By Steve D. Stones
Just about every horror film from the early to mid-1970s claimed to be influenced by the true life crimes of serial killer Ed Gein. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the most effective and famous of the group. Three On A Meat Hook also claims to be inspired by the Ed Gein crimes. The acting is wooden, at best, but the film is still an interesting example of early 70s drive-in schlock.
The plot of Three On A Meat Hook was likely found printed on the back of a bubble gum wrapper. A group of college girls takes a trip to a local lake to skinny dip and enjoy the sun. A young man watches the girls from a distance in his boat. He and his father live on a farm near the lake. The girls leave the lake late at night when their car breaks down. The young man comes to their aid and offers the girls shelter at his farmhouse until the morning. The girls agree, and spend the night at the farmhouse.
The young man’s father of course does not approve of him bringing the girls to the farmhouse because he does not want his son to experience sex and attraction to girls. Their relationship is similar to Norman Bates and his mother in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film – Psycho, although in Bates’ case, his mother was dead and still controlling him. The father is a complete control freak, and monitors his son’s every move.
Soon, we see the girls murdered one by one in the farmhouse that night. One girl is stabbed to death in a bathtub, and two others are shot in the stomach. A fourth girl is decapitated with an ax. The film is careful not to reveal the identity of the killer, but tries to suggest that the young man is the culprit because he feels guilty about the murders and thinks he committed them.
The young man leaves the farm to drive into town to drown his guilt in alcohol at a bar. While there, he flirts with a cute waitress, then she takes him home to her apartment. The two fall in love, and return to the farmhouse. The young man’s father does not approve of his love for the waitress and attempts to kill her. The title aspect of the film is not revealed until the end when the waitress discovers three nude female bodies impaled on meat hooks in a barn.
Filmed in Louisville, Kentucky, Three On A Meat Hook is distributed on DVD by Grind Global Media as a double-feature with another early 70s grindhouse classic – Flesh Feast, starring Veronica Lake - in her last screen role. Three On A Meat Hook is at least somewhat watchable. Flesh Feast is so appalling that it is difficult to sit through its 70 minute running time. Watch them back to back. Happy Viewing!!!