Saturday, December 1, 2012

Touch of Her Flesh, The (1967)

... aka: Touch of Her, The
... aka: Touch of Her Life, The
... aka: Touch of Her Passion, The
... aka: Way Out Love

Directed by:
"Julian Marsh" (Michael Findlay)

After opening credits reflected off of nude female body parts, we meet one Richard Jennings (played by the director under the name "Robert West"). Richard, a writer and weapons expect, is off to Boston for a convention, leaving behind his young wife Claudia (Angelique). And you know what mice do when the cat's away... Claudia immediately invites her lover over and the two start getting busy. He tells her "With all those weapon's, he could be a real lady killer!" And he doesn't know the half of it. Forgetting some papers, Richard comes home early and peeks in on what his wife is doing in the bedroom. Instead of confronting her, he runs away and out into the street where he's struck down by a car. When Richard comes to he's at the hospital. A doctor informs him that he'll be temporarily paralyzed and that he's lost an eye. Richard tells him his name is Stanley Blenda and that he has no home and no relatives to contact.

Now in a wheelchair and wearing an eye patch, Richard rents out an apartment and starts drinking heavily. He has a trip out scene full of swirling camera shots of various women massaging their breasts and writhing in bed, and of visions of Claudia in bed with the other man. His voice over explains what men should do if they're ever caught in the "soft pink trap" or "the hot vice of love." Richard informs us that "The only true escape for any man trapped in the sexual vortex of the female being... It is to destroy her and all who act like her... Kill her naked, in public!... Kill the filthy beast so that those gates of flesh shall never open again!" Yes, you gotta love that colorful Findlay dialogue. I know I sure do!

Richard plans on killing his wife, but first he wants to teach a few other "filthy sluts" a lesson they won't soon forget. He goes to a club where a black go-go dancer has just finished her act. She goes backstage to change, where she gets a special poison rose "to symbolize the innocent pubescence she once had" from Richard. After pricking her finger on one of the thorns, the dancer heads back out on the stage to do a topless dance to a song called "The Right Kind of Lovin" before keeling over. So thanks for the dance, Vivian Del Rio. And thank you for sharing your amazingly nice rack with the world. Richard next goes to a burlesque show to watch a stripper (Sally Farb) do a routine with a boa on a leopard-print couch. Once she's done, he uses a blow gun to shoot a poison dart into her neck!

Scared her husband is out to get her, Claudia has been hiding out at an art / woodworking studio in Oyster Bay where she plays piano and paints. Her friend Janet (Suzanne Marre), whom Richard refers to as "the pig who poses nude," is her model. Richard spies on Janet having a conversation with her hooker friend ("Marie Lamont" / Peggy Steffans) and then picks the hooker up, takes her back to his apartment, makes her strip and then makes her lie down on the bed while he leaves the room to "prepare himself." He comes back with a knife and gets the hooker to rat out where his wife and Janet have been hiding before stabbing her in the stomach. Richard then shows up at the studio armed with a crossbow for an ineptly staged MOST DANGEROUS GAME where tops will get ripped off, someone gets their head cut off with a table saw and another is shot with an arrow.

The first entry in the financially successful "Flesh Trilogy" (which is followed by THE CURSE OF HER FLESH and THE KISS OF HER FLESH), this is typical late 60s Findlay "roughie" stuff. Made without recorded sound, all of the dialogue was dubbed in later. Not that it really matters since the acting is absolutely terrible. Most of the actresses don't even try acting scared, but that's not quite why they were hired. There's lots of nudity and these ladies aren't the stick figures we see today, but rather "healthy" women with some meat on their bones. All but one have really large breasts. Some even have a really large gut to match what they've got up top. Michael Findlay also wrote, produced and edited under the alias "Julian Marsh." His wife and co-conspirator, Roberta Findlay (using the name "Anna Riva"), co-produced, shot it, lit it, provided the voice of Claudia and also appears as the nude body during the opening credits and it the nightmare sequence.

While not traditionally good, and there's not as much crazy camerawork as I'd hoped, the storyline is entertaining and it has its moments here and there. Most of the nude scenes go on for a very long time, which will try the patience of some viewers. The DVD distributor is (surprise!) Something Weird.



cinemarchaeologist said...

The "Flesh" flicks are noteworthy for their visual inventiveness (and this one is, by far, the least inventive), and for pushing ideas like "depraved" and "misogynistic" until they become parodies of themselves. In this respect, that dialogue you noted is barely scratching the surface--things really kick into gear in the sequels. They're remarkably seedy movies. One can practically smell the stale piss and spilled whiskey and ground-in smoke and old sex in every scene. It even wafts through the screen-caps you put up.

These pictures were very much predecessors of the slasher flicks of the '80s, with crazy-ass Jennings making very explicit what all those crazed moral avengers would be up to 12 or 13 years later. As with the slashers, the point of each succeeding picture is to showcase increasingly elaborate--often ludicrously elaborate--killings. As with the slashers, no matter what happens, Jennings always seems to come back for another round (Findlay amusingly invokes old serials in the next picture). The long stretches of nudity are standard-issue in this particular milieu. They're shot from Jennings' p.o.v., which makes his sickness seem even more profound, because his only thought, on seeing all that flesh, is to want to snuff it out.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Can't wait to see the sequels. I did think this had more potential than what's actually delivered, so I hope the others pick it up a notch. There's really a good (and probably somewhat personal for the director) idea in here. The misery and heartbreak of being betrayed by someone you love really does take you right to the edge where you start having really unhealthy thoughts. Only Jennings actually goes OVER that edge past the revenge 'fantasy' into 'reality.'

Delta said...

IMDB currently lists the Angelique who plays the role of Claudia Jennings as being Angelique Pettyjohn. I find that questionable. Is that listing accurate?

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Nope, it's NOT Angelique Pettyjohn. The two actresses don't even look alike.

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