September 16, 2016


Starring Jackie Vernon, Loren Schein, Al Troup, Marla Simon, Claire Ginsberg, Sara Alt, Lou Ann Webber. Directed by Wayne Berwick. (1983, 76 min).

One thing is certain...I'll never watch Frosty the Snowman the same way again.

If you're old enough to have been kicking around in video stores back in the 80s, you probably came across this micro-budget horror-comedy sharing shelf space with the likes of The Mutilator, Redneck Zombies and Chopping Mall. It was a great time to be alive, when you and your friends grabbed some sick sounding title with lurid VHS box art, picked up a half-rack on the way home and had a grand old time, often at the movie's expense. But I never got around to this one until now.

God help me, that's Frosty the Fucking Snowman gnawing on that severed hand!

Movies like Microwave Massacre, now on Blu-Ray for the first time, are difficult to review because we already know we aren't expecting Remains of the Day. We watch these because they're bad, intentionally or not. But is it good-bad, bad-bad, so-bad-it's-good? Are the filmmakers in on the joke, or does their utter seriousness render the movie even funnier?

Microwave Massacre basks in its own trashiness, mining its goofy premise for laughs with a nudge and a wink (sometimes breaking the Fourth Wall along the way). Unfortunately, it's like that obnoxious uncle in every family who has a bad joke for every occasion and you offer a courtesy laugh to spare his feelings. But the problem isn't the jokes's the delivery. The whole thing would have been far more amusing if director Wayne Berwick had the audacity to take the story seriously.

One too many Hot Pockets.

Comedian Jackie Vernon is Donald, a hapless construction worker whose overbearing wife, May, is the world's worst cook, though she fancies herself a gourmet. After a heated argument gets out of hand, he strangles her to death, chops her up and stashes her in the fridge. Later, he inadvertently eats part of her and discovers human flesh is the best thing he's ever tasted. When he takes a slab of her to work for lunch the next day, two co-corkers, Roosevelt and Philip, love it as well and demand more. Soon, Donald is bringing hookers home to kill and cook using his gigantic microwave.

No, Frosty, No!

Everything about Microwave Massacre is strictly amateur night at the movies, from the direction and dialogue, right down to the mostly inept performances. There's lots of T&A, leering sex jokes and bad puns delivered by a cast who probably had day jobs they were more skilled at. Vernon, the only "name" in the cast, more-often appears to be testing new stand-up material than delivering an actual performance. The violence and gore, the saving grace of many-a-bad-movie, is as phony as novelty rubber body parts you find in stores around Halloween. The film isn't the least bit scary, nor does it try to be, though the fact we're watching the guy who once voiced Frosty the Snowman chopping up corpses probably ruined a few childhoods back in the day.

Philip: "You complete me."
Knothole Girl: "Well, you had me at 'Hello.'"

You probably love this movie, though, or at-least have a nostalgic affinity for it. Why else would you still be reading? Though Microwave Massacre has aged badly from an aesthetic standpoint, this Blu-Ray transfer from Arrow Films is pretty remarkable considering the film's meager budget. On the related note, wouldn't it be great if someone took that old Frosty the Snowman cartoon and slapped some of Vernon's Microwave Massacre dialogue over it?

Interview Featurette: "My Microwave Massacre Memoirs" (some extra laughs can be had when Al Troup, who plays Philip, ominously declares Microwave Massacre to be a foretelling of our downfall through technology)
Image Gallery
Audio Commentary

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