13 Frightened Girls! (1963)

“13 Frightened Girls” hasn’t attained the cult status that William Castle’s horror films, such as “The House on Haunted Hill” or “The Tingler”, have attained, which is a shame. Maybe its because it lacks an actor with the star power of Vincent Price, but “13 Frightened Girls” is unknown by even the most hardened psychotronic buffs. However, it is a ridiculous film, and while it isn’t the best film Castle ever made, its certainly his most bizarre. Its full of outlandish cold war-era agitprop, as the central plot is about a diplomat’s daughter spying on her fellow students from other countries. It ends up going all over the place.

There are several other reasons for the camp appeal. The colors are garish, like a Fauvist threw up all over the place. They even bring to mind a sleeker version of John Water’s early film’s set designs. The dialog is so wide-eyed and naive, its completely left-field when the surprisingly strong violence (espescially for a kid’s film) happens to the protagonists. There’s many subtle hints dealing with torture by foreign enemies, and despite the end message of peace, there’s a strong sense of xenophobia throughout. What can I say? “13 Frightened Girls” is an insane film that needs to be seen by vintage drive-in and psychotronic fans.