The Cramper (1960)
Director: Jonathan Fort
Producer: Jonathan Fort
Writer: Jonathan Fort
Jonathan Fort
Samantha Fort
Wilmer McField
Stacey Pinchot
Music: Jonathan Fort & Marcus Geraldstein
Editing: Jonathan Fort
Distributor: Liberty Pictures

One of the most dire of the gimmicky no-budget monster movies to wash up in the early 1960s. The Cramper, like many, sought to turn its liabilities of a low budget, no bankable stars, and a Poverty Row studio into strengths. It posited that the numbness of cramps is actually the first stage of possession and eventual consumption by an insidious “cramper” parasite. The apparent hope was that crowded grindhouses with uncomfortable seats would provide the needed cramping among audience members, but as a gimmick it is surely one of the most lame ever attempted.

There are unconfirmed reports that the director Jonathan Fort, wearing more caps than a hat rack for the production, hoped to slip a cheap cramping agent like cytorinabarmuphate into concession stands at theaters showing the movie, but being made the bottom half of a double feature with Goat Women of Venus put an end to that ambition. Fort, a longtime production assistant, quickly returned to that role after the movie underperformed (box office estimates for the opening week hover near $100 to $150 dollars).

The only noteworthy trivia about the film (other than its legendary camp value and the fact that 6 out of the 10 names on the marquee are the same, rising to 7 if you include Mrs. Jonathan Fort, the female lead) is the participation of Golden Age Hollywood composer Marcus Geraldstein. Having been blacklisted not long after his Hollywood debut, Geraldstein was a few years away from his first Oscar nomination and no doubt needed Fort’s meager paycheck to keep the lights on at home.

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