Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lots of flesh in THE FLESH AND BLOOD SHOW

Click to BUY FROM AMAZON
Director: Pete Walker

Cast: Ray Brooks, Jenny Hanley, Luan Peters, Patrick Barr

Redemption Films / Region A / Rated R / 1.78:1 Widescreen / 96 minutes

Extras: "Flesh, Blood and Censorship", and interview with Pete Walker / Original 3-D ending sequence / Theatrical trailer

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British filmmaker Pete Walker is one of those well known, beloved horror and exploitation directors who has just, for whatever reason, fallen through the cracks for me. I have bought quite a few of his movies based solely on their titles, covers and descriptions. Die Screaming, Marianne, House of Whipcord and Schizo just to name a few. His films have often been criticized for having misogynistic (like many exploitation and horror filmmakers) and oppressive "right-wing" tones but Walker denies any sort of underlying sexist or political subtexts. Interestingly and surprisingly, punk maven Malcolm McLaren had hired Pete Walker to direct a Sex Pistols documentary entitled "A Star is Dead" but the band broke up shortly thereafter. But I digress to the point at hand; let's talk about The Flesh and Blood Show.

A group of out of work actors and actresses from London are drawn away to an old, rundown theater by an unknown producer for a mysterious project. Once they are settled in and decide to not only work in the theater but also sleep and live there, they begin to disappear and be murdered one by one by a gloved, faceless assailant. The group is made up of hot chicks, leering dudes and a morbid practical joker who, of course, gets blamed for all of the weird shit going on. In the midst of the killings and disappearances, the gang finds time to rehearse and get naked; meanwhile a couple of them are trying to get the authorities involved but no one believes that anything is afoot. Little does everyone know that 30 years ago, there was a murder born of jealousy in that very same theater. Could all of this be somehow intertwined?

I will give Pete Walker some kudos for one very important thing; tits and ass. The Flesh and Blood Show concentrates mostly on the former and gave us a cavalcade of delicious British boobs and bums. The award for Biggest and Most Perfect Natural Breasts goes to the luscious bird Luan Peters who plays the loose and often naked "Carol". The "blood" part of the movie's title was pretty sparse and according to Walker himself, this is mainly due to the British Board of Film Censors or BBFC (who would later go on to ratify the "Video Nasties" list after uproar from one Mary Whitehouse). They were really cracking down on the gore and violence, while letting things like full nudity and sex go unscrutinized. He didn't really want to put so much sex in the film but felt pressure by producers to make up for the lack of blood. The Flesh and Blood Show feels more like a "Scooby-Doo" mystery where Thelma and Daphne get naked rather than a down and dirty horror movie.

The newly transferred from the original 35mm print high-definition Blu-ray from Redemption Films looks fantastic. I don't have a DVD for comparison to know if it's an upgrade from the Shriek Show DVD from the Pete Walker Collection but I can give an educated guess that it certainly is. Despite a few moments of minor film debris, the pictures is nearly flawless. The Flesh and Blood Show was originally shot with a 3-D ending sequence and this release has the 10 minute sequence in both stereoscopic and anaglyph formats as supplements. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch either. I did watch the excellent interview with Pete Walker that shows how charming and charismatic the dude really is. He tells lots of stories about the film and how it fits into his filmography all the while keeping the viewer engaged. For fans of Walker's, this is a must buy and for those not familiar, you now know what to expect. Either way, check it out!

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