Written by: Carroll Jenkins on January 15th, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1972 (Evil Come Evil Go), USA, 1974 (Oh You Beautiful Doll), 1970, USA (Widow Blue)
Directors: Walt Davis (all Films)
Cast: Cleo O’Hara, Rick Cassidy, John Holmes, Sandy Dempsey, Susan Westcott
DVD Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Approximate Running Times: 73 minutes (Evil Come Evil Go), 60 minutes (The Night Hustlers), 78 minutes (Widow Blue)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame (All Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (All Films)
DVD Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $22.98
Evil Come, Evil Go: “Sister Sarah Jane is insane”, warbles a wandering long-haired musician that has no actual presence in the film (no interaction with other characters), but it is a nice touch of improbable absurdity. This flick is filled with exactly that, and the rather competent acting of Cleo O’Hara as the street ‘preacher’ who picks up men for recreational sex but actually has something a little more permanent in mind – a gory, bloody, slasher death. Her motto is “God Is Love, Not Sex”, and she’s on a mission from God to punish anyone having a good time. Now sworn to never have a good time again is her gullible former-lesbian disciple Penny, who not only accompanies Sister singing harmony and thumping a tambourine, but bankrolls her holy crusade against horny men.
This is an extremely low budget combination soft-core sex with splatter horror that actually works well as a film and is always interesting and full of surprises. The prevalent vibe of dark humor helps, as does the varying cast in the sex scenes which show full frontal nudity but are mostly infrequent and brief (given the norms of the grindhouse genre). The gore effects are strictly H.G. Lewis grade amateurish, but these embellishments and little details (such as the lesbian girlfriend’s horrible breast enhancement) keep the feature interesting. Certainly not for everyone’s taste, but a solid and sordid sojourn into memorable sleaze that merits multiple screenings.
Oh You Beautiful Doll: There comes a point when middle-aged motion picture actresses start to lose their looks and become caricatures of their former glory. Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Tallulah Bankhead; they all appeared as wild-eyed heavy makeup smeared lipstick basket cases. This syndrome was portrayed by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd and subsequently by Sylvia Miles in Heat. Cleo O’Hara’s performance is pretty much one note: hysterically insecure and borderline insane.
This minimalistic presentation occurs entirely within the confines of her modest house, but it never gets boring. Her nearly continuous rants are obviously improvised and always entertaining. When she’s not commanding the screen, her relief pitcher is Keith Erickson who maintains a constant fast ball verbal barrage of his own. A few scenes involving secondary characters who pop up for no compelling reason except to appear in another soft-core sex scene provide a bit of relief from the intensity of the lead performers. The end result is a voyeuristic peek into private lives (and psychological demons) that is certain to spark an emotional response from the viewer. Another no budget but ambitious and successful exploitation outing from director Walt Davis.
Widow Blue: This is an infamous blend of hard core sex with gore effects, including [male] homosexual couplings which were rare in ‘mainstream’ adult fare. Despite the explicit depiction of sex acts this is a real movie with dialog and plot and a story. And what a story it is. Essentially it’s another cautionary tale that cheating on your spouse isn’t always a good idea – even if said spouse is secretly a swinger! John Holmes is here in an adult capacity during the second half, and no, homophobes cannot just skip the gay scenes because they are integrated throughout the first half.
All three titles were previously released by Something Weird in various incarnations, but only ECEG really had a quality presentation. No more washed out censored prints as all are culled uncut from original 35 mm negatives and look astounding for such low-budget grindhouse fodder [some brief footage in Widow Blue appear taken from worn prints]. Trailers for the first two features are included along with outtakes from the third making this a special edition. An interview with producer Bob Chinn is informative, revealing that Evil Come Evil Go was patterned after Night Of The Hunter with Robert Mitchum and that John Holmes did the gore effects (!).
Evil Come Evil Go and Oh Your Pretty Doll come across like Andy Warhol / Morrissey or John Waters efforts, so despite the full frontal nudity they shouldn’t offend adventurous mature adults. Window Blue!, on the other hand, seems to exist solely to disgust, shock, and offend as many of the audience as possible, and it will.