The Flesh Eaters

Director: Jack Curtis

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The Flesh EatersThe Flesh Eaters (1964) boasted an amusing ad campaign that promised the audience would become "sterilized with fear!"

I remember seeing this for the first time in a drive-in as a kid & one of the promotional items handed out with the tickets (either to The Flesh Eaters or for whatever was with it on a double or triple bill) was a mustard-pillow with red-dyed liquid purporting to be blood. Being a weird kid at best, I tasted some of it despite the warning on the package not to, & it tasted like filthy water.

My great-grampa was the grounds keeper for the Midway Drive-in, so I somehow ended up with a great many of these plastic bags of "blood" which I handed around as school, daring others to drink them, & if they did so, telling them afterward that it was bloody dog slobber.

There's no way off the island in this silly horror thriller. When the young adults go out in the water, they scream & splash around & get eaten up by some sort of horrible organism not actually visible, twinkly killer pankton created by a nazi scientist (Martin Kosleck). Eventually the plankton grow into ugly bastard crabby-patties.

The Flesh EatersThe film's great claim to fame would be the tepid but for the time line-crossing gore FX, like when hep-cat Omar (Ray Tudor) is graphically eaten from the inside out, after drinking some of the organisms.

One unintentionally amusing sequence has the black & white cinematography swiftly obliterated by a spreading red blob which must be blood therefore it must be scary. Most but not all copies of this film circulating on video fail to preserve the color-of-blood moment.

The drive-in movie era provided a reliable period of time when Independent horror films were insured an audience, & many tiny companies sprang up to make films as classic & elegant as Carnival of Souls (1962) or as reliable if workmanlike as The Giant Gila Monster (1959) or as archly awful as The Beast from Yucca Flats (1961).

The Flesh Easters is in the middle-category, one of the cheapest excuses for a horror film ever, yet the b/w cinematography is nevertheless moody & effective; it's only too bad there wasn't a better story worth the effort. The flesh-eating organisms are supposedly poisoned by blood, so they gotta eat the flesh off your bones without getting any blood, which one would suppose to be a technical impossibility, but what the hey, it's all pretend.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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