Turkey Day Marathon, Day 5: Red Zone Cuba (1966).
One of the many fun things about the late, great “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ was their annual all-day Turkey Day Marathons for Thanksgiving. Hour after hour after hour of bad movies — what’s not to love? So this year we’re doing a Desuko Turkey Day Marathon of our own — five days of Desuko reviews of movies that have been featured on MST3K. Here’s experiment #619, “Red Zone Cuba.” (Originally published Aug. 7, 2009):
This is yet another Coleman Francis/Anthony Cardoza turd, only this time it is apparently Francis’ grand artistic statement.
Back in the ’60s and ’70s, just about anybody could get John Carradine to appear in their film for about the cost of a ham sandwich, so Francis apparently blew his budget on that, and then wasted the whole thing in the first two minutes of the movie. In the opening scene, Carradine turns up as a grizzled railway worker who is telling this story to a nondescript bystander. After this incredibly short day’s work, Carradine disappears from the movie forever, but not before croaking the horrendously awful theme song.
From there, the real story starts. An escaped convict (played by the auteur himself, who also wrote, directed, produced and edited this red-baiting debacle) gets mixed up with five or six revolutionaries who try to invade Cuba. After an excursion that makes the Bay of Pigs look like an epic triumph, our intrepid non-heroes get captured, and a couple of them try a semi-daring escape before getting hunted down by a half-hearted posse back in the States.
At least, that’s what the plot seems to indicate. Mostly, “Red Zone Cuba” just meanders from scene to scene, without much differentiation between one setting and the next. In fact, if this film is to be believed, Cuba is just a little town in the California desert. And I think the guy with the cigar and glued-on beard is supposed to be Fidel Castro.
“I’m Cherokee Jack!”
Apparently Cherokee Jack’s plane is still in use, and is currently being flown out of a small airport in Alaska.
“The Beast of Yucca Flats” (1961) and “Invasion U.S.A.” (1952).
The MST3K version: