U.K.-based American International film. Multiple storylines include: serial killings of young women, cop on the trail Superintendent Bellaver (Alfred Marks), officers Griffin (Julian Holloway) and Helen (Judy Bloom), forensic technician Dr. Sorel (Christopher Matthews), evil guys Konratz (Marshall Jones) and Dr. Browning (Vincent Price), and a jogger in hospital who’s slowly losing his limbs. Eventually they all sort of come together to reveal Browning’s plot to make synthetic people out of used body parts.
It’s early in the decade, but already the thumping bass and swelling trumpets of the ’70s are rampant. This one even has a theme song by The Amen Corner. But aside from the cheesy music, my main complaints are about the overly large cast (even wedging in Russian spies) and the chase scene: English police officers don’t carry guns, so to catch the killer there’s a merry car chase, then a foot chase, then he’s on foot and they’re in cars. The whole thing is very drawn out and short on suspense.
But there are also things to like, for example cameos by Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. It’s an interesting look at the changing face of technology. It’s also quite amusing to watch on VHS; there’s handy trivia on the box (like how critics at the time often remarked that the character Keith [Michael Gothard] looked like Mick Jagger), and the closed captions don’t work very well—people “urgle” rather than gurgle. Though it’s often corny, there are a few effective moments, mostly involving the poor jogger, who keeps waking up to find more and more of himself missing. The only person he sees makes no reply to his plaintive statement, “Nurse, what are they doing to me?” She sticks a tube in his mouth and walks away.
Since it’s the ‘70s and the censors were loosening up, there are references to drugs, and also gratuitous tit shots, as well as an instance of a woman lasciviously caressing a gear shift. So check it out if you want something classic, droll, and the opposite of prudish.