THE FLESH EATERS (1964)
Article 2717 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-12-2008
Posting Date: 1-20-2009
Directed by Jack Curtis
Featuring Martin Kosleck, Byron Sanders, Barbara Wilkin
When a hurricane forces a small plane to land on an island, the pilot and his two passengers find themselves trapped there with a mysterious scientist. Furthermore, the water around the island is infested with flesh-eating microscopic creatures.
This gruesome, gory science fiction thriller languished in obscurity for many years, but has become much better known recently. It’s well worth checking out; despite some flaws, the movie is well-directed, strongly acted (especially from Martin Kosleck, who gives an excellent performance), has good special effects for its budget, and has a premise that is truly unsettling. One of its problems is that two of the characters (the alcoholic actress and the slang-spouting hipster) are nearly unbelievable, but credit must go to both Rita Morley and Ray Tudor for doing what they can to keep these characters from being actively annoying. I’m also a little disappointed with some of the developments late in the story when the flesh eaters are transformed into a much more conventional menace; this latter menace is nowhere near as effective and seems designed to allow the story to end in a much more conventional fashion for the era, whereas there’s something about this movie that makes me wish the ending was much more downbeat. It’s the sole directorial effort from Jack Curtis (and was partially financed by winnings from his wife’s appearance on a TV game show), and he’s effective enough here that it’s really a shame he didn’t go on to direct anything more.