B Movie Challenge: (Hollywood) Meatcleaver Massacre

It is recommended you go for several weeks or even a few months before sharpening your kitchen blades. However, you can go years at a time (even decades) without sharpening if you never use it (It doesn’t slice! It doesn’t dice! It just collects dust!). Never using it, or even seeing it, is how I feel about this little slice of celluloid cutlery. Bloody cut after cut (more like melted crayon) I waited for this so-called meat cleaver to start massecuring. Instead, I got a disco version of Pumpkinhead with a bunch of Ginsu knives and not a single cleaver anywhere (talk about a dull premise)! Also, if you are watching the true version under the title Hollywood Meatcleaver Massacre you will be missing Christopher Lee as well, the supposed main star of the film!

To look through the entire resume of Sir Christopher Lee (the sharpest Master of Horror if there ever was one). will take as many years as he was active in films. From playing a James Bond villain (The Man with the Golden Gun) to being a scholarly doctor of Lycanthropy (Howling II: My Sister is a Werewolf!), let alone his epic portrayals as Count Dracula in the Hammer series, Lee was always a professional who showed up on time, knew his lines backward and forward, and never complained (as long as the check cleared)… except for one film (want to guess which one it was?). According to Lee, he was hired by another producer and director to film his opening montage for a documentary of sorts, and when the project fell through they sold the footage to the producers of this carving of slasher pottage. With the new Lee footage hacked in, they repackaged their cinematic meatloaf to just Meatcleaver Massacre staring the mighty horror legend as himself. When he found out Lee contemplated suing until his solicitors told him how much it would cost and added another notch to horrendous reprende. Lensed in 1974, (but not on the chopping block for critics till 1977) the filmmakers created a unique plotline and aimed for more mythical than gore, using flash-forwards and clever camera work in a movie promoting a crappy ad campaign of sheared promises (adding to a harsh box office mangling).

Lee begins the prologue by asking the audience to “judge for themselves.”  I believe now he was asking the audience to judge whether they would last through the first twenty minutes of the film or not, but if you did (good for you!) you would find yourself lopping off the fat plotline of a professor who, after grading a few students badly, is assaulted by those very students in his home. Although they didn’t mean for it to go as far as it did, the professor survived his severe knock to the noggin’ (talk about a brainiac). As the students go about their lives, feeling nothing can be pinned on them, the professor summons a morak daemon from his hospital bed to avenge his slaughtered family. The Morak, whom the professor conveniently is conducting a lesson on, pays a nice (not-so-nice) visit to each of them at their most vulnerable moments. Hew in some well-produced drawings, mince in some radical seventies fashion, and whack in a creepy k-y jellied hands and you get served a wild heaping dish of experimental Hollywierd terror (even Lee might have taken a bite out of it had he been paid)!

Truncated your way at a thinly 85 minutes, and directed by Keith Burns (who went on to do not much else really), there were supposed additional uncredited scenes directed by the king of B-movies Edwood D. Wood, Jr. though not many know what parts were (if any, as it might have been a ploy to attract more attention to the VHS in the 90’s). You can find this little butcher knife on most streaming services, but if you want this sliver of midnight madness on BD you might have to wait a while. So shorn yourself a seat, cut up some sage and onions to warn off unwanted spirits, and carve yourself an evening of entertaining shlock, heavy on psychological scares but light on the Lee (compliments to the chef!).

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues, his thesis film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands, the novel Lucky for Newfangle Press, and he has written short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, The Creeps, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights audio cast. Klink shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies in Pennsylvania.

View all posts by Ian Klink

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