As time goes on, more and more people seem to be talking about “the death of physical media.” I seem to be the only person I know who still buys CD’s, and even then I really only buy maybe 3 of them a year. I know a couple of people who still buy DVD’s and blu-rays, though certainly nowhere close to the amount I buy. You see, I adore physical media. It feels more tangible, it’s more reliable and I never have to worry about it being taken away from me, the latter of which is a growing concern in our all digital future nightmare.
There is one part of the masses abandoning physical media that has been beneficial to people like me. It seems to be largely accepted that only hardcore collectors are buying blu-rays for the most part. This seems to mean that studios are willing to put out the most obscure nonsense because they know insane people like me are eagerly waiting in the wings to throw money at it. Companies like Shout Factory, Arrow, Kino Lorber and many more deal almost exclusively with cult movies and it’s a pretty glorious time to be into blu-rays. We now live in a world where the movie Microwave Massacre can get the HD treatment, and that to me is a world worth living in.
Microwave Massacre is a 1983 horror-comedy starring Jackie Vernon, perhaps best known as the voice of Frosty the Snowman in those old stop-motion animated Frosty shows that Rankin/Bass did. Here he plays a construction worker who hates his wife’s cooking, and I guess his wife in general, and eventually ends up murdering her and eating her. It turns out he is pretty big on the taste of people so he continuously brings people back to his house to kill and eat them. And occasionally have sex with them. Though that happens before the killing and eating part thankfully. Anyway, that’s the entire story.
Microwave Massacre is an odd one. It’s sold as a horror-comedy, but it’s not at all scary and not very funny either. Admittedly it is not trying too hard at all to be scary, but it is certainly trying to be funny. Vernon has a very Rodney Dangerfield thing going on here where everything he says is a quip. Everything. I wasn’t too surprised to hear that originally the filmmakers wanted Dangerfield for the lead role. Some of these one-liners, and the comedy in general, definitely hit, which is just playing the odds really since there are several thrown out every minute, but the majority tend to fall flat.
So if the movie largely fails at both genres it’s aiming for, it must be terrible right? Honestly…kinda no. I mean yes it’s a pretty terrible movie, but there’s something about it that I can’t help but like. Maybe that it’s trying so hard and has bundles and bundles of energy. It’s a very quick movie, running just over 70 minutes, and it never lets up, throwing one piece of insanity after another at you. It’s like listening to a dude on speed trying to pitch you a movie, only with visual aids.
“Ok so check it. We open on boobs. Big boobs. So we got that. Then like, this dude is all mad at wife and stuff right? Like she microwaves his food and he’s not into that right? So they are fighting and fighting and then he straight up kills her man! And like…then he eats her! He just flat out eats her! Then he’s like, well I way like this human meat so I’m gonna kill me some more people and then I’m gonna eat them too. So he like picks up all these chicks and one of them is dressed like a duck and he cooks them in his huge microwave and he has these big forks and shit and he just eats them! It’s crazy man! Totally crazy! So then he’s like, making these huge people meat sandwiches and bringing them to work and his co-workers are like yo this meat is some rad shit! They don’t know it’s people though! Also this whole time there was way more boobs too! Like all the boobs!”
Picture all of that being said without the punctuation, insanely fast and maybe with a lot of sniffing throughout the whole thing and you have this movie.
I really do admire that this thing got made. I can believe that it would have built up a cult audience. I’m sure a good deal of people saw the VHS cover at the rental store (see the main article image above), rented it, reveled in the wondrous madness that is this movie, and then remembered it fondly years later. As the now proud owner of Arrow Video’s blu-ray release of the film (which looks incredible by the way) I can see this is a curiosity I go back to in a few years, living off the memory of it being enjoyable bizarre.