Day of the Nightmare / Scream of the Butterfly
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Day Of The Nightmare (1965, 94 Minutes) - Love can be murder in this wacky mix of horror, sexploitation and down-and-dirty psycho kookiness! One minute Doris Mays is supposed to be dead, the next she's chasing her ex-boyfriend's wife with a steak knife! Crackpot artist Jonathan Crane tried to end his affair with Doris by stuffing her body in a trunk, but when Doris starts stalking his wife, Jonathan realizes something's gone terribly wrong: "You were dead! Dead! Now stay dead!" Despite the efforts of police detective John Ireland (I Saw What You Did), ultra-creepy Miss Mays pursues Mrs. Crane in the hopes of permanently ending the marriage. Featuring fun cameos from Elena Verdugo (House of Frankenstein) and Liz Renay (Desperate Living), with photography by director Ted V. Mikels (The Corpse Grinders), this is a Day of the Nightmare you'll never forget! "Scream Of The Butterfly" (1965, 76 Minutes) - Two days after marrying rich Sap-of-the-Year Paul Williams, bosomy sex-machine Marla is making it with a "young Adonis" on the beach and planning on killing Paul until--oops!--some surprising-for-its-time homosexuality twists the plot into a kinky pretzel! With photography from cult fave Ray Dennis Steckler (Wild Guitar) and one of the sixties' most cynical endings, "Scream of the Butterfly" also marks the first time in cinema history that the leading lady is referred to onscreen as "Miss Slutsy-Wutsy."
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Top customer reviews
While this film is very similar to Psycho in it's way it is in no means a rip-off of Hitchcock's classic. This film is a story of it's own - and it's a pretty good one.
One thing I did not like this film - the ending. The ending to me was hurried, a bit sloppy and could have been rewritten into something conclusive. But it is an unsuspected ending which is nice - must have been a shock to audiences in 1965.
For one thing, instead of the dingy, scuffy photography of your usual soft-core porno flix, "Scream" is brightly lit and nicely filmed by Ray Stickler (who also filmed "Wild Guitar." All the rooms are blazing white, even the sand of the beaches and the bubble-styled hair-do of its amazing femme star, Nelida Lobato, who was a well-known dancer and singer at that time. Equally startling was the gorgeous young hunk who plays her hot-blooded stud, Nick Navarro. At that time, all male leads of grind-house gems were heavy, flabby and middle-aged, often with weird moustches and tobacco-stained teeth. Navarro would be a knock-out even today and his femme co-star would be a Centerfold of the Year for Playboy. Strangely, neither star would make another picture after this one.
This movie manages to transcend some of the big studio's picures with one key scene: the young lovers make passionate love in the surging foam on the beach as a violent thunderstorm explodes above them. The music builds up to a powerful level, making an impression on the viewer's mind long after Scream of the Butterfly returns to an underserved obscurity.
"Day of the Nightmare" ends up being a rip off of "Pyscho," and an argument for why you should never see your mother having sex (does anybody need that argument to be made?). Apparently Jonathan's mother and his father, Dr. Philip Crane (John Hart), had an open marriage, which supposedly explains why Jonathan is so screwed up. I suppose the nudity prevented it from being prime fare for "MST3K," because this film would have been a perfect choice, from the comic relief provided by Detective Smith (James Cross) to the awfully convenient way justice is served down at the docks at the end of the film. But the chief affront here is the way psychological problems are exploited to advance the story, which is certainly a fair but obvious cop to make for any exploitation film.
"Scream of the Butterfly" (a.k.a. "The Passion Kit") begins with sexy Marla Williams (Nélida Lobato) being run down by her lover, David (Nick Novarro), after she apparently tried to kill her recently wedded husband, Paul (William Turner). A key detail in the story is that Paul cannot swim, but an even more important detail is that David is a gigolo, which means that he swings both ways. We find out about the twisted love triangle is flashbacks at the office of District Attorney Michael Farmer (Robert Miller) where Phil (John Richards), the assistant district attorney, is arguing for David to get the death penalty and Ron (Richard Beebe), the public defender, thinks he can get David off. Consequently, we get to see the story told with Marla still in love with her husband (the view of Phi) and as a tramp (the perspective of Ron). Not exactly he said/she said, but in certainly a variation thereof.
All of the scenes outside of the D.A.'s office are dubbed (because why record sound at the same time you are filming scenes?), but then the point here is to watch Marla frolic in the suds filled spa pool at the hotel and not really listen to anything she has to say. Actually, that scene is emblematic of the rest of the film, because Marla is a water creature. But I found the scenes in the D.A.'s office more interesting because Farmer is wrestling with a big dilemma. He thinks that David needs to be in a state hospital where he can get help for his illness (i.e., being gay) and everyone involved can avoid having their dirty laundry aired in public, but Phil is pushing for the death penalty and lots of publicity to reinforce the local morality, constantly reminding Farmer of the political consequences of his decision for the upcoming election. True, no one will actually come out and say that David is gay or that homosexuality is a mental illness, but they do dance around the issue, and there is no way you can see the twist that comes at the end of this one.
In addition to the twin features there are the usual collection of thematically related extras. We start with a series of Naughty Nympho Trailers for "Agony of Love," "Cool It Baby," "Death of a Nymphet," "Free Love Confidential," "Fuego," "Justine: The Erotic Excitement of Evil," "Nympho: A Woman's Urge," "The Passionate Strangers," "Sex Obsessed," and "The 7th Commandment" (a minor complaint: you can not just hit a button and see them all, you have to go one by one). Then there is a Gallery of Underground Sexploitation Movie Magazine covers with Audio Oddities (another minor complaint: the audio odditiy is just music and none of those great bits from the drive in). There are a trio of shorts: "The Wife and the Whip" is a curious look at the life of a male prostitute, "L'amour pour une Femme" is a silent short where you see the punch line coming a mile away, and "Nympho-a-Go-Go" is about a troubled woman who has yet to give into her impulses but is sure thinking about it a lot.