Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

THE FLESH EATERS


THE FLESH EATERS (1964). Director: Jack Curtis.

"Gentlemen, I drink. I don't mean polite cocktails. I mean I drink!"

Laura Winters (Rita Morley), a dipsomaniac actress fighting age and failure, her patient assistant Jan (Barbara Wilkin), and Grant (Byron Sanders), a pilot trying to fly them to Provincetown through a storm, wind up landing on an isolated island where a mad scientist named Bartell (Martin Kosleck) is performing some rather hideous experiments. These are an outgrowth of Nazi research into tiny life forms that can strip all the flesh from anyone's bones in seconds. Another visitor to the island is an annoying beatnik named Omar (Ray Tudor) who comes to a bad end. This is a totally absurd but highly entertaining horror flick with zesty performances by Rita Morley and perennial bad guy Kosleck and good-enough performances from the others in the cast. The best scene has to do with a suitcase full of liquor bottles, a jetty, and a tassel of flesh eaters waiting for someone to fall off the rocks and right into their midst. The monsters get even more monstrous at the climax. Beware television prints that usually cut the more gruesome shots as well as the macabre flashback to the wartime experiments with the flesh eaters. Written by Arnold Drake, who created the Doom Patrol for DC Comics. Adroit editing and direction certainly help, as does the bombastic musical score. NOTE: For more on this movie and others like it check out Creature Features.

Verdict: A minor classic. ***.

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