"you're wasting time."
"I should keep something on..."
You really can’t enjoy 70’s cinema without talking about Peter Walker. I always felt he was a strange hybrid of Russ Meyer and Gordon Hessler, but more talented than either of them. My first introduction to his odd mind was “The Flesh and Blood Show”. I was referred to this film after noticing (upon multiple viewings) that the drop dead gorgeous Luan Peters was in two of the three Hammer Karnstien films. Completely infatuated with her I began to seek out more and the rest is a memory.
Boy was I in for a treat. The film opens with Luan’s character Carol naked in bed with another woman, Jane (Judy Matheson, also of hammer’s Karnstein films) being awakened by a banging at the door. Carol doesn’t even stop to put clothes on, as she answers the door in the buff…(and I do mean buff). She opens the door to find her friend John (David Howley), with a knife sticking out of his stomach. He stumbles in and dies, but only for a moment. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Peter Walker’s mind is a priceless place to visit, but would you really want to live there? Food for thought.
Anyways, they learn that they are all working on the same production, a horror film called…you guessed it. Soon they arrive at the sea side theater, which has been abandoned for years due to mysterious and unfortunate incidents. Here they meet the rest of the wildly free bunch of swingers…I mean actors who are participating in this Avant Garde production.
With no set script, the actors can be seen dancing in cave man outfits which is interesting to say the least. After the first night which is more of a sex party than anything, John turns up missing along with one of the female actors, Angela (Penny Meredith). The group searches the grounds but its Mike who finds Angela’s head sitting on a shelf. When he brings the police back to the scene of the crime, John is back and Angela’s head is gone. Maybe it’s a prank, maybe something more.
As if there isn’t enough white hot flesh in this film already, Jenny Handley (Hammer’s Scars of Dracula)shows up as well as Angela’s replacement Sarah (Tower of Evil’s Candace Glendenning). Now that we have a buffet of 70’s crumpets in the room, the fun can kick up a notch.
In a nutshell, the play brings to light many dark secrets from the past and red herrings abound. There are some nice twists and nicer twistys. Actor’s start dropping one by one (usually naked) and the whole thing points to the past.
Many people like to say this is a precursor to the slasher genre but that honor, I feel, actually goes to Tower of Evil. Speaking of which, the cast includes so many faces from 1970’s horror cinema it’s a treat all in itself.
Robin Askwith, who is impaled in Tower of Evil, plays Simon in a blue tank top adorned with a large orange fish. He wore a shirt with a large butterfly in ‘Tower (what is up with his wardrobe?).
Tristin Rodgers of Greta (The original 3D Boobfest), Patrick Barr (Satanic Rights of Dracula), Jane Cardew (Hammer’s Demons of the Mind), and Alan Curtis (Die Screaming Marianne).
Every actor here is a professional, so that keeps the whole crazy idea from derailing. The plot is both over complicated and aimplistic at the same time and that is why so many reviews seem to skip talking about it all together. When all is said and done, it’s a slow burning over sexed who done it, and how can you be mad at that?
The music by Walker collaborator Cyril Ornadel is top notch as is the production design. This film has a varied reputation but I enjoyed it as a nice light hearted mind fuck. Is it Walker’s best? I wouldn’t say that, but it may be his most watchable, depending on what you’re looking for. Best to watch it on a rainy day double bill with Die Screaming Marianne. Knock back a bottle of the red stuff and enjoy.