Friday, September 1, 2017

B-Movie Review: 'Microwave Massacre' (1983)

The guy who voiced Frosty the Snowman plays a wife-hating cannibal who can't stop making puns while murdering, mutilating and marinating his female victims in one of the most criminally underappreciated horror comedies of all-time.


By: Jimbo X

Around these parts Sept. 01 heralds the unofficial start of the Halloween season, and I can't think of a better transitional movie to migrate you out of the summertime blues and into the All Hallows Eve mood than Microwave Massacre

This movie eluded me for far too long, but after screening it for the first time earlier this year I can easily declare it one of the best unsung horror comedies out there. It's got a nearly perfect mix of gloriously offensive, un-P.C. humor, downright retarded cheeseball sight gags and, of course, copious blood, gore, guts and exposed female breasts, making it a rare horror parody that comes off as genuinely hilarious and authentically degenerate instead of smugly self-important and pretentiously sarcastic.

Oddly enough, though, the Internet hoi polloi tends to overlook this one, and what few write-ups are out there on the Web, strangely enough, just shit all over it as a subpar genre movie. Seemingly the only thing people remember the movie for was its VHS box artwork, which had a button on it you could press to make the titular microwave - with the bloody, severed head of a screaming women inside it - light up. And while that is undeniably a cool little gimmick, I assure you the movie is way more than just another throwaway '80s genre flick endowed with a memorable marketing hook. It truly is one of the best unsung horror comedies of the absolute best decade ever for unsung horror comedies, and if you haven't seen it you have no earthly clue what you've been missing out on all these years. 

The movie begins with a slow zoom on a mummified head inside a microwave. Then the opening titles literally jump off a huge-jugged woman's chest and her denim-clad derriere. There are also a bunch of dump trucks in the background, prolly 'cause she's got dumps, dumps, dumps like a truck, am I right? (Correct answer: no.)

So the big breasted blonde walks down the street. While a bunch of construction workers eat lunch, she pushes her tits through a plywood glory hole and one of the guys says he has to go to "the breastroom, I mean, restroom." Then she yanks those puppies out before all these guys with bushy haircuts and even bushier mustaches can grab her.

An old woman enters a kitchen with a downright gigantic microwave oven (remember, kids, at the time microwaves were relatively new technological advents, so having one - believe it or not - was something of a post-cocaine, pre-AIDS status symbol.) Anyway, this fucker is downright gargantuan, easily twice the size of two refrigerators shoved side-by-side. I'm sorry, but even for the early 1980s there's no way something that honkin' huge would cut it as a consumer grade product - hell, even as an industrial machine, it's probably overkill.

Let's just say this movie gives new meaning to the expression"eating Japanese."

A white construction worker tries to show a few dance moves to a black construction worker, because apparently it was opposite day. Then the foreman shows up and while you don't exactly recognize his face, as soon as he starts talking your brain will probably explode out of your skull - holy shit, that's Jackie Vernon, a.k.a. Frosty the fuckin' Snowman! And he's holding a crab in his hand, asking for mustard. The black dude makes a joke about having crabs in the army and then we cut to two drunk dudes in a bar (who look suspiciously like Trey Parker and Matt Stone) talking about taking their wives to a trashy hotel room for some sort of tomfoolery. Then Frosty, the black dude and this white dude with a gay porn star 'stache all go to a strip club and Frosty (canonically his name is Donald, though, so we probably ought to start calling him that now) complains about his wife to the bartender, and the bartender starts complaining to him about his hemorrhoids. And all the while, the most porn-tastic music you've ever heard in your life pours over the soundtrack, and it is tremendous

So Donald gets home and hey, what do you know, that old bat with the ginormous microwave oven is his wife. She's this annoying, presumably Hebrew broad that thinks she's Julia Childs but can't cook worth a toot. "You're a walking contraceptive," she chides her hubby. After she says some men find her attractive, Donald ripostes with a comment about how he doesn't know how to read Braille. 

