Plot: What’s it about?
The Lotus Cat Food Company produces an exotic, high end cat food that the kitties love, but they have slipped into some financial woes. Without the needed funds, the owners cannot keep the food in production and of course, this angers the retailers who want to sell more of the popular cat chow. But the owners have a plan in mind to keep the production lines up and running, although it is by no means their usual methods. The two decide to use whatever meat they can find and with a well stocked graveyard around, that means a fresh supply of meat for their customers. The two work with a crooked gravedigger to acquire the corpses, but when he needs them faster than the cemetery can provide, murder is not out of the question. But as time passes and the new ingredients hit the market, some very unusual things start to happen. It seems that when cats eat this new recipe, they get very violent and in some cases, attack their owners. The local police have no idea what to make of the situation, but a doctor has some theories about the cat food plant, so he and his nurse assistant decide to investigate and try to put an end to the carnage.
I’ve seen a lot of “human flesh in the meat grinder” movies, but with such a cool twist involving the cats, The Corpse Grinders earns a special place in the subgenre. This off the wall, lower than low budget picture was directed by Ted V. Mikels, whose work I have become quite fond of, as time passes. All of Mikels’ trademarks are here of course, from the odd female characters to the obvious lack of funds. This picture falls into the camp and cheese columns of course, but remains cool if you ask me, especially if you watch with some friends who love this kind of cinema. Yes, you’ll laugh at some of the weaker moments, but The Corpse Grinders seems to know what it is and accept it, which makes it a lot of fun to watch. The premise is a good one and while the writing isn’t excellent, it provides enough good moments and of course, strange characters. I don’t think this movie will ever become a mainstream smash, but if you’re a fan of low budget horror/exploitation flicks, then I recommend you check out The Corpse Grinders.
This offbeat picture was directed by Ted V. Mikels, who knew how to deliver a picture on a slender budget, to be sure. You can tell The Corpse Grinders was made with minimal resources, but Mikels focuses on the right areas, so the film turns out to be very entertaining, regardless of the limited funds involved. This means some creative solutions are used at times, but in addition, the budget sometimes hampers the film, though never too much. I simply can’t imagine how this movie would be had a larger budget been used, as I think much of the camp value would be good and to me, that would be bad news. I’ve started to really take an interest in the cinema of Mikels’, so I am quite pleased to see Image releasing a number of his pictures. Other films directed by Mikels include Astro-Zombies, Blood Orgy of the She Devils, 10 Violent Women, The Doll Squad, and Girl in Gold Boots. The cast here includes Sean Kenney (Cycle Psycho, Terminal Island), Ann Noble (The Sins of Rachel), and Sanford Mitchell (The Harem Bunch, Rebel Vixens).
Video: How does it look?
The Corpse Grinders is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As this movie was made for next for nothing back in 1972, the image looks less than pristine, but in all honesty, I doubt anyone will be surprised. I’ve never the movie look this good however, as the image is very sharp, but suffers from print wear and damage. The print shows a lot of flecks, nicks, and debris, but is still more than watchable, to be sure. The colors look good and contrast is solid also, but the wear signs seem to pull those down as well. I’d love to see a fully restored and remastered version, but I doubt that will ever happen, so this is the release to hold onto, I think.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is your average, run of the mill mono track, which is enough in this case. The low budget roots sometimes hamper the audio, but not too much and in the end, I wasn’t too let down here, although some clean up work is needed. But as I said, no serious problems surface and given the film’s nature, I doubt it could sound much better than this, at least without a full restoration or surround sound remix. The sound effects come through well enough, while dialogue is crisp and never falters much at all. In the end, this is a flawed, but adequate audio experience.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc houses some rare production photos, information on Mikels, and the film’s theatrical trailer. The main draw however, is the audio commentary with Mikels, which fans simply cannot afford to miss. Mikels is talkative at all times, with comments on all kind of topics, from the cast to how certain sequences were pulled off, very cool stuff. It is so cool to listen as Mikels recalls the information and even when he just rambles a little, he is more than interesting enough to keep the audience involved.