aka CULT OF THE DAMNED
"Drugs, thugs and freaked-out starlets, ritual murder and
One of A.I.P's excursions in the then current youth counter culture it falls somewhat into the same category as the company's earlier jaunts into "hippiesploitation" such as PSYCH-OUT (1968), THE TRIP (1967) and WILD IN THE STREETS (1968), but in other ways is an all together different beast. A.I.P. had always courted the youth market and its fascinating to watch how they were constantly trying to keep up with the changing times as only a few years before they were still cranking out beach pictures, until 1966's THE WILD ANGELS skewed them in more counter culture direction.Thom had written the "beat" drama THE SUBTERRANEANS (1960) and later worked in television. In 1968 he wrote WILD IN THE STREETS for A.I.P. and was given a shot at directing. In spite of ANGEL, ANGEL DOWN WE GO's failure at the box office Corman hired Thom as a writer for New World where he was responsible for the classics BLOODY MAMA (1970) and 1975's DEATH RACE & CRAZY MAMA. He would pen the the very weird & creepy (and worth seeking out) THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA in 1976 and the 1974 T.V. movie THE PHANTOM OF HOLLYWOOD. He sadly passed away at the age of 49 in 1979.
At the party Tara hooks with the entertainment in the form of rock star Bogart Peter Stuyvesant (Jordan Christopher from WILD IN THE STREETS) who while wearing leather pants and shirtless withers around on stage seeming to channel Jim Morrison. Stealing away from the party with Bogart (who is named that as he was conceived while his mother was watching THE MALTESE FALCON), Tara very quickly jumps feet first into his decadent world along with his new group "The Rabbit Habit" which consists of Joe (soul singer Lou Rawls - who ironically doesn't sing here), 40 something year old hippie Santoro (Roddy McDowell) and the pregnant Anna Liva (Davey Davidson from THE STRANGLER). Tara immerses herself full force into Bogart's world (complete with weird sex & trippy negligee dancing), but Bogart himself has bigger plans has he integrates himself into Tara's family by proposing to her and like an avenging angel leaves a trail of death and destruction along the way.
Academy Award winner Jennifer Jones as the mother follows in then current trend of famous Hollywood leading ladies who were dipping their toes into lower budget horror thriller movies (which can be traced back to 1962's WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE) such as Lana Turner dropping acid in THE BIG CUBE (1969), Joan Crawford and a missing link in TROG (1970) and the above mentioned BLOODY MAMA with Shelly Winters. To 50 year old Jones credit she jumps into her role here with gusto as she prances about in see-thru dresses uttering such unforgettable lines as "I made thirty stag films and never faked an orgasm" & "In my heart of hearts, I'm a sexual tramp", plus engaging in some semi-nude love making with Jordan Christopher as he nuzzles her breast. At one point Astrid mentions to her daughter that she was named after GONE WITH THE WIND which is ironic as Jones at one time was married to producer David O' Selznick.
Upon viewing this now, its easy to see why A.I.P. had trouble marketing it (the strange poster art for the ANGEL, ANGEL version surely didn't help matters much) and why the box office was such a disaster. Although easy to label nowadays as just a dated curiosity with its psychedelic trapping, hallucinatory imagery and bizarre sequences (skydiving, Near's dialogue while mysteriously attached to a ceiling and a cryptic ending), there is something oddly compelling & weirdly hypnotic about it, and it does require attentive viewing in able to absorb the dialogue heavy plot.