Thursday, May 11, 2017

Three on a Meathook (1973)

The beginning and ending of this salaciously titled grindhouse flick deliver exactly what you'd expect, clumsily filmed scenes of attractive women getting chased and slaughtered by a rural psychopath. In between, writer-director William Girdler attempts something that might generously be termed a character study, thanks to slow-moving scenes of a young man tormented by guilt over murders he doesn't remember committing. The juxtaposition of narrative elements is ridiculous, since scuzz-cinema fans are likely to get bored watching the protagonist fret, while those who engage with the picture's reflective elements will find the aimless scripting and lumpy performances disappointing. Girdler deserves credit for trying to inject humanity into a lurid drive-in flick, but the movie is way too sleazy to take seriously. And what's with all the musical interludes featuring characters walking through the countryside while hippy-dippy tunes play on the soundtrack? Anyway, country bumpkin Billy (James Pickett) encounters a group of young women after their car has broken down in the boonies. He offers lodging, but upon bringing the girls home, Billy's father (Charles Kissinger) warns that Billy is prone to violence around women. Sure enough, the girls are murdered that night by axe, knife, and shotgun, so the next day, the father cleans up the mess and tells Billy to head into town and get his head straight. The distraught young man strikes up a relationship with a friendly barmaid, eventually inviting her to visit the farm. This goes poorly. Girdler's "twist" in the final act is predictable, and the movie's logic problems are catastrophic. For instance, why doesn't anyone look for the women who go missing? Later in his career, Girdler made several enjoyably silly genre pictures (e.g., the 1976 creature feature Grizzly). Based on the dismaying evidence of this movie, he was wise to leave meatier subject matter (no pun intended) to others.

Three on a Meathook: LAME

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