KISS ME DEADLY
1955, Park Circus/UA, 105 min, USA, Dir: Robert Aldrich

Some critics see it as the apotheosis of noir style and the definitive statement on American paranoia in the Atomic Age. Others see it as screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides’ smirking send-up of author Mickey Spillane’s popular 1950s macho fantasies. Decide for yourself as hard-headed private eye Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) va-va-vooms his way through sunny and sinister Los Angeles in search of “the Great Whatsit.”


JEOPARDY
1953, Warner Bros., 69 min, USA, Dir: John Sturges

Barbara Stanwyck and Barry Sullivan play a vacationing couple whose fishing trip to Baja turns into a nightmare when the husband is trapped under a rotting pier with the tide rising. Their only hope is a fugitive killer (Ralph Meeker), whose aid comes at a high cost for the terrified, if resourceful, wife. A suspense gem directed and played with all the stops out, especially when Stanwyck and Meeker go toe-to-toe!


THE FOOD OF THE GODS
1976, 88 min, USA, Dir: Bert I. Gordon

In this cult classic adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel, a strange substance bubbling up on an island in British Columbia puts everything that eats it on a serious growth spurt; when a pro footballer (Marjoe Gortner) and his friends go camping on the island, giant killer wasps are just the beginning of their problems. Another enjoyable exploitation effort by director Bert I. Gordon (AIP’s go-to guy for nature-gone-bad flicks), FOOD OF THE GODS slips in sly winks at fundamentalists, ecologists and capitalists while critters the size of SUVs stalk the screen. Also starring Pamela Franklin, Ralph Meeker and the great Ida Lupino, who starts the whole thing off by feeding the mysterious goo to her chickens.


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