Saturday, January 7, 2017
Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny (Barry Mahon, 1970/72)
Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny
And so we arrive at our film-within-a-film, which comes with an interesting legacy. How did the director of A Good Time With A Bad Girl (1967) come to make kiddie horrors? Barry Mahon is one interesting cat. An American World War 2 fighter pilot shot down over Europe, his POW experience later inspired the Steve McQueen movie The Great Escape, but it’s his adventures in Filmland that most interest us here at Schlock HQ. By sheer twist of fate Mahon became Errol Flynn’s manager and directed his rancid swansong Assault Of The Cubal Rebel Girls (1959) which, along with the ill-fated Flynn vehicle William Tell, scuttled any chance at a serious career in Hollywood A-films. Instead, White Slavery (late 50s), a movie he shot in Tangiers while he and Flynn were laying low, sealed his fate, and he began a series of nudie cutie films, some with Playboy bunnies sourced by glamour photographer Bunny (“I shot Bettie Page”) Yeager. As the Sixties progressed, the benign nudie antics of Pagan Island (1960) and Girls On Tiger Reef (1965) gave way to notorious “roughies” like The Beast That Killed Women (1965) and The Sex Killer (1967), and then POOF! Like a third-rate magic act the pornographer disappeared, and Mahon the Kiddie Matinee King took his place: six shortish films in rapid succession around 1969 and 1970, and mostly shot at a doomed Florida amusement park called Pirate’s World, a place remembered more for its rowdy concerts by The Doors and Iron Butterfly than any of the buccaneer-themed rides.