webber worked continually in television and voice acting and retired in 2005. I wonder what she thinks of the popularity of her 1958 horror movie these days or the fact that she was literally one of the very first scream queens. Have you heard her scream? It’s spectacular!

The Screaming Skull is moody, creepy an a lot of fun to watch. Peggy Webber’s Jenni Witlock would be the inspiration for the half out their mind, tormented character you would see in future horror movies. She is incredibly brilliant and is the reason I keep going back and watching it over and over again. Of course, let’s not forget her fantastic wardrobe. I insist that you go and watch this movie right now! Don’t give me excuses! Just do it! I’ve also written a blog post about The Screaming Skull, which you should also go read!

Peggy has been a very private person for most of her life, so there isn’t much written about her personal life.

Peggy was also in another memorable movie called The Space Children. If you can find a copy, I highly recommend it.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Zsa Zsa Gabor is The Queen of Outer Space!

Socialite, beauty queen and one of a trio of Hungarian born actress sisters, Zsa Zsa Garbor was known for so much more than her beauty, glamour and many marriages. AND when I say so much more — I mean b-movies. I could write a long post about her very colourful past, but instead, I’m going to talk about a b-movie she made, because it is spectacular, she is spectacular! The whole thing just brings me so much joy! That movie is the Queen of Outerspace!

The Queen of Outer Space is a 1958 Allied Artist picture that runs 80 minutes and is shot in Cinemascope, was produced by Ben Schwalb and directed by Edward Bernds. The movie is about a revolt against a cruel Venusian queen, and was originally titled Queen of the Universe.

The sets, the costumes and the soundtrack is out of the world! As a matter of fact, you will recognize sets, models and costumes from other outer space themed movies such as Forbidden Planet (1956) and World Without End (1956). It wasn’t unusual for low budget movies to borrow or reuse sets, costumes and other materials from previous productions. Even the rocket ship was from another movie, a comic by Huntz Hall in the 1954 Bowery Boys comedy Paris Playboys. All of this only adds to the beauty of this movie.

Now let’s get back to Zsa Zsa. She is sheer perfection in this movie and as the true hero. I’ve seen this movie twice and continue to drool over her glorious costumes, which she knows how to showcase. Every time she comes on screen, her presence overshadows everything else going on. Zsa Zsa definitely steals the entire show. This is a must watch movie for all b-movie fans.

A copy of the full movie can be found over on Daily Motion. Here is a link or click on the video below.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The Bad Girls

Vamp, Vixen, Sassy, Sinful, Smart Ass, Wilful, Wiley, Badass, Bitch… The many, many names that bad girls get called. Personally, when I think about my favourite bad girls, I use words like tough, fierce, independent, resourceful, stubborn, motivated, clever, street-smart, and a word shared with the other list, sassy. It has always bugged me that women who won’t put up with anyone’s guff end up with the first list of names and labels. Even to this day, society is still both intrigued and frightened of the bad girl.

They’ve been around since the beginning of time and will be here when it all ends. They are your grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and friends. Some are there to help you learn life’s hard lessons while others are there to save your sorry asses. What ever end of the spectrum they fall in, they all deserve our respect.

Ok.. speech over. Now onto my favourite bad girls.

I was first introduced to Theda Bara by my Great Grandpa Bill. He loved Silent Film and her really loved Theda Bara. Sadly, not a lot of Theda’s work still exists on film, but if you are lucky you can still catch short clips of her on YouTube. Some of the only things that still exist are a short clip of her as Cleopatra, and a couple short films. (The Unchastened Woman (1925)/Madame Mystery (1926)/45 Minutes from Hollywood (1926))

Clara Bow will always be my sassy favourite! Not only could she act, she could hold her own to any man. Both in life and on screen she was a force! Clara was a tour de force in Silent Film and once she found her footing, a joy to watch in The Talkies! A few of my all time favourite Clara Bow movies are It (1927), Hoop-la (1933), Children of Divorce (1927), Call Her Savage (1932) and Wings (1927).

