Unrated - Cinema of the Extreme


A malicious and meaty marvel of masturbatory mayhem, THE FLESH RIPPERS, a rough slice of vintage smut from those wonderfully fiendish folks at Alpha Blue Archives, is a mean-spirited decent into depravity and death. Staring long and hard into the face (and crack!) of our species most carnal desires for pleasure and pain, this DVD is a hand-grenade of sexual excess, focusing as much on violence as eroticism, both stripped of their artistic pretensions. Flipping the finger to the crowd-pleasing, conservatively approved mentality that dilutes so many horror and sex movies, Alpha Blue presents features that skip the flowers and go right for the bed – if you’re lucky. More often than not, the actors have only a mattress or floors, chains and whips. Lust and violence rule the minimal plots herein, the sparse minimalism of the settings and story contributing to an archetypal essence.

Focusing equally on flesh and sadism, this 120 minute long shriek-show exposes subversive creativity amidst scenes of violation, graphic violence, and masked murder. As much a lewd ode to the gothic supernatural films of the sixties and seventies as a raunchy nod to 42nd Street, THE FLESH RIPPERS surrounds its cheaply made, raw depictions of sexual sadism with nightmarish imagery. Paying its due to exploitation movies, the shorts and fragmented scenes that make up this DVD feature masked killers dispatching victims with machete, spirited castrations, blood-letting, and that handy standby, the Satanic ritual. Together these oddities spice up the ample flesh-fondling on display. Oddly enough, all of this horrific imagery doesn’t darken the mood of an already grim premise. Rather, gothic conventions are played out so campily that they provide a much needed (at times disconcerting) subtext of mimicry and burlesque to the cruel sadism inflicted in the name of pleasure. While to most people this would be far from a recommendation, it as exactly that for unashamed voyeurs looking for a quick, bloody fix void of taste or pretension.

Featuring an asylum of morally and mentally deprived lunatics willing to bend, break, and be broken all in the name of hedonistic pleasure, this feature brazenly pushes sex past the boundaries of taboo. The first feature, "Barbarian Girls", focuses on an average looking gal who suffers an automobile accident. Gaining consciousness, she finds that she’s woken into a nightmare as she’s tortured and finally disemboweled. No plot here, just fetishistic imagery. Now before the moral police send out the war wagon to cart me away to some nicely padded cell, allow me to say a quick word: We have long been a culture unable to distinguish between art and waking life. As a harmless outlet for inner frustrations and a vicarious way to experience both the fear of victim -- and the power of victimizer – these films are socially useful if troubling for relieving internal depravity through the cleansing mechanism of art.

Perhaps that is one of the beauties of this movie, and others of its ilk. At the very same time that you’re enjoying the sexual perversities of this flesh-and-freak-show the filmmakers seem to be asking you . . . why? Why does this have an audience? The answer, of course, may be found at the very heart of the human condition. As animals, we dress up our instincts in fancy clothes, using religion, politics, and social convention to keep the wolf at bay. The one safe, approved way of connecting with our savagery is through the medium of art, in this case cinema. THE FLESH RIPPERS offers a rather direct way of doing just this, indulging our hunger for ugly violence and decadence without hurting either themselves or others. THE FLESH RIPPERS is a medicine for masochism, a salve for sadism. Heartily recommended for the truly adventurous (or twisted) of mind!

Attacking the puritanical hypocrisy and self-deceit of the Western world’s fear and condemnation of sex by showing it in all its pleasure, pain, and transformative power, this putrid peep show emits an “I dare you!” quality. Part of Alpha Blue Archives’ Sadistic 70’s, this is challenging raw trash at its most fiendish. And if it provokes discomfort in the viewer while arousing erections, this, too, is its goal. Reducing story, character, and other safeguards of art to its essential, albeit savage, and uncivilized nature, this kind of movie seeks to vivisect pretension and taste as well as brazenly exploited skin. Women are unapologetically depicted as victims, and sex is little more than a prelude to violent death. While this hardly takes great skill or narrative to achieve, and is admittedly brash, it does require a daring sense of defiance – a sheer love of exploitation, sex, and counter-culture.

As a shocking oddity, "Wet Wilderness", the other feature on the disc (accompanied by some odd clips and even odder moans and screams from a suitably insane soundtrack) succeeds perhaps too well. Presented in its uncut, blasphemous entirety, this sick monster of outrage veers into such repulsive subjects as incest, forced sex, bloody death, and more deviance than the average mind can handle. A catalogue of carnality and carnage, this double feature leaps off the cliff of indecency while its adoring fondness for exploitation continues to captivate. You’ll walk away with a disturbed mind and a wet hand! What more could you ask for in a pornographic love song to filth?

William P. Simmons

 

No Credited Director
English language
USA / 1970 / 120 minutes

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Alpha Blue Archives

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THE FLESH RIPPERS

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