The Spooktacular Eight #12: Microwave Massacre (1979)

There are many types of massacres.

You can opt for the classics of axe, chainsaw and proper sharp instruments that while not built for slaying the fellow man are indeed excellent for severing, cutting and shit like that.

Why not think outside the box… or inside the box, as in go for a power drill, a woodchipper, a nailgun or even just use all the things inside a toolbox?

Go cannibal while you’re at it.

I mean, this movie decided to do so but also title its massacre after a microwave… which isn’t the actual weapon of killing, while being pivotal to the protagonist’s agenda, after he uses a salt grinder to kill his nagging wife May, obsessed with haute cuisine, during a drunken rage one night.

He sober ups the next day, completely unaware of what he did the night before… until he finds the corpse stuffed into their new huge ass microwave, decides to quickly dispose of his wife remains by dismembering and hiding it in the fridge, only to later accidentally take a bite out of May’s tinfoiled hand, liking the taste, things lead to things, and to Donald cooking the body parts in the microwave, finding the “blood feast” quite delish. So much that he starts killing hookers so he keep his cannibalistic cuisine going, sharing it with his unsospecting coworkers, even.

If that sounds like that kind of film to be released as a “midnight movie” kind of deal and marketing based around how it was gonna be “the worst horror movie ever”… you’re right, and of course it’s not a real cult classic cheapo if it doesn’t have some kind of history to it, but while this one didn’t sit years unreleased after completition, it’s from director Wayne Berwick, son of Irving Berwick, better known for the ye old late 50s black and white Creature From The Black Lagoon knock-off, The Monster Of Piedras Blancas, where young Wayne actually played a little boy.

In turn, Microwave Massacre it’s Wayne Berwick’s proper legacy, a horror black comedy, that also happens to be the final role for stand up comedian and actor Jack Vernon, here playing the main character, Donald, a disgruntled construction worker.

Welcome to some really bad taste shit, so bad i “had” to buy the HD version Arrow Video put out some time ago, gotta have your cult shlocky movies in the highest definition possible.

So, the movie itself definitely lives up to its reputation as a bad taste ambassadeur, as it starts with the camera zooming on a girls’ rack, which she later shows full front through a hole in the construction site’s palisade, only to retract the bahonkas before any horny worker can get a grab in.

So much for showing your ass (or tits, in this case) in the first minute, better make sure you know what kind of movie you’re going into right away, i can kinda respect that.

Problem is, as a comedy is not simply incredibly outdated, it’s just plain unfunny, but somehow it almost comes back around full circle, because Jack Vernon’s performance exudes the confidence of an experienced comedian trying to make the material work regardless, i’m personally not familiar at all with him for various reasons (not being american and existing during his lifetime, mostly), but you can just tell he’s a consumated comedian and-or character actor.

There’s a kind of gormless charm to the movie that helps it avoid being completely tiresome in its unfunny factor, and it helps that the gore and effects are incredibly goofy (the fake limbs are incredibly phony and fake looking), complementing the low budget tone and atmosphere, Vernon’s deadpan delivery and his character, the latter feeling like a Rodney Dangerfield-esque persona that eventually becomes a cannibal using Frankenhooker-style methods.

And here and there there ARE some funny bits, like the TV program about the criminologist that edits out the profanities (and we just hear the voice overs, while watching Donald react to it) and basically recommends that you eat all the evidence if you wanna have an actual perfect crime, suggesting him to go the Crazy Fat Ethel route.

While it’s not very funny as a comedy (which it is), it’s hard to not be somewhat amused by the tone, Vernon’s frequent mugging directly to the camera after telling some jokes or spouting such deliciously bizzare lines like “i’m so hungry i could eat a whore”, it’s not everyday you hear or see stuff like this, so the offbeat quality of the story and the premise alone help make it watchable, despite its fairly obvious flaws (far from minimal, too) and aggressively cheap nature.

You never know what kind of weird shit you could see next, like a hobo rummaging through the garbage cans, finding a severed hand and using it to massage his scrote, then his back.

Or the main character killing hooker by suffocation via a sunflower shaped cushion, when he’s not using a bread loaf as a gag device. Quality weirdo garbage here, indeed.

So in other words it’s the Mac and Me for the cannibal tribes featured in any italian exploitation movies, if you have never seen Mac and Me and are willing to believe anything i randomly come up with to end this review in a non-comparison.

Definitely a curiosity worth of its cult status, Microwave Massacre it’s a raunchy, offbeat horror sex comedy with plenty of bad puns, shitty jokes and predictable, tired gags, plenty of incredibly outdated humour and deliberate bad taste, not successful in neither the horror, the comedy or the pornographic side of things. but also one that skirts just enough into being accidentally so crap and unfunny that it become oddly amusing, in a freak-show, frog-squaqued by a tire sort of way.

It’s also pretty short, just 75 minutes, so it a must see for every trash diving, crap cataloguing cinema freak worth its salt, pun slightly intended and fitting, i feel.

Quoting the movie’s closing credits “Remember, dismember a friend for lunch!”



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