Meatcleaver Massacre

Meatcleaver_Massacre.posterYou know you’re in trouble when a ponderous Christopher Lee narrates the following introduction to Meatcleaver Massacre:

Coal black, dog-headed hags with bats’ wings, bloodshot eyes and snakes for hair, mad goddesses, who avenged crimes of parricide and perjury, wielding torches and brass-studded whips… those same furies that hounded Oedipus to death…could there be even more destructive spirits? JUDGE FOR YOURSELF!

We will. And we’ll bang the gavel down hard on Meatcleaver Massacre as that weird Greek Chthonic deity stuff is used as a launching point to cut to some professor blathering on about “authentic Irish vengeance chants in Gaelic.”

Whoops. I guess they figured, Celtic, Greek, any occult jibber-jabber nonsense will do if we’ve got Christopher Lee doin’ the talking!

According to IMDb, Christopher Lee said that he was hired by a different producer to narrate an entirely different film, which makes sense. Maybe it was one inspired by, you know, myths of Ancient Greece.

In Meatcleaver Massacre (1977), which features no meatcleavers whatsoever, ol’ Chris gets top-billing as the narrator but the story’s really about one Professor Cantrell.

Meatcleaver_MassacreCantrell wows undergrads with tales from the underworld, except for one chain-smoking hippie skeptic, “Mason” who calls him out with a post-class, “you believe all that shit, professor?”

He’s cut down to size with a “for god sake, grow up!” and decides to do something about the slight: break into the professor’s home with three buddies, kill his wife and kids and pummel the doc into submission (Jeez, he could’ve just apologized or asked for a make-up assignment).

The poor son is throttled with a power cord and the daughter knifed, while the doc gets a candle to the back of the noggin.

A portlier Dr. Phil doppelganger detective is pressed by the media for details, none of which are forthcoming while the murderers sit back at home watching the news, smoking weed and editorializing about the investigation: “they’re pissin’ in the wind!”

The professor, it turned out, suffered a massive cranial fracture, “paralyzed from the neck down.” “He won’t be much use to you or anyone else for a long time,” says the callous attending physician. Of course, the professor’s recuperative powers defy modern medicine and he’s soon chatting amiably with the detective before blacking out.

The murder quartet reconvenes at a comedy club, where the stand-up is doing terrible impressions (Columbo) and ethnic humor (Any Italians here?)…but something’s a bit off with alpha leader Mason…The professor has cast a revenge spell on him! (This despite drifting in an out of consciousness). He could’ve spared a few Gaelic phrases for bad open mic comedians too, except he conjured up the demons in the King’s English.

The demon summoned by Professor Cantrell never really appears on-screen (Hey, if it worked for the meatcleaver) until the very end, when it looks like the creature from the black lagoon, but less convincing. Creepily, the prof experiences ebola-like symptoms when he’s consumed by the spell.

Some say Ed Wood appears in a crowd scene but that’s unverified. [Check out our discussion of Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda on the Really Awful Movies Podcast]

What we’re sure of is that the movie is also known variously as Hollywood Meat Cleaver Massacre, Morak: The Power of the Occult, Evil Force and Revenge of the Dead (Dead? but he was just in a coma!)

** (out of 5)

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