Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Flesh Eaters (1964)

Dir: Jack Curtis
Dark Sky DVD

This was a low-budget New York based production and is considered by some to be the first gore film. Don't let that mislead you, were not talking buckets of Lucio Fulci red carnage here, but there are a few surprisingly graphic attempts at disembowelment. The film takes place almost exclusively on, what we're told is, a small island off the coast of New York. A charter plane carrying a movie star, her assistant, and a world weary pilot, is forced to land there because of a storm. The three castaways find that a German (you know he's evil, he's German!) scientist conducting some sort of furtive experiments there. They soon find that the water surrounding the island is filled with flesh eating bacteria that leaves nothing but a classroom skeleton if you get close enough to it. Half way through the film a way-out-there beatnik gets stranded on the island (for more victims) and the scientist uses him to conduct the final stages of his master plan. The movie, though sometimes silly) is actually a well paced and cleverly written tale of horror. The screenplay comes courtesy of Arnold Drake, mostly known as a comic book writer and the co-creator of two of my faves, The Doom Patrol and Deadman. Strangely and off topic, director Curtis went on to voice Pops Racer in the American re-dub of the Speed Racer cartoon. He handles the special effects very well, most of the creature and effects shots are pretty effective. The Dark Sky DVD looks great and offers the added "Nazi Experimentation" sequences as a bonus feature.


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