Lee Frost (1935-2007) pretty much covered every genre going during his illustrious career: nudies, comedies, westerns, war films, thrillers and more, as director, producer, DoP, editor and sometimes even actor. According to IMDb: “Lee Frost rates highly as one of the best, most talented and versatile filmmakers in the annals of exploitation cinema.” Our Frost-y Theme Week looks at a selection of his films spanning the early formative and productive decades of his career, with its themes of misogyny and BDSM, as well as partnership with Bob Cresse.
"Surftide 77" (1962) - Frost's directorial debut, about a private eye who has to find a girl with a butterfly-shaped birthmark on her breast. So an excuse to show lots of breasts. Stars Playboy model Virginia Gordon and partly shot in LA's Bronson Canyon - a location so popular with cult film directors that it will get its own theme week here on Cultpix. She would re-appear in future Frost films, as would producer Bob Cresse - in granny drag! Frost and Cresse formed Olympic Productions. The film title was a play on Surfside 6, a popular early-60s detective TV show. But we mainly love the sexy answering service..
"House on Bare Mountain" (1962) - is a particular obsession of ours, not least as it is where the Cultpix Radio ident comes from with the still of the werewolf and the beauty. Because – what’s not to like about topless go-go dancers AND film monsters?! See the Frankenstein monster do The Twist with a big-breasted beauty, in the first "adults only" skin flick to mix monsters and mammaries, a full two years before Harry Novak's Kiss Me Quick! Bob Cresse is back in drag as Granny Good who runs a charm school that's actually a front for a bootleg operation. Cresse and Frost stepped in when the original producer went bust, finishing the film in two days, mainly by ad-libbing most of the film.
"Hollywood’s World of Flesh" (1963) is Frost's early take on the Italian sexy Mondo genre, a hilariously bogus “documentary on the film capital of the world”, followed later by "Mondo Freudo" and "Mondo Bizarro" (both 1966). Far from taking "two complete motion-picture units thirteen months to compile,” as the hyperbole about the film looking at the back side of Tinseltown would have you believe, Messrs Cresse and Frost probably filmed the adult book stores, grindhouses, dingy bars, private strip clubs with lesbian acts and 'Figure Mode Photography Studios' in three days.
"The Pick-Up" (1968) - Another legendary 'lost' roughie that SWV had been searching for and finally found in Copenhagen of all places, thanks to a Scandi tour arranged by Klubb Super8. Friedman and Cresse play mob gangsters to collect some money. But they get double crossed by two chicks, who they track down and proceed to torture to retrieve the loot. Involves taping of electric cord to tits, water poured over and then plugged in. David Friedman did a lecture and showed the scene to the students at Stockholm’s Dramatiska Institutet, chuckling! The students sat there in shocked disbelief! When SWV head honcho Mike Vraney found the lost print in an old film vault in Denmark he said, "It was like finding the Holy Grail!"
"The Scavengers" (1969) - Tagline: “They spell love like you’d spell lust, and they’ve already turned ten towns to dust!” This western sees Confederate soldiers trying to rob a Yankee coach of its cold. Only there's less gold then they thought and they also won't believe that the Civil War ended two years ago. According to SWV, "The Scavengers frequently rises above its poverty-row budget and exploitative intentions. Cresse’s dialogue is often sharp and tough, and the plot itself is quite engrossing... Even the action sequences -- replete with Wild Bunch-style slow motion -- are suitably rousing and well-staged."
"Ride Hard, Ride Wild" (1970) - Cashing in on the twin-trends of biker films and Scandi nudies, this pretend Danish film sees Lee Frost credited with 'Dubbing Supervisor', but we suspect the 'Elov Peterssons' directing credit is one of his many aliases, though he denied it. Motor cross racer Karl Borsch plots revenge against a racing rival and his girlfriend, making their way from race to race in their VW minibus. We end this episode with the movie's theme song.
"Zero in and Scream" (1970) - "When a man climbs on top of a woman, she becomes ugly!" explains a proto-Incel sniper. Tagline: He found a way to get even with those who defiled the beauty of women and his mind he became the watchman, terminating the ugliness of mankind with the rifle, the trigger. Tapping into the Manson/Son of Sam/Zodiac Killer zeitgeist, this film is unique in being filmed extensively through athe scope of a rifle or underwater. The disturbed lead Mike visits strip clubs and ends up at a decadent 70s party, where pool orgies are the norm. It is a time capsule of its era.
Be sure to check out our Lee Frost-inspired Spotify playlist.