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Straight from video

I knew that when I got the two movie combination called The Naked Torture Show, I was not going to get anything close to movies that lived up to the title.  I expected early 1970s horror schlock and that’s what was delivered.  The only problem was that these movies were taken from video cassette recordings, and it shows.  It is a good reminder that the days of VHS are happily behind us.

As for the movies themselves, there are two:  Flesh Feast and 3 on a MeathookFlesh Feast has a long-in-the-tooth Veronica Lake as a mad scientist who is breeding maggots to somehow do a rejuvenation procedure (the maggots are the ones feasting on the flesh).  The hazy picture can’t disguise the fact that this is a really rotten movie, one that has the trifecta of bad acting, writing and directing.

The plot, such as it is, has Lake teaming up with an arms dealer who is assisting a South American revolutionary group.  The revolutionaries want to restore their commandant to his youthful vigor.  The commandant happens to be Hitler, a twist that is revealed in the last few minutes of the movie, but also on the cover of the DVD.  There are supposedly some good guy government agents, but they do little more than sit around.  In fact, most of the characters just seem to sit around and do nothing, as if waiting for the plot to come to them.  And by the way, there is no nudity and very little torture (except for the unlucky viewer). Quality 2/10, Fun 2/10.

There is plenty of nudity in 3 on a Meathook, but still not any torture.  This movie is supposed a retelling of the Ed Gein story, a real-life tale that served as inspiration for – among other movies and books – Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs.  In fact, it’s obvious that writer/director William Girdler is trying to copy Psycho.  Both the opening and closing of the movie are very similar to Psycho’s.  (Some reviews have made it seem like he was trying to copy the Texas Chainsaw Massacre too, but actually 3 on a Meathook predates it.)

Girdler on his best day has less talent than Hitchcock on his worst, so he makes up the difference with lots of topless girls and a bit of gore.  The movie opens (like Psycho) with a camera moving in towards a building.  Inside, a blonde college girl is just finishing her liaison with her boyfriend.  As she dresses, she explains how she is going to the lake with her three friends, but she won’t say what lake, which may explain why the boyfriend is out of the movie after this scene.

She goes with her three friends (all similarly college-aged and good looking) and they’re quickly skinny dipping in the lake.  They start heading to their cabin when their car breaks down.  No problem, because Billy is driving by in his pick-up truck.  He takes them to his farm house so they can spend the night before getting the car fixed in the morning.  He shares the place with his father, a cranky middle-aged drunk who warns Billy that problems occur when women are near.

The father’s right.  All four are slaughtered during the night, with the first being killed in the bath (I guess a shower scene would have been too much of a ripoff).  After that stabbing, two are killed with a gun and one with a hatchet.  We’re supposed to believe Billy did the killings, but it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain (which may not have been the demographic Girdler was aiming for) that it’s the father who’s doing the killing.  That twist can be seen coming very early, along with the source of the father’s special meat recipe.

After the killings, things slow down considerably, and it becomes a definitely 1970’s style touchy-feely movie as Billy hooks up with a waitress and invites her to spend the next weekend out on the farm.  The waitress brings a friend who will wind up dead soon enough.  Does the waitress-girlfriend live?  I won’t give that little bit away, but in the end, all is revealed, and a la Psycho, we get a muddled psychiatric explanation and close on the father locked up and talking to himself.  For all its flaws, it still beats Flesh Feast, as it is occasionally entertaining.  Quality 3/10, Fun 4/10.



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