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Love Me Deadly
Writer /Director Jacques Lacerte's notorious 1972 sickie, Love Me Deadly was so offensive when released, that the shock-waves are still felt today. Aw, who am I kidding? You've never heard of this movie, because it's really, really bad, and if you have encountered it, you were crouched next to the lowest shelf at Ye Olde Video Store and you still ignored it, because you could tell easily how violently you'd be squandering your hard-fought-for moments of life on Earth.
A promising start finds Lindsay Finch (Mary Wilcox) lustily fondling a string of pearls while sitting near the back of an open casket funeral. She demurs at viewing the corpse until the chapel is cleared, so she may more freely starting kissing up on the stiff, as a lilting theme-song starts to play, and the whole thing (as they say) goes to shit. You see, (and to save you the time of actually watching) when Lindsay was but a child, maybe 5 or 6 years old, she loved her dad like nobody's business. Alas, he died! He died! And in shocking manner, too, which means of course that ever after, Lindsay will only be able to achieve sexual satisfaction with corpses who look like dear old Dad. (I'm no psychologist, but this seems legit.)
As Love Me Deadly somewhat aimlessly meanders from plot-element to plot element, Lindsay meets two or three guys, among whom are a rapey creep, a dude with the 'In' to a sexually-oriented Satanic Corpse-sexing cult, and Lyle Waggoner. (Lyle must have been hitting the chardonnay pretty hard to take this role at the height of his Carol Burnett Show popularity, though luckily it didn't kill his career like it should have.) But wait, look out, Lyle! Because even though you're about to marry Lindsay, you look JUST LIKE HER DAD!
Despite the presence of numerous shocking genre elements, Love Me Deadly is nothing more than a cruddy feature-length episode of Love, American Style about necrophilia, without any of that show's snap or zing. Worse, the 'serious' parts of the script don't work properly at all. They're awkward, stilted, and at 180 degrees to the supposed tone of this 'horror movie', with dating-montage sequences underscored by cutesy scoring that sounds like it came from Kingston Trio instrumental outtakes. Put it this way, if you want your sleazy horror movie interspersed by images of happy couples eating at Benihana, or if you want your necrophilia presented as a teenager's Rom-Com acted by middle age adults, you've come to the right place. That is; THE WRONG PLACE.
Love Me Deadly soft-pedals its outrageous elements (and everything else) so egregiously that it sags limply, neither a taboo horror movie, nor a romance, nor a drama. Cute Mary Wilcox as Lindsay looks like a sexy chipmunk, but never accurately sells any part of her role as a corpse-loving lassie. A couple of minor horror sequences and some full-frontal nudity (two varieties) don't do nearly enough to make this movie anything other than an aggravating waste of time. Unless you like it that way. I don't judge. Rent It for some minor laughs.
Per the box, Love Me Deadly comes in a new 2k scan of the original camera negatives from the uncut version of the movie. (Lucky us! The cut version could probably air today on The Hillsong Channel.) The 1.78:1 ratio looks as good as possible, pointing out when good shots went into the can, as well as bad ones. Many close-ups reveal tons of detail: facial pores, drips of sweat, untrimmed hairs, etc. Other scenes, such as medium and long shots, outside at night (and some inside, for that matter) range at times from soft to straight-up out-of-focus. When the details are there, the movie looks great, and colors seem pretty naturalistic. There isn't much in the way of other mastering problems, it's just that the movie itself doesn't always look that great.
English DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio does similar work, presenting dialog clearly, cleanly, and without distortion. Tonality stays fairly well in the mid-range, although when Lindsay screams, the meters get close to the red! The awful, completely inappropriate score also sound good, without damage or hiss, though it is presented a little more up-front than need be.
Extras include the option to play the movie in Maria's B-Movie Mayhem Mode, in which the horror hostess provides a mildly amusing introduction and outro for the movie. A couple of Original Trailers for the movie, and Reversible Cover Art are included, as well as a straight-laced, kind-of slow, moderated Commentary Track with producer Buck Edwards.
Love Me Deadly soft-pedals its outrageous elements so egregiously that the movie sags like a feature-length episode of Love, American Style about necrophilia, failing at the horror elements, not to mention the romance and drama. Cute Mary Wilcox as Lindsay looks like a sexy chipmunk, but never accurately sells any part of her role as a corpse-loving lassie. My advice to her is to just have Waggoner jump in the freezer for a few minutes and not move during sex. Problem solved! Unfortunately, a couple of minor horror sequences and some full-frontal nudity (two varieties) don't do nearly enough to make this movie anything other than an aggravating waste of time. Unless you like it that way. I don't judge. Rent It for some minor laughs.
- Kurt Dahlke