The huge-titted exhibitionist blonde returns to the construction site and tries to talk to this musclebound dude but he's obviously a homo so she just makes out with the porn 'stache guy instead. Then Donald goes back to the bar and the bartender makes a quip about how he works at a cathouse, confessional and hotel rolled into one. Donald gets drunk as shit, goes home and demands his wife make him a bologna and cheese sandwich. He hocks a loogie in her quiche then rips open a vacuum cleaner bag and splashes dirt and dander all over the couch. The he takes a piss in front of the fireplace and his wife says "you know, something really is bothering you." And at that point, he STRANGLES HER and proceeds to pummel her to death with a salt grinder. He wakes up from his alcohol-induced stupor yet has no recollections of killing his wife. Naturally, he finds her corpse stuffed in the microwave and he does a great Abbott and Costello routine before breaking the fourth wall and telling the camera "well, that's the way she would have wanted to go." 

Donald spends the rest of the night cutting up his wife and wrapping her remains in aluminum foil. On the TV, an announcer is warning the audience about the graphic nature ("oh shit, downright nasty") of the unseen true crime program on the tube. "Unless you can eat all the evidence of a crime," the disembodied television voice quips, "you can't get away with it." Huh, I wonder if that's foreshadowing or something?

Anyhoo, all that spouse sawing made Donald hungry, but WOOPS! He accidentally takes a chunk out of his wife's flesh instead of the ham he thought he was eating, but as it turns out, he thinks it's delicious. In fact, he likes it so much he shares his roasted wife's body parts with his construction pals. "I may have underestimated May's taste," he comments. 

Donald goes back to the bar and the bartender tells him "you can spill your drink, but don't spill your heart." Oddly enough, Don runs into the exhibitionist woman at the bar, performing proxy fellatio on a cherry. As it turns out, she's a hooker and she ties to seduce him into a "date." Her name is Dee-Dee-Dee, and she asks him if he's ever screwed in 3D before ... get it?

So, he takes her back to his place. He doesn't really respond to her advances, and he's really offended she doesn't know to turn any tricks in Yugoslavian, but before long we've got some FAT MAN SEX, which concludes with Donald smothering the hooker with a novelty, flower-shaped pillow. After killing her, he smokes a cig and wonders aloud if this is an after coitus or pre-dinner smoke. He tears the corpse asunder with a hatchet. "I'm so hungry," he comments, "I could eat a whore."

Fuck Eisenstein ... now THAT is how you do a transition scene.

Then Don and his buddies go to a drive-thru and ask the woman at the cash register to lift her skirt up and stick out her tongue and they drive off as a lark even though she really does it as they cruise off. Then a homeless guy rummages through a garbage can and finds a severed arm in the rubbish, which - naturally - he uses to scratch his balls. 

Donald goes to a hardware store and asks for a ten-gallon mason jar and some six-foot-long cookie sheets. He encounters a random hooker, slathers her in mayonnaise and halves her with a giant knife. Then he meets another woman dressed up in a chicken costume at a new fast food place, telling her the gig is, well, "chicken shit." Her reply? "I thought you were a leg man instead of a breast man." Rather realistically, they go straight back to his place and have sex, and - surprise, surprise - he winds up killing her, too.

In the next scene Donald goes to a shrink and talks about counting dead dogs on the highway and how great it is to be sexually active for the first time in 15 years. The doctor falls asleep while he tells him about how aroused he gets eating woman, and when he wakes up and his patient says he can't have sex with woman unless he eats them afterward, he assumes he's talking about going down on a gal instead of barbecuing her guts, so he glibly tells Don "if it feels good, do it."

