Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Real White Meat: The Flesh Eaters

I won't lie- this movie has no cannibals. However, it is a movie about flesh-eating bacteria, so I'm allowing it. More importantly, it is weird and obscure- my favorite! This is a quirky little film that is most notable for using Dutch Angles in a non-art film. Fun fact: the Dutch Angle is actually the Deutsch Angle, as in German Angle. It comes from German expressionist films, but we just grew too lazy to pronounce the 'e' and the 's.' By the way, if you don't know what a Dutch Angle is, just watch the Batman live-action show or Battlefield Earth. This movie is also considered one of the first gore films, sharing the prize with 1963's Blood Feast. Can this live up to H.G. Lewis' ode to Egyptian cannibalism? Find out in my review of...
The film revolves an aging and bitchy Hollywood starlet who needs someone to fly the shy assistant and herself to Provincetown. To do this, they need a big, tough male to pilot the plane for him. Our characterizations are not going to get any more subtle, so just go with it. Unfortunately, the plane ride of cliched characters is forced to land on a small island because of a storm. It could be worse- she could be a lazy bitch who hates everyone. Oh right, she is. Our trio runs into a fourth man, who turns out to be a scientist who lives on the island to do research. Plus, he has a German accent, so he can't be up to any good. I just hope his research is not secretive and that he does not get defensive when people ask him about it. Dammit, wrong again! Things get worse as mysterious skeletons start to wash up on the shore. In addition, the water has a weird glow to it. Oh no, they're in New Jersey!
Things start to escalate as the rope holding the plane on the island gets cut and the thing floats away. Our heroes finally figure out that the water is the culprit behind most of their troubles. As our villain explains in a monologue, he was a biologist sent to Germany to uncover their scientific processes. This brings up the controversial aspect of the film as the Nazi experiments were cut from the original release, but offered back on as a DVD extra. Anyhow, he wanted to create some killer bacteria to use in the military, but they said 'no.' Instead, he fled to an island and continued to make them in secrecy. Just think- his work would later go on to try and kill Dustin Hoffman in Outbreak. To make matters scarier, a beatnik shows up floating on a raft. Go away, Dobie Gillis! This character is sort of an odd addition and does not really add anything to the proceedings. Thankfully, the movie managed to hear me and killed him off. Thanks, movie.
The whole thing gets out of control as everyone realizes that the monster bacteria has to be kept in line. They come up with a good plan- electrocute it. Unfortunately, that sort of backfires and creates a giant monster out of the microbes. Needless to say, this is not a good thing. Fortunately, the crazy scientist does what all crazy scientists do and goes too far. His whole 'God complex' leads him to try and battle the monster himself. I'll thank your corpse later, buddy. In a bit of lazy writing, the monster is vulnerable to human blood, which helps our surviving heroes win the day. It's sad that people died, but at least it was the bitchy actress, the beatnik and the bad guy. The End.
This is a good movie, but also a quirky one. On one hand, the silly characterizations are fun and make the movie seem campy. On the other hand, however, the characterizations are so rudimentary that you feel insulted by them at times. In spite of that, the movie makes a great use of its real, outdoors setting. If you have ever been in the Cape Cod area, you have seen and/or been on an island like this. The sense of familiarity mixed with the suspense of a freaky monster works well. The movie's low-budget effects will either make you love it or hate it. Some of them hold up pretty well, while others stand out as just plain silly. If you like a bizarre, Roger Corman-style movie, definitely check this weird baby out.
Next up, the conclusion of my documentation of Ed Wood's fall from marginal success. How far can he fall? How about a sex comedy with cavemen? Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment