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A group of actors and a director are gathered together by a mysterious
producer to rehearse a play in a creepy abandoned theater at the end of
a pier off the English coast. In "Ten Little Indians" fashion they
begin to disappear one by one. This sounds like a typical slasher
movie, but in fact it preceded the slasher craze by many years. It was
one of those movies like "Schoolgirl Killer", "Fright", and "Bay of
Blood" that contained many of the elements of the slasher films and may
have even influenced some of them a little, but was made well before
"Black Christmas", "Halloween",and "Friday the 13th" initiated the
deluge of slasher flicks.
This movie avoids many of what would later become tedious clichés of the slasher films. There's no heavy-breathing POV camera shots. The characters are stupid, but they are not so stupid that they don't notice their friends disappearing. The killer's motivation is actually somewhat believable and doesn't seem like something the filmmakers just pulled out of their collective keisters to justify the carnage. Actually, there isn't much carnage either. Most of the murders actually occur off-screen (blasphemy, I know). But what the movie lacks in blood, it makes up for in T and A. This movie marked a transition in British director Peter Walker's career from softcore sexploitation fare like "School for Sex" and "Four Dimensions of Greta" to his more mature and superior 70's horror films like "Frightmare" and "House of the Whipcord". Not surprisingly, Walker offers a hot shower of generous female nudity to prepare viewers for the sudden cold shower of the terror scenes.In the hilarious opening scene, for instance, an incredibly voluptuous actress is awakened by a knock on her door at three in the morning, so she gets out of her female "roommate's" bed and answers the door completely naked.
I'd recommend this movie to anyone, but people who like Pete Walker, and slasher movies that are actually well-crafted and scary will especially enjoy this one.
The plot is a familiar one. A bunch of people go to an abandoned
building to stay there, and some of them start dying.
Even taken more specifically, this is a group of young actors who go to an old theater, and are killed for reasons relating to the theater's past. The Clown at Midnight (1998) is similar.
The movie has a lot of dialog, which isn't of much interest. People go off wandering, and sometimes they come back and sometimes they don't. They visit an older couple, and I didn't get a sense of where their house was in relation to the theater, which seemed to be on an island. Police actually are contacted fairly easily early on. The actors continue to stay at the theater far beyond what is sensible.
There's a fair amount of female nudity, even some full frontal nudity. There is even some full frontal nudity from one of the men. Deaths are not depicted very graphically, to the extent they are barely on screen at all. The killer is a heavy breather, with a black mask and gloves.
The music throughout reminded me of the incidental music from the original Scooby Doo series!
There's a flashback scene which is rather surprising, that has a couple having sex in front of a young girl. The girl's scenes were quite obviously edited in (i.e. she wasn't in the room with the nude actors), but it was still a little shocking. That scene was a little better than the rest of the movie, although it started off with a staging of Othello, which was not too involving. There's another good scene in which some of the actors think one of them is shining a spotlight, but it then shines on the person they though was handling it, who was nude. Being a little thick, they don't immediately realize the spotlight must be handled by someone else, nor do they notice how the nude figure doesn't appear to have any life in it.
