Random Film Of The Week: The Flesh Eaters

 

An old favorite of mine from the days when it was in near constant rotation on Chiller Theater (on Channel 11, WPIX), The Flesh Eaters manages to mix campy humor and skin-crawling (albeit cheesy by today’s standards) shock effects. The script, by DC and Marvel Comics writer Arnold Drake, manages to be weird, funny and unsettling as it tells the tale of three people stranded on a small island after their small plane flies into a bad storm and is forced to land. They meet a German-accented mad scientist working on a rather nasty little project in the form of a massive bacteria colony that can dissolve flesh within a few seconds of contact. Unfortunately for the travelers, the doc has unleashed his experiment into the water around the island, making enjoying a quick swim kind of a no-go.

While the trio is trying to figure out how to get off the island and the doc is scheming away, they run into a shipwrecked beatnik who adds some comic relief to the proceedings. He’s also the victim of one of the surprisingly gory (for the time) death scenes, but I’ll let you check that out yourself. Anyway, things come to a head as the survivors need to deal with the mad scientist AND getting the hell off the island as one of their plans to destroy the microbes actually make it much stronger. Memorable cinematography and extremely well composed scenes give the film the look of a horror comic book, and at a relatively quick 87 minutes, this is one of those films that’s worth checking out if you’re curious about “B” movies of the era, the evolution of special effects or even how well a comic book author could do at scripting a film.

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