Microwave Massacre (1983) Movie Review
Written By: Angela DiLella
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Wayne Berwick
Producers: Craig Muckler and Thomas Singer
Writers: Thomas Singer, based on a story by Craig Muckler
Date Released: August 31, 1983
Jackie Vernon as Donald
Loren Schein as Roosevelt
Al Troup as Philip
Rating = 1/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Sick and tired of his wife, Donald finally snaps and kills her. An accidental snack makes him realize that there was something good about her—her taste! Once he gets hooked, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get more human meat.
Just about everything happens off-screen, with just a spurt of blood here or there.
The Grave Review
Sometimes you watch a movie and think, “Well, that certainly was a thing I used my eyes to watch.” Microwave Massacre is definitely the kind of movie that inspires that thought. Although the plot is pretty straightforward—Donald (Jackie Vernon) realizes he likes the taste of human flesh and starts killing single women in town to get more of it until fate subdues him—it meanders with so many not-quite-B-plots and not-quite-running-gags and asides that it feels like there should be more and your brain kind of overworks itself. It isn’t a challenge to understand in any way, but it does feel like an endurance test to make it through.
Some of these asides and oddities are fun. Jackie Vernon plays a straight man in a very strange world very well, and reacts to it all with a tired, if baffled, acceptance. Until he starts eating people, it endears him to the viewer—chances are, their world is also very different from the movie’s world. Everyone is confused, both movie characters and viewers, together. Vernon was a comedian in his own right, and some of his lines (as well as the visual gags) are pretty good; it reminded me a bit of Archie Bunker in All in the Family, albeit a dollar store version of the infamous patriarch. At the same time, the comic angle does sometimes add to the fatigue the movie causes, as some of the one-liners and humorous scenes clearly only exist as padding. It makes the film drag terribly at times and the hour and fifteen-minute run time feels twice as long thanks to it.
The rest of the cast doesn’t really offer up anything too impressive; it’s impossible to tell whether other actors in on the joke of the movie or just aren’t very good actors. Heck, there might not even really be a joke behind the movie—it’s hard to tell if anything or everything is self-aware and winking at the viewer or if it’s just that bad.
As a horror fan, the film’s biggest weakness is that it isn’t really that horrific. The premise is horrifying, and the opening shot of a mummified-looking head with blood-filled eye sockets seems to promise nasties. However, it doesn’t live up to this visual at all. The best it could scare is a young child, and the nudity and sex scenes mean that this probably isn’t the movie to introduce the genre to a kid. (As if the cannibalism wouldn’t already drive that point home!) If you really love schlocky, low-budget horror films, Microwave Massacre is undoubtedly in that vein, but you’re really going to have to love them to make it through this one.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Microwave Massacre (1983) one out of five graves.
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