Film / The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?

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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 Ray Dennis Steckler. Unemployed, free-wheeling Jerry (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 in Long Beach. Oh, and he's totally into that night club/strip joint on the carnival's main concourse, 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 by a month. Considering the general crappiness of either film, the "honor" involved is dubious at best. Like that movie, it features many incidental song-and-dance numbers performed at the carnival's night club. Almost all of these performances were inserted into the film wholesale and have no bearing, narrative or thematic, on the story. The only connection is one night club dancer who figures into the plot 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: Madam Estrella, while not ugly, except claimed in the movie has a pretty nice body.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: The comedian in the nightclub is horrendous, especially his timing on the "my mother irons and my father steals" joke, which was really old even when this movie was made.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Oddly enough, Harold catapults during Jerry's nightmare.
  • Cats Are Magic: Drunkard dancer Marge Neilson sees a black cat in her dressing room, setting off the events of the movie.
  • 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 hypnotize.
  • 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.
  • Tarot Troubles: Along with performing a palm-reading and a crystal ball reading for the protagonists, Estrella also performs a tarot reading for the superstitious dancer Marge. Marge freaks out and bolts after drawing the Death card, accidentally stumbling upon Estrella's "pets" and setting off the events that lead to her murder.
  • 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?
  • Stop or I Will Shoot!: As unarmed Jerry attempts to escape the police at the end of the movie, he climbs up a large rock face to escape. One of the police who's been chasing him can't be bothered to follow, and simply shoots him from ground level.
  • 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.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheIncrediblyStrangeCreatures