Purchase Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Night of Living Dead / I Eat Your Skin on Amazon.
I often say that to pigs.
For our second review here at Horror And Sons, we jump head first into one of the undeniable classics of the horror genre.
What? We’re reviewing I Eat Your Skin? And it’s NOT a legitimate horror classic, you say? Well, shit! But…. I already wrote the review. I’m not just gonna throw it away. Screw it, we’re doing this live!!!!!
I Eat Your Skin was written, produced, and directed by Del Tenney (The Horror of Party Beach) in 1964 under the title “Caribbean Adventure” so that the local residents of Key Biscayne (where the film was shot) would not know that he was making a zombie movie. “Zombies” was not released until 1971, when it was renamed and sold to be the second feature in a double billing with I Drink Your Blood, a movie which has nothing in common with this film. Nothing. Nothing at all.
Our subject stars William Joyce. While not a known name, Joyce had a long, successful career as a TV character actor/guest star appearing in shows from the 50’s & 60’s such as Bat Masterson, Rawhide, and The Rifleman all the way to the 80’s in shows such as Hunter, Baywatch, and Knight Rider. It’s quite surprising that he did not become a big name after this film as he plays a total badass, but we will get into that later. Okay, maybe it’s not really a surprise.
Another interesting note is that the second unit director on the film was William Grefe, known to trash cinema fans as the director of such films as Sting of Death, Stanley, & Mako: Jaws of Death.
Our movie starts at a voodoo sacrificial ceremony presided over by someone wearing what appear to be Ray-bans with strings of beads hanging off of them and a top hat. I’m not sure if that is customary voodoo ritual attire or not, but it makes the character look like a cross between Flava Flav and Vinnie from Spaceballs.
At this point in the review, I should probably give you a little insight into the review process. You see, our hero is a writer named Tom. However, early in the film, another character calls him “Harry”. So, I wrote most of this review calling the main character “Harry”. About an hour into the film, it finally dawned on me that Joyce either has his shirt unbuttoned or completely off for the bulk of the movie. It is for this reason that I will write the rest of this review calling him “Hairy”. And judging from the shag carpeting on Joyce’s chest, it seems like the way to go.
We then cut to a resort in Miami Beach, where we find our hero (Joyce) sitting (shirtless) poolside, surrounded by attractive bikini clad women. Well, I assume that they are attractive. It’s kind of hard to get past the mountains of hair that women would pile up on their heads in the 60’s. Remind me to ask my mother just what the hell they were thinking back in those days. Anyway, Hairy is then interrupted by his publisher, Duncan (Dan Stapleton, in his only acting role). Duncan tries to get Hairy to leave as he has a story for Hairy to write. Seeing as he is surrounded by willing groupies, Hairy is hesitant to leave. That is, until the husband of one of the women rubbing up on Hairy’s bear skin rug comes walking up on them. The husband chases Hairy and Duncan to their car as they attempt to leave and we are treated to what is just a hilarious scene of spousal abuse. We literally get to watch this guy kicking the actress playing his wife right in the arse. Pretty sure he slaps her around a little bit too. Nothing funnier than beating your wife. Ain’t that right, Ike Turner? (Too soon?)
Duncan then informs Hairy that he is taking him to luxurious Voodoo Island to write his next story. It’s pretty much a giveaway what we can find there. I mean, if you name your island “Monkey Island”, you’d better have some damn monkeys or else you are going to look like a liar and a fool and everyone will be very sad because, really, who doesn’t love a monkey? Duncan tells Hairy the story of a doctor on the island who is trying to find a cure for cancer by creating a serum out of snake venom. I once tried to cure halitosis with a bottle of Goldschlager. I now have liver damage and a drinking problem, but man, does my breath smell beautiful. What were we talking about? Oh yeah. Voodoo Island. Duncan explains to Hairy that the island is the home of a voodoo cult and that it may be crawling with zombies. Sounds relaxing, right? Hairy quickly declines. That is, until Duncan bribes him with promises of all the young, virgin native girls that he can deflower. Before you ask, no, Voodoo Island is not real and not on any map. Yes, I already checked. Twice.
Our 2 adventurers (joined at this point by Duncan’s annoying gold digger wife, Coral, and her poodle) then catch a plane to Voodoo Island. This was not very thought out as there is no landing strip on this tiny little island. Something I don’t believe the film makers mention. They make up for that oversight by giving our cast plane troubles. It’s at this point when we start getting our first clues as to just how big of a badass Hairy really is as he takes control of the plane from the pilot and manages to land it on the sandy beaches of Voodoo Island. Hairy decides to venture out to look for help, but not before reaching back into the plane to grab his gun. Hairy couldn’t remember to pack a shirt with buttons, but he made sure to pack some heat.
Hairy meets up with a local fisherman. This character is not essential at all, which is why he is quickly beheaded by one of the island’s many zombies. And by “many”, I mean approximately six. While attempting to escape, Hairy is rescued by Charles Bentley, overseer of island affairs for the doctor. Charles takes Hairy back to the beach just as a group of natives are approaching the plane and it’s occupants. These white people, oh so trusting as we are of non-honkeys, immediately assume that these folks are here to partake in nefarious activities. Instead, these are just workers (unpaid, I’m sure) for Bentley and the doctor. Gives that title of “overseer” a little different meaning, if you ask me. And you didn’t.
Back at the island estate, Hairy meets Jeannie (played by the attractive Heather Hewitt, who did not do much after this) , daughter of the yet unseen doctor. Hairy, pimp that he is, quickly throws his worst pick up lines at her. Even though she calls him out on how lame they were, she still agrees to go on a moonlight walk with him. They are then attacked by a group of zombies who try to drag Jeannie off into the jungles. As stated earlier, Hairy is a badass. He manages to fight off the zombie horde (six zombies, people) with a tiki torch and we are witness to a few nice scenes of people (not white people, of course) being jabbed in the face with a lit torch.
They return back to the house, and as Jeannie is escorted back to her room by Coral, Charles informs Hairy that the voodoo tribe wants to sacrifice a young blonde virgin in hopes of curing their own ailments. Seeing as there is only one white, blonde, virgin girl on the island, it kind of narrows down the choice to Jeannie. Harry then goes outside and scales the side of the house in order to sneak into Jeannie’s bedroom to tell her of what is being planned for her. As an upstanding gentleman with only the best of intentions, Harry does what any righteous citizen would do in this situation. He bangs Jeannie. By this point, I now idolize Hairy.
This is the point where I will stop detailing the events of the film and leave the rest to any persons willing and wanting to watch this film.
While not a well made movie by any sense, I Eat Your Skin is a fun little flick.. We have a hero that can do anything, scantily clad women, zombies, be-headings, paper mache islands, and (my personal favorite) not so subtle racism. The movie never takes itself too seriously, which is a good thing since you won’t either. If you are looking for a fun way to kill a rainy Saturday morning or if you are a fan of this type of older schlock film, then I highly recommend I Eat Your Skin. And if you do watch the film, keep an eye out for the older white guy in the background at the voodoo ceremony defining the stereotype that white guys can’t dance.
I Eat Your Skin is in the public domain, so you should be able to find a copy (of varying quality) pretty easily and fairly cheap. I would suggest picking up one of the Mill Creek 50-Movie packs. They are usually pretty cheap and you are likely going to enjoy at least a couple other titles in the set.