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"Meatcleaver Massacre" starts with long occult monologue of British horror legend Christopher Lee.A famous professor of occultism named Cantrell and his family is attacked in their home by four knives wielding students.Proffesor survives the attack,but his entire family is murdered.Whilst lying and vegetating in his hospital bed Cantrell summons an old Gaelic god to take vengeance on the murderers.And guess what?The killers begin to die one by one in some rather psychedelic ways for example one of them is killed by film projector.Incredibly cheap and delirious horror flick which rarely makes sense.There are some downright hilarious scenes and quite disturbing hallucinations throughout.The atmosphere is strikingly dreamy and nightmarish sometimes.The acting is awful and there is no meatcleaver massacre.6 rusty meatcleavers out of 10 and that's being generous.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie almost has Christopher Lee as the narrator! It's something
that requires an explanation. Someone, somehow got an agreement with
Lee, that he would be filmed sitting by a desk and tell random ghost
stories. By his dapper look in leisure suit, with white socks in
loafers, you can tell how much he cared. The scene ended up wrapping
this movie as the opening and conclusion. The actual movie makes no
attempt at connecting to any of what Lee says, but it still somehow
justified his name on the poster.
Would it surprise you to know that there is no use of meatcleavers in the movie either?
The actual movie is about a professor lecturing classes about demons and ghouls. For his lectures he use a handful of painted illustrations that would make awesome covers for comicbooks or rockalbums, but they seems really out of place in the world of academia. But by the look of his students age-range, it seems unlikely that any of them ever will graduate anyway.
Some of the students unfortunately are a Manson-family like gang, and the leader has gotten a grudge on the professor because he suggested that they opened a textbook if they wanted to graduate. One night they all go to kill the professor and his family in a scene that is a prime example of how not to introduce characters. We are told that the professor lives with his daughter and that's it. But there is also a wife! We never get a clear shot of either the daughter nor the wife so there's no way of telling who's who. Then we see some guy in a kitchen eating a sandwich! That's the son, but it takes a long time before we can figure that out. The family are all massacred anyway, but the professor only end up paralyzed, and he still manage to gather a demon with his thoughts to carry out a bloody revenge.
These supernatural slayings following are kinda awesome and kinda strange and it's sometimes hard to tell what actually is supposed to happen. Like when someone is killed by cursed cacti, it takes a while to get a grip of it. There is also a detective following the deaths, but he is killed before we are any close to a climax. The mentioned demon illustrations also doubles as special effects, by being filmed with shaky came to eerie music. But much surprisingly we actually do get to see a glimpse of the demon, that looks like swamp-thing with a beard. And don't forget Christopher Lee's closing curtain of even more nonsense.
Meatcleaver Massacre (1977)
1/2 (out of 4)
Four students break into the home of their professor with the plan on scaring him but one of them decides to take it a bit further. The professor ends up paralyzed and unable to speak but even worse is that his family were brutally murdered. Soon the four students begin to suffer strange deaths and it turns out the professor is communication with an occult through brain waves.
Also known as Hollywood MEATCLEAVER MASSACRE, this film is best remembered for "starring" Christopher Lee. Apparently Lee provided on screen narration for another film that never materialized so the producer sold the footage to these filmmaker who added it to the beginning and end of this picture. I guess you can understand Lee being upset over this but at the same time you have to wonder why he didn't ask to re-write the dialogue but what he has to speak is quite laughable and it really reminded me of the speech Bela Lugosi had to give in GLEN OR GLENDA? If you're going into this movie for Lee then be warned that he only has two brief scenes.
The rest of the movie is pretty bad as it's clear no one had any movie experience and were just trying to make a cheap horror movie that could hopefully get into theaters and make money. I'm not sure if they succeeded in making money but there's no question that they made a very bad movie on many levels. For starters, the film was shot without much light so the majority of the scenes are extremely dark and to the point where you can't see what's happening. The screenplay really doesn't contain any logic as it's never quite clear why the students would kill the professor and what they do in the aftermath is quite dumb as well.
