What a campy little treat ‘The Corpse Grinders’ is. Dont let the name fool you this things as grizzly as a kitten in all honesty. While it’s subject matter is wonderfully dark, theres very little in the way of actual ‘gore’ here and instead we’re just…left to soak in the ambience of the films visuals and frankly strange plotting.
In a nutshell, the film revolves around 2 business owners of a cat food company who decide they can save some money and cut some corners by getting a grave robber to provide them with dead bodies that then get fed into a grinder and pulped into cat food. The only downside is, the grim ‘mystery meat’ turns out to be WAY more popular than initially expected and inadvertantly creates an army of cannibal Cats and kittens who turn on their owners looking for a second course.
The films kind of split down the middle as we follow the business owners and the grave robber as they try their best to evade suspicion and capture by the authorities (with their anxieties eventually overtaking them leading to several bloody encounters) and a young doctor and nurse who begin investigating an increase in the number of cat attacks that seem to be linked to the cat food.
This is another seedy, grimy looking 70s exploitation flick. But it’s clearly got a black comedy streak running right the way through it, you’re not supposed to take this thing seriously, you’re supposed to just enjoy it for what it is. a VERY light on detail 73 minute romp thats here to sensationalise and make people smirk.
The scripts light as a feather, it’s got a clean 3 act structure, its very rudamentary in what it’s trying to do, but i’ll always prefer a film that does ‘simple’ really well than one that tries to do ‘complex’ and stuffs it up horrendously. its a zippy little feature that despite having a lot of padding is still entertaining even in its more bloated moments. I like the tone, I think it’s quite well paced and the dialogue is SO quotable with characters who dont exactly get the *best* material to work with, and absolutely dont feel like fully fleshed out beings. But they feel right at home in this bizarre world the scriptwriters made for the 70ish minutes they’re here.
The directions pretty solid for a low budget early 70s exploitation feature. I’ve seen WAY worse from around this time, it’s nice to see they had a styalized and clear vision of what they wanted to show and despite the fact it doesnt really do anything MAJORLY standout, and the fact it’s a bit wobbly in places on the scene structuring and set design, I think it’s actually pretty passable, ESPECIALLY for the exploitation genre.
The cine too is about the same level, they try to ‘class’ up the joint by using hard coloured lighting for most of the scenes in the basement (where they keep the grinder) and that really adds to the horror moments (particularly in the 3rd act) but there is a bit of a sense of them trying to create a faux sense of styalization in these moments. again i’d rather one try and not fully convince me, than not try and bore me.
Other than that compostion work is a bit mixed…there isnt a lot of B-roll for them to work with and the effects of the cats attacking people is ABSOLUTELY laughable. But then, im not coming to a film like ‘The Corpse Grinders’ for accurate autheticity. Im coming to watch people get fed into a meat grinder and served up to cats.
The soundtrack was also kind of unremarkable…I mean, it’s fine, it more than does the job in punctuating key scenes and feeling tonally appropriate. it just kind of felt a bit generic and like library tracks for the most part. It did the job, but little more than that.
Throw in some campy, over the top melodramatic performances that arnt so much chewing the scenery, more gorging on it. and you have a movie thats manic, VERY eccentric, short and to the point that gets in, makes you giggle and gets out. I honestly cant ask for more than that. Definitely recommended, theres a lot of fun to be had with this one.