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Thursday, February 14, 2013

RAT PFINK A BOO BOO (1966) -- movie review by Squashpants


Tonight's movie is


Among lovers of so-called Psychotronic Cinema, the name Ray Dennis Steckler is legend. Ray made, or photographed, many of the independent features of the 60s, including his most famous title, THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES!!?. RAT PFINK was made after that classic, and was really supposed to be titled RAT PFINK AND BOO BOO, but due to a misunderstanding, the title sequence ended up with the name we see here, which led some to believe that "a boo boo" was a variation on "a go go".

This is a black and white feature that sways back and forth from serious to goofy, starting with a cinema verite sequence of a parade with the titular superheros in the lead car, shouting "Fight Crime" at every opportunity. Then we go into Realism mode with a look at three thugs looking for something nasty to do.

They randomly pick Cee Bee Beaumont (what a great name) from the phone book and promptly visit said Cee Bee at a late hour. They taunt the scantily clad Carol Brandt (get it? BTW, she's Ray's wife at this point) through her picture window but leave without doing anything more.

The creeps decide that this is one hot chick (and she is) and decide to stalk her. In the meantime, we see her boyfriend, Lonnie Lord (played by musician Ron Haydock, billed as Vin Saxon(!), at a party. He plays one of his "hit" songs, "(You Is A) Rat Pfink" down at poolside. And what a freaking great song it is, even if you don't think so! In a quiet moment, the phone rings and it is one of our hoodlums telling Lonnie that they have kidnapped Cee Bee.

The musician is beside himself about what to do, and talks it over with his buddies. Finally, he announces that there is only one thing to do. He and his gardener(!), played by Titus Moede, go into the closet and come out as Rat Pfink and his sidekick, Boo Boo. And talk about ridiculous costuming. No use trying to describe it. You have to see it to believe it.

From here on, the story is played strictly for campy laughs. There is a lot of faux fighting that looks totally as phony as it is. Everybody runs around in various forms of transportation.  And finally Kogar the Swinging Ape (Bob Burns) shows up to menace the swimsuit babes that crawl out of the woodwork. Finally, Cee Bee is rescued and everyone is happy, even Kogar. I think there is a final song from Lonnie and then that's it.

The reason that I am not more descriptive of what amounts to the second half of the film is that I am not certain I have made it all the way through to the end of the thing. To be perfectly frank, the campy antics are kinda hard to stay with. We're not talking Benny Hill quality here, folks.

But the film definitely has its charms. It has a bang-up twangy guitar opening theme. The black and white photography is very moody in the film's serious sections, and seems to be sepia-toned in the campy sections. Carolyn Brandt is very sexy in this, certainly moreso than she was in TISCWSLABMUZ, and we get to see, ahem, more of her. The songs by Ron Haydock are 60s-sensitive rockabilly and swing nicely. Like many of Ray's pictures, there is a sense of time capsule here, and it is a real nostalgia-infused pleasure to see his record of locations (California) here.

I wouldn't mind seeing this again and trying to make it to the end. Not an unalloyed asset, this one, but okay for what it has to offer. I give the pic a "Movies For Weirdos" rating of 3 out of 4 stars.

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