The film contains some pretty bad performances throughout and if you're just hoping for cheap exploitation due to the title then you'll be disappointed as well. The murder sequences are rather bland and there's certainly not enough gore here to make it worth sitting through. There's really not too many good things that can be said about this picture but I am thankful that it only ran 79-minutes.
Meatcleaver Massacre is a slow moving, extremely dark, supernatural
The story concerns a college professor named Cantrell (James Habif), a leading researcher in the mystical field of the occult and supernatural phenomenon. A devoted family man, in his spare time, he teaches a course at Valley College in Hollywood. One day, following a class, Cantrell confronts a student who is mocking his most recent lecture. He manages to embarrass the student in front of his friends and thus seals his own death warrant.
The student is a dangerous and psychotic thug named Mason Harrue (Larry Justin) who, with his cronies, visits the professor at his home. The initial plan is to scare Cantrell and his family but things go bad and the thugs wind up slaughtering Cantrell's wife and two children. Cantrell remains alive but in a coma.
From his hospital bed, Cantrell calls up an ancient demon named Morak The Avenger, to take violent revenge on those who murdered his family. The hunt is on.
Meatcleaver Massacre is sort of a Deathwish meets The Supernatural type revenge outing. Sadly, the title seems to imply a meatcleaver wielding killer hunting the streets in search of blood, instead we get very little blood and only one scene involving a meatcleaver. The film is relatively tame, even a little boring.
This film has a lot of things wrong with it, including the lame script and slow moving pace. The film is dark, as if the lighting man quit the film after the first day. The acting is amateur at best. The film's major selling point is the appearence of horror legend Christopher Lee. Lee is the dead-pan host who has nothing to do with the film in any way. He merely mentions some events from the past where supernatural events occured. He mentions nothing of the characters or events in the film. The other actors in the cast aren't very good and Larry Justin hams it up just way too much to come off a murderous thug. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when Ed Wood appeared, he was the king of bad movies was he not? Well this is one of the worst. Miss it.
Actually, Christopher Lee IS here, in a way. He is sitting at a desk and spouting some mystical hocus-pocus at the beginning and the end of the film. I was about to say "I hope he enjoyed a nice paycheck for this", but then I read the trivia section for this movie on IMDb and it seems that the exploitation of his name to fool the paying audience was not his idea and was done without his permission. Anyway, "Meat Cleaver Massacre" doesn't have enough story to support a feature-length film, and the killings are not interesting, memorable or explicit enough. As for the actors, I doubt most of them ever worked again in another film. Avoid this schlock, even if you are an avid horror fan. (*1/2)
Christopher Lee was known to complain about having to appear in certain
films, but he rightfully went farthest with this one (even taking the
case to court, but dropping it due to the inordinate dent the whole
would make to his financial situation) since he was actually duped into
making a documentary about the occult when instead the footage was sold
to the official producers of this stinker in order to add a marquee
name to their substandard product!
Well, I cannot recall when I last was this harsh in my rating of a film but what else can you expect when the project's exploitative nature is worn so blatantly on its sleeves: apart from the fraudulent roping in of the star (who, naturally, only appears in bookends totally disconnected from the main feature other than that the latter's premise also involves the paranormal), the title is equally deliberately misleading as not only is the titular weapon used a mere couple of times throughout (and, therefore, hardly the cause of the intimated endless bloodshed), but the intended parallels to THE Texas CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) could not be more removed in both plot and artistic quality! Anyway, what we have here is a group of jaded University students who get so upset with what they deem time-wasting sessions (talk about life imitating art!) devoted to the occult that the quartet decide to pay their Professor a less-than-courteous visit at his home where things inevitably turn brutal. However, much to their chagrin, the elderly man survives in a semi-comatose state (while his young daughter does not as it happens, thanks to the meatcleaver) and it appears that he indeed practices what he preaches, given that (even in his precarious state!) he is capable of willing a supernatural entity to exact revenge on his family's assailants.