The first time I fell in love with Barbara Stanwyck was when I saw Night Nurse (1931). Her character Lora Hart, was tough, dedicated and took no guff, not even from the handsome bundle of trouble Nick, played by Clark Gable. She had a job and she was going to do it if it killed her. Many of Barbara’s roles in the late 1920s and the pre-code years of the 1930s had her playing gritty, down to earth women who had to fight to stay alive. It’s that spunk and determination that has always drawn me to her. As with many of her characters, Barbara Stanwyck had a hard childhood and had to learn early to fend for herself. This bad ass lady deserves everyone’s respect!

My favourite Barbara Stanwyck movies are Ten Cents A Dance (1931), Night Nurse (1931), Babyface (1933), Stella Dallas (1937), Meet John Doe (1941) and Lady of Burlesque (1943).

Bette Davis is the queen of the bad girls. Her most famous bad girl role and one of my absolute favourite of all of her films is Of Human Bondage. She oozes everything in that movie, from sex appeal to horribleness! She showed the world how incredibly talented she was and to this day, I have yet to see a performance to equal that. Like any actress at that time, she would do what was necessary to succeed and never look back! She was tough, driven and successful, setting a standard for others that would be hard to follow. She knew what she wanted and got it.

My list of bad girls wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include the illustrious Joan Crawford. She oozed a glamour that was blinding. Many actresses of that era started out as chorus girls. It was a way on stage and a foot into the door known as Hollywood. Joan worked her way up from the chorus lines of Detroit and onto movie screens. Joan Crawford started out in Silent Film and her long career lasted until the 1970s.

I tend to favour more of Joan’s Silent Films, but am also a huge fan of her work in the 1940s.

Last, but certainly not least is Tura Satana! The badass of all badass women! Tura lead a very amazing and colourful life, with parts of that life being incredibly tough. Tura was a survivor of sexual assault, domestic abuse and had to take care of herself from the age of 15. She was a burlesque dancer, a photographic model for Harold Lloyd (yes, that Harold Lloyd) and turned down Elvis when he asked her to marry him. I can’t wait for the documentary about her life to come out!

Two of my all time favourite Tura Satana movies is The Doll Squad (1973) and Faster Pussy! Cat Kill! Kill! (1965) By the way and for those of you wondering, she knew martial arts. She wasn’t just faking it for the cameras.

Who are some of your favourite badass actresses?

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Dolores Fuller

Dolores Fuller is a name known to many fans of b-movies and especially to those who have seen Ed Wood movies. Dolores was the gorgeous blonde bombshell from movies such as Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster and Jail Bait, known as the girl in angora sweater and Ed Wood’s off and on again girlfriend. The thing is, I would absolutely hate if it that is all she was remembered for, because this girl was known for way more than that. She was both a talented actress and songwriter. She was an inspiration to actresses trying to get a start in the 1950s. She was driven and determined and wanted to be known for more than just the films she did with Ed Wood.

At age 10 Dolores was bit with the acting bug and appeared in Frank Capra’s, It Happened One Night. It would be a few more years before she started acting full-time. In addition to small parts in movies, Dolores also appeared on television in Queen for a Day and The Dinah Shore Show and once she worked with Ed Wood, her name would finally be recognized. However, Dolores has so much more to offer, including a talent for songwriting.

“Fuller’s ability as a songwriter manifested itself through the intervention of her friend, producer Hal Wallis; Fuller had wanted to get an acting role in the Elvis Presley movie Blue Hawaii, which Wallis was producing, but instead he put her in touch with Hill & Range, the publisher that provided Presley with songs. Fuller went into a collaborative partnership with composer Ben Weisman and co-wrote one song, “Rock-A-Hula Baby“, for the film. It was a beginning that eventually led to Elvis Presley recording a dozen of her songs, including “I Got Lucky” and “Spinout”. Fuller’s music was recorded by Nat ‘King’ ColePeggy Lee, and other leading talents of the time.” {source Wikipedia}

Below is a list of songs that Dolores wrote: {source Wikipedia}

Never underestimate the girl in the angora sweater. There is more there. So much more!

