There is no doubt that the death of a loved one and/or a family member can irreparably break someone. I know I have a family member who lost their brother in a car accident when they were a teenager that was so horrific that he had to have a closed casket funeral and this person seems to have never recovered from this tragedy and I say that as a person who was not even born when the tragic event took place. Needless to say, a film that attempts to make a connection between necrophiliac tendencies and the loss of a loved one during childhood is probably in poor taste, if not downright sick and disgusting, yet such a superlatively sleazy and mean-spirited cinematic work does exist. Indeed, the crypto-exploitation flick (I use ‘crypto’ because it seems that the makers were trying to peddle this as a serious film and not as the exploitation trash that it is) Love Me Deadly (1973) aka Secrets of the Death Room directed by the seemingly pseudonymous trash auteur ‘Jacques Lacerte’ (which literally translates as ‘Jack the Certain’) is such a wretched no-class work and on top of being about a young dumb blonde dingbat with fake tits who has a thing for dead dudes that resemble her dead daddy, the film is done in an ostensibly serious soap opera style and seems to target women with daddy issues in a manner not unlike Jonas Middleton’s Lewish Carroll-esque hardcore arthouse horror fuck flick Through the Looking Glass (1976), albeit in a much more hokey and horribly kitschy fashion. Now, as a longtime fan of such cinematic corpse-fucking classics as arthouse-splatter flicks like Jörg Buttgereit’s NEKRomantik (1987) and NEKRomantik 2 (1991) and Nacho Cerdà's Aftermath (1994), the darkly comedic postmortem-penetrating of Dominique Deruddere's Bukowskian arthouse epic Crazy Love (1987) and Michele Soavi's refreshingly ultra-cynical flesh-eater flick Dellamorte Dellamore (1994) aka Cemetery Man, the obscure Dutch horror flick Necrophobia (1995) co-directed by Frank van Geloven and Edwin Visserand, and even tasteless Euro-sleaze trash like Marijan David Vajda's Mosquito der Schänder (1977) aka Mosquito the Rapist and Joe D'Amato’s Beyond the Darkness (1979) aka Buio Omega, I'm no prude and enjoy a good necrophile flick from time to time but a sappy and pseudo-melodramatic cinematic soap that is about as charming is an old fart's cancer-ridden scrotum about cadaver-copulating that was meant to appeal to fans of Dallas and Dynasty about a rather reclusive yet opulent pill-popping uptight bitch and walking-and-talking Barbie doll suffering from a nasty Electra complex set to the unintentionally unsettling über-upbeat retrograde sounds of an original musical by a no-name hack composer like Phil Moody (not to be confused with the one-time member of the rather revolting Brit shit anarcho-pop band Chumbawamba) is just too much aesthetic insipidity for one mensch to take. Indeed, while NEKRomantik 2 is a truly, if not admittedly rather idiosyncratically, romantic film for cinephiles who have read too much poetry by Gottfried Benn and other offbeat romantics, Love Me Deadly is about as romantic as a winter funeral for a prematurely born infant, as a sort of Valley of the Dolls (1967) of necrophile flicks, at least in terms of its grating melodramatic phoniness and obscenely unsympathetic lead, that make the viewer wonder how and why such an inexplicable celluloid abortion was ever so unceremoniously misbegotten on the world. Created by people who paid prostitutes and homo hustlers $50 a pop to do nude scenes and illegally shot around gay XXX theaters, Love Me Deadly is the sort of film that I seriously believe was created by psychopaths and parasites who do not even have a genuine thirst for the forbidden pleasures of the deceased.
Seemingly all-American girl Lindsay Finch (played by Mary Charlotte Wilcox, who not surprisingly appeared in small roles in horrid soap operas like Days of Our Lives and the occasional celluloid horror crud like Eddie Romero’s 1971 miscarriage of a movie Beast of the Yellow Night) is a tall blonde North American Nordic beauty with a fancy white Mercedes, breast implants (apparently, the actress' husband was a plastic surgeon), and a bad Benzodiazepine addiction who is so independently wealthy that she need not work and even has a slavish Irish maid, yet she does not ‘la dolce vita’ because she has serious mental and sexual hang-ups as a result of witnessing her beloved father’s tragic death when she was just a little girl. Since she does not have to work or do anything else, Lindsay spends all her time dressing up for funerals and visiting her father’s grave. While she could have pretty much any man in Los Angeles, Lindsay prefers freshly embalmed middle-aged male corpses that resemble her daddy dearest. Instead of looking through the love classifieds, Lindsay looks through the obituaries in the local newspapers and attends funerals for dead dudes that seem to match her passed papa’s profile where she waits until the funeral service is over to swap fluids with the corpse. When she is not making out with random postmortem men, Lindsay visits her father’s grave and literally dances on it, nostalgically daydreams about playing with her father as a child, and denies the mildly aggressive advances of handsome young bachelors, including a blonde stud and born lady’s man named Wade Farrow (Christopher Stone of The Howling (1981) and Cujo (1983)), who has his face violently clawed like a cat when he tries to shares carnal knowledge with the posh and prissy crypto-necro debutante, as she is a compulsive cocktease who lures men in, only to leave them cold when things get hot and heavy. While calling her a “bitch” and storming out of her house after being so rudely clawed, Wade does not give up on attempting to bone the rich bitch, as his ego thrives on such a forbidden conquest. Unfortunately for him, Wade's obsessive campaign to get in Lindsay's panties will ultimately cost him his life, as his loony object of desire ends up getting involved with a coven of killer necrophiliac satanists and they don't like rampantly heteronormative men stalking around their mortuary.
