Case Number 24540: Small Claims Court

WEIRD NOIR

Girl On The Run
Image Entertainment // 1953 // 64 Minutes // Not Rated
The Naked Road
Image Entertainment // 1959 // 74 Minutes // Not Rated
Fear No More
Image Entertainment // 1961 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
The Seventh Commandment
Image Entertainment // 1961 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Fallguy
Image Entertainment // 1962 // 62 Minutes // Not Rated
Stark Fear
Image Entertainment // 1963 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Daryl Loomis // September 21st, 2012

The Charge

A new kind of suspense as you follow the psycho into a new dimension of horror!

Opening Statement

You can't get your hopes too high when watching a Something Weird release, but receiving a collection called Weird Noir was bound to get me a little excited. I really shouldn't have let it happen, because I'm probably more disappointed that I really had any right to be. Of these six movies, a couple are decent and all of them are mighty sleazy, so let's head into the past with a look at the lowest tier of crime films one will find.

Facts of the Case

Girl on the Run: Accused of killing his boss, a reporter infiltrates a small town carnival in hopes of exposing the real killer, who is closer than he thinks.

The Naked Road: After giving up his girlfriend to a rural sheriff as collateral for a speeding ticket, a sleazy modeling agent drives to the big city to get the cash. Unfortunately, the sheriff had other plans, and sold her off to an even sleazier guy who will turn her into a sex slave.

The Seventh Commandment: A car accident leaves a man with amnesia and, when he wanders away from the accident, he is taken in by a preacher and put to work in his church. He shows remarkable healing powers and becomes a reverend himself, but years later, his old girlfriend shows up and blackmails him about a death that he caused but doesn't remember.

Fear No More: Sharon Carlin (Mala Powers, Sierra Baron) is accused of killing a woman on a train, but escapes and returns home only to find another body. Nothing is what it seems, and though she tries to clear her name, the world seems out to get her, until she's reminded that she was just released from a mental hospital.

Fallguy: A young roughneck stops to help an accident victim who turns out to be a mobster with a gun, and the kid realizes he walked into a murder plot. Now, he's going to get fingered for the crime if he can't figure out a way to clear his name.

Stark Fear: Despite all the abuse, when Ellen Winslow (Beverly Garland, Swamp Women) comes home to find that her husband's taken off, she heads out to get him back. As she starts digging into his past, she discovers he's much worse than she ever dreamed.

The Evidence

None of the movies in this collection are all that good, but there's plenty to have fun to be. Stark Fear, in particular, has an extremely slimy vibe that plays up the criminal underbelly of a small rural town in a way that higher rent productions wouldn't have dreamed of trying to push past censors. It's terribly violent and so mean to its characters that it comes across like a James Thompson story, cheap and wildly sleazy.

It's my favorite on the set, but Fear No More is the one that most closely resembles a real movie. It's a solidly paranoid whodunit with surprisingly believable performances and a good structure that makes you question what you've seen onscreen before delivering the goods in a satisfying reveal. On the crazy end, it doesn't get much weirder than The Naked Road, which doesn't seem like it'll go the sex slave route until it actually does. The only problem is that it shoots itself in the foot with a bit about how she deserves mercy because she's a nice, religious girl. Isn't that the whole point, or have I been misunderstanding these movies this whole time?

It goes downhill pretty quickly after that. Girl on the Run and The Seventh Commandment are both bad, but short and fun. Fallguy, though, is about as bad as movies can get. They can't even spell the title right, and it resembles a home movie more than it does something that could actually air on a movie screen. Still, it's probably the best example one can find of ramshackle roadshow films, so I guess there's some historical value in it, at the very least.

Image Entertainment, under the Something Weird label, has released Weird Noir in a bare bones edition, without even their customary trailer bank of ridiculous movies. The entries look pretty mixed, but all the transfers fare pretty well. There is some damage on all the prints, and though some are worse than others, the only one that looks really bad is Fallguy. The sound is pretty mixed, as well, with some hard to hear from the background noise and some almost perfectly clear.

Closing Statement

There are plenty of really good film noir sets out there, some of which actually feature decent movies. Weird Noir is not one of those sets, but it's a good set for genre fans looking for some low rent entertainment and terrible acting. Regardless of their relative quality, they're all pretty fun, and that's enough.

The Verdict

Case dismissed.

Review content copyright © 2012 Daryl Loomis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice, Girl On The Run
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile, Girl On The Run
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 64 Minutes
Release Year: 1953
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Girl On The Run
* None

Scales of Justice, The Naked Road
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile, The Naked Road
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 74 Minutes
Release Year: 1959
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Naked Road
* None

Scales of Justice, Fear No More
Judgment: 83

Perp Profile, Fear No More
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 1961
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Fear No More
* None

Scales of Justice, The Seventh Commandment
Judgment: 69

Perp Profile, The Seventh Commandment
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 1961
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Seventh Commandment
* None

Scales of Justice, Fallguy
Judgment: 35

Perp Profile, Fallguy
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* 7.1 Master Audio (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 62 Minutes
Release Year: 1962
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Fallguy
* None

Scales of Justice, Stark Fear
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile, Stark Fear
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* 7.1 Master Audio (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 1963
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Stark Fear
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb: Girl on the Run
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0054930/combined

* IMDb: The Naked Road
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0342814/combined

* IMDb: The Seventh Commandment
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0054297/combined

* IMDb: Fear No More
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0150524/combined

* IMDb: Fallguy
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0055974/combined

* IMDb: Stark Fear
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0055478/combined