Monday, May 16, 2016

The Flesh Eaters - 1964

WHAT'S THIS?  A rare, no Invasion themed movie review?  I heard these were only legend.  But lo, here comes one now.  Actually I wanted to start this review with a venerable list of ways this film was super ahead of it's time.  Here, let's do the list now:
1) Erotic themes and sexual imagery that was well done and ahead of it's time
2) Depiction of alcoholism and it's detriments, and especially having the alcoholic be a woman
3) Multiple strong female characters that don't become stereotypes until the last 30 or so minutes of the film
4) Great cinematography, as a minor thing to mention
5) Fantastic pacing, and great suspense right till the last 10 minutes
6) Use of a foreigner in a large role, and a strong character at that
7) Great original special effects

This list could go on, but it's been a few days since I saw it, and I lost track about this movie a little bit ago.  But it was still great and still deserves a review.

Peter Bartell is hired by two women at the beginning of the film to fly them to a remote island.  The women are actress Laura and her assistant Jan.  Laura is a full blown alcoholic, barely kept functioning by her friend and helper Jan.  They are flying away in an attempt to escape for a fun little vacation.  But when something goes wrong with the plane, they are forced to make a desperate landing near a unknown island.  On the island is Grant Murdoch, a scientist who knows more then he lets on, especially after the new arrivals find a skeleton on the beach.

This movie was way ahead of it's time, and if was in color I have to think it could easily be mistaken for a movie of a different era.  Sure, the end would have to be reworked a little too, the females rewritten.  But not a whole ton would have to change.  They did a damn high amount of right things in this movie, and they did it in an effective and creative way.  Everything that happens in this makes sense, comes to fruition, and every scene is necessary.

It's actually very rare to have a movie where the scenes are all purposeful, and where you would not need to edit anything out.  If you edited anything out of this, it would feel incomplete.  That's the sign of a good film.  Especially since this is the sole directorial feature of director Jack Curtis.  He died just 6 years after this film, in 1970 at the young age of 44.

This felt really good up to the final payoff, which regrettably showed it's 1964 age by being pretty cut-short, predictable, and not too innovative.  Up to that, the monster shots in this were cool and pretty unique.  I have to say this was an easy favorite movie, it's appeal is very wide.  This movie could be viewed by just about anyone.  It's scenes of near nudity and hot thin girls was nice too.

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