Three On A Meathook is no great shakes, but fans of the lo-fi ambiance of American independent exploitation of the early 70's should check his out. The film suffers from some stiff performances, and there's some pacing issues with two sequences in particular - when Billy goes to a bar in the city to cure his depression we have to sit through two (?) numbers by some awful crooning folk rock group; and a sequence in the latter half of the film where Billy and his girl endlessly walk through lyrical shots of meadows.
Director William Girdler is no Hitchcock, but thankfully he's no Andy Milligan either and at least Girdler knows how to frame a shot. Also, good use is made of the isolated farmhouse and its particularly sinister in the final act of the film. And while the film is not awash with the blood and carnage that the title promises, we do get the odd splash (albeit, subliminally) of some Hershall Gordon Lewis style gore. Girdler went to direct a handful of well known exploitation films throughout the 70's - Asylum of Satan (1972), Abby (1974), Sheba, Baby (1975), Grizzly (1976) and Day of the Animals (1977), before he was killed in a helicopter accident in the Philippines.
Three on a Meathook arrived almost two years beforeThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and one wonders would Girdler have made a better film had he modeled it on Tobe Hooper's film rather than Psycho. Furthermore, when the plot strands finally tie together in the final act, the film ultimately develops an interesting kinship with Pete Walker's 1974 film Frightmare.
Three on three meathooks actually...
There is a US DVD currently available but I hear the quality is quite poor. Perhaps, a better release will surface one day courtesy of Dark Sky or Code Red. Certainly the film is no better or worse than other obscure films of that era that have arrived on DVD with bells n' whistle special editions.