In my continued attempt to highlight some of the best of the worst zombie-related horror flicks I’ve had the privilege of sitting through, today's featured movie is...
As you watch the first few minutes before the credits roll in 1964’s I Eat Your Skin (aka Eat Your Skin, Voodoo Blood Bath, Zombie), the viewer is treated to a scantily clad bikini babe dancing her cheeks off in the middle of a voodoo ritual.
And then they bring out a goat.
Immediately you get the impression that this is either going to be greatest crappy horror movie ever made or…just crap. Luckily, if you’re anything like me, the mixture of camp, comedy, horror, scantily clad women, 60’s swinging sexuality, voodoo priests, calypso music, and zombies will make the movie an automatic cult classic in the vein of Horror of Party Beach and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies (yes, that’s a real movie…seriously).
So here’s the skinny: In 1970, Cinemation Industries’ distributor Jerry Gross was in search of a horror movie for a double bill he was putting together. He already had his first film - the in-house produced I Drink Your Blood. Somewhere along the way, Gross stumbles onto the unreleased Voodoo Blood Bath that had been gathering dust for six years. Of course, to draw in the kids, Voodoo Blood Bath is changed to I Eat Your Skin in order to work better with I Drink Your Blood. And there you have it! Instant money maker!
The plot: The hero, successful writer/ladies man/James Bond stand-in Tom Harris (William Joyce), is forced to travel to Voodoo Island by his alcoholic agent to conduct research for his latest opus. You see, a scientist is working on a cure for cancer on said remote island and his professional advice would be invaluable. Along with the agent’s wife (expertly/annoyingly portrayed by actress Betty Hyatt Linton) and the scientist’s beautiful young daughter, the foursome almost fall into the clutches of voodoo-loving natives (thus the name of the island), a world conquering wannabe, and (you betcha) zombies.
The verdict: Contrary to the movie’s title, there is no eating of skin to speak of. None. Not even a little cannibalism by the Voodoo Island natives. As for the zombies, their makeup is best described as dried oatmeal for skin and egg yokes for eyes. Yummy but not creepy by any means.
The film’s saving grace comes at the hands of our hero in his full campy, swinging glory. When he’s not fighting off the undead with machetes and boxes of TNT, Harris surrounds himself with a crowd of bikini babes or busies himself by wooing impressionable young women into the night…and into the morning (woo!). All that and the playboy still finds the time to get up early and write his next best-selling novel.
If all that sounds interesting, you have no choice but to see I Eat You Skin for yourself. DVD you ask? Oh yeah. You can buy your own copy right here.