Flesh for the Beast (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
The Movie House interviews our most prolific reviewer,
Jonathan S. "Johnny" Web
Movie House: Verdict?
JW: I'm not sure exactly how to review this movie. You see, I hated it. Detested it. Struggled to get through it. Found it slow, even with the FF button.
Movie House: So it sucks, right?
JW: I'm not sure that's fair. If it were a movie about Baseball or Elizabethan theater, and I hated it, I'd feel pretty confident in saying it sucks, but I think it this case I can almost be viewed as a reverse barometer.
Movie House: Come again?
JW: I can't tell you that my hating it means it's good, but my liking it would almost certainly indicate failure on the part of the filmmaker. It's a supernatural gorotica flick with a hard-driving Satanic Metal score. It's an American film made in 2003, but it was made in the style of the Italian gialli of the 70s, kind of a hybrid between Fulci's films and those grade-B cannibal films the Italians were making in the 70s and 80s. For example, there is one scene where three women, actually creatures with demon heads and naked female human bodies, feast on a freshly-killed male corpse. They are ripping out the intestines and holding them aloft, covering their bodies with the fresh blood, chowing down on other vital organs, etc. That scene made my stomach churn and my flesh crawl. I felt like I might toss my cookies. I submit to you that if that scene did not disgust me, then Flesh for the Beast could not be a very good cannibal film. If the filmmakers were to find out that they failed to disgust me, a man who once gave a positive review to a Gene Wilder film, then they might have to commit ritual suicide, or at least eat each other's intestines. Going back to my original point, my hating it means it is still in the running to be a successful genre film.
Movie House: Were there elements you liked?
JW: There almost always are some elements to like in every movie. The cinematography is decent for digital video. There was a reasonable amount of T&A, although you would expect a director with a background in sex flicks to do better with sex scenes. Truthfully, even the T&A was spoiled for me because every female sex partner turns out to be a demon who devours her human male lover, so the apres sex scenes degenerate right back into Cannibal Ferox mode, which is not erotic for me. It is a horror film as well as a splatter film, and I liked what they did with the atmospheric side of the supernatural elements, but again, I only liked it until they started pulling bodies apart and playing dodgeball with human hearts. And there you go. I don't know why people enjoy cannibal movies, but there are people who do, and I suppose this is probably a winning genre movie by their standards.
Movie House: Were there elements you disliked, besides the vomit-inducing scenes?
JW: Absolutely. The acting is worse than I expected, and my expectations were minimal, although a couple of the performers are actually pretty good. I hated the Buckethead music, of course, although younger and/or crazier guys will like that. Oh, and the narrative is not very interesting. I realize that any story is of secondary importance compared to the gore and nudity in this kind of guilty pleasure film, but the basic concept of Flesh for the Beast is the same old predictable premise of any standard haunted house flick. Several researchers are invited to spend the weekend in a spooky mansion which was once a thriving bordello until ... well, murder and EEEVILLLL. The usual set-up. The "investigation" is generally boring and predictable, and all the dialogue is by-the-numbers. As it turns out, inviting a research expedition to the grounds is a sham perpetrated by the human who minds the mansion for the resident demons. His job is to get people there so the female demons can devour them. And so they do, after getting the human males to have sex with them by assuming the personalities of the men's fantasies. Several portions of the film follow the same tried and true formula: half-hearted investigation, followed by fantasy seduction, followed by splatter. Too repetitious. Too predictable.
Movie House: On balance, do you think genre buffs would like it?
JW: They might like it, but would not consider it a classic. Let's be honest, I wasn't the only one who despised it. It's rated 3.8 at IMDb, and more than half of the voters scored it three or lower. Unlike the genre classics, this film doesn't inspire a vast number of 8s, 9s, and 10s to balance out the low scores. The three highest grades (8, 9, 10) were the three grades awarded least frequently.
SIDEBAR: This sort of dark-toned cult material seems to be a new direction for the career of director Terry West, whose previous credits include the light-hearted Lord of the G-Strings. I'm not really familiar with West's earlier films, but Tuna reviewed The Lord of the G-Strings, and seemed to be impressed at West's ability to deliver a coherent narrative, decent jokes, and good T&A in the same package. Here's what Tuna wrote about that film:
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