The Flesh Eaters
This 1964 movie has a reputation for being an “early gore film”, but not to worry (if you’re worried–I was) , it contains very little of what a modern viewer would consider gore. My only reason for seeking it out and watching it was the interesting fact that the special effects for the film were created by Star of Vaudeville #421: Roy Benson, which came about because it was directed by the comedy magician’s cousin Jack Curtis.
The film is by turns campy, funny and boring. It concerns a drunken movie starlet, her personal assistant and a reluctant pilot who are forced to land on a small sand bar off the coast of Massachusetts when their plane stalls. The islet turns out to be harboring an ex-Nazi scientist who is experimenting with small marine organisms that glow…and strip all the flesh off any living animal down to the bone.
Mr favorite line: “I was hoping you’d all be off the island before you saw the fish skeletons”.
Worst scene: a hurricane arrives, and everyone survives with nothing more to protect them than a pup tent, which doesn’t even blow away.
Another pathbreaking element: a truly obnoxious Maynard G. Krebs type beatnik washes up on the island on his raft. He never stops talking in his cool guy slang patois. He quickly overstays his welcome and we are counting the minutes until he will “get his”, as he inevitably does. The film takes an interesting turn when the scientist discovers that electrical jolts cause the creatures to grow in size. By the end of the picture one is as big as Godzilla. I won’t spoil it for you by revealing how the creature is dispatched. I know you’re going to watch it!