At the end of the Monterey Home Video, there were trailers for The Slasher is the Sex Maniac, Night After Night After Night, and The Grim Reaper, all of which looked much better. Although I've seen a cut version of The Grim Reaper AKA Antropophagus (1980), and didn't think it was all that hot, but then the trailer for it was all of five seconds long or so. The other trailers were of ordinary length.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Pete Walker was one of the most remarkable directors in the British horror industry and most of his efforts (especially those of the mid-70's period) ought to be considered as quintessential viewing for genre admirers. Even this forgotten and sadly obscure gem, which obviously suffers from terribly poor production values, is actually a very important horror film for two specific reasons. First of all, "The Flesh and Blood Show" represents Pete Walker's transition from banal sex comedies into mature and rudimentary horror. "Die Screaming Marianne", released one year before, already contained some admirable horror aspects, but Walker only managed to truly capture the horrific themes of murder and insanity in this film. The second and even more important reason to establish the essence of this film is that it's actually a pioneer of slasher-movies! Alongside Mario Bava's "Bay of Blood" and perhaps a few notable other titles, "The Flesh and Blood Show" was one of the first film to introduce a maniacal killer amidst a group of defenseless victims. The film is, in fact, pretty similar to "Bay of Blood" and it easily could have been named "Pier of Blood". A group of ambitious young actors and their director gather in an abandoned theater, located in an even more abandoned seaside village, to rehearse a play that'll hopefully launch them at prominent theaters in London. Shortly after their arrival, it becomes clear that the old theater and its dark catacombs also homes a sardonic killer and the players begin to vanish one by one. To reveal the killer's identity, the remaining survivors will have to dig up the theaters' dubious history... The search for the killer is very compelling and, thanks to the dark & ominous setting, the film simply oozes with suspense. The script features some very effective red herrings and the denouement is satisfying and even plausible! The murders are regretfully tame and unclear but, as said before, this is merely due to the inferior production values. No worries, as Walker will largely make up for the lack of carnage in his later films. His past career as a sleaze filmmaker, however, is more than obviously detectable here! There's tons of nudity in "The Flesh and Blood Show" and, albeit completely irrelevant to the plot, all the ladies have impressively ravishing curves! Decent movie, well worth adding to your horror collection.
Performers auditioning for a British "Grand Guignol" show are murdered in mysterious ways in this deranged horror directed by Pete Walker("Frightmare","Schizo","House of Whipcord").The film is pretty creepy and offers a nice amount of sleaze.There are decapitations,drownings,psychotic elderly tramps,naked women and some gruesome killings.The cinematography is pretty gloomy and the location sets are suitably eerie.A must-see if you're a fan of British horror!
I must say, I enjoyed this film. I have a soft spot for Gothic horror
films from Britian, the legendary giallos and American drive-in flicks,
so this appealed to me. However, the title would have you believe this
to be in the vein of Re-Animator or Tower of Evil, but it really isn't.
There are a handful of murders but all take place off screen. That
appeals to me - since I'm not much of a gorehound, but with a title
like this, you'd expect to see some blood and on screen murders.
The plot centers on a group of struggling actors getting lured to an abandoned theater to rehearse for a play. Ray Brooks plays the director and gets something he didn't bargain for when he finds one of his actress' heads placed on a ledge. John, the practical joker of the film, thinks Brooks is pulling a fast one, but the police are called out. While Brooks went off to fetch the fuzz, the killer disposes of the actress' corpse and replaces it with a mannequin. The cops are less than amused and label the actors as troublemakers. Later, Luan Peters is attacked but Ray Brooks opts not to inform the police right-away since he knows they won't believe him. So he looks into the deviant undertakings on his own, with the help of actress Jenny Hanley. They realize that their abandoned theater may not be as abandoned as they were led to believe.
STORY: $$$ (I'm a sucker for the isolation theme in horror films - put a group of people in an isolated setting and I'm sold. Theatre folk might like this, but then again, it has a sort of anti-theater theme going for it. The screenplay is written well but the characters aren't fleshed out (at least regarding their backgrounds) to the degree I'd like. At the beginning, Luan Peters and Judy Matheson are in bed together at Luan's residence, but when they venture off to the theater, Luan shacks up with Australian stud Tony. Judy wasn't too concerned, so I guess they really didn't have a lesbian relationship).
VIOLENCE: $$ (There is some violence, but there isn't any gore, so don't let the title mislead you. Granted, an actress gets decapitated, but it is off screen. Luan Peters is attacked at night and this scene is graphically done, but it wasn't a murder, so there isn't any fake blood tossed around).
ACTING: $$$ (David Howey, who played the joker John, seems to do the best job here but he gets ample support from Ray Brooks as the director, Luan Peters as the sexpot and Jenny Hanley as the theater natural. The old fellow who plays Major Bell was very good as was Candace Glendenning in her cameo. Robin Askwith fans need not apply - he is the most underdeveloped actor in the group).
