B-movie director Ray Dennis Steckler maintains that he envisioned his 1964 masterwork ‘The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies’ as a companion piece to ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'.
If one were to follow that line of reasoning, then that would make Steckler’s original title of ‘The Incredibly Strange Creatures or: How I Learned to Stop Living and Become a Mixed-Up Zombie’ exceptionally clever for an admittedly one-note 'mench'. Shame then that an ill-timed cease & desist order parlayed that mouthful of a title into the ridiculous film we have all come to know and love today.
(Note: Stekler’s film held the distinction of being the longest film title in it’s day, surpassed only by the 1967 film adaptation of Peter Weiss’ ‘The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade’.)
And make no mistake, we do love it! I mean, how could you not appreciate the audacity of a man who' cinematic output includes the likes of 'Rat Pfink A Boo Boo' and 'The Horny Vampire'!
Far from being Steckler's only laps in judgement, ole' Cash Flagg envisioned 'Creatures' as the 'World's First Monster Musical', a distinction dubiously attributed to Del Tenney's beach-party dust-up 'The Horror of Party Beach', though 'Creatures' bested 'Beach' in it's race to the box office by several months. And you might as well forget the fact that Steckler stole the Del-Aires' thunder by populating 'Creature's' soundtrack with his very own composition - albeit, less surf and more soul - titled 'Zombie Stomp'.
But which came first...the zombie chicken or the zombie egg?
While most people believe the 1964 Danny Ware cut of 'Zombie Stomp', pressed on REL records, to be the Real McCoy (the label confirming the track's tie-in to Steckler's 1964 film) the fact of the matter is Steckler double-dipped for his 'Stomp', the original cut of the tune being released by Bill Gholston on the same REL imprint one year prior.
Where as Danny Ware's disk backs 'Stomp' up with another track from the film (the string-drenched 'It's Incredible'), the original release bookends 'Stomp' with a weirdo tune about Frankenstein riding in a Volkswagen' titled 'Monster's A Go-Go'!
Upon closer inspection the core tracks on both versions of ‘Stomp’ sound exactly the same, but the vocals are obviously different (the Ware version is better). I personally can’t imagine the initial release enjoying brisk sales to inspire a second crack at the zombie-themed soul market, though Ray Dennis Steckler did posses the foresight to hire Arch Hall Jr.as his romantic lead in 'Wild Guitar'...so I guess I have no choice but to trust his judgement implicitly.
Zombie Stomp – Danny Ware
Zombie Stomp – Billy Gholston
Monster A Go-Go – Billy Gholston