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Blu-ray Review: Microwave Massacre

THE FILM  0.5/5

“I’m so hungry I could eat a whore.”

Microwave Massacre stars legendary stand-up comedian and actor Jackie Vernon as Donald, a disgruntled construction worker whose wife’s predilection for haute cuisine drives him to cannibalism. Donald unwittingly stumbles upon a solution to his two major problems in his life – his nagging wife and his lack of decent meals – when, one night, he bludgeons his better half to death with a pepper grinder in a drunken rage. Thinking on his feet, Donald dismembers the body and sets about microwaving the remains, which turn out to be rather delicious. Trouble is, now he has a taste for human flesh that needs satisfying… 

microwave_massacre_blu-ray_5Have you seen Microwave Massacre?

Jesus. It’s terrible, isn’t it?

Cut from the same cloth as Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but with far more classless humor and dialogue, Microwave Massacre is a 76-minute eternity crafted entirely of terrible one-liners and even more terrible special effects. Boasting a healthy 3.6 on IMDB and a too-high 33% on the usually less-forgiving Rotten Tomatoes, Microwave Massacre is one of those films commonly accepted as “the worst of all time.” Watching it, it’s easy to see why.

Obviously intended as a starring vehicle for Rodney Dangerfield, who wisely said “no” to this thing louder than someone eats popcorn at the movies, your lead maniac is instead played by Jackie Vernon, who apparently existed only to ape Dangerfield’s one-liner style but with absolutely none of the pulse.

Within the first five minutes, we get a man unpacking a full, uncooked crab out of his lunch box, an extremely stereotypical gay construction worker, and bare breasts shoved through a hole in a wall (not counting the padded-out opening credits sequence also complemented by a close-up on swaying breasts). And if you think this is just the film finding its footing before embarking on a more traditional, less exploitative path, well brother, you ain’t seen Microwave Massacre.

Microwave Massacre is 76 minutes of Jackie Vernon making awful one-liners to himself, with no one else around to hear them, all while wrapping up body parts with tin foil and shoving them into his refrigerator. You’d think I was just exaggerating, but no, that’s really all this is. Sure, he kills the occasional girl while making extremely derogatory and misogynistic comments toward/about them, but that doesn’t exactly make the film sound any more appetizing. If it does, you’re an asshole, and Microwave Massacre was made for you.

microwave_massacre_blu-ray_1For those who have never seen Microwave Massacre and are considering a blind-buy, holy shit, I have no idea how to guide you. Do you like Troma? The Sharknado films? Are you a fool? If so, then I dunno–you might still hate it. But it’ll be a good conversation starter when someone begins looking through your collection and inevitably stops on the spine and inquires, “Is this for real?”

As a film, Microwave Massacre deserves an utter zero, but I gave it a half-point because I laughed exactly once (the punchline for the drive-through gag) and I was feeling charitable.

THE PICTURE  4.5/5

microwave_massacre_blu-ray_2What a good lookin’ piece of shit! Microwave Massacre looks really good! Why does Microwave Massacre look so good? What’s happening? This new 2K transfer commissioned by Arrow Video has resulted in a remarkable looking picture. Its own director probably didn’t even recognize it when he sat down to watch it. “No way I shot something that looks this good,” he said. Low on print damage or marring, and high on clarity, bright colors, stability, and defined textures, Microwave Massacre now has a better looking presentation on blu-ray than Jurassic Park. THINK ABOUT THAT.

 THE SOUND 4/5

microwave_massacre_blu-ray_3This uncompressed mono audio track doesn’t want you to miss a single terrible one-liner. And you don’t! A strong audio presentation, though lacking the kind of dynamism that these filmmakers didn’t bother to include, Microwave Massacre sounds utilitarian, but perfectly fine. There is the occasional issue with harshness with sibilant dialogue, but otherwise there were no issues worth noting.

 THE SUPPLEMENTS 3.5/5

microwave_massacre_blu-ray_8The audio commentary with writer/producer Craig Muckler, moderated by Mike Tristano, contains far more enthusiasm than one would expect, and it all unfolds with Ron Burgundy levels of over-confidence. Muckler makes no bones about what kind of film they made and the difficulties they endured during the shoot, but his devotion to the material is almost admirable, if not completely befuddling.

“My Microwave Massacre Memoirs” brings together the meat and potatoes (minus the departed Jackie Vernon) of the production to talk about that time Microwave Massacre happened to them. There’s some good info peppered throughout, though given the ridiculous film they are talking about, it’s strangely low-key.

The complete list of special features is as follows:

— Audio commentary with writer-producer Craig Muckler, moderated by Mike Tristano
— My Microwave Massacre Memoirs – brand new making-of featurette including interviews with writer/producer Craig Muckler, director Wayne Berwick, and actor Loren Schein
— Trailer
— Original treatment and 8-page synopsis (BD/DVD-ROM content)
— Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter

TECH SPECS

microwave_massacre_blu-ray_6STUDIO: Reel Life Productions
DISTRIBUTOR: Arrow Video
GENRE: Horror/Comedy
RATING: Unrated
THEATRICAL (?) DATE: August 31, 1983
VIDEO STREET DATE: August 16, 2016
VIDEO: MPEG-4 AVC; 1080p; 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 Mono (PCM Uncompressed)
SUBTITLES: English SDH
RUN TIME: 76 mins
DVD COPY: Included
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD: N/A
REGION: A

 OVERALL 4/5

microwave_massacre_blu-ray_covDo you know why I love Arrow Video so much? Because they give a shit. They give a shit about Microwave Massacre. They give more of a shit about Microwave Massacre than those other specialty distributors who manage to obtain titles worth a damn and who then half-ass it. Microwave Massacre doesn’t deserve a release this good. It deserves to be beaten and left for dead in a hole. But instead of a dead-beating/hole-leaving, it’s received a gorgeous new transfer and actually wrangled some of its creators who aren’t too embarrassed to talk about it all these years later (for some reason). If every blu-ray release of a beloved (or derided) cult title got a release as good as Microwave Massacre, we’d all be much happier collectors. Microwave Massacre, the film, doesn’t get any recommendation whatsoever, but its release gets very high marks. Fans of terrible humor, DIY gore gags, and hating themselves shouldn’t hesitate to pick up this stellar release from Arrow.

(Thanks to Mondo Digital and Fetch for the screen grabs.)

THE DISTRIBUTOR

Arrow Films, an all-rights multi-platform distributor of feature films and TV series who specialize in releasing some of the best content from around the world to UK customers and beyond, are now providing domestic releases in North America through MVD Entertainment. Arrow’s global reputation as one of the finest labels in the world has come about through consistent high quality product and a focus on fan-based products always at its core. 


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Written by

J. Tonzelli is a writer, film critiquer, and avid Arnold/Van Damme/Bronson enthusiast who resides in rural South Jersey. He is the author of "The End of Summer: Thirteen Tales of Halloween" and the "Fright Friends Adventure" series, co-authored with Chris Evangelista. He loves abandoned buildings, the supernatural, and films by John Carpenter. You can read some of his short fiction at his website, JTonzelli.com, or objectify him by staring at his tweets: @jtonzelli. He apologizes for all the profanity.

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