What do you say about a movie like I Eat Your Skin? Well, for one example, Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide gives this movie a "Bomb" rating and calls it "worthless." Many would agree. But then again, that same book gives Dances With Wolves four stars, so it goes without saying that you can't trust what you read. As things go, I Eat Your Skin is a bad movie, but not one without entertainment value.
I Eat Your Skin was made by DEL TENNEY, the man who gave the world the immortal Horror of Party Beachand Curse of the Living Corpse (both 1964), and was originally titled Voodoo Blood Bath. (It's also known as Zombies). Unlike his other two films, however, this sat on the shelf until 1971, when producer JERRY GROSS bought it, gave it the title it now holds today, and dropped it into drive-ins as a co-feature to I Drink Your Blood (1970). The films were advertised with the memorable slogan "Two Great Blood-Horrors To Rip Out Your Guts!"
Well, no skin is eaten and there's not much of a bloodbath either, unless you count a fisherman who gets decapitated. What there is, is a confusing plot involving a doctor (ROBERT STANTON) experimenting with snake venom on natives on a remote island, his beautiful, blond daughter (HEATHER HEWITT) who's in danger of becoming the next sacrifice of a nearby voodoo tribe, a two-fisted writer (WILLIAM JOYCE) who's a womanizer, a publisher (DAN STAPLETON) and his annoying wife (BETTY HYATT LINTON), and a guy (WALTER COY) who wants to use the zombies to create an unstoppable army for some weird reason. I'll leave it to you to put the pieces together.
Even with all this, there's much to enjoy. Blond bombshell Betty Hyatt Linton has a voice that could send Fran Dreischer screaming to the grave. (She also gets the film's worst line: "It's a nice island you have, Mr. Bentley. It's so tropical!") You get what looks like the only multi-racial tribe of natives in movie history (or any other history for that matter.) And look out for all that cheesy lounge music that passes for this movie's score. Oh, and dig the way all the (non) actors appear to be shouting out their lines. (Or maybe they mixed the soundtrack too loud, I don't know.) And we can’t forget the zombies. It's a wonder they can even see where they're going with the eggs in their eyeballs, to say nothing of the fried grease (or is it oatmeal) that makes up their faces.
See? I told you this movie has entertainment value. While not quite up to the lunacy of Horror Of Party Beach, I Eat Your Skin has got plenty of juicy moments of it's own. It's worth a look. But be warned: it has the power to clear out unwanted guests.
From a pseudo-voodoo 35mm print -- Brian Marshall, The Noise Junkie, Noises from the Garage ’zine
Starring: William Joyce
Co-starring: Heather Hewitt
Other cast: Betty Hyatt Linton, Dan Stapleton
Directed by: Del Tenney
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