The Grindhouse Experience

July 2nd, 2009 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

You’ve got to be careful with so-called grindhouse flicks. Today’s generation of horror directors homage the likes of Romero, early Raimi and the unknowns who gave us Maniac, Driller Killer and Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. That means they’re second generation, part loving reverence, part piss-take.

But we can presume director Ted V Mikels thought he was making serious movies. He probably wouldn’t have agreed he viewed the world like a sniggering schoolboy only interested in breasts and blood, and he probably wasn’t aware of how shockingly low budgets would result in the crappy effects, atrocious acting and cack-handed drama that would one day become legendary.

Nowhere is the true heart and soul of the grindhouse more plainly on show than in Mikels’ 1972 magnum opus The Corpse Grinders, a horror movie so unintentionally funny it’s what late night DVD, beer and pizza parties were made for.

Even before you get to the Ed Wood-esque execution, the premise is a scream. Two shady businessmen run a cat food plant, and when cats inexplicably start attacking humans (including the obligatory girl in her underwear), only they know it’s because they’ve been grinding up human corpses in the absence of legitimate raw materials.

A doctor and his nurse girlfriend decide to investigate and stumble upon the dark secret in the factory, and characters like the brutish grave robber the bad guys subcontract to the mentally ill factory workers only add to the bizarre, almost comical nature.

Umbrella’s release of Grindhouse Experience is a four disc box set that contains Mikels most classic efforts; The Corpse Grinders and its 2000 sequel The Corpse Grinders II, sexploitation Charlie’s Angels rip-off The Doll Squad (predating the show and said to have inspired it) and the hilariously titled Blood Orgy of the She-Devils.


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