*Editor’s note: Last week’s Exploitation Alley article was guest written by my good friend Natty, and beginning this week, Natty is going to be taking over the column permanently, so I can focus on other parts of the site. She’s very excited to share her favorite exploitation/genre films with you fright fiends, so welcome her aboard! -Jerry
Everyone has that one film in their collection that has been watched more times than they would like to admit. For me, my most watched film is also something that I can’t believe exists. This particular film is so incredibly bad in a good way; I usually end up showing it to everyone I become friends with at some point in our friendship. Some of them have still never called me back. So let’s all take a look at by far the creepiest exploitation film that has been keeping me from staying friends with un-cool people for years…It’s THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS!
This gem was written and directed by T.L.P. Swicegood, and released in 1966. Part dark comedy and part horror, it is about a money-hungry undertaker named Mort and two men who own a struggling diner. They go out at night on their motorcycles to murder women and take parts of them so the guys at the diner will have meat to serve, and the undertaker will have a body to bury. Yeah, it’s creepy, but if you happen to be a complete psychopath I suppose it’s a good business move.
The film starts out with a pretty pointless motorcycle scene that lasts a bit longer than it should, and then takes an interesting turn when the guys break into Sally Lamb’s apartment. The poor thing doesn’t stand a chance, and becomes the next day’s special: Leg of Lamb. I know, right? How clever. Of course no proper exploitation film from the mid-60s would be complete without a dreamy detective on the case, so they give us Harry Glass. He also has a hot secretary named Ann Poultry. Harry makes the mistake of taking lovely Ms. Poultry to the diner, and the mistake of insulting the owners of the diner. So that night, after Harry drops her off…well, I’m sure you can guess what happens to Ms. Poultry; let’s just say the special becomes “Breast of Chicken.”
Within a day or two, Harry Glass is completely over the death of his girlfriend, and in walks her replacement: Friday. Yes, her name is Friday. After a super awkward flirt session between the two, Friday goes to the diner alone. After she complains of having a “hunger pain”, one of the creepy diner owners (who goes by Doc) decides to knock her out and perform surgery on her. Apparently, in addition to being a crazy diner cook, he wants to be a surgeon. Poor Friday is a goner. I won’t give details on that, but it is pretty awesome. Luckily, Friday had an identical twin sister named Thursday. Thursday finds Harry while searching for her sister, and quickly charms and makes out with him. No, really like within seconds. I guess nothing is hotter than trying to find your missing sister, or going to your girlfriend’s funeral.
All good movies must come to an end. The bad ones must come to an end as well.
With an epic showdown between the Harry, and the bad guys, this movie ends in a typical “did that just seriously happen?” way. It’s great. This film has a decent amount of extended scenes for no good reason, scenes that just appear in the middle of another scene without explanation or even being part of the story, and during most scenes it will be daytime, then nighttime, and daytime again in a matter of seconds. If you are a fan of an exploitation film that does not disappoint, and has all the elements to make it terribly great, THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS is it.