The Chronicles of Horror Movie Night: ‘Microwave Massacre’ (1983)

Posted by Damon Swindall - April 19th 2012 @ 4:49 pm

After starting in Washington D.C. nine years ago Horror Movie Night has expanded to include chapters in Austin, Dallas and Chicago. Horror’s Not Dead’s own Brian Kelley is the originator and programmer of this illustrious weekly Wednesday night tradition which features a “classic” horror film. Each week I will be reviewing/commenting on the past week’s selection so do your best to find the film, most of which have not made it past VHS, and follow along. Better yet, start your own chapter!

Some AMAZING Cover Art

Last year at HMN, we watched a small film from 1991 called The Refrigerator. In this rather interesting tale, we see a couple dealing with the fact that in their kitchen dwells a large old school white icebox that is, well, homicidal. This sentient appliance causes strange things to happen to those living in the apartment and eats anyone it can. As we sat down to watch this week’s entry, titled Microwave Massacre, I was plagued with glee. Who wouldn’t want more killer kitchen aids? Unfortunately this turned out to be more about someone using a microwave to cook his victims rather than the cooking instrument going rouge. Luckily, the film is plenty of fun, it’s short, and, at times, hilarious!

Donald (Jackie Vernon) is hardworking man who spends his days toiling away in the hot sun of a construction site. When he gets home at night all he wants is to take a load off, relax, and eat a simple delicious meal. His wife has other plans. She is on an adventurous cooking kick where they must try something strange and new every night. Donald could not be more annoyed. So when that last straw finally breaks, he takes the anger out on his spouse which ends in her death. Soon enough he accidentally cooks one of her arms in the huge, and ridiculous, new microwave and takes few bites. Getting over the initial disgust of accidental cannibalism rather quickly, he finds that exotic new food his wife so desperately searched for, but he must keep up the killing to sate his ever growing appetite.

You can tell this is going to be a fun movie when at 53 seconds in, even before the main titles, we are treated to a close-up shot of a girl’s bouncing cleavage as she walks down the street. It’s not long after that her boobs are stuck through a hole in some plywood at the construction site while she’s getting some action on the other side. The workers fumble over themselves as they run towards the exposed breasts, only to reach them just as she walks away. I know what you’re thinking – is this a horror flick or a sex comedy? I was thinking the same thing, and someone on Twitter even made the comment that this was like a sex comedy without the comedy.

I strongly disagree.

Some great credits

Most of the jokes do fall flat, but it’s all very campy, silly scenarios involving these construction workers and a portly lead character who’s doing a lot slicing and cooking. Still, somehow in this 76 minute film I laughed myself silly on numerous occasions. There is a random woman in a chicken costume dancing on the street as a folk band plays for fuck’s sake! And this is far from the wackiest thing you’ll see or hear. The microwave that is used in the the massacring, or at least in the aftermath, has to be the largest appliance of the type I’ve ever seen. I’m even including industrial models, much less home commercial use. It’s big enough to comfortably fit a full dismembered human and has settings for barbecuing, broiling and temps reaching around 600 degrees! Donald’s neighbors inexplicably play into the film regularly though they never really interact or have anything to add to the story. The two guys and a girl are seen through silhouette chasing each other around whilst nude and peeking through the window. Later the female of the group is doing some light gardening and using the speed and force of her vibrator to plant the seeds. I only wish I could walk up on one of my neighbors doing the same thing. Preferably one of the younger, hotter ones but at least an old lady with a gardening dildo would give me a good chuckle.

Of course the majority of my laughs come from the scenery-chewing Donald. For the largest portion of the film our “hero” is making bad jokes or puns while mugging for the camera and constantly breaking that fourth wall. The real humor comes when you realize just exactly the real life identity of Donald. Jackie Vernon provided the voice behind the lovable titular character from classic 1969 animated film Frosty the Snowman; the very same you probably all watched as kids growing up and have fond memories of to this day. Now just picture everything Donald says or does being enacted by the most famous snowman in the world. From killing many naked women to pissing in the fireplace. Oh, it’s glorious. Especially when he utters any number of his great lines, like telling a woman “hey, you know you look so much better in the dark”, or the classic “I’m hungry enough to eat a whore.”

Soup's on!

Unfortunately the horror takes a backseat to the comedy here. I was kind of hoping for some insane blood and guts with this one, but there is minimal onscreen killing and even that is rather PG. We do see plenty of body parts that are so fake that they wouldn’t even fool a child. At least there are a couple fun and/or inventive kills included. The best, by far, is one where we don’t really see the deed go down, but the lead up is incredible. Suddenly on the screen is a topless woman  lying on a giant slice of bread while a huge knife is used to spread mayonnaise all over her body before covering her with a second piece. The knife then goes to cut this “sandwich” in half and we cut to another scene. Brilliant!

If you want to find this, you are in luck! According to Amazon there is a readily available DVD, put out by Anthem Pictures, from a few years ago for around $15. Sadly the cover art for the disc is a quick, cheap job that’s completely uninspired. But could it really compare to the art for Midnight Video’s VHS release you see at the top of the page? I thought not.

I hope that you do track this one down sometime if you didn’t watch along with us, because it’s pretty fun. The kind of fun that would be greatly enhanced by the alcoholic beverage of your choice, of course, but fun nonetheless. Get a copy and watch Frosty say and do some crazy things!

Until next week – never underestimate the power of the “Popcorn” setting.

Body Count: 8
First Kill: 26:52
Best Kill: Giant Sandwich
Number of Topless Women: 6
Best Shirt: THIS GUY!

Coming soon to Horror Movie Night (Chronicles are posted one week after screening)
-4/18/12: The Initiation (1984)
-4/25/12: A Night to Dismember (1983)
-5/2/12: The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1993)
-5/9/12: Judgement Day (1988) aka The Third Hand


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