Bloodthirsty Butchers (1970)

Bloodthirsty Butchers is z-grade horror director Andy Milligan’s version of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Working on an extremely small budget, Milligan unwisely attempts to recreate the look and feel of Victorian England and, rather unsurprisingly, fails on almost every level, with particularly unconvincing production design, the film boasting patently fake shop facades and completely unauthentic costumery (did Milligan actually research the era or did he just go with what he imagined it was like?).

The film stars Annabella Wood as Johanna Jeffrey, assistant in the bakery run by Maggie Lovett (Jane Hilary), who gets the delicious filling for her meat pies from barber Sweeney Todd, who kills customers with his cut-throat razor. Johanna is planning to quit her job to marry her fiancé Jarvis (Michael Cox), but is unaware of the murder and mayhem that surrounds her, at least until Jarvis falls victim to the evil Mr. Todd.

Weighed down by interminable scenes of dreadful dialogue, and suffering from hopelessly amateurish direction, the film is yet another test of one’s resolve from the always awful Milligan, making it through to the end being a challenge for even the most hardened of horror fans. Along the way, we are treated to just a smattering of nudity (from Susan Cassidy, as songstress Anna, who is having an affair with Sweeney), some terrible gore (rubber appendages are hacked off and there’s an unconvincing meat cleaver in the head effect), and the unforgettable sight of a severed breast in a pie, all of which just about saves the film from earning the absolute minimum rating possible.