Directed by W. Berwick. Starring Jackie Vernon, Claire Ginsgerg, Loren Schein, Al Troupe. (1983).
Reviewed by Michael Hauss
I consider myself to be a major verbal extremist, I drop more F-Bombs per day than some small third world countries or the latest Gangster rap CD release. So, political correctness is something that I don’t subscribe to. I am sensitive to other people’s feelings, but I have been known to open mouth and insert foot on a regular basis. I work with a bunch of people who find inventive ways to use the F word in every sentence and being around a bunch of likeminded verbal extremist, just fuels my F-Bomb creativity. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, what the Fuck is this idiot babbling on about and what does it have to do with the film in question Microwave Massacre? Plenty my fucking friend, plenty.
This film is from the 1970’s (Filmed in 1979, released in 1983) and it’s all about the political incorrectness in this joyous stab at cannibalistic sexual perversion among the deviants. Microwave Massacre is about a poor deadpanning slob who just wants to have a bologna and cheese sandwich when he gets home from his job as a construction worker. Donald (Jackie Vernon) never gets that bologna and cheese sandwich, he gets some Haute Cuisine that his flighty wife May (Claire Ginsberg) cooks up for him in her industrial sized microwave. All around Donald people are living, eating desirable food and having sexual relations. The problem with Donald is two-fold, while there is an issue with the food there is also deep problems concerning his sexual relationship with May or lack of sexual relations that is, that part of the relationship has been nonexistent for the last fifteen years and in their battle of putdowns and continual verbal sparring, Donald snipes about May’s desirability, and May shoots some zingers back at Donald including the soul crushing line, that he’s a “Walking contraceptive.”
One night after getting drunk at his favorite local bar, Donald returns home late and May has created another gastric disturbance. Donald after being denied that bologna and cheese again, becomes drunkenly enraged and after urinating on May’s couch in her plastic home reality universe, he attacks his wife in her beloved kitchen while that industrial sized Major Electric microwave looks on in gleaming, chrome consumerism. Donald bludgeons May to death with a salt shaker (Vernon's character has enough sense to throw some salt over his shoulder to try and negate that old bad luck). The next morning Donald awakens late with a massive hangover, and while looking about for his lunch, checks out the microwave and finds that, “Ma-Ma-Ma- May is in the microwave.” The deadpanning Donald turns to the camera and says, that’s the way May “Would have wanted to go…. slow broil.”
|Wait for the ding before serving!|
The star of this film is the world renown comedian Jackie Vernon, who had a sparse number of movie and television series credits, but did appear on a host of variety shows, with many funny appearances on the old Dean Martin show. For those who have never seen Microwave Massacre, I implore you to close your eyes and wait for the first lines uttered by Vernon in the role of Donald and let your brain quickly scramble to figure out why that voice sounds so familiar!
It is odd hearing the voice of the beloved Frosty the Snowman saying some outrageously raunchy politically incorrect things! Donald after his killing of May, cuts her body up and places the parts into the fridge in the garage to cover his dastardly crime, but keeps his wife's head displayed in the fridge. That very night Donald stumbles out of bed for a midnight snack and bites into a piece of meat that he had taken from the fridge to make room for May and unbeknownst to him, he bites into a piece of his dead wife and finds that he enjoys the taste of flesh.
|HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I'm gonna carve the roast beast, wait wrong fucking TV special?!|
Donald meets a prostitute at the bar and being the naïve non-sexual being, does not realize that the woman whose name is Dee Dee Dee is indeed a lady of the night. On the way to Donald’s house Dee Dee Dee tells the dour-pussed Donald, that she was named Dee Dee Dee because her mother stuttered. At the house, Donald, can’t seem to get over his sexual impotency but then something snaps and after a quick two minutes, Donald smothers poor Dee Dee Dee and afterwards he carries her dead body into the kitchen and proclaims to no one in particular, “I’m so hungry I could eat a whore!” Now think about that for a minute, ole’ Frosty the Snowman is ready to cut into a dead prostitute and devour her in a cannibalistic frenzy, and old fucking Frosty the Fucking Snowman just said, “I’m so hungry I could eat a whore!” Let that stew in your brain for a minute, a beloved figure even if only in voice is a whore devouring, deadpanning cannibal. I was equally shocked and amused with the visual fantasy scenario that played out in my head as old frosty went about killing women on the snowy terrain of that Christmas classic, a decidedly more perverse cartoon than Rankin/Bass had ever envisioned for that fat mass of frozen water who has become a holiday tradition.
|Holy Shit! Karen you slut, this is Frosty shaming you for that gynecological spread you did for Swank.|
Donald takes a bit of old May with him to work and after his fellow co-workers Roosevelt (Loren Schein) and Phillip (Al Troupe) get a taste of the meat, unbeknownst to them they develop a bad case of cannibalism. The film moves from scene to scene as the robust Donald with his deadpanning naivety procures attractive female after attractive female and after sexual relations, eats them. The eating of a woman part is expanded a bit when Donald visits a psychiatrist with a heavy soul and the doctor snoozes through their session only to awaken at the end to hear Donald speaking of eating women in a non-sexual sense, which the doctor does not interpret correctly and tells him if it feels good do it. Of course, Donald is speaking in both terms of the phrase, but is thankfully never shown doing the sexual one, only showing the clothed Donald with his unwitting topless female victims. The ending I will not spoil, but a visit to his family medical doctor helps understand the ending, and ultimately May will have her revenge, with a little help from her beloved Microwave!
Microwave Massacre is played strictly for laughs and does what very few comedy-horror films do, it keeps the emphasis on the comedy and never overplays its hand, reveling in its stupidity and never going into anything overly graphic in terms of blood or gore. It relies more on its ability to jab at our sensibilities with its political incorrectness and its total lack of scruples to amaze and titillate the viewers. I, for one love the film and think that it is an unique viewing experience, and needs to be discovered and rediscovered so it can take its place amongst other classic exploitation films of its ilk. The film does what it sets out to do and that is to never take itself seriously and to present a male who has a proclivity for human flesh and that inclination helps release his dormant libido. So next time your hungry for a bite to eat for your politically incorrect soul, bite into this fleshy presentation from the great team at Arrow Video.
Frosty, tell us one more time about your cannibalistic urges, the urges that finally motivated your pole North!.
Now on to the release by Arrow. The film is presented in the aspect ratio of 1:85:1. The Blu-Ray/DVD release of the film is loaded with special edition contents including; Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative. High definition Blu-ray (1080p) and standard definition DVD presentations. Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray). Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. Brand new audio commentary with writer-producer Craig Muckler, moderated by Mike Tristano. Brand new making of featurette including interviews with Mucker, director Wayne Berwick and actor Loren Schein. Trailer. Original treatment and 8-page synopsis (BD/DVD-ROM content). And an informative and outstanding booklet on the film by the film historian Stephen Thrower.
Check out this big box phone cover for Microwave Massacre that's guaranteed to melt you brain.
*Please look for my upcoming interview with Microwave Massacre producer and actor Craig Muckler in Wengs Chop # 10. If that’s not enough look for an upcoming review of the film for Exploitation Retrospect #53.*