Seriously, help me… I’m still watching films from the 70s.
My goal was to watch some cheesy films, and this one might be the cream of the crop. We follow Dr. Blackwood, who experiments on women by whipping them (yeah…) and those in cages look on while sexually moaning.
A young couple is murdered, and now Blackwood’s operation is being looked at. The police assume it was one of his patients, but Blackwood makes it real clear real quick that he should be the prime suspect. The whole facility feels like a rape dungeon, and you might expect some good gore or screwed up scenes, but there just aren’t any.
The weird thing about this film is that it is hard to determine who the audience was meant to be. Most of these films are rated PG (I imagine this would get an R if remade today), and the ratings system has changed so much I don’t know if this is a reliable test. Anyway, the film isn’t gruesome enough to cater to gorehounds. Even other 1970s films do a better job than this one here. Yet, it isn’t funny or romantic enough to be a standard date night chiller, nor is it sexualized enough to be a sexploitation film. I suppose it barely fits into a monster category, as a monstrous beast created through the experiments is what is doing the killing, but the creature looks like red yarn waved in front of the camera—at best.
The best part of the film is the absolute cringe-worthy portrayal of the patients. I imagine this was probably on the nose in 76, and here it is pretty stunning. Everything else is more or less crap. The technical aspects of the film are bad, and this is certainly a low-budget film, and it isn’t aging well.
The worst part of the film is the phoned in story. We do get an idea of something interesting, but this comes in the final act. Moving this up sooner would have helped make the film understandable. As is, it is mainly just a boring and never scary slog through empty scenes. There is no purpose to any of this, and instead we are left just wanting the whole thing to end. The film finds a way to be a drag even at the meek 75-minute running time.
The monotony of these films is making reviewing them somewhat difficult. I can only make so many jokes about stupid haircuts, bad editing, and static lines down the shot. Already these 1970s films have merged into one. A lot of good horror did come out, but it seems that most of it was pretty bad (a lot like today). I suppose we should look at the good side of this—horror isn’t going anywhere, and has always had to contend with crappy productions, cheesy stories, and an abundance of smashed together garbage that works just well enough to be considered a film.
I see little passion in these projects, and this one is no exception. There is nothing to say here other than we have a film that wanted to profit on a trend, and crammed in monsters, asylums, and a teenie tiny bit of a gore in hopes to get people to check it out. The banality of the film means it cannot be absolute garbage—no—for something to be garbage it has to once have been envisioned with a use. In some ways this film is worse than less enjoyable movies because it is so obviously checking each little box carefully. Cynical cash grabs are nothing new, folks. Maybe they are just coming back into style (like a lot of other stuff from the 1970s). Don’t waste your time.