1970s horror: killer animals, a Mardi Gras murderer, and another nod to Ed Gein

I recently added this mish-mosh of bad movies from the 1970s to my collection, so let’s just get this over with.

THREE ON A MEATHOOK (1972)

Such a great nasty name for a totally disappointing film inspired by the Ed Gein story. If you’re expecting Texas Chainsaw Massacre level horror, forget about it. This movie is bogged down by filler montages drowning in bad early 70s muzak that ruins any chance of capturing the essence of its gritty look.

A group of girls goes on a road trip. Their car breaks down. A nice guy offers to let them stay at his farmhouse with him and his dad. When they arrive, the father makes it very clear to his son that it’s a bad idea.

In less than ten minutes, all the girls are murdered. The killer POV and heavy breathing shots are perfect foreshadowing of slashers to come, but two of four murders are by gunshot. Blah. Although quick, the other two murders are with sharp weapons and offer some serviceable gore for the time.

And then…the son leaves home so his dad can clean up the mess. There’s a huge chunk of the middle of the movie in which he walks around a city, watches a band play at a bar, then gets romantically involved with a waitress.

Eventually he brings her home to meet his dad, and she brings along a friend. They all frolic in a field, eat dinner with the dad, the girls reference the mysterious cut of meat he cooked for them (uh-oh), and then the final, brief murderous act begins.

It’s all pretty disappointing, totally predictable and doesn’t make much logical sense when the big twist is revealed. We also learn that the movie title spoils the big shocker moment of the film.

This is most definitely an unintentional segue film between Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre considering it shares elements of both due to extracting details from the Ed Gein true crime story.

DAY OF THE ANIMALS (1977)

The director of Three On a Meathook gives us a “nature strikes back” movie that’s as ecologically aware as horror of the seventies gets.

The opening title card literally explains that hairspray is burning a hole in the ozone layer and this movie depicts what the possible results could be.

By the way, what the hell ever happened to that hole? It’s taking as long to open as the killer bees are to get here from Africa.

So the deal is the environmental damage is making things quite wonky, especially in high altitudes. A group going out hiking is warned about the dangers but goes anyway.

And then the animals start attacking.

The cast includes 1970s horror power couple Christopher George and Lynda Day George, young Andrew Stevens, and Leslie Nielsen as a man who is the only one in the group that starts to go batty as a result of the sun’s rays.

Our cast is subjected to angry birds, mountain lions, wolves, dogs, and rats, plus crazy Leslie Nielsen infamously wrestles a bear while shirtless.

It’s definitely a cheesy film, but the attacks are notably gruesome and vicious, and I actually found some of them quite unsettling because it felt like real animals were being roughed up for the footage.

MARDI GRAS MASSACRE (1978)

I can’t believe I waited so long for this one to come back into print thinking I’d missed out on some crucial gem to add to my collection. I’m now so glad I didn’t spend a fortune buying it on eBay while it was out of print.

I won’t drag this out. This movie is atrocious. Forget any sense of atmosphere, tension, fear, or mystery. This is a painfully repetitive film about a dude who picks up prostitutes in a bar, takes them back to his place, straps them to a leather table, and then hacks out their hearts while wearing an Aztec mask.

Oh, and the entire time, generic 1970s disco plays. They couldn’t even spring for some Donna Summer or Village People.

The only side story in this disaster sees one of the cops on the case dating one of the prostitutes. He also ends up smacking her around. Women’s rights have come a long way…it’s scary how quickly conservatives are rolling them back and this will be seen as normal treatment of women again in movies soon.

 

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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