Flesh Eaters, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1964). Vulcan Productions Inc/Cinema Distributors of America. Produced and directed by Jack Curtis. Written by Arnold Drake. Cast includes Martin Kosleck, Rita Morley, Byron Sanders, Ray Tudor and Barbara Wilkins. 87 minutes. Black and white.

A young woman on a small boat near an apparently deserted Island encounters rough weather; her bikini top is blown off and she stumbles overboard, to be consumed in a mass of frothing water by unseen creatures. Alcoholic, aging actress Laura Winters (Morley) and her assistant Jan Letterman (Wilkins) have chartered a flight to Provincetown from private pilot Grant Murdoch (Sanders). A storm forces them to land on the already glimpsed island, where they meet marine biologist Professor Peter Bartell (Kosleck). Bartell was employed by the US government after World War Two to study German research into Biological warfare, from which he developed microscopic "flesh eaters"; these have multiplied to surround the island. "Beatnik" singer Omar (Tudor) reaches the shore from his small wrecked boat, but is soon literally devoured from the inside out by the creatures. Sanders' plane is blown over the cliffs, leaving everyone stranded. Bartell, who wishes to sell the flesh-eaters as a Weapon, helps with a scheme to electrocute them. This, however, not only makes them stronger but causes them to merge into larger organisms. It is realized that they do not consume blood: Bartell reasons that haemoglobin could be fatal to them. This proves effective when shot directly into the Monsters, though a struggle ensues when an especially huge specimen appears offshore between Bartell and Sanders. Bartell falls prey to his own creation moments before Sanders destroys the remaining beast; the survivors depart by boat.

The Flesh Eaters is well made for its time, given the low budget. Considered one of the first "gore films", this unpleasant Horror in SF production was often censored heavily for television showings and frequently restricted to late-night slots. Its gruesome demises and bloody effects foreshadowed more overtly grisly films such as Night of the Living Dead (1968). [GSt]

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