Few cinematic swan songs are as undignified as Flesh Feast, the final screen credit for 1940s movie siren Veronica Lake. Well into a physical decline thanks to alcoholism and other difficulties, she hadn’t acted for several years before signing on for this bargain-basement horror flick, and her marquee value had been nonexistent for an even longer period of time. In this cheap, dull, and stupid picture, she plays a scientist experimenting with techniques for reversing the aging process. For reasons that are never clear, this mostly involves monitoring trays filled with maggots. At the beginning of the movie, the scientist’s nefarious employers kill a reporter who has gotten too close to the truth about the secret experiments, so the reporter’s editor continues the dead man’s investigation, abetted by a woman working undercover as the scientist’s assistant. After the opening murder, virtually nothing happens for about 40 minutes, and then the closest thing the filmmakers can conjure to a thrill is a lame vignette of a woman discovering a roomful of fake-looking corpses. Ineptly made on every level, Flesh Feast is distinguished by dialogue so arbitrary and sporadic that the soundtrack seems as if it was ad-libbed by the smartasses at Mystery Science Theater 3000. (One can’t blame Lake for seeming as if she’s reading off cue cards in many scenes, because the movie’s inane chatter doesn’t merit memorization.) To save you the unpleasantness of watching this whole movie, here’s the one enjoyably ridiculous moment: In the final scene, Lake’s character revives the body of Adolph Hitler (!) so she can toss maggots at his face as a means of avenging her mother, who died in a concentration camp. With that, Lake faded from the screen. She died three years after this film’s release.
Flesh Feast: SQUARE