Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Love Butcher (1975)

Employing the familiar device of a killer with two personalities, low-budget horror flick The Love Butcher has enough campy elements that some scenes achieve a pleasant so-bad-it’s-good frisson. After all, it’s hard to completely dislike a picture in which a stud says to his latest conquest, “You’re going to make love to me. Satiate me. Fill me with nymphoid satisfaction. And then you’ll lie at the foot of my altar and adore my godly beauty.” James Lemp plays Caleb, a bald, semi-deformed gardener with Coke-bottle glasses and rotted teeth. He tends greens for middle-class families, methodically identifying where pretty housewives reside. Then he switches to his other identity, Lester, a hunk with a thick head of hair (courtesy of various wigs), to seduce and kill the housewives. Between murderous episodes, Caleb/Lester engages in weird one-sided arguments, his Caleb personality challenging Lester’s virility while Lester mocks Caleb’s ugliness. The Caleb disguise isn’t convincing, so every character who buys into the illusion seems like an idiot. Also coming across as dim are the folks investigating the murders, including cops and a reporter, because Caleb is obviously the common denominator at the crime scenes. Still, most folks don’t watch schlocky horror movies for logic, so it’s more damning that The Love Butcher fails to generate thrills. Blame the clumsy filmmaking and dopey script, as well as Lemp’s limp performance(s). In one scene, Lemp looks up and the film cuts to an insert of a cloudy daytime sky—even though the scene in question takes place at night. And during what’s supposed to be an emotional high point, the film repeatedly cuts to a painting of a dog for no apparent reason. Perhaps the editor was overcome with nymphoid satisfaction.

The Love Butcher: LAME

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