• Flesh And Blood Show, The



    Released by: Kino/Redemption
    Released on: March 18th, 2014.
    Director: Pete Walker
    Cast: Ray Brooks, Jenny Hanley, Luan Peters, Patrick Barr
    Year: 1972
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    The Movie:

    Pete Walker’s first dabbling in genre filmmaking, Die Screaming Marianne starring Susan George, did well enough for him that he followed it up two years later with a more straight ahead horror movie. Entitled The Flesh & Blood Show the film used some William Castle style marketing ploys (3-D!) to land people into theater sets and which made no attempt to hide the fact that it was a straight ahead horror picture.

    The premise behind the film is very simple – a group of attractive young actors are assembled to perform for the mysterious theater group known as ‘Theater Group 40’ in an old warehouse in a small English town on the coast. Their assignment? The titular Flesh & Blood Show, to be directed by a guy named Mike (Ray Brooks), a play in which the killings might just be a little more real than the audience is ready for, as it seems someone is slaughtering the cast for reasons unknown. Who is behind it all? Is it the producer? The director? One of the cast members? If so, why would they go to all this trouble and what could their motive possibly be? It all ties in to the history of the theater, and something that happened years ago.

    Containing far more flesh than blood (there’s a lot of female nudity in here, a throwback to Walker’s sexploitation days perhaps, proving that old habits do die hard), the movie has its high points and its low points. The good comes in the form of the aforementioned nudity and a couple of creative and well executed kill scenes. The bad? There are long stretches of dialogue that seem to be there only to pad out the running time and which add very little to the plot or the movie in general.

    What makes The Flesh & Blood show interesting is how, like Mario Bava’s Bay Of Blood, it manages to include a lot of the staples of the slasher genre in its running time before the slasher genre really existed. There are a few interesting stalk and kill sequences in the movie that would not at all feel out of place in a Friday The 13th movie, even if the actual plot of the film itself owes more to Ten Little Indians than anything else. Also interesting to note is how in this earlier horror effort we see the seeds of the anti-social stabs on the establishment that Walker’s later efforts, The Confessional specifically, would become famous and rather controversial for. As such, it’s an interesting starting point in his career as a horror movie director, much more so than the thriller that came before it.

    While the performances are really nothing to write home about, the movie does succeed on atmosphere and eerie location work. The small town that it all plays out in looks and feels creepy enough on its own even without the aid of the maniac who happens to be on the loose. While the score hasn’t aged well (at times it almost seems to be playing things for laughs and it sounds like something out of a cartoon) the killings, while not particularly gory, are suspenseful enough to work. It’s unrealistic to go into this one expecting something on par with The Confessional or Frightmare but as a lesser Walker film that sets the stage for the great films to come, The Flesh & Blood Show, which is presented here uncut, is a pretty decent movie.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Flesh & Blood Show debuts on Blu-ray framed in its proper 1.66.1 widescreen aspect ratio in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Transferred ‘from the original 35mm negative’ the movie looks very nice in its high def debut. There’s very little print damage here to note, just a few white specks here and there, and there’s no evidence of noise reduction or edge enhancement. The film’s grain structure is left completely un-tinkered with while color reproduction and skin tones both look quite nice and natural. Black levels are solid and the movie’s frequent darker scenes show decent shadow detail. This is a gritty looking picture but this transfer would seem very true to the movie’s roots and it offers quite an impressive upgrade in detail, texture and color from the previous DVD release.

    The only audio option on the disc is an LPCM Mono track in the film’s native English language. This isn’t a particularly fancy track, it’s an older single channel mix for a modestly budgeted picture but it gets the job done without any problems. The levels are nicely balanced, the dialogue is clean and clear and there aren’t any problems with any obvious hiss or distortion. Cyril Orendal’s music used throughout the movie also sounds quite good here, it has got noticeably more depth than it did on the previous DVD relase.

    As far as the extras go, you get the chance to watch the movie’s infamous 3-D sequence in either stereoscopic or anaglyph (the old school red and blue glasses) format. This is a ten minute clip and it’s fun to see it this way. Additionally we get an interview with Pete Walker conducted by Elijah Drenner called Flesh, Blood and Censorship in which the director of the feature speaks for just over twelve minutes about some of the censorship issues that the feature ran into. He also talks about his career as a comic and how that lead into his career in film. He talks about what made money and what didn’t, how when he had some cash he started making indie B-pictures and the sexploitation boom that was occurring around this time. He then goes into some specifics about The Flesh And Blood Show, ratings and censorship issues, the use of 3-D (his first movie using that format was The Three Dimensions Of Greta) and the success of this picture.

    Outside of that? Some great trailers for a bunch of Pete Walker titles – The Flesh And Blood Show, Die Screaming Marianne, Frightmare, House Of Whipcord and The Comeback. Menus and chapter stops are also included.

    The Final Word:

    While The Flesh & Blood Show has definitely got its fair share of obvious flaws, it’s nevertheless a fun and enjoyable horror movie with enough mildly sleazy thrills and odd characters to provide for some solid entertainment. The film isn’t a classic and Walker would definitely go on to make better and more interesting films but for an early genre effort, this is a decent offering. The Blu-ray debut from Kino/Redemption offers an impressive visual upgrade over the previous DVD release and contains a few decent extras as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!































    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Mike Howlett's Avatar
      Mike Howlett -
      I've always been a little "meh" about this one, except for Luan Peters' tits.That said, based on these screen caps, I'll probably upgrade just to see said tits in HD. It looks lovely.
    1. Clive Smith's Avatar
      Clive Smith -
      Candace Glendenning!
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      I like this one. It's an atmospheric little picture. Then again, I'm a Walker fan generally. I'll be getting this alongside the other Walker Blu-ray releases.