Director: Wayne Berwick
Script: Thomas Singer
Cast: Jackie Vernon, Loren Schein, Al Troupe, Claire Ginsberg, Lee Ann Webber, Sarah Alt, John Harmon, Cindy Grant, Norman Friedman
Running time: 76 minutes
Year: 1983
Certificate: 15

Let’s be honest, this film is rubbish! Right, now I’ve got that out of the way let me tell you why you should still watch it…

Based on an original story by Craig Muckler and adapted (that’s a laugh!) for screen by Thomas Singer, Microwave Massacre was a film that I’d wanted to see since I was a spotty teenager roaming the video hire shops and garages in the early eighties looking for my next nasty fix with my equally zealous (and zitty) mates. I remember seeing the big box cover art for Microwave Massacre and thinking, ‘wow, that looks kinda cool’, but I got out-voted and we ended up hiring Mad Max again, which, in hindsight, was probably the right thing to do!

Anyway, the years drifted by and I still hadn’t seen the film since it was never, to my knowledge, released in the UK on sell-through video, and I don’t think it got a DVD release either. Even though I’d read a fair few bad reviews of the movie I still wanted to see it so when Blueprintreview gave me the change I jumped at it blindly without really thinking through the consequences… that I’d have to endure it all; all 76 minutes of filmic failure.

So how does a film like this live up to its amazing title – well, simply, it doesn’t. However, it does feature probably the largest domestic microwave you’ll ever see!

Old-time stand-up comedian and actor Jackie Vernon plays our anti-hero, Donald, a put-upon husband and disgruntled construction worker who’s fed up with his life and everything in it. His nagging wife, May, played by an amusing Loren Schien, has turned to haute cuisine and insists on packing him off to work with the latest dietary fads that she reads about in glossy magazines and sees on TV. This drives him nuts and, in a bit of an over-reaction, he ends up turning to cannibalism (as you do!) after beating her to death with a pepper grinder (a large one).

So as not to be discovered he dismembers her body and sticks most of it in the freezer and starts to eat bits of her as and when he gets peckish, cooking her patently false limbs and organs in the massive microwave they have. Things get more warped though when he runs out of wife to eat and still has hunger pangs for human flesh. What’s our degenerate Donald to do?

Opening with a bizarre, but funny scene involving a woman, with large breasts, exposing herself to some construction workers through a sizable hole in a wooden fence (probably the best scene in the film!), Microwave Massacre really is the runt of the litter when it comes to eighties cannibal films, and that’s saying something! However, it’s made with such charming incompetence that one can’t help but grow to like it in a vaguely masochistic way.

Lead actor, Vernon, stumbles through his role with a laconic charm, and has all the best lines including the likes of: ‘I’m so hungry, I could eat a whore’ (which he does), and when offered a cigarette he asks: ‘Is this for after sex or before dinner?’ He also, somewhat amusingly, describes a geeky co-worker as a ‘walking contraceptive’. In fact, there’s quite a bit of amusing dialogue throughout the film, with one builder saying to a woman, who enquires as to what they’re building, ‘It’s going to be a skyscraper – do you want to see it rise?’, and of course he’s not talking about the construction project.

In fact, much of the cheesy dialogue sounds like material they rejected from a ‘Carry On’ film! A case in point is this following exchange:

Big busted woman: ‘Men are usually only after one thing.’

Construction worker:’ Err, how do they choose?’ He says this while looking at her boobs, first one, and then the other.

The acting is mostly ropey, the special effects are the opposite of ‘special’ and the direction is pedestrian as best. However, Microwave Massacre is one of those films that you can’t help smiling with, even if you’re mostly laughing at it for the wrong reasons. Leif Horvath’s funky score is quite cool though, and the film retains an oddly charming sub-John Waters kind of vibe.

Arrow Video is distributing Microwave Massacre on DVD and Blu-ray. As per usual with Arrow Video there are some decent extras on the disc including: 

My Microwave Massacre Memories (21 mins) – a featurette which features interviews with the writer, the producer (Craig Muckler), director, and actor Loren Schein. This is a fun, informative watch, which is also quite funny. It was interesting to find out that they shot in former Monkey Mickey Doolan’s old house. A sequel was talked about at one point, but fortunately never materialised – phew! 

Audio commentary by director Wayne Berwick

Theatrical trailer (1.25 mins)

Image gallery – 19 stills including a poster displaying the tagline: ‘They came for dinner… to find they were it!’

Microwave Massacre
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About The Author

Justin Richards is a journalist by day and a scriptwriter by night. His work has appeared in the darker recesses of the internet and in various niche publications including ITNOW, The Darkside, Is it Uncut?, Impact and Deranged. When he’s not sitting hunched over a sticky, crumb-laden keyboard he’s paying good money to have people in pyjamas try and kick him repeatedly in the face.

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