Three on a Meathook (1973)

Article 4935 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-22-2015
Directed by William Girdler
Featuring Charles Kissinger, James Carroll Pickett, Sherry Steiner
Country: USA
What it is: Serial killer concoction

A young man living on a farm has been told by his father that he is responsible for several killings of women, though he has no memory of it. What is the truth behind it all?

Like PSYCHO, DERANGED and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, this is another cinematic stab at the Ed Gein story. I found this one on YouTube, and the copy I saw looked like a transfer from VHS that’s a little ways down the dupe line, and oddly enough, this made the viewing experience seem to be a little more effective; somehow, I think a pristine copy would have made the flaws more blatant. It’s not that the flaws aren’t already fairly apparent; most of the movie lifts its structure from PSYCHO (this is especially noticeable towards the end of the movie), and when it doesn’t lift from PSYCHO, it putters around without an idea of where to go. Two things that feel really out of place in a horror movie are to give its character an inspirational theme song and to have scenes of typical early-seventies “romantic frolicking through the fields”. Still, the movie does have a couple of surprises up its sleeve, which is more than I expected from it. It’s the weakest of the Ed Gein movies I’ve seen to date, but when you consider its competition, that’s not as damning a statement as it might seem. And I will have to give credit to actor James Carroll Pickett; he does manage to make you care about his character.

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