eegah poster

Eegah (1962)

Eegah (1962)
Directed by Arch Hall Sr.
Starring Arch Hall Jr, Richard Kiel, Marilyn Manning, Arch Hall Sr

Arch Hall Sr started his career in radio as a writer and performer. He served in the Air Force as a pilot during WW2, his goofy antics during this period oddly enough were the subject of a mainstream war-comedy “The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961)”, directed by Jack Webb (Dragnet) and starring Robert Mitchum as Arch Hall. In the same year Arch began producing his own films on a much, much smaller budget. The first film he made was “Magic Spectacles”, a nudie flick with a rather self-explanatory title. His next film “The Choppers” would introduce the world to Arch’s teenage son, appropriately named Arch Hall Jr.

From this point on Junior would appear in almost all of daddy’s movies. Arch was a guitar swinging rock’n’roller and his father’s plan was to market him as a teen heartthrob via these cheap little movies. Most of the films allow Junior the chance to show off his guitar and singing talents, in “Eegah” he performs at least three songs in their entirety. In 2005 Norton Records released a long overdue collection of Junior’s songs including rare recordings and live performances as well as tunes from his movies. Arch Hall Sr produced a handful of flicks between 1961 and 1965; he also worked with other cult filmmakers such as Ray Dennis Steckler (The Incredibly Strange Creatures That Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies) and Ted V Mikels (The Corpse Grinders). He died in 1978 from a heart attack.

“Eegah” is a film with an extraordinary low-budget, despite this fact it was very successful financially and is quite entertaining for the absurd junk it is. Written, directed and starring Arch Hall Sr under various pseudonyms and with a cast of unknown amateur actors including his aforementioned son, his secretary Manning and Richard Kiel, a tenant of Hall’s whose rent was overdue. Kiel’s career was quite successful after this debut and he is best known for his role as the villain Jaws in several James Bond movies.

“Eegah” is the story of a couple of teenage lovers Roxy and Tommy (Manning & Junior) that witness a giant, prehistoric caveman in the Californian desert. Nobody believes their story except for Roxy’s father Robert Miller, a renowned novelist of adventure stories. Miller sets out in a helicopter to find the giant caveman but is captured by Eegah and taken back to his cave.

Eegah is the last of his kind and lives in a cave with the mummified remains of his family. The corpses of his dead relatives are incredibly dodgy looking, possibly made from paper-mache. When Miller doesn’t return home from his expedition Tommy and Roxy set out in their dune-buggy to find him. Unfortunately Eegah finds Roxy first and she in inducted into the caveman family where she is reunited with her father. Inside the cave Roxy is fed raw meat, teaches Eegah to shave and tries to thwart Eegah’s constant attempts to fondle her rude bits.

Upon discovering Eegah’s lair Tommy helps the Millers to escape from the caveman’s clutches. The lovelorn Eegah leaves the desert in pursuit of Roxy, following her scent all the way back to civilisation where he terrorises a rock’n’roll pool party that Tommy and Roxy are attending.

This movie is really just harmless fun. It’s squeaky clean and doesn’t offer the gore or nudity that are present in many low-budget flicks of the day. The plot is minimal and the acting and direction are fairly mundane but it does have its moments. Such as Junior’s cheesy songs, the scene where Roxy shaves Eegah’s beard off and the silly dune-buggy chase scenes. For me it was fun to watch but I wouldn’t give it a high recommendation. Oh, movie nerds look out for the cameo scene where Eegah pushes Ray Dennis Steckler into a swimming pool (of course this is not reason enough to go and buy it).