The Flesh Eaters (Jack Curtis, 1964)

posted in: Jocelyn, Review | 0
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An alcoholic actress, her assistant, their pilot and a nutty beatnik get stranded on a desert island inhabited only by a suspicious marine biologist (you can’t trust anyone with a German accent!) and a whole mess of glowing flesh-eating organisms…….let the day begin!
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This little gem has been touted as the first “gore” film and admittedly there is some pretty gruesome stuff for 1964. Some of the effects are a little primitive, no doubt, but it has so many wonderfully charming things in its favor that you’d be hard pressed not to enjoy this low-budget home-run.
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Directed/Produced by Jack Curtis (father of Liane Curtis who played Molly Ringwald’s best friend in Sixteen Candles) Written and storyboarded (which I’d assume assisted in this film being shot so beautifully) by comic book writer (Doom Patrol and Deadman co-creator) Arnold Drake and edited by none other than the very stylish sleaze-meister Radley Metzger, how can this not be fucking awesome? You’re right! It can’t!
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I personally find the dialogue endearing (when Murdoch repeatedly pets Jan with the audible “good girl” my heart goes pitter-patter, it’s adorable!) and even some of the campier moments are fun if you’re like me and appreciate those strolls down the halls of horror-movies past. Incidentally, this film was shot entirely silent and the post production looping is pretty flawless.

Fans of the 50’s-60’s girly-model will get a kick out of Jan, and her hard-drinking boss provides the appropriate comic relief. Any fellow MSTies out there will surely recognize Martin Kosleck from Agent for H.A.R.M. as the marine biologist. Another interesting fact that I uncovered was that the handsome-strong-man role of “Murdoch” (Byron Sanders) was actually the model for the Salvador Dali painting “Crucifixion”!

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The movie plugs along at a steady pace keeping you invested and waiting for the cruel (campy) moment when that evil Nazi bastard shows his true colors and reveals his deadly plan! It has some fun twists and when these once tiny creatures turn into a mega-monstrous hulking beast that wants to devour flesh at every turn, you’ll be cheering for its destruction! I’ve read that this movie totally trumps Attack of the Crab Monsters, which is why I chose to review it as well for our Halloween marathon. We soon shall see!
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All in all I’d say that this is a really fun flick that you should definitely check out and if you’re an uber-nerd like me you’re gonna wanna get your hands on both the Dark Sky and Retromedia versions as you’ll get the most beautiful print of the film along with a wonderful chunk of extras that are *such* a treat to watch!

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Look how cute she is!
It’s unfortunate to note that this was Jack Curtis’ one and only film and that he sadly died far too young. I’m sure he would have contributed much more to the wide world of cinema had he been afforded the opportunity.
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Viva La Flesh Eaters!
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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