Flesh Feast (1970)

Genres - Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller  |   Run Time - 72 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Fred Beldin

More tasteless, confounding exploitation art from Florida, courtesy of the man behind the stupendous, stupefying Blood Freak. Director Brad F. Grinter made his feature debut with Flesh Feast, a dubious comeback vehicle for World War II era blonde bombshell Veronica Lake. Long after tragedy, age, and alcohol robbed her of youth and star power, Lake had resurfaced in the late '60s with stage work and a tell-all autobiography, bankrolling Flesh Feast and starring onscreen for the first time in years. Unfortunately, there was to be no What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?-style career resuscitation for the former pinup girl. Though the premise of using meat-chewing maggots to perform plastic surgery on Nazis is ghoulish enough, Flesh Feast drags badly, favoring talk over action whenever possible. The actors (including Lake) are stiff and emotionless, the sound is badly synched, and Grinter stages his shots with static indifference. The finale features a wild-eyed Lake cackling with mad laughter and tossing handfuls of maggots at a bad Adolf Hitler impersonator, but this grotesque spectacle isn't quite enough to make Flesh Feast transcendent sleaze viewing. Hardcore psychotronic scholars will recognize a handful of Sunshine State exploitation regulars amongst the cast, including Chris Martell (The Gruesome Twosome) and Bill Rogers (Love Goddesses of Blood Island, A Taste of Blood), and Flesh Feast's screenwriter Thomas Casey went on to direct the transvestite-themed slasher Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things. Grinter himself makes an appearance as the newspaper editor who, between cigarettes, utters the most appropriate line of the film: "This whole thing is bizarre! Crazy! What the hell am I doing?"