Sunday 16 March 2008

Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (1966)

Beginning effectively with a nighttime attack on a woman walking alone by an indeterminate number of crazed attackers coming out of the darkness, this soon becomes something else. It's managed very well indeed with some intriguing cinematography, clever use of camera angles and a highly appropriate suspenseful pause, and then fade out to the title sequence, which is again cleverly done with some memorable and unique music by Henry Price (really André Brummer).

From then on out it's an open question what the film really is. A bunch of narrative nonsense introduces a wild rock video with more energy than can be contained on a single screen. I can't wait to see this on the big screen. There's a vitality to it that just can't be ignored, even when it's just one thug trying to persuade his lazy cohorts to go have some fun. Steckler shows us scenes of apparent nothingness like a gardener watering a lawn and we're rivetted to just what's going to burst out of the screen next.

The first half of the film is half maniac stalker movie and half rock video. Carolyn Brandt is Cee Bee Beaumont, girlfriend of rock star Lonnie Lord, and the bad guys stalk her with hammer and chain because they picked her out of the phone book. Ron Haydock is Lord and Titus Moede is the mild mannered retarded when convenient gardener, Titus Twimbly. Halfway through, they become Rat Pfink and Boo Boo, superheroes in terrible costumes who only have one weakness: bullets.

From this point forward, it's a spoof of the Adam West TV version of Batman, which was presumably released halfway through filming, thus prompting Steckler's change of direction for his movie. The question is open as to whether Ron Haydock (appearing under his pseudonym of Vin Saxon) ripped off Adam West or whether West ripped off Haydock as the series progressed. The end result is as confusing as it is infectious, half outsider genius and half sixties precursor to YouTube. Amazing stuff. As coherent filmmaking it isn't even on the map, but as a cult riot it's infectious.

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