Sunday, January 22, 2017

#2,294. Microwave Massacre (1983)

Directed By: Wayne Berwick

Starring: Jackie Vernon, Loren Schein, Al Troupe

Tag line: "They Came For Dinner ... To Find They Were It!!"

Trivia: Rodney Dangerfield was considered for the role of Donald, but his asking salary was too high

Most people know comedian Jackie Vernon as the voice of Frosty the Snowman in the Christmas special of the same name. So to see him… or maybe I should say hear him… in Microwave Massacre, an ‘80s exploitation comedy about an everyman who kills his wife and cooks her for dinner, will surely come as shock to those who love the classic Rankin-Bass holiday cartoon.

Donald (Vernon) is a regular guy, a construction worker who frequents the neighborhood bar and likes baloney and cheese sandwiches. Unfortunately, his shrew of a wife May (Claire Ginsberg) fancies herself a gourmet chef, and with the help of her trusty new microwave oven concocts a variety of dishes that poor Donald can’t even pronounce. 

One night, when he’s pushed too far, Donald beats May to death with a wooden salt dispenser, then chops her up, wraps the pieces in aluminum foil, and puts her in the freezer. Some time passes, and Donald, absolutely famished, decides to cook May’s hand for dinner. To his surprise, he likes the taste of human flesh, and after he’s worked his way through May’s tastier remains, he begins to lure young girls to his house, where, after having sex with them, he carves them up for later consumption.

The whole time I was watching Microwave Massacre, I couldn’t get Frosty out of my head! Whenever Donald cracks a joke about his wife’s cooking, or sweet-talks a hooker into going home with him, it sounds as if the famous snowman himself was talking. It was distracting at first, but eventually I found myself laughing at Microwave Massacre and genuinely enjoying the film. 

It’s about as dark a comedy as you can get, and has both nudity (in the opening scene, a curvaceous blonde played by Marla Simon “accidentally” shoves her breasts through an enormous hole in a plywood wall) and gore (though, to be honest, neither the blood nor the severed body parts are the least bit convincing). But it’s also a lot of fun, and Jackie Vernon is a big reason why (the jokes he makes while choking down May’s gourmet meals are damn funny).

Directed by Wayne Berwick, Microwave Massacre is an ultra-low budget film, and it definitely shows; aside from the effects (or lack thereof), the movie looks as if it was shot in someone’s house, and I’m fairly certain none of the actors (Vernon included) won any awards for their work here. But as dark comedies go, I’d rank Microwave Massacre right up there with Eating Raoul.

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