Microwave Massacre Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD

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Microwave Massacre Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD

Microwave Massacre Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD

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The second and third Howling pictures are supremely strange and emphasize, even exaggerate the darkly comedic aspects of Dante’s work, something John Hough hoped to reverse when he stepped in to direct the fourth installment, The Original Nightmare. It is here, in 1988 during the pre-production of Howling IV, that the mysterious Clive Turner entered the picture.

Four years passed before Mr. Turner re-emerged with The Howling: New Moon Rising, and he entered with both guns blazing. In addition to taking the lead role, Clive wrote, directed, produced, and edited the seventh entry. Rarely have you seen these tasks performed so poorly. If Vernon’s performance seems odd – and it is – his character’s journey is even weirder. Donald kills his wife in a drunken stupor; a crime of passion. May had been nagging him for presumably decades, as he recalls the last time they had sex was “April, 1962”. In his blind rage he inexplicably carved her up as well before placing the pieces of her corpse in the microwave, possibly to spite her since he hated that machine. Then he cooks her. And inadvertently eats her. He now has a taste for human flesh. Where this goes off the rails is when he decides to kill other women, this despite having a fridge absolutely filled with May’s succulent, slow-broiled body. An argument could be made this motivation was purely sexual, since Donald has no problem getting down with women so far out of his league they may as well exist in another galaxy, as long as he imagines them as food. Then again, logic doesn’t have much of a place in a film called Microwave Massacre, so… Suddenly everything appears filthy, corrupted, diseased. He feels an urge to lash out, to behave violently. Unfortunately, this mental breakdown occurs at the beginning of a typical workday – when Alan has a lobby full of patients waiting to see him. He can’t miss a work, can he? Absolutely not. He has a responsibility.

After a night of drinking Donald goes home to find May has cooked some strange new concoction. In a drunken rage strangles May, killing her. When he wakes the next day he discovers what he has done and now must cover up the evidence. Cutting up her body he cooks it in May's huge microwave and then wraps the pieces in tin foil. He stuffs the body parts into the freezer in the garage, not noticing that one piece has fallen into a garbage can he used to throw away the food May froze in the freezer. When he gets hungry later that night he takes that particular piece inside to eat and is surprised at how good it tastes. As he unwraps it while eating he discovers it is May's hand. But since it tastes better than what he's been served lately he continues eating. The latest entry is David Blue Garcia‘s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a Netflix Original sequel that takes place decades after the original and sees Leatherface antagonizing a group of young misfits after they move to a Texas ghost town. As is nearly always true for Arrow products, video production is top notch and sound quality far transcends what the film would have had in 1983. Arrow doesn't just do thinks in a cheap way - they take these films and they make them better. Consistently. These are the extras included this time around: That’s basically all the rational thought that went into the film’s screenplay. A burlesque comic drifting in an undeveloped skit, Donald comes off as a nice guy at heart, an odd fit for a serial murderer. He moves on to the casual murders of a number of young women for reasons that don’t add up. Microwave Massacre’s chance for coherence therefore hinges on whether it can attain a suitable level of comic absurdity. Although that’s far too much to ask, a consistent dirty-joke burlesque atmosphere is maintained. The whole movie is pitched as an off-color joke of the kind once delivered by the awful emcees that performed introductions in strip clubs. As utterly stupid as things get, the somewhat amusing deadpan comedian Vernon does hold our interest.

On the bright side, the producers somehow managed to scrape together quite a few pretty good-looking women and get them to take their tops of. In fact, I'm rather surprised that Marla Simons didn't go on to do more films after this one, even if this would have been due to her assets rather than her acting. The nudity in this film is silly rather than titillating and I personally would have given it a PG-13 rating.

Budget is microscopic, with passable technical credits. In explaining Donald's final comeuppance (yes, even in amoral farragoes such as this there lurks some form of retribution), picture briefly intimates a supernatural element, but this is not enough to attract the interest of traditional horror film fans. The best thing about this stinker is the topless women. But even that comes with a bad aftertaste, as all the women are there just to be sexy. They are pretty hot, but come on. This is clearly from another time, when sexism wasn't much of a subject. It seems that Junior and his buddies (one of whom is the town sheriff) don’t care much for independent, attractive women running businesses and frequently sunbathing in the nude. Thoroughly cheap and dingy, Junior can never seem to decide if it’s a gritty revenge tale, a horror picture, or soft-core sleaze, so what we get is a unwieldy hybrid of all three. The jokes are so unfocused that misogyny comes to mind only as an afterthought. When Donald visits his doctor and confesses to only enjoying a woman if he eats her, the doctor naturally assumes that he’s talking about oral sex. The delivery is so flat that smiles are out of the question. Things never get wild enough to take us into ‘how far can this go?’ territory. The screenplay instead references the disclaimer that came with early microwave ovens, which were reputed to be dangerous for people with pacemakers. When the end titles roll up, they’re presented in the style of a menu at a French restaurant. The little in-jokes in the credit scroll are cleverer than anything in the movie.