Ultimately, Lindsay's life of meta-lurid loneliness changes dramatically when she is approached by a sexually morbid mortician named Fred McSweeney (Timothy Scott, who appeared in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and Terrence Malick’s 1978 pastoral classic Days of Heaven) who has been spying on her and monitoring her dubious behavior at funeral processions for some time and he decides to confront her after one of the services and attempts to coerce her into joining his satanic necrophilic cult, stating of his cadaver-humping comrades, “they’re quite normal people, just with different passions. Our drives and needs aren’t understood by many people, so we have to keep them secret. You’re not alone. In our group we have several members who…who participate…who enjoy together.” Among other things, Fred enjoys cruising for cock-peddlers in the more seedy sides of town and bringing them back to his mortuary (which he tells his victims is a veterinarian hospital) where he embalms them while they are still alive (in a rare moment of comic relief, a homo hustler named ‘Billy-Jo’ screams, “You’re not gay. He’s not gay! You’re a maniac!,” after realizing he is about to die a painful death after being strapped to an embalming table). Luckily, for Lindsay, Fred can procure any corpse she might fancy, but her upper-class uptightness and sexual frigidness (Lindsay will only kiss corpses, not copulate with them) prevents her from initially joining the corpse-fucking convent. After Lindsay makes a failed attempt to join the cult that ends with her running away screaming from Fred’s mortuary after she sees the satanic necros ritualistically standing around an unclad corpse in would-be-ominous The Process Church of the Final Judgment-esque hooded cloaks, she decides to attempt to start a normal relationship with Wade, but it does not last long after she meets a wealthy tall, dark, and handsome art gallery owner named Alex Martin (Lyle Waggoner of Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter fame) whose brother’s funeral she attended. Naturally, since he resembles her dead father, Lindsay develops an instant crush on Alex and even spies on him with binoculars, but she is initially too scared to accept his advances. When she does get the gall to date Alex, she and he seem to be genuinely in love, but her necrophiliac tendencies do not die and she ends up going back to Fred’s mortuary where she accidentally gets her pal Wade killed via ritualistic necro-murder after he sees her driving down the road and decides to follow her to the building. Indeed, Lindsay is a sort of unwitting femme fatale, as virtually every man in her life ends up dying a grizzly death, so it is almost understandable that she is unhinged enough to bed the dead.
