Thursday, 27 August 2015

I Eat Your Skin (1971)

Filmed in 1964 as Caribbean Adventure, this movie sat unreleased for six years.  It was eventually picked up to serve as the second half of a double feature with I Drink Your Blood, which explains its name change.

Despite the graphic new title bestowed upon the film, this is actually quite tame stuff.  Or at least, by modern or 1971 standards it is.  In 1964 it was probably considered quite licentious, but even then the violence levels would probably have gone unremarked.

Horn-dog pulp novelist Tom Harris accepts his agent's suggestion of a journey to remote Voodoo Island.  The place is reputedly full of the walking dead and venomous snakes, which doesn't make it sound like much of a tourist spot, but Harris is swayed partly by the prospect of nubile island women, and partly by the need to escape an irate husband.

Naturally the trip turns out to be a terrible idea on pretty much every level: there are zombies prowling the jungle, and the locals might have plenty of women but they're also pretty keen on the whole 'blood sacrifice' thing.

On the other hand, the island is also home to an attractive young woman whose father is conducting cancer research using venom from the native snakes.  Harris first encounters the young lady when her skinny-dipping is interrupted by a zombie attack.  Not the most romantic of settings, and the writer sure isn't keen on the island as a whole, but he is rather taken with this one inhabitant.  Unfortunately, he's not the only one with designs on her ...

I Eat Your Skin is silly, schlocky stuff with middling acting and some comically bad make-up for the zombies.  It's also tonally somewhat uneven, with the many parts playing more like a slightly sleazy comedy than any kind of horror film.  The voodoo ceremonies in it are well-staged though, and led by a fellow with an excellent voice.

Despite its many flaws, I enjoyed this bit of nonsense.  It's got a light and breezy air to it, and it moves along with sufficient pace that I didn't get bored (not something that can be said for a lot of cheapie 'chillers').

So I'm going to err on the side of generosity and award this a qualified recommendation.  Just be aware that part of the qualification is that you should not really care whether or not the movie is good.

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