Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Corpse Grinders (1971)

The reason Ed Wood get's more attention than most incompetent directors of the past is because he had delusions that what he was doing was really art. Other, possibly equally incompetent director's of exploitation movies had no real delusions of grandeur towards what they were doing. They knew they were doing low to no budget schlock geared towards undiscriminating audiences back in the day. One of these directors of hokey stupidity was Ted V. Mikels. Mikels toiled around for years, releasing such "classics" as "The Black Klansman", the Mystery Science Theater flick "The Girl in the Gold Boots", "The Astro Zombies", "Blood Orgy of the She Devils" and "Ten Violent Women." I've never seen "Klansman", so I can't judge it on it's own merits (though I'm sure it's terrible), but I have seen his inept but utterly mind bending 1971 movie "The Corpse Grinders."

The plot is utterly ridiculous, even in the annals of 70's exploitation. So here it goes.

The Lotus Cat Food Company has found itself in dire straits when they are hit with financial problems. Before you can sing the "Meow Mix" jingle, they find a new, cheaper source for meat to put in the cat food-human corpses from the graveyard! So with the help of the handy dandy Corpse Grinding Machine (actually, cardboard boxes posing as a machine, but who's counting?), they are able to get the job done. Well, things soon start to turn sour when the cats start to develop a taste for human flesh, and start attacking their owners.

If you wanted proof that cheesy, no-budget horror existed before the camcorder era, then "The Corpse Grinders" is proof of that as it's an amazingly cheap exploitation movie. The acting and dialogue (the movie was co-written by Arch Hall Sr. of "Eegah!" infamy) is below community theater levels bad, while the sets are clearly made out of cardboard and construction paper. The score sounds like it came from an old Monogram flick. There is gore, but the effects are barely adequate, and used too sparingly. We even get a "deaf" woman using sign language that she's clearly making up on the spot.

In spite of all of this, the movie is clueless to the point of being charming. I mean, this is the absolute pits, but it's also the best movie Mikels ever did (which says something), and the all around cheapness and exploitative nature (plenty of women lounging around wearing very little, the mere idea of cute little house cats killing their owners) makes for an amusing experience. It also helps that the whole thing is mercifully short at 72 minutes, so it doesn't exactly waste anybodies time.

Nobody is going to mistake "The Corpse Grinders" for a good movie. Hell, it's a very bad movie. That out of the way, it's not detestably bad, as it's a quick, trashy affair that might please fans of no-budget schlock. A sequel to the movie was released in 2000, and I haven't seen it-nor will I ever. I pity those that do/did though.

Rating: 5/10

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