Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Eat Your Skin

I saw this gem of a film screen at the Sc-Fi Center in Las Vegas this weekend. Back in 1970 I Eat Your Skin (which was made years earlier but not released until 1970) screened as a drive-in double bill with I Drink Your Blood. William Powell at the Sci-Fi Center screened the two films together in the original double package they were shown together as. The role of the arts here in Vegas where I now live again is sort of interesting. It is only within the year that an "art" oriented coffee shop has existed at all successfully downtown. Any kind of an indigenous art world in Vegas is ver young. That being said, the Las Vegas premier of Human Centipede 2 around (also at the Sci-Fi Center) was pretty much a weekend long festival. I Drink Your blood I've written about elsewhere, so I won't go into detail about it here. I Eat Your Skin is much older, dating back to 1964 and filmed in black and white. I Drink Your Blood was quite clearly made in response to the Manson killings. I Eat Your Skin has nothing to do with anything. It also doesn't make a lot of sense. I am particularly a fan of the scene where a zombie holding a carton of explosives labeled "explosives" blows up a plane. The "plot" of the film revolves around a romance writer, his agent, and the agent's wife, who make a trip to an Island called Voodoo Island where a plantation owner and scientist are making zombies. The daughter of the scientist is a love interest for the romance writer. That makes the film sound like it makes a lot more sense then it does. There's a whole plot thread that has to do with the island natives wanting the daughter for a human sacrifice which goes exactly nowhere, because it turns out that it's her father and the plantation owner turning the locals into zombies. It doesn't all fit together at any point. It does feature a lot of Voodoo Island zombies running around with machetes. I am particularly fond of the scene where the hero points out - and this is well into the film- that the symbols on the altar are symbols used in Voodoo rituals involving human sacrifice. If you are about my age and remember Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the late 90's you are likely to recall a time when Les Baxter's "exotica" music and lounge music came back into style in a big way. There was the whole reissue of the Vampyros Lesbos soundtrack at that point, in the late 90's. This was about the time that bands like Stereolab and Air had resuscitated the Moog and DJ Spooky was a big deal. The soundtrack to I Eat Your Blood is full of campy lounge music like that. In general, I strongly approve of that general aesthetic of resurrecting cinematic and musical absurdism of the past. I Eat Your Skin must be seen to be believed. The whole film is so absurd I could hardly believe it was real. I think that there is a kind of merit to the approach of reviving things like I Eat Your Skin purely for their sheer absurdity. The zombie holding the carton of explosives labeled "explosives" is worth the price of admission itself. As with extreme metal sub-genres like death metal and black metal, it's become clear to me from blogging that the audience for films like I Eat Your Skin is actually gigantic. There's something there...

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