Love Me Deadly directed by Jacques Lacerte
When C. M. Eddy, Jr.’s infamous short story “The Loved Dead” first appeared in the April/May/June 1924 issue of Weird Tales magazine, with its necrophilic protagonist, it so shocked and scandalized readers that — or so it is told — sales of the beleaguered pulp magazine rose dramatically, thus rescuing it from financial failure. The better part of a century later, the subject of necrophilia is no less taboo and discomfiting. I have reviewed several films on various film sites that I have almost been embarrassed to admit having watched (such as The Worm Eaters, The Double-D Avenger and Please Don’t Eat My Mother, among many others), and I initially thought that the necrophilia horror film Love Me Deadly, from 1972, would surely be another. But no … to my great surprise, I can say proudly that I really did enjoy this tasteful, suspenseful and quite involving picture.
In the film, we meet an attractive blonde named Lindsay Finch (excellently portrayed by Mary Wilcox, in a role that would surely be a challenge for ANY actress). Lindsay’s unusual pastime consists of going to the funerals of middle-aged men — total strangers in her hometown of L.A. — so that she can gaze rapturously at them in their caskets and maybe even sneak a kiss on them on the sly. Via flashback, we discover that Lindsay, as a little girl, was extremely close with her now-deceased daddy, and infer that this must have something to do with her current, uh, taste in men. But complications enter Lindsay’s life as she simultaneously joins a necrophilic club of sorts (a bunch of REAL deadheads!) that operates out of a nearby mortuary, AND falls in love with and marries a man named Alex (hunky dude Lyle Waggoner, whom many may recall from his extensive TV work in the 1970s), who is perfect in every way except for the fact that he is, well, still breathing…
Love Me Deadly is a genuine horror film, not just because of its distasteful subject matter, but because something horrible happens to practically every major character in it. Though fairly restrained, it DOES feature several shocking bursts of violence; the first, in which the owner of that mortuary lures a “midnight cowboy” to his doom via a little instantaneous embalming, is kinda hard to watch (I. William Quinn, as the screaming hustler, is outstanding here, and frighteningly convincing). Some may dock the film some points for pushing credulity to the breaking point as regards Alex’ beyond-human patience with his frigid wife, but this viewer had no problems there. The film becomes extremely suspenseful as Alex grows suspicious of Lindsay’s increasingly whacky behavior and gets closer to discovering her secret, and we are treated to a fairly devastating finale, as — again via flashback — we learn the shocking truth about Lindsay’s past.
Writer/director Jacques Lacerte turns in a highly professional bit of work here — this is not at all a shoddy B picture — and composer Phil Moody’s background music is just superb. Indeed, his “Love Me Deadly” theme song, as sung by Kit Fuller, could almost be the theme for a Bond movie! All this, and a happy ending, too, of sorts, for poor Lindsay, although how long that happiness will endure is anybody’s guess. One more thing: The great-looking DVD from Media Blasters that I just watched features coming attractions for nine other remarkable-looking “psychotronic” films. The picture entitled Shadow: Dead Riot — a women’s prison/zombie mashup flick — looks just unbelievable!