I think you should now go and enjoy a few of Dolores Fuller’s movies. I’ve posted them below.

Glen or Glenda (1953)

Mesa of Lost Women (1953)

Bride of the Monster (1955)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! Valentine’s My Way

Traditionally, when it comes to Valentine’s Day I’m not very traditional… truth be told, I’m not a fan. Considering that I am married to a very romantic and affectionate person, you would think otherwise. I’ve just never really been into it. I am however, trying to make more of effort, especially this year. We all need to find things to bring us joy, even when it’s not normally our thing.

One of the things, I can definitely get into is movies. I’m not a lover of modern day RomComs. I just can’t, but give me a classic romantic comedy, pre-code or a film noir and I’m in! Even many of the 1950s sci-fi b-movies are considered romantic for me. Leading up to VDay, I plan on watching some of these movies, along with episodes of The Addams Family. (the most romantic couple on the planet) and movies of that other wonderful couple, Nick and Nora of The Thin Man movies.

When I can post a full movie I will, otherwise, there will be trailers.

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

The Apartment (1960)

Evenings For Sale (1932)

The Thin Man (1934)

Invasion of the Saucer -men (1957)

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

What are your favourite classic romantic movies?

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! Oh Canada! Billy Van

Did you know that The Billy Van Singers performed the theme song for 1967’s Spider-Man? You know the one, it’s that earworm that gets stuck in your head… and… you… can… never… get… it…. out! Even just mentioning the show, triggers it. I thought it would be fun to start the blog post this way, so you can all join in on my torture. You are welcome!

Now you are likely wondering why I have that song stuck in my head. It isn’t because I’ve been watching the cartoon. I not so secretly dislike it, along with The Mighty Hercules. As a child, the reruns ran on one of three channels we got and my brother was obsessed with them and even to the point where he would have a meltdown if he couldn’t watch them. The cartoons also annoyed me. But… that isn’t why we are here today. Today, I want to talk about someone and a program that brought me great joy. Billy Van and The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

I lovingly remember Billy Van from shows such as Sonny and Cher, Bizarre (with another favourite John Byner) and Bits and Bytes, but, it was Hilarious House of Fightenstein that had the most impact on me. As a creative kid, I loved that he played almost all of the characters on the show (with the exception of Igor (Fishka Rais) and Mini-Count (Guy Big), The Professor (Julius Sumner Miller), Super Hippy (Mitch Markowitz), Harvey Wallbanger (Joe Torbay), and of courses the host Vincent Price) and I often imagined how much fun it must have been to go to work everyday.

If you aren’t familiar with The Hilarious House of Frightenein, let me give you a bit of background. The Hilarious House of Frightenstein was the brilliant creation of Billy Van. The show was shot in a studio in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1971 and there are 130 episodes. Most will remember the host, Vincent Price, but it is truly Billy Van who made the show into the wonderful sixty minutes of entertainment that it was. If you grew up in Ontario the 1970s and 1980s, the show ran in reruns consistently. I’m certain I’m not the only one who remembers it fondly, or were inspired by the show. I think Grizelda will always be my favourite character. I dreamed of making potions with her.

This show and Billy Van helped to spark creative inspiration in myself and many others. I’m certain that many filmmakers born in Ontario, can say that Billy Van and his wonderful show set them on their path. Stacy Case was so inspired by Billy Van, that he co-wrote a book (with Greg Oliver) and created the Billy Van Museum. What are your fond memories of Billy Van and The Hilarious House of Frightenstein?

Coming back around to my opening few sentences; Billy Van was an incredibly talented person. He started his career as a teenager with his four brothers as a singing act called the Van Evera Brothers. Eventually, he left the brother group and dropped Evera from his name, eventually forming Billy Van Four. He then went on to create the Billy Van Singers (the band that did the Spiderman cartoon theme song). He also appeared in many Canadian variety television shows. I really, really miss variety television shows. As Billy continued to hone his skills, he landed the CBC show Nightcap. This would make him a household name and put him onto that path, that brought him to The Hilarious House of Frightenstein and so many of his other successes. As with actors in the silent and pre-code era’s they needed to be able to do it all and Billy Van truly could. He will also continue to be my inspiration to strive to be a better creative.

