House on Bare Mountain (1962)

Well, Folks, it's time for another nudie-cutie film. And you can't go wrong with a film that features "Lovable Bob Cresse" Of Love Camp Seven fame, can you? We'll just have to see. Director Lee Frost also made The Thing with Two Heads, a bizarre blaxploitation/two-headed hybrid movie, also reviewed in these pages. You'd be hard pressed to find two more different films, but both are enjoyable in their own right. Billed as a "Monster Nudie", this doesn't really count as a monster movie, but we'll get to that in the course of the review.

There isn't really much in the way of plot in House on Bare Mountain. Old Granny Good (the cherubic Cresse in old lady drag) runs a combination girl's school and illicit moonshine still. When we first see "her", Granny's bemoaning her fate behind bars. We then get to see, with Granny's narration, what led up to this sorry situation. Granny interviews a new student, Prudence (Laura Eden) and her parents for entry into the school. There's a running gag about Granny speaking into one of those tube-phones and getting blasted with dust, as soon as her unseen assistant speaks back at her. When Granny briefly leaves the room, Prudence and her old folks search it for evidence. In reality, they are undercover fuzz trying to gain evidence on the illegal still.

We soon begin to realize that the girls at this school spend most of their time in the nude. We see Granny skipping rope with them, jogging with them, as you can guess, all activities for maximum bounce-age. It's all very innocent, we just see boobs and bums, never any full-frontals. As Granny narrates we get to meet most of the girls, who rarely ever speak, but all have semi-humorous backgrounds and stories. We also get to see "Krackow", Granny's huge, hair-covered assistant who looks like a giant werewolf and runs the still down in the cellar. Krackow doesn't speak except for grunts and growls, but Granny berates him constantly for not working hard enough, and for scaring the girls by standing outside their windows at night. Still, Granny calls him "sweetheart" all the time, so it seems there's a love-hate relationship going on! Krackow needs to work harder as there's huge shipment going out that night. What's more, they're going to use a fancy-dress party for the girls to cover the workings of the still with noise and merriment.

The party starts out slow and dull, with no-one dancing. Then, two men dressed as Frankenstein and Dracula (I guess this rounds out the "monster" angle of the movie, bit of a dissapointment really) pour gallons of booze into the punch, and it's clothes off for the girls, and much dancing and hooping and hollering! Again, it's all just boobs and twisting and go-going, nothing explicit. Still, like no party I've ever been to, sadly... Prudence swings into action and calls the police over. Will Granny's operation be doomed? No way! Granny offers them all a glass of elderberry wine - including an investigating man from the "Society of Protection for Werewolves" - and gets them all drop dead drunk. They all wake up in chains, behind bars as forced labour for Granny's booze operation. She was never in jail at all! The still will continue, along with Granny Good's School for (mainly naked) Girls.

At about sixty-two minutes, there's not much time to be bored, even though there's even less plot than length. It's all pretty good-natured - I'd be curious to see Cresse's interpretation of a vile commandant in Love Camp Seven - but again, as I seem to be saying for every second film I write about, not one for the feminists! No-one acts in the slightest, but "Loveable Bob" seems to be having a lot of fun. The humour is pretty low-level, verging on infantile, but you just won't see these types of movies made ever again. They're a wonderful little time capsule of the past, before porn and other harsher, less innocent forms of entertainment took over. In fact, Director Lee Frost went on to make The Defilers, a "roughie" where two punks kidnap, rape and torture a woman, so even his foray into harmless cutsie-nude films didn't last.

Recommended if you're a student of odd cinema, or just a student of naked women. Either way, it's worth a look.

© Boris Lugosi 2005.


Review written: 05/21/2005 14:43:36