Flesh, TX

January 4, 2011 at 4:48 am Leave a comment

Have you ever been watching late night television when one of those commercials for a 1-900 sex line comes on? With the invention of the internet, its a shock those things even still exist. Anyway, imagine if one of the girls from those commercials had her own feature length movie. That is Flesh, Tx.  Most of this movie focuses on a character named Sugar. Shocking that she would be the center of this movie considering she was also the writer and producer. No doubt that Sugar is a good looking girl. But she constantly acts like she is in heat. Every line of dialog is a double entendra. She grinds against anything, chews scenery, and has to constantly act sexy. Even in her death scene she dry humps the air.  She also acts incredibly shady. I know that was suppose to be her character, so I can’t blame the actress. But it’s the most paper thin of character. She’s sexy. She kills people. That’s about it.

Truely, Flesh, TX is populated with the finest actors craigslist could provide. Made for only $10,000, I am guessing most of that money went towards getting Joe Estavez to make a cameo. He does a pretty good job of playing a drunk in the bar who feeds exposition to the main character. The guy who played Pa/ the Sheriff seems to be drawing his inspiration from John Wayne and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Outside of those two, the acting isn’t very good.  It spans the range from uninspired hillbilly stereotypes to one note performances. I think they did the best they could with what they had. But there are more than a few times they could have done a second or third take. It’s not like they were shooting on film. Video is cheap. Get all the takes you need to get it right.

Of course, Sugar is a member of a hillbilly family of cannibals. The fake southern accents start to grind on the senses really quickly. The movie doesn’t really start until a half hour in. Before that we see a Mormon couple come to the hillbilly house and get killed. Way to denigrate a religious and ruin any element of surprise there may have been.  It was clearly a scene put in to take a pot shot at Mormons. The scene is not only pointless, it harms the scene that follows it. The next scene features Sugar seducing a dumb schmoe in a bar. If she wasn’t so acting so suspicious and we hadn’t just seen her kill two Mormon’s, this scene may have had some tension.  She brings the Schmoe home to her redneck family. Schmoe starts to think something is not right and tries to leave. This is conveyed only from his dialog because his acting conveys nothing. He is stone faced the whole time. He is easily the most wooden actor in the movie. It’s good he isn’t in it very long.You can tell within seconds they plan on eating him for dinner. They pretty much say so.  Then they finally kill him, ending this painfully long scene. What strikes me as funny is that his friend who rode with him into town didn’t do a thing to look for his murdered comrade. Personally, if I were on a motorcycle trip with a friend, then he disappeared, I’d at least try to look for him.

Creating and building tension is important in any form of storytelling. Particularly in horror movies. In Flesh, TX, they kill any and all tension.  Everything gets telegraphed. There is no tension here what so ever. If anything, they seem to go out of their way to kill any tension. The previously mentioned scenes are a good example. Without the Mormon scene, we may have some question as to what Sugar is up to when she invites Schmoe over for dinner. Without Sugar acting devious and slutty, there could have been some sexual tension between the two characters, increasing the interest of the audience. Without Schmoes wooden acting, there could have been sexual tension. As it stands now, Sugar is flirting with a tree. He is so stiff and awkward, the only possible interest she could have in him  would be to commit a robbery or murder. Without all of the double entendras in the dialog, we could question what the family is up to, thus making the moment when he gets killed more effective. The way it’s set up now, we know what is going to happen the second she walks into the bar.

Half hour in, our story starts. Donna and her daughter Tabathia are moving from somewhere to somewhere for some reason. Apparently, Donna is recently divorced and Tabathia resents her for it. The sad part is, the acting conveyed this point but they still decided to load this driving scene full of exposition which explains what we are seeing. They stop off for gas. Sugar sees Tabathia and tries to trick her into an abduction.  At first, Tabathia doesn’t trust her, as well she shouldn’t. Sugar was acting so obviously shady no one would trust her. But for some reason, Tabathia makes her mom go back to the gas station, making up that she has to go to the bathroom so she can hang out with Sugar. Obviously, she gets abducted. Donna calls the sheriff who turns out to be Pa. We saw him earlier in the movie so any tension or suspense there may have been is instantly killed. He has no interest in helping Donna find her child. In fact, he treats her like crap for wasting his time. We may have questioned the Sheriffs motives if we hadn’t already seen he is a cannibal.

I know they have to abduct Tabathia to get the story going, but I really question the wisdom of this move. Tabathia is a rather small girl. Sugar was praised earlier for her ability to lure in portly men. For a group of cannibals, fat men would have more value to them than a thin child. Yet they act like they hit the jackpot when Sugar abducts this kid. They talk about fattening her up for Sunday brunch. Let’s say this abduction took place on Monday. It’s not really clear according to the movie which day this took place. It takes a little more than 6 days to fatten someone up. While Tabathia is in their care, they feed her a diet of squirrel and Ritz crackers. Did they really think that was going to fatten up this child in time for Sunday? If Tabathia were obese, that might make some sense. But the way it plays out in the movie, there is no reason for them to want to take her. They don’t even have any sexual plans for her since the family only sleep with each other. Did I mention this is a classless movie?

So Donna pokes around, trying to find her daughter, picking up clues along the way that point to the obvious. Donna knows right away that Sugar took her child. She just has to prove it. Sheriff Pa threatens her every now and again, telling her to leave town. This continues until Drunken Joe Estavez tells Donna exactly what is going on. As much as I liked Joe’s part in this movie, he wasn’t really necessary. He just confirmed what she already knew. There is a great scene where the Sheriff shoots Joe for running his mouth. Is there anyone in this town who isn’t sympathetic to these cannibals? I understand he is the Sheriff and has a lot of power. According to the patch on his outfit, he is part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department. A humorous mistake. But still, someone in this town should have stood up to him by now. Maybe they just hope that the family won’t eat them. Hope isn’t much of a plan though.

Tabathia forms a friendship with Woody, one of the son’s of the redneck family. He helps her escape. There is another son whom they keep locked up. Sonny is his name. He is somewhat a Leather Face/Jason hybrid. Anyway, the movie leads up to Donna heading out to the farm where the family lives and finds Tabatha. Sugar attempts to stop them from leaving. This results in a poorly choreographed, poorly edited fight scene. They call each other bitch which leads Tabathia to ask what a bitch is. Donna and Sugar answer in tandem that it’s a female dog. Ah, another tension killer. Seconds before the climatic fight scene, they resort to comic relief. It completely clashes with the tone of the rest of the movie. Donna kills Sugar and leaves. But not before getting chased down by Sonny. So the real climax is a character we only barely seen before chasing down our characters. Then he gets run over, making that whole thing a completely waste of time with no tension what so ever. You can’t introduce a character in the third act of the movie and have the final showdown involve them. Maybe if Donna would have run over the Sheriff or squared off with him, that would have had some tension or consequences. Had they been killed by Sonny, it would have been a cheap ending that would have rendered the entire movie pointless. Sonny had no business being in this movie. He chases down a car then gets hit by the car.

Flesh, TX was just stupid. I can commend the film makers for making a complete movie on a budget of $10,000. I can also commend them for getting distribution. The problem with Flesh, Tx had nothing to do with the budget. It had to do with the script. The moments that kill dramatic tension are unforgivable. The writing is what ruined this movie beyond repair. There are some hilarious technical mistakes that are fun for bad movie fans. But its not bad enough that Flesh, Tx will be must seen material for bad movie fans. For casual viewers or horror fans, you will probably just be bored by this movie. However, if you feel up to it, it’s on you tube for free at the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3DKTpBXo88

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