Stand-up comedian Jackie Cooper may have performed in thousands of nightclubs across the country and appeared on dozens of late-night talk shows, including regular gigs on Ed Sullivan and The Tonight Show, but if today's generation knows him at all it's as the voice of Frosty the Snowman in a series of Rankin Bass holiday specials. His signature soft-spoken delivery and self-deprecating style were a perfect fit for the lovable cartoon character. That's why it's almost sacrilegious to hear him spout lines like, "I'm so hungry, I could eat a whore!" in 1983's Microwave Massacre, a spoofy cannibal comedy built around Cooper's corny sense of humor and copious T & A horror clich├ęs. Shot in the late '70s but released five years later, the script was originally written with Rodney Dangerfield in mind, which probably would have provided a bit more bite (sorry, I'm just preparing you). But as it stands, Microwave Massacre is an alternate universe anomaly: unevenly blending Borscht Belt punch lines and teenage sex romps. Donald (Vernon) is a construction worker who dreads going home to his wife's experimental cuisine, which is prepared in their new pinball-sized microwave oven. Finally, after a late-night bender, he drunkenly disposes of her once and for all, discovering her remains in the new-fangled appliance. Recovering from the initial shock, Donald accidentally eats a few bites of his late wife...and decides it's not so bad! His "special" sandwiches are a big hit back at work, but when his sexual appetite begins to recover too, Donald finds that he's only satisfied by turning his latest conquest into a meal. Soon, his refrigerator is stuffed with body parts that threaten to expose his secret recipe and his secret double-life. If you're getting the idea that this horror hybrid is one hot mess, pat yourself on the back. But nostalgia for these VHS-era disasters has gone through the roof. And there's a certain sick gratification in seeing just how bad a movie could be and still wind up on a video store shelf. Director Wayne Berwick's film is far from the worst; in fact, there's a David Lynchian-charm to the sitcom-style sets and "Take my wife...please!" dialogue. Ultimately, Microwave Massacre exists in that bizarre niche of movies that just shouldn't exist, but have somehow gone on cult celebrity status. And Arrow Video comes through again with a great-looking 2-disc special edition Blu-ray / DVD set. Even the filmmakers themselves can hardly believe it exists! Extra include a 20-minute or so Making Of with Berwick and his collaborators commenting on the usual challenges and camaraderie. Things get more detailed on the audio commentary, which goes along with a fully illustrated collector's booklet and reversible sleeve.
THIS WEEK'S REVIEW

RECENT REVIEWS

OLDER REVIEWS

ROMEO IS BLEEDING

THE LOBSTER

CRIMES OF PASSION

JUST DESSERTS

THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK

Making Of  I  Commentary  I  Trailer

Collector's Booklet

FEMALE PRISONER

SCORPION

THE BLOODSTAINED

BUTTERFLY