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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nicholas Merriwether|
|Produced by||Nicholas Merriwether|
|Screenplay by||Bob Wehling|
|Story by||Nicholas Merriwether|
|Music by||André Brummer|
|Edited by||Don Schneider|
Fairway International Pictures
|Distributed by||Fairway International Pictures|
Eegah (also known as Eegah: The Name Written in Blood) is a 1962 American horror film directed and produced by Arch Hall, Sr. (credited as Nicholas Merriwether), written by Bob Wehling based on a story by Hall Sr., and starring Hall Sr., Hall Jr., Marilyn Manning and Richard Kiel in the title role.
The film's notoriety was enhanced as a result of being featured on episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Elvira's Movie Macabre, and was said by many[who?] to be an all-time worst film and one of the films listed in Michael Medved's book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.
One night after shopping, Roxy Miller (Marilyn Manning) is driving to a party through the California desert when she nearly runs her car into Eegah (Richard Kiel), a giant caveman. She tells her boyfriend Tom Nelson (Arch Hall, Jr.) and her father Robert Miller (Arch Hall, Sr.) about the giant. Her father, a writer of adventure books, decides to go into the desert to look for the creature and possibly take a photograph of it. When his helicopter ride fails to show up at his designated pickup time, Tom and Roxy go looking for him.
Roxy is soon kidnapped by Eegah and taken back to his cave while Tom searches for her. In Eegah's cave, Roxy is reunited with her father, who tells her that he has begun to communicate with the caveman and has developed a theory as to the creature's astounding longevity. When a frisky Eegah expresses what seems to be romantic interest in Roxy, her father, fearful that the creature may kill them both if he is rebuffed, suggests she put up with as much of it as she can bear. Eegah never tries anything too explicit, though, and Roxy even ends up giving him a shave before Tom arrives and helps the Millers escape. Crushed, Eegah follows them back to civilization, a final confrontation ensues, and Eegah is killed.
- Arch Hall Jr. as Tom Nelson
- Marilyn Manning as Roxy Miller
- Richard Kiel as Eegah
- Arch Hall Sr. as Robert Miller
- Clay Stearns as Band Member
- Bob Davis as George
- Deke Richards as Band Member
- Ron Shane as Detective
- Addalyn Pollitt as George's Wife
- Lloyd Williams as Kruger
- Ray Dennis Steckler as Mr. Fishman
- Bill Rice as Chef
- Carolyn Brandt as Fishman's Girl
Following the financial success of his first venture into the drive-in/juvenile delinquency genre, The Choppers, Arch Hall, Sr. was able to fund Eegah, a starring vehicle for his son, Arch Hall, Jr., who had some success with songwriter Alan O'Day on the rock and roll/surf rock scene in Los Angeles. Hall, Sr. both co-wrote the film with Bob Wehling, directed the picture under the pseudonym Nicholas Merriweather, and co-starred opposite his son under the name William Watters. While the library music used to underscore the picture was supplied by André Brummer (under the name Henri Price), an uncredited O'Day ended up being the music editor on Eegah.
Hall, Sr. looked to create an Elvis Presley-style screen persona for his son, and made sure that Eegah was peppered with various rock and roll songs (including two songs he wrote called "Vicky" and "Valerie"). The film attempts elements of traditional schlock-horror and youth-comedy genres, and contains echoes of the 1960s "beach party" genre. One of the members of the rock and roll band shown in the film was Deke Lussier, who, as Deke Richards, later became a highly respected songwriter and record producer at Motown Records.
Hall Sr.'s company, "Fairway-International Pictures", located in Burbank, California, was also Hall's place of residence and doubled for a number of locations in the picture, including the Millers' apartment.
Assistant cameraman Ray Dennis Steckler appears in the picture as Mr. Fischer, the man at the hotel who is thrown at the pool near the end of the picture. Steckler, who had previously moved to Hollywood to become a cameraman, made his directing debut the next year in the Arch Hall, Jr. vehicle Wild Guitar. Steckler's first independent feature, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?, was later distributed by Fairway-International.
The film is in public domain, and is available in several collection and stand-alone versions. The MST3K version of the movie was released on DVD in March 2000 by Rhino Home Video. As of January 2010 the DVD is out-of-print, and as of July 2011 it is no longer available on MST3K's official website. The film is available on archive.org https://archive.org/details/Eegah As of March 2017, the MST3K episode is available on Netflix.
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Considered one of the worst films ever, the first real notoriety the film had past its initial release was being included in the Michael Medved book, The Fifty Worst Films of All Time. Film critic Leonard Maltin panned the film, awarding the film a BOMB, the lowest rating possible calling it "A staple at 'All-Time Worst Film' festivals". The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.
In 1993, Eegah! was featured on Comedy Central's cult television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 and became a fan favorite. In the published episode guide to the series, The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide (ISBN 0-553-37783-3), the cast considers the shaving scene from Eegah, in which Eegah lolls his tongue around and laps up shaving cream, to be one of the most disgusting things they have witnessed during their time on the show. The writers also speculate that some kind of romantic relationship existed between Arch Hall, Sr. and his on-screen daughter Marilyn Manning, due to the uncomfortably non-familial chemistry in their scenes together. One of the film's more inept moments became a running joke on the show: Hall, Sr.'s line "Watch out for snakes!" is blurted out despite a lack of any visual source for the dialog. The line became a running gag, both on other episodes of the show and was referenced in The Office and as the closing line of The Rick Emerson Show.
Eegah! also appeared on an episode of Movie Macabre, featuring Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
A heavily edited version accompanied by lampooning thought bubbles and comedic sound effects was included on Channel 4s Exploitica.
A remake of Eegah! is the second half of Impact Theatre's production of Splathouse Double Feature: The Sadist with Eegah!, a stage and film hybrid that features newly shot footage for each production. The production on the remake began in January 2014 as the second project of the newly formed theatre troupe, p.d. and the bug. Michael Garrett McDonald stars as Tom with Sarah Coykendall playing Roxy. Mike Delaney portrays Roxy's father, Robert, and Eegah! is played by Joseph Mason. The newly filmed footage for Eegah! was shot and directed by Edwin Fernando Gonzalez. The first professional production of Splathouse Double Feature: The Sadist with Eegah! opened July 3, 2014 at Impact Theatre in Berkeley, CA.
In 2017, the rebooted Mystery Science Theater 3000 launched a live tour ("The 'Watch Out for Snakes' Tour"), performing new material with "Eegah" in several US cities.
- Weaver, Tom (2005). Earth vs. the sci-fi film makers. McFarland. p. 176. ISBN 0-7864-2210-6.
- "Eegah! DVD". Apprehensive Films. Archived from the original on April 19, 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
- Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. pp. 185–186. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.
- Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.
- "Cinema Insomnia". Cinema Insomnia. Archived from the original on March 28, 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
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