Thursday, February 09, 2017
Three On A Meathook (1973)
DIRECTOR: William Girdler
WRITER: William Girdler
James Carroll Pickett
When four young women go for a weekend trip to the lake, they end up having car troubles on their way home. When a friendly local guy by the name of Billy stops to help, he advises the four women that they can stay at his farmhouse where he lives with his father. During the night, the four women are brutally murdered. Billy's father blames him and states that he can't have any women around as it brings out his bad side. When Billy falls in love with a new woman, issues arise between father and son.
One of my all-time favourite horror movies is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). So hearing the title for a film like Three On A Meathook. I was pretty excited to see what type of carnage was about to unfold on the screen. I had never heard a single thing about this movie or seen any promotional material for the film. So I went into this blind and was just excited based on the title alone. I wasn't expecting this movie to be a masterpiece like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but I had hoped for a lot of fun.
As soon as this film began, I was aware of what I was in for almost immediately. The movie's quality is instantly terrible and not enjoyable to watch. This is extremely low-budget filmmaking. Even the quality of the film stock was grainy and more often than not, unwatchable. I was finding it extremely hard to see what was happening in a few of the attack and murder scenes. It was even harder to see what was going on during the nighttime scenes. It was almost impossible to tell what was going on in the film.
The movie begins with this seventies funk and soul music. I thought I was watching Shaft for a minute when the music started playing. I had half expected Shaft to burst onto the screen and start throwing bad guys out of office windows or something. We also open to a man and woman having sex in bed. The man and woman are cuddling and fooling around, but she needs to get out of there and get on with her day. This is not even the first music sequence in the movie, and the music is one of the weirdest aspects of the film.
From twenty-eight-minutes right up until the thirty-six-minute mark, we have this sequence where out main character Billy walks around the big city to soul and funk music. He even sits in a soul club while we get roughly five minutes of this funk and soul band playing music. It's a very bizarre addition to a movie where we witness a madman chopping woman's heads off with an axe or hanging them from meat hooks. It's extraordinarily long and feels completely unnecessary. It may have been a way for the filmmaker to secure the film a theatrical release.
The movie's best moment comes from the first attack and murder sequence. We see a killer brutally murder and attack four women inside Billy and his father's house. It's a lovely little scene where a woman is decapitated with an axe and the way it is shot almost reminded me of the film Wrong Turn. The gore is poorly done so don't go in expecting some well-done gore as this is mannequin heads and buckets of blood. I still thought this moment felt far more impressive than any other scene in the film.
For a movie that is called Three On A Meathook. There is a three second shot in the final reels of the story. So if you were expecting to see three women being placed on meathooks and see some carnage-candy, you'd be sorely disappointed. The title and poster for the film are light years ahead of anything that takes place in this film. The marketing team should win an award for having the best campaign for such a terrible movie. They really had me sold on something far more impressive than what I ended up witnessing.
The movie tries to throw in some half-assed mystery into the story by trying to paint Billy as the killer, but Billy is apparently a nice guy. You know almost immediately he is not capable of all of the brutal murders of all these women. His father, on the other hand, is awful, he doesn't like women being in his home and keeps accusing Billy of being mentally unstable and a killer. He's weird and very overprotective. We are well aware there is one psychotic killer in this house and it ain't Billy. The mystery here is basically non-existent.
Lastly, we come to the acting. The acting is just terrible. I think the only one who had any real screen presence was actor John Carroll Pickett who plays Billy. I think he was the only one I can actually point out and say that I'll remember his role in the film. All of the women in the movie feel pretty disposable just like the characters they portray. Reading up on the leading actor, I sadly learned that he passed away of AIDS at age 44. He'd become a pretty notable playwright in Los Angeles before his death. It also makes this review a little bit sadder knowing he died at such a young age.
DEATH TOLL: 7
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A naked woman is stabbed to death in the bathtub.
- Two women are shot in the stomach with a shotgun.
- One woman is decapitated with an axe.
- A dead woman is shown in a flashback.
- Three women are seen hanging from hooks.
- A woman is hit in the stomach with a pick-axe.
- Someone is hit in the back with a meat cleaver.
Three On A Meathook is a terribly mundane slasher movie. The film is low-budget filmmaking at it's worst. The movie is grainy and at times very hard to follow with how bad the quality is of the film stock. The music feels incredibly out of place in the film, and the acting is also pretty terrible. The gore and blood effects are sadly not very well done. There is not much to enjoy within this film. Minus a pretty enjoyable poster and an early mass-murder sequence, the movie is one I don't even think the biggest of slasher fans will enjoy.