Three on a Meathook (1972)

Three on a Meathook (1972)

“You know what happens when you get around women — and it can’t happen again!”

When a young man (James Carroll Pickett) living in the country brings home four stranded women, they are brutally murdered, and Billy (Pickett) is accused by his father (Charles Kissinger) of committing these acts. Heading out into town, Billy meets a kind waitress (Sherry Steiner) who brings a friend (Madelyn Buzzard) with her for a visit at Billy’s home the following weekend — but will the pair be safe with a murderer on the loose?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Father and Child
  • Horror Films

Loosely inspired by the Ed Gein murders, this grindhouse debut by low-budget director William Girdler — who died at age 30 in a helicopter crash over the Philippines after completing his final film, The Manitou (1978) — is thankfully a snoozy bore rather than a shockingly crude bloodfest (as one might imagine from the sensationalist title).

Given that Girdler was hugely inspired by Hitchcock (Psycho in particular), the killings are over mercifully quickly, with more emphasis placed on character and psychological motivations — though even that is in short supply. We know Kissinger is gaslighting his son into believing he murdered his own mother years ago, and that he can’t be trusted around any women:

… but we’re unsure what this will lead to for Billy. Instead, we simply watch him heading into town:

… listening to a band perform, meeting a nice girl (Steiner):

… and making inane small-talk while wandering around.

Eventually, of course, Steiner’s life will be put at risk — and when we learn that she’s bringing a friend (Buzzard) with her to Billy’s house, we know exactly what will happen.

At least Buzzard is given a moment in the spotlight, speaking directly to the camera about her deceased veteran-husband. At any rate, we eventually learn the film’s “big reveal” — nothing surprising, yet with an added twist — and all is wrapped up in a tidy horror-film bow. Fans of this type of fare know who they are, but this one certainly isn’t must-see for all film fanatics.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

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