Another woman gets halved and microwaved, but Donald experiences some sharp chest pains when he turns on the oven. Rest assured - that is anything BUT foreshadowing. Nope, not even a little bit, whatsoever. Then Donald's wife's sister shows up and demands to see her. She sounds JUST like that "Where's the Beef?" broad from the Wendy's commercials, too. Donald, thinking as quickly as he can, leaves a corpse in her bed and tells her she's sick. Don then subdues her by shoving a baguette down her throat, because the idea of having sex with her makes him physically ill.

While she's tied up in the pantry, Donald goes to a quack to get his ticker looked at. We learn he has a pacemaker so ... yeah, I guess you can figure out what's destined to happen eventually. There's also a great bit where the doctor threatens to put a nurse in intensive care for not following his orders, because back then, beating women at the office was considered high-larious hi-jinks

Then a dude dressed up like an African bushman (complete with a bone in his nose!) shows up to drop off some meat and then this hot-to-trot blonde seductively eats an apple while watering her lawn. At the construction site, the black dude reads a newspaper and finds out the local serial killer's latest victim is also an African-American. "That's my kind of creep," he says, "an equal opportunity rapist." And to further prove his dedication to multicultural, misogynistic mass murder, Donald then picks up an Asian woman with a feathery 'do (who, needless to say, is probably a ho), and as soon as they get back to his place, she IMMEDIATELY takes her top off and starts ambling around the living room like she's admiring pictures at an art exhibit. Then, Donald shows up wearing an "ichiban" apron and holding a couple of barbecue tongs, and we instantly quick cut to blood flying all over the place while he hacks up a set of hands.

Donald watches his next door neighbor writhing in the soil while using a vibrator (guess where?) Then his construction buddies show up at his pad dressed like pimps and for some reason, he's splayed out on the middle of the kitchen floor. Apparently, he had a heart attack and he's dead as dirt. Some movers find his wife's sister still alive in the freezer, with a zucchini shoved in her mouth. The guys tinker around with the microwave and say the unit has been tampered with to be a "death trap" for anybody with a pacemaker. Then, in the basement, Donald's wife's eyes magically light up and the end credits roll ... complete with copious use of the word "le" to describe the cast and crew and reminders to "dismember a friend for lunch today." And yes, in case you are wondering, the microwave oven does indeed get top billing as star of the movie.

Come on - is it really a 1980s horror movie without SOME kind of audience-insulting supernatural hokum twist ending?

Goodness gracious, I can't recommend this movie enough. This thing gets absolutely no love out there in degenerate cinema land and like I said earlier, it's one of the best overall gutbucket horror comedies of the 1980s bar none. It really does play out like a combination of Maniac and Eating Raoul, and I'd say it's probably on par with stuff like Sleepaway Camp II and Bad Taste when it comes to superlative goofball exploitation horror offerings of the Lee Iaccoca years. And perhaps the best part about the whole thing? Even if you don't particularly enjoy the film's curt sense of humor (you no-fun having sack of shit you are), the whole thing is over and done with in about an hour and 15 minutes, leaving you with ample time to do what the hell ever you want with your life.

Microwave Massacre is weird and turgid and offensive and openly sexist and gross and probably misogynistic and violent and corny and a film that doesn't feel one iota like it needs to apologize for being so crass and crude. They definitely don't make 'em like this anymore and the whole ride is such a fun and decadent romp that it'll make you yearn for the glory days of the early 1980s, back when pro 'rasslin was still unapologetically racist, heavy metal was still about conjuring up the devil and shit and you could still call AIDS a "gay disease" without the liberal gestapo trying to set your house on fire for tolerance and understanding.

Like I said at the beginning of the article, this is pretty much the perfect movie to get you in the Halloween mood. It's sleazy and bloody and disturbingly carefree and on top of all that it'll even tickle your nostalgia bones a little. If you've been sleeping on this one, it's time you made amends, pronto - this is easily one of the best unplucked hidden gems from the absolute zenith of corny, un P.C. horror movies, and by golly, you owe it to yourself to give it a gander, you sick, sick pup.

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