Late 70’s Update Time – Fight for Your Life and Demon Lover
Philadelphia, 10-6-78 – Fight for Your Life, featuring a excellent performance by soon to be star William Sanderson, plays as Stayin’ Alive. The trailer shows that the budget for anything at Mishkin was very low – check the “A” on the title card as it looks like a V upside down and a piece of tape to make it look like an A.
In the Late 70’s, the Exploitation market was quietly moving out of the picture. As the Multiplexes in Malls and Suburban areas turned into the focus of the studios more and more as well as the strong stand-alone theaters and smaller second run wanna-be Multiplexes in smaller cities and towns which followed suit. the market for the Independently Distributed movies was eclipsed. With theaters closing under the pressure, or maybe under stricter X-Rated movie laws during Porno Chic’s last stand before VHS took over, the places that welcomed these films decreased sharply by 1977-8. Thankfully, those who were not amused by the Mainstream fare still had some places to go to see entertainment that had a bit of an edge (including a few major company productions) and some jaw-dropping bad movies that seriously hinted at the fall of Exploitation.
3-4-77, Greenville, SC – If there was any one movie that gave the 70’s Indie Horror scene a bad name, it was The Demon Lover. Made in Michigan (reportedly a few scenes at Guitarist Ted Nugent’s place), the Donald G. Jackson film was filled with production problems and flubs in the finished product. A guest appearance by Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen, was not enough to save it although the last few minutes had something to see if the viewer made it that far, but through time it has been proven worthy of a view to those interested to see how low budget these films could get.
Today, one can capture the feeling of Mid-70’s Michigan complete with hideous fashions, clumsy cars, and health-risking doughnut shops while one can sense some of the support players being the type who were into the Rock and Roll lifestyle of the Early 70’s by then seriously gone (one looking like Frank Zappa!) and maybe a couple future fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which hit the Towne in Late 1976). With the minimalist Synth score, it may be that the musician tried to forge a career in Rock with no place to go by to provide music for this film. After seeping into a few theaters, this found a release on the ultra cheap Regal Video (the copy I rented) and Unicorn Video (which also released the copy of Werewolves on Wheels I saw). Back then, it was not a happening movie, but now it’s a look into how misguided things got by the Mid-Late 70’s.
7-2-76 – The Second premiere, this one in SE MI. The first I think was in Jackson at a small mall theater. t one showing (possibly the Cabaret Theater on 8MI near Telegraph), it showed with Night of the Strangler with Micky Dolenz!