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Code of the Cactus

USA 1939
produced by
Sam Katzman for Victory
directed by Sam Newfield
starring Tim McCoy, Ben Corbett, Dorothy Short, Ted Adams, Stephen Chase, Dave O'Brien, Forrest taylor, Bob Terry, Slim Whitaker, Frank Wayne, Art Davis, Jimmy Aubrey, Kermit Maynard, Milburn Morante, Tex Palmer, Lew Porter, George Morrell, Robert Walker
written by Edward Halperin, songs by Lew Porter, Johnny Lange

Lightning Bill Carson

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Rustlers are stealing cattle using trucks and gangster methods. Magpie (Ben Corbett), partner in a ranch especially severly hit by the rustlers, asks his friend Lightning Bill Carson (Tim McCoy) for help, but Bill declines, having long become a businessman in the meat-packing industry. However, Bill has actually long begun investigations, because a competitor, Blackton (Forrest Taylor) has just undercut him for a gouvernment contract, and Bill is sure he can't be operating at such low a price and be on the level.

So Bill dresses up as Mexican bandit Miguel and holds up the trucks of the rustlers, and soon he has stolen for himself a sizeable herd but has left the rustlers on the dry. He then pays a visit to their hangout and meets with their boss Thurston (Ted Adams), who soon hires Miguel as his top rustler, for a 50/50 split. He soon learns more about the rustlers than is good for them.

Then the rustlers plan to strike the ranch of Magpie and his partner Joan (Dorothy Short), but walk into an ambush because Bill has forwarned the ranchers. Most of the rustlers get away, but when Bill pays a visit to Magpie and Joan, he makes an almost fatal mistake by revealing his double identity to their foreman (Stephen Chase), who's the rustler's mole on the ranch, and who spills the beans to Thurston and company. Bill only barely gets away with his life.

The rustlers, desperate for Magpie and Joan's cattle because Bill has managed to take all their former loot from them, stage a big attack on a cattle transport of theirs, but have apparently forgotten Bill was there when they planned it, and thus walk into another ambush, during which all of them, including head baddie Blackton, are shot or captured.


Ok, so the story of this film might not be entirely original, but at least Tim McCoy as a comicbook Mexican is a hoot. True, his performance might not be regarded as politically correct from today's point of view, but it adds a spot of much-needed colour to the tried-and-true plot. Add to this one of the better cirectorial efforts by Sam Newfield, and you've got yourself an ok B-Western.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD