Thundercrack! (1975)

“My name is Mrs. Gert Hammond. Welcome to Prairie Blossom!”

Synopsis:
On a dark and stormy night, various strangers gather at the house of a disturbed widow (Marion Eaton), who has decidedly kinky ideas about sex.

Genres:

Review:
This ultra-bizarre, ultra-low-budget campy porno flick (written by underground maverick George Kuchar) is most definitely not for all tastes. While it starts out as an atmospheric gothic horror tale, it quickly turns into a raunchy, graphic, blackly comedic sex-fest, as polymorphically perverse Gertie (Eaton) gets off (with the help of a cucumber) by watching her houseguests explore a room full of naughty toys. Sexual encounters then continue in full force, as various partners of both genders hook up; there’s even an infamous flashback to a bestial love affair. If none of this sounds appealing (chances are it won’t to most viewers), you’ll find that Eaton, with her hopelessly skewed eyebrows, is by far the best aspect of the film — her performance is so sincerely melodramatic that one almost begins to root for her, despite her clear mental imbalance. There’s an entire website devoted to the (supposedly) imminent “special edition” DVD release of this film, which until now has only been available as a bootleg; click here to check it out.

P.S. Updated info (10/1/07): I recently heard from the sister of director Curt McDowell, who wrote the following: “It is my goal to preserve, protect, and present [Thundercrack!] in a way that would best honor my brother. I guess I’m hoping to explain what the delay has been, and to reassure you and anyone else who is interested that the DVD will be finished, and hopefully, worth the wait.”

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Marion Eaton as Gert Hammond
    Eaton
  • A perversely campy sensibility
    Sex room
  • The melodramatic, low-budget flashback scenes
    Flashback
  • Mark Ellinger’s eclectic, often humorous score

Must See?
Yes, for its status as an underground cult favorite. Listed as a Camp Classic in the back of Peary’s book.

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One Response to “Thundercrack! (1975)”

  1. “Who is this that speaks to me with the voice of a woman?!”

    A definite must!

    Here Peary gets the citing of a camp classic right – this is what ‘ccs’ are all about! And, as such, ‘Thundercrack!’ is among the best.

    Unfortunately, a viewing hasn’t been recent enough for me to go on at length about this entertainingly sleazy piece of celluloid. It’s thanks to the now-defunct Kim’s Underground on Bleecker St. in NYC that I could rent a (rather less-than-pristine) bootleg of it a few times. But each time was memorable for those of us who banded together for the reasonably jaw-dropping experience.

    And now, this appears to be one of the most difficult films to find. (The website devoted to it has been up a rather long time – and still there’s no release date.)

    I’m tempted to say it should be seen for Marion Eaton’s no-holds-barred performance alone, but everyone on-board is game as well, esp. screenwriter/actor George Kuchar. What are we to make overall of the work of Kuchar and his twin brother Mike? Theirs is a case (although Curt McDowell helmed ‘Thundercrack!’) in which words actually do fail me – and imdb.com lists a startlingly long list of work. Netflix has the DVD of ‘Sins of the Fleshapoids’ – with two other shorts – available. Though not nearly on the level of…uh, accomplishment…as ‘Thundercrack!’, they give sufficient indication of what was…coming.

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