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:

" ... highest possible grade for a soft-core film. While they could have done more with the story, they took the parody quite far for a soft-core, and certainly delivered on the female flesh. If I had to chose the ten best soft-core films of all time, this might well be among them."



  • widescreen anamorphic (16x9)
  • photo gallery
  • behind the scene featurette
  • interview with two minor players


All possible body parts from: Ruby LaRocca and Caroline Hoerman as demons.

All possible body parts (but only very dark crotch shots) from Jane Scarlett as one of the investigators 

Breasts only from Barbara Joyce as the third demon, although she may show more in the group cannibal scenes, which are performed in masks in near-darkness.

The Critics Vote ...

  • There are no major graded reviews on file, but the New York Times and the Village Voice did review this film, and their reviews are linked from IMDb.

The People Vote ...

  • I suppose that it must have had a brief theatrical release in order to get reviewed in the New York papers, but I could find no results for that.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C-, a repugnant film for mainstream moviegoers, but I think it is at least marginal genre fare, in spite of the fact that I hated it, or perhaps because of the fact.

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