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November 22, 2007

The Flesh Eaters

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Jack Curtis - 1964
Dark Sky Films All Region DVD

Is there a better time than Thanksgiving to watch a film called The Flesh Eaters? This heart-warming tale of a Nazi experiment gone wrong is actually a better film than I had expected. Considering that it took about two years to actually find its way into movie theaters, The Flesh Eaters is hardly a cinematic turkey.

Of course there are plot points that make no sense. We are to believe that the story mostly takes place on an uninhabited island somewhere between New York City and Provincetown. That a Nazi scientist is alone with a huge solar generator on this island is almost plausible. On the plus side are great low tech special effects, especially the monster that appears at the end of the film that looks something like a combination of an octopus and a merengue pie on steroids.

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What helps make The Flesh Eaters more entertaining than some similar films of the era is the generosity of flesh. Starting with Barbara Wilson, who loses her bikini top before becoming the first on screen victim, the film pushed the limits for a relatively mainstream release. Barbara Wilkin selflessly removes her shirt to provide a makeshift bandage for Byron Sanders. Playing an alcoholic actress, Rita Morley faces the camera with an ample display of cleavage. Sanders provides a bit of beefcake as well. Keeping his clothes on is perennial Nazi Martin Kosleck.

Aside from Kosleck, the only person whose career survived The Flesh Eaters is Radley Metzger. Had the title not been used for this film, it's easy to imagine Metzger using the title for one his own films or for one the imports he use to pick up. Aside from the wonderfully ludicrous monster, The Flesh Eaters may remind some of Roger Corman's films with the gentle mocking of other films by Rita Morley's character. The actual depiction of horror is more graphic than what was done by William Castle, but mild compared to Herschell Gordon Lewis.

And on this day I give thanks that the Denver Public Library makes available such fine films The Flesh Eaters.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at November 22, 2007 12:31 AM



Posted by: Flickhead at November 22, 2007 07:16 AM