NUDITY: $$$$$ (You won't be letdown here. Luan Peters seems to relish the moments she is topless on screen, which is quite often at the beginning. Jane Cardew and her man are fully nude back stage while Judy Matheson gets undressed and Major Bell ogles Candace Glendenning while she changes. Needless to say, the Flesh from the title was there but the blood was wanting).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Flesh and Blood Show is set in England where a group of young &
aspiring actor's are hired by a production company to rehearse &
perform a play which they intend to open in London, the company send
all the actor's to a small seaside town where an old abandoned theatre
sits on the end of a pier. It's in this old theatre that the actor's
will get to know each other & rehearse the play, Mike (Ray Brooks) is
acting producer & it's his job to organise everything. Once all the
cast have arrived they decide to live in the theatre will rehearsing,
the first while while they are trying to sleep a loud screams wakes
everyone up & they soon discover that that one of their number is
missing & set out to look for her. Mike thinks he finds her decapitated
head but after returning with local police it has vanished, puzzled
Mike has to forget it but other member's of the cast also disappear as
the theatre's terrible past comes back to haunt the present...
This British & American co-production was produced & directed by Pete Walker & was his first attempt at horror, I have to say that The Flesh and Blood Show is a rather standard murder mystery horror with added nudity. While there's a fair bit of naked flesh on show there's not much blood on offer, at over 90 minutes The Flesh and Blood Show is a fairly dull film that hasn't aged well either. The murder mystery aspect is pretty poor, there's no great surprise as to who the killer is & there's meant to be a double twist at the end but the film just sort of finishes before the script has a chance to do anything with it. The kills are forgettable & I am not sure what that opening sequence of blood dripping down wooden supports & into the sea has to do with anything, the character's are all sex crazed teens who enjoy playing annoying jokes on each other which provide lots of those tiresome 'fake' scare scenes where something initially threatening turns out to be a practical joke. The revelation of the killer at the end is pretty dull & his motives for murder are weak, he goes a little bit crazy as well quoting all sorts of classic lines from various plays that sound out of place here & only slow things down even more. Overall The Flesh and Blood Show is an unsatisfying murder mystery that doesn't deliver on the mystery or the slasher aspects of the story, while not the worst example of it's kind I can't say I would ever want to see it again.
The Flesh and Blood Show definitely has the 70's feel to it, lots of old looking buildings with lots of dark corridors for people to endlessly walk down although the fashions don't fare so well with some hideous outfits including tight fitting canary yellow trousers. There's a fair amount of nudity here with virtually every female member of the cast going topless at least once while the gore is tame with only a severed head & a bit of blood splatter on show. The film has a decent atmosphere & looks alright but I doubt I will remember anything about it in a week. Origianlly shot partially in 3-D, the flashback sequence at the end was originally shown in 3-D but was simply black and white for most home video releases.
Filmed on location in Cromer in Norfolk here in England, written by Alfred Shaughnessy who went on to be script editor on British sitcom Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-1975). The acting is OK but nothing special here, Robin Askwith appeared in a number of British horror & sex films during the 70's while Ray Brooks narrated both Mr. Benn (1971) & King Rollo (1980) & was more recently in Eastenders.
The Flesh and Blood Show is a pretty forgettable murder mystery horror film that looks alright & isn't terrible but just isn't great either. Not much of a mystery to solve, not much gore to get excited about & a rather slow pace at times means The Flesh and Blood Show is a minor entry in British horror.
"The Flesh and Blood Show" bookends Pete Walker's 'golden period' of
horrors, with "Schizo" (1976) at the other end; it is a gruesome piece
of film-making that shows improvements in Walker's work from "Die
Screaming, Marianne" - and yet he is still limbering up, in truth.
