Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Flesh Eaters (1964)

Nothing makes me angrier than stupid comments on IMDB. Sorry, I get angrier over the terrible state of the world we have today, war and famine, racism and homophobia… but stupid comments on IMDB at least irritates me. Just read the comments and review of Jack Curtis The Flesh Eaters, and you’ll understand what I mean. A majority of these idiots actually claims that The Flesh Eaters is a BAD movie, trash. Junky exploitation-crap. Nothing could be more wrong, they’re just writing this because it has a rubber monster and is very low budget. This is instead a very smart thriller/monster-movie with a tight script and a great cast of four well-written characters!

Byron Sanders is Grant Murdoch, a pilot in deep economical problems – but today is his lucky day! Drunk, complicated movie star Laura Winters (Rita Morley) need to get to a theatre in time, and her secretary Jan Letterman (Barbara Wilkin) talks Grant into flying them there. After a while they are forced to land because of technical problems and are suddenly stuck on an uninhabited island, they think! Because suddenly Professor Peter Bartell shows up, a scientist working in his little tent on a nearby beach. And something fishy is obviously going on, especially after they find a clean-eaten skeleton on the beach. “A shark” says the professor, but Grant knows different… Soon they discover that the sea around them is filled with a flesh eating organism, some kinda acid-bacteria that wants to devour everything!

First of all, this movie looks great. It’s one of the most well-shot and intelligent constructed “b-movies” I’ve seen from this period. The small budget hasn’t stopped Jack Curtis and Arnold Drake from filming it like it would be a Hitchcock-movie, a noir-classic or something that usually has more ambitions than to scare people. The story is mostly four people in a very interesting and multi-layered melodrama on a beach, but mixed with a monster-movie story.

I’ve read some criticism against the actors, which is of course totally wrong. They play characters, and every character is for once very specific, they have a goal and a personality. It’s impossible to confuse them. German actor Martin Kosleck and Rita Morley is pure brilliance in their parts, but all of the others are very good. After half the movie a beatnik named Omar (Ray Tudor) shows up, high on being alone on the sea for a couple of weeks and dressed in a bathrobe. He uses the word “jazz” as a substitute for everything he says and is the ideal victim when the body count starts! A great character, maybe not necessary for the movie, but a welcome ingredient to spice things up a little bit.

The Flesh Eaters also has some early gore, which works very fine. A knife scraping away flesh from a leg, blood that spurts out from a belly, a character melting away etc. The atmosphere is violent and cynic and one character gets first stabbed badly, then shot times in the face and the fed to the monster! Yes, there’s not only one big monster in the end, there’s a huge mother of a monster too! And it looks damn cool! I already told to much, watch the movie instead.

The Flesh Eaters is a smart and intelligent monster-thriller with interesting characters and gore. It’s fantastic to discover such a brilliant “b-movie”, and thanks to Dark Sky it’s been saved from obscurity with an excellent and sharp-looking DVD!


Osvaldo Neto said...

Something that really pisses me off is the fact they write like being cheap and very low budget were bad things to a movie.

David said...

The boat that was IMDB sailed a long time ago. It's overrun by idiots and children who fancy themselves real critics. If they could all swallow some Flesh Eaters, the world would be a better place.

Paul Cooke aka Buckaroobanzai said...

In'Fred'ible !. Once again Fred I find myself watching the same stuff as you. Only yesterday, before stopping by here, I learnt of The Flesh Eaters, and ordered up the DVD. Looking very much forward to seeing this one. It seems that a remake was done around 2001 but sits unreleased !.

Ninja Dixon said...

Happy to see some love for this movie, and Paul - great that you will seen it soon too! It's a personal favorite of mine from now on!

Paul Cooke aka Buckaroobanzai said...

My DVD for this has just arrived so I'll be watching it soon Fred :).

Phantom of Pulp said...

I'm with you all the way on this, Fred. FLESH EATERS is a wonderful, tight little movie.

It's a common, stupid opinion of many that a low budget movie is, by definition, a bad movie. Essentially, these folks are too braindead to distinguish a good script from a bad one and good direction from bad direction. They're lazy.

This comes from the belief that big budget means good.

Which is often not the case.