Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Review #1,347: 'Three on a Meathook' (1972)

Like many grindhouse features from the 1970s, William Girdler's Three on a Meathook truly went for broke with its title, an eye-catching promise of blood, guts and mutilation to draw in a naive audience hoping for a terrifying time. What they got however, was two minutes of butchery thrown together with a $20,000 budget, followed by 80 minutes of melodrama with an uncomfortably drawn-out section dedicated to a naff rock band performing on stage. Three on a Meathook stays true to the grindhouse trend of failing to deliver on its enticing title, and instead treats us to a plethora of mannequin-like acting, dialogue no human has ever spoken before, and audio that sounds like it was recorded through a pillow.

Four attractive young ladies decide to go on a weekend trip to the lake, where they naturally embark on a bit of skinny-dipping and frolicking in the sun. Only little do they know, shy and handsome farmhand Billy Townsend (James Carroll Pickett) is watching them. Unfortunately for the girls, their vehicle breaks down on a country road, and it isn't too long until Billy's truck pulls up behind them to offer his services. He's no mechanic, so he instead provides a bed for the night at his farm. With his mother recently deceased, Billy lives alone his Pa (Charles Kissinger), who certainly isn't happy when he sees who his son has for company. It seems that Billy has a dark past involving women, and his Pa is quick to remind him of the dangers of having such a temptation in his very home. That night, the ladies are butchered one after the other: one is stabbed in the bath, two are shot, and the other has her head removed with an axe.

Horrified at what he doesn't remember doing, Billy takes a trip into the city to get himself together, where he meets beautiful barmaid Sherry (Sherry Steiner). Three on a Meathook blows its load way too early, focusing on the blossoming romance between the two youngsters after a violent opening twenty minutes, with Sherry proving to be one of the most unintentionally weird love interests in horror history. Not only does she bring home a drunk stranger muttering the words "I couldn't have done it," but sleeps naked beside him even after he wets the bed. The climax brings a twist that evokes the Ed Gein case, which seems to fit nicely with the creepy rural setting, but you'll be too beaten down by the tedium beforehand to care. Three on a Meathook isn't the worst example of the genre, but it will make you claw at your own face for the majority of its running time. Girdler would go on the direct the likes of Sheba, Baby and Grizzly.

Directed by: William Girdler
Starring: James Carroll Pickett, Charles Kissinger, Sherry Steiner, Madelyn Buzzard
Country: USA

Rating: *

Tom Gillespie

Three on a Meathook (1972) on IMDb

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...