Patrick Barr - to be used again by PW - is excellent here, playing 'the Major', the first in a line of Walker protagonists who appear to be harmless English eccentrics, but are actually... well, that would be telling! The youth characters may be rather stereotyped, but that is part of Walker's approach: to set a licentious, permissive youth against a resentful and uncompromisingly vengeful older generation. It is much to Walker's credit that few if any characters could be described as typical heroes. And he doesn't take sides; the photography indeed mimics the voyeur's view at times - implicating the audience, using the trick first deployed by Michael Powell in "Peeping Tom" (1960).
The out-of-season seaside setting - Cromer, apparently - fits aptly into this dialectic. The troupe of young actors' arrival seemingly doubles the ageing population of the resort, who can seemingly only dream of the past. It can even be argued that there are pre-echoes of Alan Bennett's use of Morecambe in "Sunset Across the Bay" (BBC, 1975) - though of course, lacking quite the same sad humour and dry insight.
Still, it is an serviceable enough shocker. Not as bizarrely gripping as Walker's subsequent Melodramas of Discontent, but a decisive step in that direction. And with a script by Alfred Shaughnessy (one of the prime wits behind LWT's "Upstairs, Downstairs") and a suitably eerie score from Cyril Ornadel (who composed all of the music for ATV's seminal "Sapphire and Steel"). Oh, and Robin Askwith... who is enjoyably absurd in horror films (see also the ludicrous "Horror Hospital" from the following year), where he is rather more horrific in myriad dire sex comedies to come.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the third film I've seen by Pete Walker, and I have to say that
it is my least favorite of these three. The others I saw-Frightmare and
House of Whipcord-were both more frightening, entertaining and, in the
case of the latter, more disturbing. The story involves an acting
troupe rehearsing in an abandoned theater on the waterfront when one by
one the actors start to die in various ways.
The Flesh and Blood show is a fun little romp in the vein of later slashers in which most of the violence and blood is not on screen. While that doesn't necessarily take away from a horror movie, in a kind of sleazy flick like this one, a bit more of the gore might not have been amiss. There is a bit of female nudity, including some that might be termed "gratuitous" and the characters are not completely stupid.
It's a fun little movie, but don't go into it with high expectations.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hired by a mysterious backer, a small British theater troupe head to an
old theater on a seaside pier to work out their improv show. They all
decide to shack up in the theater and, on the very first night,
encounter a killer determined to brutally off them one by one. Of
course, when you realize Robin Askwith is one of the group, you might
start siding with the killer. I am a sucker for horror films set in
empty theaters and this one really does it right. There isn't much
mystery here, but director Pete Walker stages some nice stalking scenes
(with killer POV before BLACK Christmas) and the cast definitely
delivers in the flesh department. One thing I loved is a supposed plot
hole where the killer couldn't have possibly attacked one girl. You
think it is inept film-making, but Walker has gotten the better of me
and it serves for a nice final twist.
This is my third Pete Walker film (FRIGHTMARE and SCHIZO being the other two) and I have to wonder if Walker hated old folks. Alongside FRIGHTMARE, this features an elderly person revealed to be the killer in the end. That's it, I officially declare Walker to be an ageist! Anyway, an enjoyable little British slasher. The cast is good and the film benefits greatly from an amazing location. Totally for abandoned theater film lovers!
Pete Walker brings us a proto-slasher that's now as cornball as can be.
Is it worthy of respect in the pantheon of horror? Yes, maybe.
This is a coastal town that they forgot to close down.
A group of actors and actresses have mysteriously been lured to an end of pier theatre to star in a play. Pretty soon they start being bumped off one by one.
So it be! There's plenty of nudity, actors siting around musing on the "biz" and its perils, while the matter of fact attitude to the disappearances is almost as ludicrous as someone opening the door in the middle of the night stark naked...
It's good fun in truth, especially for British film fans like me to see the likes of Robin Askwith and Jenny Hanley in this. The run down theatre setting is a good one, while the play they are rehearsing makes no sense and is quite surreal! 5/10
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