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The Movie That Would Not Die: Psycho a Go Go / Blood of Ghastly Horror

Tacey Robins sings "My L.A." in Psycho a Go Go

Campy vintage horror movies are like extra spicy hot sauces. Not everyone enjoys them, they combine pleasure with pain, and if extreme, after trying them you ask yourself why you ever thought it was a good idea. If camp is like hot sauce, then, my Psycho a Go Go experience was a true tongue scorcher, and didn't end with the final credits. I'll explain.

I stumbled upon Psycho a Go Go without knowledge about this apparent cult moviedrawn in by the name alone. The movie kicks off with lounge singer Linda Clarke (played by Tacey Robbins -- this was her one movie role) making last minute travel arrangements before going on stage to sing a swanky tune called "My L.A." That was seriously the best part of the movie.

The story involves a botched jewel heist that leads to the contraband landing in the back of a pickup truck and attempts by the thieves to locate the jewels. My previous sentence, however, implies more of a story than exists. This movie was pure, unintended camp with stale acting, bad sets and rambling, uncut scenes of cars driving or people walking. The snazzy jazz music accompanying the movie began as fun, but soon became painfully repetitive.  Twenty minutes in, the rush of the movie campiness was wearing off, and like the aftermath of eating uber spicy food, all that was remaining was the pain.

So what about the psycho? Midway through I realized that this was gangster camp with a virtually non-existent go-go theme and the "psycho", while a killer, wasn't ala horror movie but more ala Joe Pesci in Good Fellas, (no offense meant to the quality acting of Mr. Pesci). I continued watchingbut didn't think it would be psycho enough for Fear with Beer. That was until a quick Internet search found a mention of zombies and John Carradine. Even more interesting, different sources were provided conflicting information, and one site said this movie had never been released. Now it was getting interesting.

Psycho Joe Corey, in later versions to become
a fiend with an electronic brain
From what I can cobble together, the movie, written and directed by Al Adamson, was originally entitled Two Tickets to Terror. I don't know when the title was changed to Psycho a Go Go, but that's what was listed on the opening credits on the Troma DVD version I watched. Some sources said the movie was unable to secure distribution, but I have seen vintage movie posters, so maybe it had a limited release. Whatever the case, the movie didn't take off, and in 1967 a few short scenes featuring John Carradine were added. More importantly, the gangster psycho story line was rewritten so that the gangster was now a brain damaged Vietnam vet, driven to murderous outbursts after a scientist installs an electric device into his brain. This version was presumably called The Fiend with the Electronic Brain, yet I've also seen trailers calling it The Fiend with the Synthetic Brain.

Still unable to secure distribution, the movie sat, getting a rework again in 1972 with a vengeance motif. It was now called Blood of Ghastly Horror. Throughout the Internet, the titles were used interchangeably, though, I knew what I had to do. I had to find Blood of Ghastly Horror.

Return to Psycho a Go Go: Going Atomic

Zombie skills learned from studying voodoo in Jamaica.
I suspect he meant Haiti, but eh, whatever
Returning to the hot sauce motif, when you go for, say hot wings, and you opt for the crazy hot sauce, you make a big deal about eating them in advance, as an event. If you don't commit beforehand, you'll take that first bite, feel the screaming pain, and say, "Screw this."

That's how I felt about Blood of Ghastly Horror. This was the Atomic wings, the ones requiring a signed release form. I had already sat through Psycho a Go Go and knew it was painful. I had to have dedication. I had to commit. I had to see how a heist movie was turned into a zombie movie. Turns out, it's done with flashbacks. LOTS of flashbacks.

Watching this movie, it didn't feel real, but more like a parody of someone trying to recreate the feel of a vintage drive-in flick. It doesn't seem possible that this movie exists at all, but it does.

It was fun to see how much the music scene changed between 1965 and 1972, Most of Blood of Ghastly Horror had the original jazz score from Psycho a Go Go (as scenes from that movie were used wholesale and largely uncut), but newer scenes featured a spaced out, prog-rocked out vibe. This movie was a Frankenstein monster of a movie, crudely patched together, but with a much cooler title sequence montage.

Would I say it was fun? I love hot wings, and every birthday I go out for the spiciest wings I can find. That's a type of fun, as well as a type of stupidity. Watching both Psycho a Go Go and Blood of Ghastly Horror was the same thing. I just don't think I'll make it a yearly tradition.
Unlike Psycho a Go Go, Blood of Ghastly Horror
was filmed in Chill-o-Rama



This post first appeared on Fear, With Beer, please read the originial post: here

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The Movie That Would Not Die: Psycho a Go Go / Blood of Ghastly Horror

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