Weasels Rip My Flesh (1979)

Among the moldy cardboard and layers of dust in the back corner of your attic lies a box of mysterious old Super 8 reels, all shot way before you were born and all begging to be spooled up again. Let’s see — cousin Gary’s baby shower, family Christmas ‘69, trip to Wisconsin in ‘71 — wait! What is Weasels Rip My Flesh?!

Nathan Schiff’s Weasels Rip My Flesh is the greatest home movie ever made. Weasels is a feature length gore film, completely shot on Super 8 by Schiff (Long Island Cannibal Massacre) and his high school friends on Long Island for $500. It’s also a glorious piece of non-film, with all the requisites you’ve come to expect from trash movies, only hidden beneath the skill set of a home movie enthusiast.

The plot of this film isn’t important. For interest’s sake, it concerns some radioactive waste, a couple of giant weasel monsters, a mad scientist (sporting a blue windbreaker and huge mustache), and some very macho police officers. Naturally, things are pretty vague in the story department, but that’s not an issue. The non-stop barrage of strangeness kept me glued to the screen. The endless gore effects are of the cheapest variety — chicken innards, strawberry jelly, egg yolk, homemade fake blood, cotton balls, etc. — but appear effective in a surreal kind of way. Acting is totally nonexistent and almost every male appearing in the film sports a gigantic mustache and aviator sunglasses. The weasel monsters themselves look like deformed elephants that are also brown. On top of all that, Schiff is obviously a “realist” in the strictest sense — the camera sits in one spot while someone gets in their car and then drives away. The camera stays put. Boring? Certainly. But that’s what home movies are all about.

Weasels Rip My Flesh is a gift. This is what happens when a group of kids get together and decide to make a gore movie in their parents’ backyard. While it’s better than any home movie my family ever shot, it’s still a home movie, and therein lies the charm.

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