To block out the memory of Wade’s gruesome death and ostensibly live a life of domestic normalcy as a housewife, Lindsay accepts Alex's hand in marriage after he proposes to her even though she is completely incapable of loving him and refuses to have sex with him. Needless to say, Alex is quite agitated with the fact that his wife, who he spends tons of money on, will not let him have sex with her, so he decides to spy on her to see if she is cheating on him and ultimately follows her to Fred's mortuary, but when he later attempts to ask Lindsay about what she was doing, she acts completely evasive and attempts to ply him with a new golf bag that she has bought. Upon talking to Lindsay's Irish maid Ms. Pritchard Fischer (Dassa Cates), Alex learns that his lady love has never had a single normal relationship in her entire life and ever since her father died when she was a little girl, she has religiously visited his grave every other day. Upon learning where daddy Finch is buried, Alex takes a drive to the cemetery and finds his wife dancing around her father’s grave and singing children’s nursery rhymes in a jubilant fashion as if she has the intelligence and self-consciousness of an autistic 4-year-old. Needless to say, Lindsay is horrified when her husband sees her acting like a childish buffoon, so she runs away whilst hysterically screaming “This is not your place, go away!”, gets in her Mercedes and drives away in an erratic fashion. When Lindsay later finally agrees to talk to her husband, she calls her maid Pritchard a “prattling old bitch” and forces her husband to fire the old prole even though she has been working for the family for a number of decades. When a postal worker comes by with a certified envelope for Lindsay, Alex signs for it and opens the letter which reveals that Lindsay has been invited to come to the mortuary that night at 10pm by Fred. Instead of sleeping over at his mother’s house that night as he originally intended, Alex decides to leave early so he can follow Lindsay to the mortuary to see what she's up to. Needless to say, Alex is quite shocked when he walks in on his unclad wife mounting a cold cadaver while in the company of a coven of naked longhaired hippie satanist degenerates and just after he cries “Oh, God!,” Fred stabs him in the stomach and kills him. Now in a borderline comatose state due to her shock over Alex's brutal death, Lindsay remembers a repressed memory of how she killed her father when she was a little girl after she picked up his antique gun and accidentally shot him with it, hence her necrophiliac tendencies. Doubly guilty that she also unwittingly caused the death of the man she married, Lindsay takes out her seething rage and anguish on Fred, who she brutally bludgeons to death with a small statue after he thoughtfully prepares Alex’s corpse so that she can copulate with it. In the end, Lindsay gets in bed with and assumedly has sex with her husband for the first time, though I doubt the sex is good because trying to insert a cold and limp corpse cock into a vagina is probably like attempting to shove a marshmallow into a keyhole.
Notably, the Code Red DVD release of Love Me Deadly features an audio commentary track with the film’s producer and production manager Buck Edwards, who seems like a super sleazy scumbag but he also reveals a lot about the production. On top of mockingly muttering, “I’ve gotta think of my daddy now because I’m upset. Ohhhh, think of my daddy. My daddy understood, my daddy knew me,” like a deranged toddler during a scene where the protagonist is grieving over her dead daddy even though he is an elderly old man, Edwards attempts to blame the director Jacques Lacerte’s admittedly inept direction, as well as Gerard Damiano’s porn chic classic Deep Throat (1972), which apparently premiered in theaters the same day as Love Me Deadly, for the abject commercial and critical failure of the film, as if the necrophilic melodrama ever had a chance of ever becoming a success in the first place. Edwards also brags about the various dubious ways he saved money on the production, including making a donation to Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan so that some of its members would appear as extras during the funeral scene at the very beginning of the film (interestingly, Edwards, who appears in the film as one of coven members and even grabs lead actress Mary Charlotte Wilcox's unclad derriere at the end of the film, resembles a short and pudgy version of LaVey due to his similarly sleazy Semitic demeanor and devilish goatee), stealing shots in front of a XXX fag fuck theater, paying young male and female prostitutes $50 a pop to strip down for a satanic orgy scene, and conning a negress front-door attendant, who briefly appears in the film, at a real-life black mortuary into allowing him to film a scene there while an actual funeral was going on. Undoubtedly, after listening to the quite ‘insightful’ audio commentary, I have to say that the the film's production history and producer Edwards, who seems to be the real ‘auteur’ of the film (Lacerte was a high school theater teacher with no previous film directing experience who more or less worked on the production as a hired hack, hence the film's incessant use of banal medium shots), seem to be more creepy, evil, and revolting than all the satanic sexual rituals and necrophilia featured in Love Me Deadly.
Aside from Edwards, H. B. Halicki—the Polish-American stuntman who wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the original 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds (which Hebraic hack producer Jerry Bruckheimer later produced a singularly horrendous big budget remake of in 2000 starring Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie) and died while shooting a stunt during the aborted 1989 sequel Gone in 60 Seconds 2—acted as an associate producer for Love Me Deadly, though it seems his only involvement in the film was putting money up for it. Sort of like Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie (1964) meets Buttgereit’s NEKRomantik 2 meets the bizarre ‘blood horror’ exploitation flick The Black Room (1983) co-directed by Norman Thaddeus Vane and Elly Kenner with a tinge of Nunnally Johnson's The Three Faces of Eve (1957) and Lynne Stopkewich's Kissed (1996), albeit not even marginally as interesting as it sounds, Love Me Deadly is excellent evidence of the cheap and pathetic parasitic lows that exploitation hacks were willing to go to during the 1970s to make a quick buck and thus makes for a vaguely entertaining lowbrow celluloid affair as a result. Of course, as Buttgereit’s oeuvre readily demonstrates, when it comes to celluloid corpse-fucking art, a labor of love will always beat Semite-produced exploitation swill when it comes to creating a truly remarkable and aesthetically pleasing piece of cinematic necrophilia. Indeed, Love Me Deadly is hardly a work that demonstrates any sort of respect for the living, let alone the dead.