Friday, October 1, 2010

Rare Flix: The Beast the Killed Women

After the tease I gave and the vague title of the film, I bet you're wondering what is going on.  Well, I'll lay it out for you.  In the 1960s, there was a fringe genre known as the 'Nudey Cutey.'  Basically, these films were about excuses to show, well, naked women.  One of it's biggest proponents was Doris Wishman, a great exploitation director and the woman behind Deadly Weapons.  This led into the further fringe sub-genre of the Nudist Camp films.  Yes, Doris made about half a dozen of those.  This led to an even further fringe sub-sub-genre known as the Nudist Camp Horror films.  Yes, these are real.  As to how many of them there really are, I can't say.  I can, however, tell you that there are at least two of them.  Join me now in this two-part look at a fringe off-shoot of a fringe genre.  First up is an American film that is more Nudist Camp than Horror, but it tries.  Aside from curiosity value though, is it actually good?  Get out your high-hanging towels for my review of...
The film jumps right to the point- let's go to the Nudist Camp.  There is a little set-up, but not all that much.  It's pretty much fluff, people.  Case in point: an early scene has two women trying to reach a towel that is placed high up on a wall...for some reason.  This requires them to jump up and down for a couple of minutes. Inspiration for The Man Show, eh?  In addition to that, many scenes involve naked people just randomly walking by.  One scene actually pretends to have ancillary dialog taking place between two women in a clearing while people just walk through the scene.  I do also feel the need to note that this film does not feature full-frontal nudity.  I'm happy about that, but a little confused.  What's the point of making a film about people being naked if you're going to self-censor?  In regards to the actual plot, that involves a man in the hospital explaining how everything- including his stay there- came about.  Never mind that his character was nowhere near most of the events when they actually occurred or anything...
The actual horror aspect comes from an escaped and angry gorilla.  No, really.  You were expecting Dracula or something?  He chases a few people around and eventually attacks our hero.  Despite someone being killed the first night, everyone stays at the camp.  I guess taking off all of your clothes means that you turn your brain off as well!  This is just an excuse to show more nudity- big surprise- as women sit around either topless or fully-naked to discuss the situation.  At one point, two women talk to each other while in bunk beds, making sure to have the covers pulled down past their breasts.  Yes, prioritize ladies!  Right around the halfway mark, our narrator is attacked and sent to the hospital.  Oh good, you're 'here's how everything happened' tale doesn't actually wrap up the story!
Eventually, the police finally decide to get a bit proactive.  They set a trap for the ape using- what else- a woman as bait.  At this point, I feel like I should note that the cops never interact with the nudists at all.  When people talk to them, they're always clothed.  Did you guys film a killer ape film without informing those actors what the rest of your film was about?  Anyways, after the woman cries 'bloody murder,' the police arrive with a nice, delayed reaction.  'Oh right,' they must have thought, 'we were sitting here with guns drawn for a reason!'  They kill the ape, signifying that all is right with the world.  Cue the nudists sitting in a field!  Oh right, we still have to wrap up a B-Plot that nobody cared about.  The police go talk to the owner of the ape and arrest her.  Thanks- I needed to know that part.  The End.
This movie kind of sucks.  On one hand, it is a silly and harmless romp with a bunch of nudists.  Although the movie barely moves its plot along, I can't get too mad at that.  However, it's attempts to be a horror film fall flat on its face.  There's more terror in your average episode of I Spy!  I have to wonder if this was just an excuse to put all of this nudity in for no reason.  Oh wait, I don't really need to wonder!  As a horror film or even a thriller, it's just terrible.  Given the odd combination of genres, something really unique and crazy could have come about.  Instead- we get a Nudist Camp film where an ape runs around for a while between scenes.  In case you question this film's motive, one three minute scene involves people talking off-screen while a woman is filmed at chest level (while covering her nether regions with a towel)!  Is she talking?  It doesn't appear so.  No, they just wanted to show breasts for a few minutes with no distractions from the plot!  Ugh.
Up next, the second part of this double-feature arrives in...black and white.  This film is British, so I'm sure that it will be much classier.  Stay tuned...

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