H.P. Lovecraft‘s story “The Thing on the Doorstep” serves as inspiration for Joe Lynch‘s Tribeca 2023 Midnight film SUITABLE FLESH. Heather Graham is Dr. Elizabeth Derby. Beth is a straight-laced psychiatrist whose obsession with a young patient becomes an uncontrollable sexual attraction. Part of the Cthulhu Mythos universe, horror-lit fans finally get the blood-soaked deliciousness they’ve been craving.
The structure feels faithful to Lovecraft’s format, with Beth retelling her current circumstances with narration and subsequent flashbacks to colleague Dr. Upton. Mind control, sexual enticement, transference, body swapping, SUITABLE FLESH has it all.
Barbara Crampton, whom I retain the right to declare a Time Lord, plays Dr. Danielle Upton. Had this film been made 20 years ago, she would be Beth. Crampton is as good as it gets. She’s sharp, 100% committed, and slyly comic. Her casting is no accident, and writer Dennis Paoli (Re-Animator) again does her justice. Judah Lewis plays Asa like a pro. His ability to switch characters and match Graham’s energy is astounding. I think it is legitimate to call him a Scream King by now. Graham goes all out, essentially playing three roles in one. She’s feisty and unbridled. Easily keeping up with Crampton’s iconic status, Graham nails the style.
SUITABLE FLESH is the perfect amount of camp and homage with its soapy noir score and old-school transitional cuts. The cinematography is chef’s kiss. The use of a car’s backup dashboard camera is particularly brilliant. The Special FX makeup by Greg MacDougall is perfectly disgusting. Let Joe Lynch make all of Lovecraft’s stories.