Everything about the film is ugly: from the protagonists (who would like to evoke the notorious Manson cult but they have no characteristics, good or bad, to speak of other than the obnoxious leader, whose acting is at once over-the-top and abysmal) to the utterly dreary look and the messy pseudo-surreal nightmares preceding the spirit's retribution (one of which, at least, is effectively revealed to be no more than a childish prank!). At least, the film-makers were committed enough to adopt the 'kill by the sword, die by the sword' (or, in our case, meatcleaver) adage for the first villain's demise; otherwise, one is crushed by the bonnet of a car he is repairing (with the oozing blood looking very much like strawberry jam) and another, a part-time projectionist, has his current attraction mysteriously interrupted and replaced with footage of the group's assault on the Professor's home (the only other inventive touch in the film, if still ludicrous!) before being offed. A bald cop investigates both the assault and the subsequent murders, is smart enough to make the connection (to say nothing of the psychic link between patient and pawn, which he even relates to the gang leader in the hope of confessing his own guilt) but is still unable (or, perhaps, willing) to save him from his come-uppance.
Finally, it is worth noting that I was so bored out of my skull watching this that an unintentionally hilarious moment showing one of the gang troubled by a guilty conscience, or fear of payback (it is unclear which), attempts to commit suicide by slashing his wrists but is suddenly brought back to his senses by the realization that he is already late for work that the supposed drollness of the incident completely eluded me! Also, while the movie's running-time is alternately given as 85 (IMDb) and 90 (Cinemageddon) minutes, the print I watched (derived from "You Tube") lasted for just 79 which, apart from presenting no official credits, abruptly cuts off the argument being laboriously made by Lee at the epilogue!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Christopher Lee opens with monologue, it appears that he would be
setting up some sort of "tale of the macabre". He seems like a Rod
Serling or Boris Karloff, preparing us for a tale of terror and the
supernatural. And, this wouldn't seem so out-of-sorts for that, but the
problem is his monologue is put in front of some 70's hokum, an
exploitation feature which doesn't remotely resemble any of the content
for which he so describes. If this were an episode of "chiller
theater", then Lee's work would've been ideal. Alas, it's applied to
Hollywood Meat Cleaver Massacre. Lee returns at the end to close the
film on the topic of powerful Shamans perfectly conveying the
disconnect between his work and that of the central story-line.
The movie itself is about students, real hellraisers, who decide, for the sheer pleasure of it, to assault their professor, Cantrell(James Habif) and his family. Mason(Larry Justin) is the psychopathic ringleader. The sadistic brood never use a cleaver, which negates the use of the film's title. This film, on it's own, probably wouldn't have such a negative reaction towards it if those who produced/distributed it weren't such fraudulent. Come to think of it, I'm not sure any of the film actually takes place in Hollywood! These kinds of movies have premises commonplace in cinema at that time. Last House on the Left as well as the Manson murders obviously come to mind, and, of course, the numerous clones that spawned as a result.
Mason has a short fuse, a temperament that's ugly and confrontational. Why anyone would associate with a slimeball such as this is anybody's guess. What Mason and his group don't expect is the professor's ability to call a creature to exact justice on his part. Mason was one of those nuisances who considered his college class on the occult nonsense, and boy will he be in for a surprise! As expected, they are haunted by nightmares and soon fall prey, one at a time, to a menace, while we hear the voice of the professor summoning the Morak. There's this funny scene where one of the pack contemplates slitting his wrist, only to back out because he was late for work. Anyway, we see that when the "force" attacks each victim, Cantrell reacts as if he can sense their pain and fear. The filmmakers also juxtapose the portrait of a warlock(..which favors Cantrell interesting enough)and multi-eyed creature. Death sequences include a car hood crushing a victim underneath, a fusebox blasting sparks into the face of a victim, and a chest is opened up. Mason's fate is fitting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I saw Christopher Lee was starring in this film I thought to
myself that it cant be that bad. But it was!
