Directors – Mikel Angel & Don Jones, Screenplay – Mikel Angel & Jim Evergreen, Producers – Micky Belski & Gary Williams, Photography – Don Jones & Austin McKinney, Music – Richard Hieronymous. Production Company – Desert Productions.
Erik Stern (Caleb/Lester), Jeremiah Bleecher (Russ McNulty), Kay Neer (Flo Leonard), Edward Rohm (Captain Donald Stark)
Police are at wit’s end unable to catch a killer who is slaughtering women. Behind the killings is Caleb, an ugly and socially maladroit gardener, who is taken over by the insane personality of his brother Lester who imagines himself as sexually irresistible and then goes out to kill the women he desires.
This is a splendidly lurid piece of schlock. It has been conceived in the wonderfully sensationalistic, melodramatic spirit of the way they used to make films in the 1970s and don’t seem to anymore – in everything from its B psycho-movie psychology to the acting to the direction – and fully manages to live up to it.
The Love Butcher would be nothing however without the amazingly demented performance from Erik Stern. Stern alternates between playing the ultimate geek in bald wig and Coke bottle glasses to a blonde stud who disguises himself and adopts accents. Watching Stern conduct conversations with his alter egos, which are variously represented by a mannequin and a pair of glasses and a set of overalls on a clothes rack or going nuts in front of the various women victims while raving about being an Adonis and a sex god and laughing maniacally proves irresistibly entertaining. Priceless piece of sample dialogue – “You’re going to make love to me, satiate me, fill me with nymphoid satisfaction”. This would have been a rather more forgettable film without Erik Stern.
The exact story of the films making would no doubt be a very fascinating one as it appears to have been started by Mikel Angel and completed by Don Jones with both being co-credited. Angel never went onto direct any other films but wrote several others, including genre efforts such as Psychic Killer (1975), Grotesque (1988), Evil Spirits (1990) and Demon Keeper (1994). Don Jones went onto to direct several other films, incluiding The Forest (1982), Lethal Pursuit (1988) and Molly and the Ghost (1991).