The Corpse Grinders (1971)

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What’s it like working for the Lotus cat food company? If your experience is anything like Caleb’s, your shift starts at midnight and you’re expected to dig up graves and retrieve dead bodies. You’re also continually stiffed on your paycheck. Lotus will stop at nothing to save a buck, so be ready for when, rather than paying you, they attack you and try to shove your body in a big hopper which grinds your flesh into ground meat.

Caleb (Warren Ball) has got it rough. His wife Cleo (Ann Noble) is stingy with the beef jerky (“a man’s gotta have meat!”), and thinks a toy doll is her daughter. Cleo, while she feeds the doll soup, nags and nags Caleb about the money. Lotus is doing just fine. Why can’t they pay him?

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Lotus is doing just fine. Yeah. Its CEO, Mister Landau (Sanford Mitchell), is one shrewd guy. Who would’ve thunk human flesh made such great cat food? No one seems to read Consumer’s Digest, so the fact that their product turns cats into crazed killers isn’t slowing down sales any.  The FDA’s none the wiser: “According to FDA standards, there was nothing adulterous or hazardous about it.”

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I don’t think that’s real American Sign Language, by the way, that Landau is using to communicate with his hearing-impaired secretary, Tessie.

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Lotus might be getting away with grave robbing to cut down on material costs. Landau might have a giant meat grinder for people right next to his office, but Dr. Howard Glass (Sean Kenney) and his lovely assistant Angie (Monika Kelly) are suspicious. Dr. Glass is a jack of all trades. His hospital apparently specializes in humans as well as animals. He’ll examine a cat’s autopsy and remove a man’s gallbladder all in a day’s work. And Angie. She’s a regular gal. She’s just like anyone else. After a long day’s work, she likes to strip down to her bra and panties, crack a Budweiser, and watch some television. “Why would the cats suddenly turn into man eaters?” That is the question that plagues Dr. Glass and Angie. Do they actually resolve this question? That’s up to the viewer’s interpretation, I suppose.

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Yes, you better believe the crew of The Corpse Grinders breaks out the red and green tints for the human flesh meat hopper scenes. Other than that, the photography is minimalistic and economical: You only really need one shot of gross, light brown man burger coming out of a meat grinder. Reduce, reuse, recycle. The Corpse Grinders only has one weakness. There aren’t enough cat attack scenes. You’re left wanting more, more, more scenes of cats launching themselves onto people’s necks and red, lipstick-like blood appearing. Other than that, it’s just as good as Ted V. Mikels’s other flicks: The Astro Zombies, The Worm Eaters, The Doll Squad. Thanks for this, Mr. Mikels. Thank you.

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Watch the theatrical trailer right here!