This is a… special film; a mentally handicapped approximation of a slasher. It’s the kind of movie you would see during weekend runs to the local mom & pop video store and think, “Damn, that big box art looks sweet and with a title like that it has to be gold!” And, really, if you watched this at any age under 17 it probably was. I will say there are bad movies that are just horrid through and through; Microwave Massacre at the very least has the luxury of being awfully entertaining in an oddly endearing sort of way. There are few film sub-genres that disappoint as often as the horror/comedy. While a few might succeed, the majority fall flat. Rarely, however, are they capable of being bad while potentially ruining childhood memories. Microwave Massacre is one such film. Arrow Video’s Blu-ray + DVD of Microwave Massacre is an eye-opener in that it surely looks a thousand times better than its original VHS release in old clamshell cases. The show was filmed in 35mm with proper lighting, and although the lighting is just so-so, a 2K scan from the original elements makes it look fairly amazing. Forget the misinformed IMDB ‘goof’ reports of boom mikes and unwanted hands poking into the frame; those are all matted away when the image is properly framed in widescreen. As unlikely as it may sound, the show looks great in HD. Now, no one is going to claim this is a tightly constructive film, and it falls far short of the upper echelon of 70's horror pictures. But it's still very enjoyable. Most of the jokes land. The premise is just absurd enough to keep you engaged. And, unlike most low-budget horror comedies, at no point does script become unfollowable. It seems professional in spite of its cheapness. The cast and crew all seem like they were having a wonderful time making it.Everything about this movie is incredibly bad. Well, not all the camera work, I guess. But the rest. ALL the rest. Did I miss something in the commentary? The cameraperson credited on the show is Karen Grossman. Considering the movie’s dirty boys’ club ethos, I’m surprised the filmmakers don’t say more about their woman DP, if only to score diversity points. The cinematography is quite good. I’d also like to hear old Piedras Blancas stories from Wayne, who acted in the movie. He played a kid scared to death of the monster seen toting decapitated heads up and down main street. What ‘monster kid’ wouldn’t like that on their resume? Claims To Fame are where you find them. Listed as a producer, Turner’s exact duties on Howling IV remain unclear (like virtually everything in the man’s life). Hough was convinced that Turner regularly faxed script re-writes to the set under the pseudonym Freddie Rowe. The first installment to go straight-to-video, IV was easily the worst in the series to date, yet it failed to derail the Howling train. If one can get past all the technical gaffes such as boom mikes in frame (complete with the entirety of the boom) or crewmembers in the shot, one begins to get the idea that the people making this movie really didn’t care. Things are obviously shot in a single take, ignoring major mistakes such as those or nearby police sirens drowning out dialogue. Through it all, the film’s cast merely soldiers on in what plays out as the Bataan Death March of comedy.

And yet the movie has a certain charm for fans of really bad films. You get the impression that the people behind it were really trying to make something but didn't possess the skill or talent to pull it off. When you watch the extras you get a glimpse into those people and what they thought about the movie they were making at the time. After coming home drunk one night and getting into an argument with May, Donald loses his temper and bludgeons her to death with a large pepper grinder. He wakes up the next day with a bad hangover, no memory of the night before, and a growling stomach. He discovers May's corpse in the microwave and after the initial wave of horror passes, he starts to take it in stride, telling his co-workers that he and May separated. After work, he then cuts up May's body and stores it in foil wrap in the fridge. A running gag involving May's head retaining some sort of sentience is introduced during this scene. The Howling series lasted far longer than anyone could have expected. Joe Dante’s 1980 original led to Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, which was written and directed by French-born artist Philippe Mora; Mora then returned to helm Howling III: The Marsupials. Picture in your mind how the actor who did the voice of Frosty the Snowman might have looked. Now imagine that guy having dry-hump sex with random hookers ('Frosty' grunts and groans included), killing and dismembering them, and then cooking them up in the world's most ridiculously huge microwave oven. Or, you can skip that mental exercise and rent this film. But I’ll be damned if it isn’t some of the most fun I’ve had watching a bad movie. This thing would slay with the right crowd.

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The late, great Vernon appears very “out of it” for the duration (he’s almost certainly drunk). There are segments where he barely seems to know what’s going on, and his speech is constantly slurred. So many flubbed lines made it into Microwave Massacre that it has to set some kind of record (“I don’t remember leaving a wake-up hangover”…?). Art direction was provided by Robert A. Burns, a flat-out genius who built all the props used in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; his color palette here is bright, garish. Kong displays no sense of restraint or subtlety, no hesitance to go all out. Her picture is frequently quite funny, too: unlike countless horror-comedies, a large number of gags in Blood Diner earn genuine laughter. Finally, mercifully, the movie finally ends. It does so suddenly and with no real sense of resolution. Still, for those who have made it this far, none is really needed…just a cessation of suffering is enough. It is at this point that the oddest thing happens. The movie actually gets a bit clever WITH THE CREDITS! The only movie on this list to rival The Meateater in terms of sheer ineptitude, Howling VII doesn’t feel like a film that was written, storyboarded, and rehearsed but rather like an extended goof, like we’re watching a bunch of grown people playing “Let’s Make A Movie” over the course of one long weekend. New Moon Rising is an astonishingly bad motion picture. As with many genre films of the era, it’s very much of it’s time, with references to aerobics, pro-wrestling, and extreme dieting. As is often the case, this dated quality adds immensely to the overall level of enjoyment. Blood Diner buzzes with relentless energy and holds surprises for even the most jaded of viewers; quite jarringly, the Tutman brothers are depicted at one point wielding automatic weapons while wearing Ronald Reagan masks (the use of guns in a movie like this is unusual).

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