After reading about Michael and Roberta Findlay's "Flesh" trilogy for years (in mostly glowing terms), I was eagerly anticipating this Something Weird triple-bill DVD. I am sad to report that, with the exception of the Monster A-Go-Go/Psyched by the 4D Witch double set, this is the most boring and overrated release from SW that I've yet encountered. If you're expecting the wit and style of Satan in High Heels; the crackling energy and imagination of Confessions of a Psycho Cat; the kooky, non-sequitur weirdness of Another Day, Another Man; the moody photography and creepy shocks of The Defilers; or the high-camp hilarity of Scum of the Earth, Olga's House of Shame, Horrors of Spider Island, Curious Dr. Humpp, and other jaw-dropping SW classics, forget it. The first two movies here, Touch of Her Flesh and Curse of Her Flesh, are uniformly pretty drab, while the third, Kiss of Her Flesh, is only marginally better. Overall, the films are on about the technical level of The Creeping Terror or Beast of Yucca Flats, but lacking either's charm or bellylaughs. The homemade credits that open each film should give you a clue as to what to expect (one isolated clever touch is that Curse's credits are scrawled on the walls of a toilet stall, alongside such graffiti as "Whatever happened to Gigi Darlene" and "Lem eats blue film").
Touch of Her Flesh sets up the plot of the series: New York businessman Richard Jennings (director Michael Findlay) chances to see his wife with another man (in the Biblical sense), runs into the street, is hit by a car, and is transformed into degenerate, wheelchair-bound, eyepatch-wearing, misogynist avenger Stanley Blender. He's bent on killing his wife, her lover(s), and any other female of questionable morality, utilizing bizarre and depraved methods (e.g., electrocution, decapitation, poisoned semen) and a variety of unconvincing disguises. Unfortunately, Touch and Curse are VERY slow moving (even at under 80 minutes each), and padded with seemingly interminable softcore petting scenes, grindhouse strip acts and topless dancers, etc. There is only enough plot and action in each movie to sustain a half-hour TV drama, and the psycho-killer `narrative' seems almost a framing device for the nudie and burlesque inserts. The photography is pretty good and there is some nice, grimey 42nd Street atmosphere captured, but there is little or no live sound, the editing is haphazard, the acting atrocious, and the direction flat. When the plot actually kicks in every so often, the "action" is awkward and tentative, reminding me of nothing so much as a poorly-executed student film. There is sporadic narration and offscreen dialogue (similar to a Doris Wishman movie but not as funny), and occasional passages with sync sound. The soundtracks consist of stock classical, twangy sax-rock, and native drumming cues, and a loungey pop croon ("The Right Kind of Lovin"). Ed Wood never made a movie this bad (or dull).
Kiss of Her Flesh actually has more plot, action, kinky weirdness, nudity (full frontal), and better editing than Touch or Curse, but still drags pretty badly. Jennings/Stanley torments one victim with a fork and lobster claw (!?!), there is some icky (implied) S&M and incest, more novel murder techniques, and director Findlay appears in one of the softcore scenes, mercifully keeping his clothes on. There are some unintentional "product placement" shots of a Bernz-O-Matic propane torch (used to mutilate/kill one victim, of course) and a Lancer's Vin Rose wine bottle. While `Kiss' is a bit more watchable than Touch or Curse, it suffers from all of the same flaws (infrequent live sound; awkward, "cheater" murder sequences; dull, repetitive nudie inserts; terrible acting; etc.)
Print quality of the three features is surprisingly good overall, with generally excellent tonal values and sharpness, only minor speckling/blemishing, and a few splices. The extras (trailers, stills) mentioned above are nowhere to be found, so there's no other reason to buy this than the movies themselves. Bottom line: even as a huge fan of no-budget B&W 50s/60s trash filmmaking, I found these more in the "tiresome" category than "so bad it's hilarious." You have to wade through a lot of boring, amateurish nudie footage for a few lines of campy dialogue and very ineptly handled murder sequences. Since very little actually happens, there's only a sprinkling of unintentional laughs throughout, and none of the three movies are nearly as gruesome or stylish as their reputations (the brief "cheater" gore episodes happen mostly offscreen). With little plot, convincing action, humor, or talent on display, and an underlying hateful, misogynistic tone, there isn't much to recommend here. This set may hold historical interest for Adults Only fans and gorehound completists as early examples of the roughie and stalker/slasher genres, but I can't imagine wanting to sit through multiple viewings; maybe Kiss of Her Flesh, but certainly not the other two. I would recommend purchase of any of the movies mentioned at the beginning of this review instead of this very disappointing disc. One star rating for Touch of Her Flesh and Curse of Her Flesh; two stars for Kiss of Her Flesh; three stars for the DVD package (nice transfers but no extras!). Note to Something Weird: when do we get to see some more good stuff like She Mob, Spiked Heels and Black Nylons, Sin in the Suburbs, Moonlighting Wives, Ride the Wild Pink Horse, Living Venus, Suburban Roulette, The Lonely Sex, Smell of Honey Taste of Brine, and the rest of the Joe Sarno and H. G. Lewis catalogs on DVD? I'm waiting very impatiently.