Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Riders of the Whistling Skull (1937)

Riders of the Whistling Skull (1937)

(Black & White) 54 minutes

I love B-Westerns. Usually low budget, aimed at depression-era pre-adolescent audiences, these films are almost always loaded with guns, horses, fights, bad guys, good guys, and sometimes a song or two by real country & western artists if you can spot them. Most B-westerns clock in at around sixty minutes, which makes for great late-night viewing when you think you might not be able to make it for two full hours.

Combining western, mystery and horror elements, Riders of the Whistling Skull stars "The Three Mesquiteers"; Ray "Crash" Corrigan (founder of "Corriganville"), Robert Livingston, and Max "Alibi" Terhune (who carries around his ventriloquist dummy named "Elmer") as they help the daughter of a missing professor on an expedition to "the Lost City of Lukachukai" where her father has disappeared. They find their way to "the Whistling Skull", a strange rock formation shaped like a giant human skull, protected by a mysterious group or Indians and haunted by a tribal curse.

Riders of the Whistling Skull also features famed stunt-man Yakima Cunutt, Chief Thundercloud and according to the Internet Movie Data Base, Iron Eyes Cody in uncredited role. The DVD packaging from Alpha Video claims that the movie was filmed in "the cliffs above St. George, Utah" but it looks like some of it was shot in Red Rock Canyon State Park in California. The picture quality on this disc is not very good but I picked it up for only $4.99 at Best Buy so I can't really expect too much.

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