Saturday, September 01, 2012

Mystery Movie: HOUSE OF TORTURE (ca. 1982)


When the dusk-to-dawn drive-in ad to the right (from Altoona, PA) was included in one of our random movie ad posts over two years ago, someone wrote to us and asked if we knew the true identity of the second feature, HOUSE OF TORTURE. We did not, but thanks to our old pal Nathan Miner -- the former editor of the fanzines Bits 'N' Pieces and The Drive-In Theatre Newsletter -- we know it now! Nathan mailed us the summer '94 issue of The Drive-In Theatre Newsletter (Vol. 2, No. 2), which features a great article by Ohio-based writer Jim Swarts entitled "Into the Drive-In Void!" Swarts attended a few dusk-to-dawn shows at drive-ins around Canton and Akron in the early '80s, including a "5 Deranged Features" program that included HOUSE OF TORTURE, which turned out to be Herschell Gordon Lewis' THE WIZARD OF GORE (1970) with a new title card spliced into the opening credits.

CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE (1976) was shown on the same dusk-to-dawn program, as was SCREAMS OF FLESH AND BLOOD, which was revealed to be the John Carradine-hosted trailer compilation THE BEST OF SEX AND VIOLENCE (1981). However, what was advertised as THEY’RE COMING TO GET YOU -- the title of Sergio Martino's ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (1972) when Independent-International released it in the U.S. in 1976 -- was actually Al Adamson's DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (1971), also an I-I release, with a new "THEY'RE COMING TO GET YOU" title card spliced into the opening credits.

But wait! It gets better! NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST, another Independent-International title, was also on the same program. Normally this would mean the 1975 werewolf vs. Yeti movie starring Paul Naschy, which I-I released in the U.S. in 1977, but -- according to Swarts -- what was actually shown was Ted V. Mikels' THE CORPSE GRINDERS (1971) with its title cut off and no new title card inserted in its place.

Swarts also describes a "Gore Galore" all-nighter he attended at the Gala Twin Drive-In, where only two of the five "hits" listed in the ad below -- BLOODEATERS and INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS -- were actually shown. BLOOD ORGY turned out to be Andy Milligan's THE GHASTLY ONES (1968), NIGHTMARE IN BLOOD wasn't the John Stanley movie but rather the Al Adamson biker flick HELL'S BLOODY DEVILS (1970), and BLOODTHIRSTY BUTCHER was Kent Bateman's THE HEADLESS EYES (1971) instead of Andy Milligan's BLOODTHIRSTY BUTCHERS (1969).

This all-nighter in Cleveland ran all of the movies advertised, but other dusk-to-dawn shows that played across Pennsylvania and Ohio (and parts of Wisconsin) during the 1981 and '82 drive-in seasons evidently did not. Does anyone else remember catching "5 Deranged Features" or similar, questionable programs in the early '80s?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw a dusk-til-dawn show in the Akron, Ohio area at around that time frame, saw WIZARD OF GORE under an alternate title I have never before seen it referred to, and although my memory is sketchy I am pretty sure it is the same HOUSE OF TORTURE title referred to here! Thanks for clearing up the mystery for me, as I had long forgotten the unusual alternate title.

Anonymous said...

I remember these playing Orlando, Florida drive-ins when I was a kid. I badgered my old man into taking me. the line up was Ruby, Massacre at Central High, The Hills Have Eyes, NotLD, and The Rats Are Coming. The next time around they played Shriek of the Mutilated, Graveyard Tramps(Bee Girls), Night of the Howling Beast, Screams of Flesh and Blood, and They'er Coming to Get You. The only titles I remember from from the line up were Toolbox Murders, and that Andy Milligan's Two Headed Man movie. The last time one ran in Orlando the selection had The Howling and Motel Hell in it.

screen 13 said...

I have just caught an ad for the Blood Orgy/Nightmare In Blood/Blood Eaters/Invasion of the Blood Farmers/Bloodthirsty Butchers line up in a 10/23/81 Detroit News playing at the Algiers, Bel Air, Ford/Wyoming, Fort George, Miracle Mile, Van Dyke, and West Side Drive Ins with a program without Nightmare in Blood playing at the Adams and Northgate. In the next week, with a lot of the Halloween programming dedicated to Halloween 2, there was only at the Plaza.

I wonder if the shows were the same. Milligan's Bloodthirsty Butchers actually played a couple of Detroit theaters in the Early 80's, one as part of a three-film All-Milligan show on 3/28/80 at the Madison with The Rats Are Coming, the Werewolves are Here and Torture Dungeon.