Friday, March 5, 2010

Shriek of the Mutilated (1974)

Shriek of the Mutilated is several different kinds of movies rolled into one. Firstly, it's a Yeti picture, intended to capitalize on the big foot craze of the early 70s. Secondly, it's a satanic horror picture. Thirdly, it's a cannibal picture. Fourthly, it's a harrowing portrait of domestic abuse brought on by alcoholism. Shot somewhere in New York state on a less-than shoestring budget, I'm having a hard time imagining this thing eliciting shrieks from the drive-in audiences of the time. Laughter? Perhaps.

Enjoyable on it's own, very low, level, Shriek is the story of a college professor who coerces some of his students to go on a weekend expedition into the wilds of New Jersey (I think...actually, I spent the entire first half thinking they were trying to pass this shit off as Tibet), specifically Boot Island, to search for the ever elusive Yeti that apparently got trapped there when an ice bridge melted. Once on the Island, the kids are introduced to a Doctor (his name eludes me) who lives there along with his Native American servant (whose tongue was conveniently misplaced). During the weekend they go out, venture off alone, get eaten by a Yeti, etc.

However, before any of this shit goes down, back on the mainland, we are introduced to a former partner of the professor (another name that eludes me). This guy was the only survivor of the previous expedition. Now, he's a drunkard and a wife beater. In an opening scene, he slits his wife's throat with an electric carving knife and then proceeds to take a bath. His wife, not yet dead, crawls to the bathtub dragging along a plugged-in toaster. "Holy shit, this picture rules" was my reaction too.

Anyway, about this Yeti. It's a pathetic costume. Made more pathetic by the fact that the guy in the costume is barely 5' in high heels. So (SPOILER)...clearly the filmmakers decided it could never convince an audience. They rewrote the script. Made the whole weekend a ploy to lure unsuspecting students into the wild where they could be murdered and cannibalized all in the name of satanic ritual. See, the "Yeti" is actually the doctor in costume! Even the town sheriff is in on this shit. In my opinion, the filmmakers would have been better off going with the original script and just showing less of the Yeti, but what do I know? Anyway, this is not a good movie but it's still way better than the Overrated, boring, time waster that is The Legend of Boggy Creek. If you enjoy awful characterizations, unconvincing gore, horribly dim film quality, barely any nudity (none that I can remember), and a 5' Yeti that isn't even a fucking Yeti, than look no further.

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