I used to have a roommate named Bobby. He was a nice guy, but not very culturally sophisticated. He was the kind of guy who, even though we were working 10-hour shifts and there was a 45-minute commute to and from the job, would come home and immediately spend an hour at the gym. He was the kind of guy who, after a night at the club, would see a cute girl on her way out, roll down his window, and ask, “Are you hot or not?” He was the kind of guy who was attractive enough to make that dumb line work. He was also the kind of guy who loved The Man Show that ridiculous Comedy Central show that celebrated everything ridiculous and stupid about men. I suspect he’s the kind of guy who would love Microwave Massacre.
A bit of trivia notes that the producers of Microwave Massacre originally offered the lead role to Rodney Dangerfield but he wanted too much money. Which might be everything you need to know about the film.
It’s possible, I think, to make a successfully funny, dark satire out of a cannibal serial killer but you’d need to have a very specific point of view and razor-sharp writing. Microwave Massacre tries to make it a very broad comedy and it fails on nearly every level. When you have a title as goofy as this one, it probably helps to actually have your murdering microwaver actually kill someone pretty quickly. But we don’t get our first blood shed until nearly 30 minutes in.
Instead, we get scene after scene of unfunny, not really interesting banter between various characters that are never developed nor frankly make all that much sense. An opening sequence involves an attractive and rather well-endowed woman walking to a construction site and slipping her breasts into the breast sized holes in the wooden fence. The horny workers on the other side rush to cop a feel but she moves away before they can get their hands on her. This is what goes for comedy in this film. What I found more humorous than most of the jokes is that all of these construction workers are all basically sitting around an empty field. There are several scenes set on the site but other than a couple of piles of rocks and one metal rafter, the construction site is completely empty. Maybe the set designer was sick that day.
Jackie Vernon (doing his best Dangerfield) plays Donald, a sad-sack schmuck who hates his job, hates his life, hates his wife, and especially hates her cooking. She’s got four fancy ovens plus a brand new microwave (which is gigantic in this film which either really dates the film or is some kind of goofy gag) and fixes elaborate gourmet meals for him each night. But Donald is more of a plain ham-and-cheese sandwich kind of guy so he resents all the effort.
Which gets to my biggest thematic problem with the film. They are obviously setting up the wife as some kind of shrew of a woman who drives Donald to murder. Yet in reality, she seems like a perfectly nice woman (well, maybe a bit sarcastic) who so desperately wants a little attention from her husband that she’s spent an untold fortune and all of her time making delicacies for him. Yet all she gets in return is spite and “take my wife, please” style insults.
I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that he does eventually kill her, and eat her. In order to hide the body, he wraps her up and stuffs her in the freezer. But then she looks like all the other meat in there, and soon enough, he’s forgotten what’s beef and what’s human. After getting a taste for human flesh, he begins murdering others and filling his freezer with their remains.
All of this is played for corny laughs. He’s having a great time killing and eating all sorts of beautiful women until his unattractive and annoying aunt comes over and discovers his secret. He doesn’t want to eat her because she’s so obnoxious. Ha ha. He unburdens himself with a psychiatrist only to find the Doctor’s taken the wrong meaning of “eating” a woman and recommends more oral sex. Har har. The best joke of the whole movie is how the bartender at the strip club gets so fed up with everybody trying to talk to him about their lousy lives that he’s started kicking the customers out just to get some peace and quiet. Tee hee.
Microwave Massacre is a lame, terribly unfunny, and rather dull film. There is enough blood and boobs to keep the Bobby’s of the world entertained, but for the rest of us, I completely recommend skipping this one. That being said if you happen to be a Bobby, or more likely if you happened to have watched this movie in your impressionable years and have a fondness for it despite its terribleness, then this Arrow release is a great way to own it.
Taken with the usual caveats about this being a very low-budget film from a couple of decades ago, Microwave Massacre looks quite good. Arrow has scanned the original negatives and cleaned it up a lot. There is still the occasional bit of grain and compression issues, but overall, it’s a nice-looking transfer. Likewise, the audio is quite serviceable. With its original budget, the filmmakers didn’t put a lot of effort into sound design but the score comes in loud and clear and I noticed no problems with the dialogue.
Extras are a little light for an Arrow release. There’s a nice interview with the screenwriter and some of the actors from 2015 and a trivial laden, very talkative audio commentary from writer Craig Muckler. It’s also got the usual trailers, image stills, and a booklet with a long essay.