Case Number 04108: Small Claims Court


Image Entertainment // 1979 // 64 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 18th, 2004

The Charge

I'm going to get my friends and cousins together to make a horror movie!!! Right, mom, after I do my homework, okay...

The Case

Plot: A NASA shuttle that looks like an old camera tripod collects some goop that looks like egg yolks from Venus then, on the way back, crashes into an ocean that looks like a pond and its radioactive contents end up all over a weasel that looks like a deformed teddy bear. Two cops that look like high school kids stumble upon a secret lab that looks like one of the cop's mom's basement and do battle with a mad scientist that looks like another high school kid who has lots of high-tech equipment that look like bicycle lights and footballs covered in aluminum foil while fending off a mutant weasel that looks like a high school kid with lots of paper maché on his head. That's all you need to know.

I hate reviewing discs like these.

How do I approach this movie? First by confessing it's not really a "movie" in the sense of the word most of us are used to. It's film with moving pictures, sure, but Weasels Rip my Flesh is as much a "film" as the countless number of shenanigans most of us videotaped with our friends back in the day is high art. The only difference is, apparently writer/producer/director/special-effects guy Nathan Schiff knows enough people to have his crappy home movies released on DVD.

Look, if this movie were to be judged against other homemade junk, it would probably get a nice chuckle, at least for some of the creative effects. Even the word "creative" here needs to be looked at in perspective; basically, it's creative for a high school kid. But as a disc fighting for your hard-earned dollar, I couldn't possibly tell you that chopping up your money and spreading it over the Pacific wasn't a better way to unload twenty bucks.

Weasels Rip my Flesh is all about semantics. The movie is creative and goofy for a movie made by a teenager and his goofball friends with an archaic 8mm camera. The gore effects are okay for supermarket meat, spaghetti, and fruit. But I find it hard to believe half of you out there don't have homemade movies that are just as creative and funny, and, most likely, more so! The film quality is atrocious and the "score" is relentless elevator music. Some scenes are nigh indiscernible, and random occurrences seem to just happen illogically. Like the beginning, for example. What in the-?!

Maybe this is jealousy bubbling up. Perhaps I'm envious of Schiff for finding the resources to subject the world to his movies, and my rudimentary Gumby and Batman epics are still languishing on videotape somewhere long forgotten. For that, I'll give him credit.

But to enjoy a movie like Weasels Rip my Flesh and the subsequent They Don't Cut The Grass Anymore, one needs to exist on an alternate viewing plane, looking at these movies as...well, I'm not sure how you would look at these. Just don't go in expecting anything other than your film project for English class with lots of fake blood.

Now, if you're a huge Nathan Schiff fan, you want this disc. There is more about Schiff here than A&E Biography could ever dig up. You get a 30-minute interview where he analyzes his childhood, a pair of cast (?!) interviews from John Smihula and Fred Borges (i.e. a couple of middle-aged guys sitting in their backyards talking about some stupid movies they were in as teenagers), and a bevy of "shorts." These shorts are Schiff's collection of home movies. Intrigued yet?

Then there's Schiff's commentary. Believe it or not, his track isn't an endless stream of "This part sucks," and "This is really stupid," and "I can't believe how sucky this is." No, he takes his commentary seriously, as if Weasels Rip my Flesh were a serious movie. How do you do that, when a hand puppet represents the antagonist, or to simulate a rocket taking off, the camera pulls away from a desk lamp? To be fair, he does offer some self-deprecating remarks (particularly his lament that the popularity he achieved in school through this film came at the end of the year and he was unable to fully enjoy it), but not nearly enough for me to think he hasn't spent the last twenty or so years in a parallel dimension where no-budget filmmakers such as he are elevated to the level of social illuminati.

Let me lay it out: If you enjoy mocking homemade movies with ludicrous acting and effects, you will be in a perverse sort of heaven with Weasels Rip my Flesh. If not, you will be in a perfect hell.

Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 40

Perp Profile
Studio: Image Entertainment
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

* None

Running Time: 64 Minutes
Release Year: 1979
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Director's Commentary
* Interview with Nathan Schiff
* Interview with Cast Members
* Film Shorts
* Trailers
* Still Gallery

* None