Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Arrow Video - MICROWAVE MASSACRE on Blu-ray ""

Friday, August 19, 2016

Arrow Video - MICROWAVE MASSACRE on Blu-ray

MICROWAVE MASSACRE (1983; Wayne Berwick)

I guessI should have know a movie with a title like MICROWAVE MASSACRE would be pretty gross and sleazy and it surely is. While the movie opens with a disturbing shot of a half-mummified corpse with its mouth agape, it quickly moves into a scene of large-breasted woman walking down the street - heavy angle on her boobs. Soon those boobs are sticking through a hole in a plywood wall at the edge of a construction site. We're talking the first three minutes of the movie and already it felt like there should be a giant neon sign flashing the word "classy" over the footage. What follows is an extended interaction between a man and his wife that would seem to run very parallel to that old comic strip "The Lockhorns" I used to read in funnies section of the newspaper. It's very much like a low-budget live-action version of that. The main dude reminds me of Jackie Mason's brother or something, without sounding anything like Jackie does. He's actually an actor named Jackie Vernon funny enough and he played the voice of Frosty The Snowman (which you will recognize) in those old cartoons. In MICROWAVE MASSACRE, it is bickering, bad cooking and general hatred that define his relationship with his wife. Thankfully they have a new fangled (and gigantic) microwave oven so the food can be prepared much more quickly and perhaps later it'll be put to better (and more deadly) use. 
The film is clearly a product of two things. First, it's one of the many "Massacre" movies that came out in the wake of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, MAIL GUN MASSACRE, MARDI GRAS MASSACRE, HOSPITAL MASSACRE and MOUNTAINTOP MOTEL MASSACRE are just a few of the titles one might have found in the horror section of their local mom and pop video store back in the 1980s. MICROWAVE MASSACRE was a movie I always noticed, but never rented for some reason.  The film is a part of is the general video boom back then, wherein rental shops were so hungry for stuff to line their shelves that they would buy just about anything - especially genre stuff. Though it was shot on film, MICROWAVE MASSACRE's gore is right in line with the Shot-on-video horror that found a niche back then. The other thing that probably grabbed people when this film came out was the obligatory presence of microwaves in people's kitchens at the time. Most everyone had a microwave in the 80s so it must have been an easy hook to incorporate that into a movie title (and premise). Microwave ovens have been the source of much myth and legend since the smaller countertop version of the device first started appearing in homes in the late 1960s. When I was in grade school, you'd always hear tell of some kid that put one of his pets in the microwave and blew them up. In Joe Dante's most famous movie, a Gremlin gets cooked and explodes in a microwave in just that way (though MICROWAVE MASSACRE came out the year prior).
So I had heard over the years that MICROWAVE MASSACRE kind of had a reputation for being one of the worst horror movies ever made. It's nice to have a solid expectation-lowerer like that when going into an old schlockfest like this. Is it the worst horror movie ever? Certainly not. What it is though is an odd combination of Herschel Gordon Lewis-style gross-out horror and goofy 80s T&A comedy (and EATING RAOUL). That said, it's easy to see why this movie has something of a following behind it. The film was certainly made with a sense of humor about it and the intention to entertain.  I'm sure a lot of folks discovered it on VHS and had certain expectations for it when they saw it. I'm sure many had a "what the hell IS this?" kind of reaction and others may have found it ultimately endearing in its oddball weirdness. It is absolutely something that every hardcore horror fan should see at least once as it is not like too many "Massacre" movies I've seen before. 

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
-Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
-Brand new audio commentary with writer-producer Craig Muckler, moderated by Mike Tristano
-My Microwave Massacre Memoirs - brand new making-of featurette including interviews with Muckler, director Wayne Berwick and actor Loren Schein
-Trailer

-Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Original treatment and 8-page synopsis (BD/DVD-ROM content)
-Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter

MICROWAVE MASSACRE can be purchased on Blu-ray here:

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