The Corpse Grinders DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by 88 Films
Directed by Ted V. Mikels
Written by Arch Hall Sr., Joseph Cranston, Ted V. Mikels
1971, Region 2 (PAL), 62 minutes, Rated 18(UK)
DVD released on 17th March 2014
Sean Kenney as Dr. Howard Glass
Monika Kelly as Angie Robinson
Sanford Mitchell as Landau
J. Byron Foster as Maltby
Warren Ball as Caleb
Ann Noble as Cleo
Running low on funds, a small-town cat food company decides to solve its problems by looking locally for an alternative source of cheap meat – the local graveyard, that is. The scheme quickly backfires once the cats discover a taste for human flesh. It's not long before the peckish pussies start looking to hunt meat for themselves – in typically merciless cat style.
That's a fine synopsis for a horror film – within the killer animal subgenre, murderous cats have been remarkably few – but The Corpse Grinders consistently fails to live up to that promise. Slow, dull and surprisingly lacking in feline fury, it offers very little besides the occasional cat attack and human-on-human atrocity. Even when the cats do attack, there's no gore, nor any joy to what should be a darkly hilarious bit of tabby terror. Stick with Let the Right One In and its wonderfully brutal pack attack – this one routinely forgets to entertain.
Still, the human element of the story has its moments of interest. Bickering gravediggers, sleazy kidnappers and all-too-earnest heroes and heroines make up the characters, with Monika Kelly looking doe-eyed and distressed throughout, particularly towards the end, when she inevitably finds herself kidnapped and tied to a conveyor belt as the film's creepiest creep fondles her bosom. From its lurid title and cover art to the sleazy atmospherics and slimy villains (the humans, not the cats), The Corpse Grinders is a typically 70s piece of low-budget horror. Director Ted V. Mikels – mastermind behind such classy-sounding pieces as Dr. Sex and Blood Orgy of the She-Devils isn't quite the Herschell Gordon Lewis that the film needed, but he does well enough. Be sure to stick around for the audio commentary and special features, which is where Mikels really comes into his own.
Of the recent cult classic and retro horror resurgence we seem to be experiencing these days, The Corpse Grinders is very much among the chaff. Slow, dull and lacking in scares, humour and entertainment, it's one of several 70s horror disappointments that could probably have stayed buried. As it is, it's a passable night's viewing, but far from catnip for horror fans looking for their fix.
Video and Audio:
You get the film as is; 88 Films have done no restoration work on The Corpse Grinders, leaving it looking like a cheap release reminiscent of DVD's earliest days. Still, that only adds to the Grindhouse aesthetic.
Ted V. Mikels appears in a making-of documentary to talk us through the intricacies of making The Corpse Grinders. Cat lovers will be less than enthused at his admission that he shot one action sequence simply by throwing a cat at his actress. Elsewhere, however, he comes across as warm, enthusiastic and likeable. Impressive moustache, too. He also shows up for an audio commentary, should you feel like suffering through the film for a second time. No moustache, though. At least, I couldn't hear it.