B Movie Challenge: Microwave Massacre

On a rainy evening, just as gloomy outside as it is inside, I get a hunger in my brain to go to the old Ma and Pa video store. You remember yours, the special place, filled with plastic heat wrap, eclectic colored carpets (with a bunch of stains all over it), and that one aisle filled with so many VHS gems you could salivate (and probably are again reminiscing). In this particular aisle, there was a little morsel VHS that had a cover in which if you touched the ‘on’ button of the microwave it would light up (They don’t promote movies like that anymore, do they?)! Sometimes you get hankering for a film you can sink your teeth into, but often they leave a bad taste in your mouth. Not so much the case with the (cut off) tongue-(firmly)-in-cheek classic Microwave Massacre, a scrumptious stinky cinematic hunk of brie that will make you burst at the seams (or vomit, depending on your cinematic pallet)!

Any film that bites into the ideals of cannibalism will certainly be accused of biting off more than the filmmakers can chew. Much is the case with the makers of this serving of 70s exploitation shlock (heavy on guts, both on-screen and off). Instead of going for the traditional “Hack ‘em’ and Stack ‘em’” approach like most of the independent slashers after the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween, these chefs drenched the film with humor (something smells funny). As quenching to the pallet as the humor is, the secret ingredient for this was legendary comedian Jackie (Frosty the Snowman) Vernon, whose deadpan delivery makes it so you can’t take your eyes off his character, ravenous to see where he will go next. I’m sure when Vernon reflected with the likes of Dean Martin or Milton Berle about his meaty role he didn’t need a lot of acting tips on being a cannibalistic hen-pecked construction worker trying to find a dinner date!

The old saying is you are what you eat, and what our construction hero Donald has swallowed lately is a lot of grief (M’m Good! the depression that eats like a meal). A recent recipient of a pacemaker, Donald needs to go on a special diet, and what better way for his nasty wife Mae to cook better food than with the brand new Major Electric Microwave Oven? The main issue: Donald wants a bologna sandwich. While nuking a meal for him one night (or pushing his buttons) Mae passes the mustard one time too many and Donald sticks a fork in her (she’s done)!

To get rid of the evidence, Donald decides to break the rules of his diet and slide a little lard down his gullet (from Mae’s left arm). Unfortunately for others, it awakens a searing appetite in Donald and, like Gordan Ramsey (you idiot!), he opens up a slaughterhouse in Hell’s kitchen! Just hope he keeps that microwave off and his pacemaker on! Pour one cup of ridiculous (and crude) one-liners, add a pinch of gratuitous nudity, and a tablespoon of witty dialogue (courtesy of Vernon’s classic delivery) you will get a leftover bag of scrumptious lunacy to satisfy anybody’s pallet (if you don’t barf into your doggy bag). 

Zapped for your delight at 76 minutes, and directed by Wayne Berwick (who went on to direct Attack of the B Monsters and The Naked Monster), as a VHS collector, make sure you get your hands on the Rhino Video edition that lights up (which is hard to find and pretty pricy). Like your Grandmother’s behemoth green Sears microwave from the 70s, it’s pretty easy to spot this movie online on Tubi and the like, but try to get the BD from Arrow Video with a making-of documentary and commentary tracks. So turn that Raytheon RadaRange nobs on balmy high to pop some buttery (not bloody) popcorn and assuage your delights with some tasty Hollyweird finger food (though wash your hands before touching your plate, please). 

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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