The Kiss of Her Flesh (1968) The Kiss of Her Flesh (1968) -***½

     No one would ever characterize The Touch of Her Flesh or The Curse of Her Flesh as family entertainment, but when they made those movies, Michael and Roberta Findlay were just warming up. With The Kiss of Her Flesh, we’ve finally hit the no-two-ways-about-it mother lode of sleaze. This final installment unquestionably marked the culmination of the “Her Flesh” trilogy, and might plausibly be seen as the culmination of the Findlays’ careers as filmmakers up to that time as well.

     A pretty, Hispanic-looking woman strolls alone down a beach in the dead of winter. Unbeknownst to her, she’s being stalked at a distance by a man in a ski mask armed with a cruciform tire iron. After clubbing his quarry with the iron, the masked man takes her back to his place, where he strips her to her underwear and ties her to the sideboard in his kitchen. You guessed it— the man in the mask is none other than Richard Jennings, woman-hater extraordinaire (Michael Findlay), and the Latino babe is the latest in his long line of anonymous victims. She recovers from the blow to her head to find Jennings seated at his table, eating a large lobster. When he notices that his captive is awake, Jennings puts aside his dinner and goes to work— or rather, he puts aside most of his dinner. As it happens, it occurs to Jennings that the lobster’s remaining claw has considerable potential as a makeshift instrument of torture. Eventually, however, he gets tired of working her over with the lobster claw (now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d write...), and moves on to a sharp pair of salad tongs. Finally, he hooks the girl’s earrings up to what looks like the power supply to a model train set and electrocutes her. Wow.

     Cut then to a man and a woman in bed together. These two are called Don (The Ultimate Degenerate’s Leo Heinz) and Maria (Uta Erickson, from The Sex Killer and Daughters of Lesbos, billing herself here as Dyana Alicia), but it’ll be a good long while before we have any clue who they really are or what they might have to do with Richard Jennings. For now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the sight of the series’s first male nudity, its first full-frontal female nudity, and the utterly unexpected employment of a long string of anal beads. Maria has just finished telling Don that she learned that trick with the beads “from a mad monk— only he used a rope with knots tied in it” when the telephone rings in the next room. On the other end of the line is Maria’s sister, Doris (Alice Noland, of The Amazing Transplant and The Three Sexateers), who is distraught because her best friend in the world has just been found dead— apparently tortured to death by a psychopath. Suddenly it all comes clear, yes? Remarkably, Maria instantly suspects Richard Jennings as the culprit, and she takes advantage of Don’s ignorance of the killer’s criminal career to launch off on a brief voiceover-and-stock-footage recap of the preceding two films. Maria then resolves to go to the little New England town where Doris lives, so that she can lay a trap for Jennings and kill him herself.

     Doris turns out to be a lesbian. She lives with her girlfriend, Mona (Janet Banzet, from Venus in Furs and A Thousand Pleasures), but the relationship doesn’t quite bring her satisfaction; the only woman who really knows how to push Doris’s buttons is big sister Maria. Sweet Monkey Jesus!!!! Surely the Findlays don't mean to... Oh, yes they do. Doris leads Maria up to the guest bedroom, where she takes advantage of the fact that Mona is sleeping off an illness elsewhere in the house to get some of the hot sister lovin’ she craves. Excuse me for a moment while I go boil my visual cortex in ammonia...

     Maria leaves to return to her motel room and think about how to catch Jennings just as the town doctor arrives to have a look at Mona. Is there a man or woman among you who is going to be surprised to see that the doctor is really Jennings himself? Or that his “examination” of Mona rapidly takes a turn for the frankly sexual? I didn’t think so. And while Jennings is in Mona’s bedroom, pawing and licking and licking and pawing, Doris is out in the hallway, spying on them through a hilariously enormous peephole and masturbating furiously. Jennings finishes with Mona and prescribes a medicated douche that will “stop her from being sore down there” (wait— what was Mona supposed to be sick with again?), and then heads out into the hall, where he encounters Doris. Doris tells him what she saw through the peephole, and complains to him that masturbation has never really been able to do the trick for her. This leads inevitably to another sex scene, as Jennings awkwardly manhandles Doris in front of the living room fireplace. Jennings forces her to go down on him (I don’t know what the hell that thing is that Alice Noland is sucking, but it sure isn’t Mike Findlay’s wang!), and then something absolutely astounding happens. No sooner has Doris brought Jennings to orgasm than she keels over and dies on the spot. On his way out the door, Jennings delivers a line of dialogue that will stick with you for all the rest of your days: “My poison semen should take care of you well enough! So long, sucker!” Right about then, Mona is also discovering that the douche her “doctor” gave her is really a powerful acid.

     Needless to say, Maria is mighty pissed when she drops in to see her sister again, and discovers the two dead bodies. She places a call to Don back in New York, tells him she’s found Jennings, and summons him to her aid. A day or two later, she pays a visit to the doctor’s office for a showdown that proves just how perfectly matched a pair of antagonists she and Jennings really are.

     I had no idea anybody was making movies this scummy as early as 1968— to think this came out only a matter of months after the comparatively demure The Curse of Her Flesh! I mean, really— anal beads, shellfish torture, lesbian incest, and toxic jizz all in one film?!?! Plus a vigilante heroine who turns out to be every bit as depraved as the nominal bad guy? And to top it all off, The Kiss of Her Flesh follows its predecessors in setting this feast of filth against a dissonant background of lunatic writing, in-name-only acting, and often brilliant cinematography. It’s hardly surprising that the movie ends with a title card proclaiming, “Positively the end of Richard Jennings;” there really was nowhere left to go from here.



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