A little extra tidbit. Deadly Grounds sells the official Hilarious House of Frightenstein coffee. I have a bag and don’t want to open it so I can keep it pristine! Please also support The Billy Van Museum.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The Screaming Skull

It has suspense. It has physiological horror. It has a stunning dame with a gorgeous sweater girl wardrobe. Most importantly, it has a SCREAMING SKULL!

The Screaming Skull is one of my all time favourite 1950s b-movies. When I need a little pick me up, I will either watch it or Plan 9 From Outer Space. Why these movies instead a comedy? Because they both remind me that dedication and love of your craft help you succeed in making your end product. Also, they are both a helluva lotta fun!

The Screaming Skull is a 1958 independently made American black-and-white horror film, produced by John Kneubuhl and directed by Alex Nicol, that stars John HudsonPeggy WebberRuss Conway, Tony Johnson, and Nicol. The Screaming Skull marked Nicol’s directorial debut; he decided to try it because he felt that he was not acting in the roles which he wanted. The film was distributed by American International Pictures as a double feature in different markets with either Earth vs. the Spider or Terror from the Year 5000 {source Wikipedia}

If you are a fan of westerns you will likely recognize Alex Nicol. During the 1950s he starred in dozens of them. As mentioned above, he personally didn’t feel as if he was getting the roles he really wanted so he decided to create his own, though funny enough a lot of his directing efforts were in westerns. Like they say, do what you know.

Personally, the thing that keeps bringing me back to this movie is the main character Jenni Whitlock and the actress who played her, Peggy Webber (she will be getting her own blog post soon) and of course the skull. Peggy Webber is perfection in this movie. The issue with some movies in this genre, is actors can take the acting really over the top and not in a good way. Peggy Webber doesn’t do that. She is very convincing as a fragile, newly wed, in a creepy old house. Dealing with the circumstances she is put in, would be enough to put anyone on edge, let alone be recovering from a nervous breakdown. She is an absolute delight to watch. It’s why I keep watching this movie over and over.

As I also mentioned before, though minimal, her wardrobe is fantastic, including the bullet bra look! She is classic without looking boring. As a sewist, when creating my own wardrobe, I tend to look at the b-movies of the 1950s. Currently, The Screaming Skull and Little Shop of Horrors have been a huge influence and will continue to do so.

Now, back to the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie before, you are in for a treat. It’s about a newly married couple moves into the home of the husband’s late wife. {seriously, who does that to a new bride} The grounds are lovingly looked after by the late wife’s ever loyal gardener, who is still grieving and reminiscent of the dead woman’s memory. Almost immediately after they cross the threshold, creepy and nerve wrecking events begin. These spooky moments have the new lady of the house thinking she is having another breakdown. This movie has it all! Now go watch it!

Below is a link to the entire movie!

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! Oh Canada! Robin Ward

As a kid I was obsessed with a Canadian television show called The Starlost. It originally ran from 1972 to 1973 and the reruns ran for many years on one of the three channels we received when I was a kid. Oh yes, small town life.

Being the oddball child, I didn’t have a crush of Keir Dullea’s character, rather on Garth, played by Robin Ward. His broodishness seemed to be the more appealing character of Cypress Corners.

After Starlost, Robin Ward did guest appearances in several movies and television series, most notably as the narrator for the 1988-1989 Twilight Zone. You will also recognize him from roles in The Littlest Hobo, Night Heat, The King of Kensington and most recently, Murdock Mysteries.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Robin Ward graced your television screen as a weatherman for Toronto televisions stations and The Weather Network. It was a welcome and familiar face to see him giving the weather report each morning.

Recently, we saw Robin Ward in a Canadian horror classic Frankenstein on Campus. I wrote about it and you can read all about it here.


If you watched Starlost, were you a fan of Devon or Garth?

I have posted either full movies or trailers below.

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! There will also be trivia with prizes & much more! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!