Film: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies

AKA Tropers.
Originally titled The Incredibly Strange Creature: Or Why I Stopped Living And Became A Mixed-Up Zombie; you can see why they were forced to change it by Columbia Pictures. (Why Columbia would bother to threaten a lawsuit is an utter mystery.)

This freaky little film with the famously unwieldy title was directed by the late Nicolas Cage-a-like Ray Dennis Steckler. Unemployed, free-wheeling Jerry (director Steckler, under the pseudonym Cash Flagg) and his "foreign" roommate Harold have fun with Jerry's well-to-do girlfriend Angela; he takes her to places she's never dreamed of — like the amusement park out in Long Beach. Oh, and he's totally into that night club/strip joint on the carnival's main concourse, much to Angela's ire. Oops. Unfortunately for Jerry, the stripper he's interested in is the sister of the film's Big Bad, evil fortune-teller Estrella, who keeps a harem of acid-deformed "zombies" in her place of business... attached to the night club on the carnival's concourse. Oops! Oddly enough, people keep tumbling onto Estrella's dahrty leetle seecret dirty little secret, and so she hypnotizes Jerry and sends him out to silence them, then tosses him aside. Eventually the "zombies" escape their evil mistress and begin a campaign of minor mayhem through the carnival concourse before being gunned down. Jerry too, being mistaken for one of them, is chased by over-eager young cops out to the beach for a final confrontation.

The Incredibly Strange Creatures (for those of us who don't have the pecs to swing the full title around) billed itself as "the first monster musical!" beating out The Horror of Party Beach to the honor by a mere month. Considering the general crappiness of either film, the "honor" involved in that is dubious at best. Like that movie, it features many incidental song-and-dance numbers, ostensibly performed at the carnival's night club. It should be noted, of course, that almost all of these performances were inserted into the film wholesale and therefore have absolutely no bearing, narrative or thematic or otherwise, on the story; the only connection is one particular night club dancer who figures into the plot (only as a victim).

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

"The Incredibly Strange Tropes Who Stopped Living and Became a Mixed-Up Index":

  • Big Bad: Estrella.
  • Blithe Spirit: the film tries to pass off its hero protagonist main character as this, but he mostly comes across as an irresponsible deadbeat.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Jerry.
  • BSOD Song: An incredibly slow, heavily muffled version of "Rawhide", apparently. Uh, alright, then...
  • Butter Face: Maoam Estrella, while not ugly, except claimed in the movie has a pretty nice body.
  • Catapult Nightmare: oddly enough, Harold catapults during Jerry's nightmare.
  • Death by Disfigurement: Every single one of the "zombies". Even Jerry, who's pretty much physically and mentally fine except for a little scarring.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The "zombies" of the title don't appear until the very end of the movie and then get killed before they can do anything.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Jerry's dream sequence.
    Tom Servo: I think I'm freaking out...
  • Downer Ending: Jerry is shot and dies. The, er, end.
  • Fanservice: Carmelita's striptease is the most notable scene, but really, the film seems more about just watching women sing and dance in provocative costumes than anything else.
  • Femme Fatale: Carmelita the stripper.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Estrella opens the door where the zombies she has created are being stashed. They get out with no fuss whatsoever and promptly kill her, Carmelita, and Ortega.
  • The Igor: Ortega.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Carmelita's cute and all, but she's not quite the ravishing seductress the movie wants her to be.
  • An Insert: "So the director just filmed an 'open mic' night and made it half his movie?"
  • Large Ham: Estrella
  • Long Title
  • Monster Misogyny: like many serial killers, this killer's targets are female (though he does kill a couple guys while he's at it)
  • More Than Mind Control: Jerry seems pretty easy to hypnotise.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: And by "zombie", we mean "acid-scarred hypnotized serial killer". Though, admittedly, hypnotized slave is more in-line with the popular idea of a zombie at the time. And save for Jerry (who uses a knife), their killing method is the same as every other monster from the era: putting both hands around the victim's neck and bodily shaking back and forth until deadness ensues.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Jerry. When he's not being hypnotized and controlled by Estrella and Carmelita, he's being otherwise useless. Neither he nor anyone else actually do anything to stop the antagonists, who do a good job bringing about their own downfall.
  • Romani: it's never stated outright, but Estrella fits the mold in practically every way.
  • Shrug Take:
    Dancer: That's your idea of a big evening? I should slave over a hot stove cooking dinner for you?
    Barker: Why not?
    Dancer: [Shrug Take] Who's going to wash the dishes?
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jerry
  • The Unintelligible: Ortega
  • Word Salad Title: Taken to its logical extreme.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Attempted, but it's hard when you only have four zombies.