First off all Mr Lee doesn't star in this film, he only does a prologue and an epilogue to it. The thing is that what he says in his parts, have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film.
The plot? A teacher embarrasses a pupil who is mocking his lecture. Is that a reason to kill all the poor guy's family?!?!?
Then the teacher,who lays in a coma in hospital, and is apparently paralyzed from the waist down, summons a demon to take revenge on the killings. But how can i paralyzed person toss and turn in his bed?
And why does the demon, look like the monster from "the swamp thing"???
And last but not least, why oh why is this film called "the meat cleaver massacre" when there is absolutely no meat cleaver used in this film??
The plot is stupid, the FX are stupid, the acting is stupid. The whole film is stupid. Avoid!
Man, what can I say about this film...? First off, I laughed pretty
hard with that sequence where the guy's about to commit suicide and
then calls it off because he's running late for work. But this film is
not a comedy.
Secondly, I have to disagree with Coventry - my good friend who also wrote something about this film on these pages - when he said that "Funny Man" (1994) is a worse film than "Meatcleaver Massacre". I know I'm not supposed to comment on other people's writings on here, but I'm sure he'll forgive me. While "Funny Man" does star Christopher Lee in nothing more than a (rather similar) cameo, it's pretty clear that Lee knew this time what kind of film he was doing it for. Also, the two films are completely incomparable. "Funny Man" obviously is an intended horror-comedy that wants to be ridiculous & gory at the same time. Just imagine a film like Ken Russel's "Gothic" featuring a villain like "Rumpelstiltskin" or "Leprechaun" with a bad case of Freddy Krueger one-liners thrown in the mix. It has a few surreal sets, quite a bit of stupid humor and a bit of blood, splatter & guts in it. Admittedly, not everything works in this B-movie, but some stuff does, while in "Meatcleaver Massacre"...
...virtually everything results in below par dreck, meaning: It's actually a worse film. Furthermore, the film plays it dead-serious - I expected no less from this one - and that makes it all the more painful. However, I have a couple of good things to say about it. Mainly about some imagery and the way it was shot & edited. The 'dream sequences' prior to the death scenes had something to them. They were like sequences of experimental film-making edited into the film. They felt completely out of place, but I did find them the most enjoyable parts of the movie. Even had me thinking about the 'tripping scene' on the graveyard in "Easy Rider". The (rudimentary) editing, at times, features cross-cutting & the juxtapositioning of certain images.
But the film itself, is complete drivel without even an attempt at a storyline to make it a bit more coherent. However, it still is the kind of drivel - barely, I might add - that is manageable to sit through. To me, it felt like "Death Wish" & "House on the Edge of the Park" (for some reason Larry Justin had me thinking of David Hess) teaming up with Lucio Fulci's "Aenigma", while possible directed by a senile Ed Wood on drugs. I realize that saying this, might draw die-hard fans of exploitation horror only closer to this film. And exactly for those folks, "Meatcleaver Massacre" might be worth a watch. Other people, just steer clear away from it. Also know as "Hollywood Meat Cleaver Massacre", this film is absolutely nothing along the lines of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", just in case you should wonder (and that's another sign of how shameless the producers of this wretched film were).
While lacking a decent story, the whole film is pretty much nothing more than 3 (or 4, depending how you look at it) death scenes with useless filler material in between. As a bonus you get the violence against the professor & his family at the beginning of the film, which really isn't much to write home about either. They didn't even rape the daughter (just a quick shower-shot from behind, filmed through tainted glass). Harsh thing to say, maybe, but what else would sick-minded puppies look for in a film like this? They did kill the wife's dog called Poopers, though. Yes, it was called Poopers.
The professor ends up in a coma with a fractured skull, but not without summoning a demon (Morak, The Destroyer! The Avenger!) to act out his vengeance. Now - probably thanks to the very low budget - the demon isn't show throughout the film, and this actually works for the better. In the death scenes, the villains are killed by an unseen force and those sequences look fairly imaginative. But some poorly executed blood & gore effects do diminish the over-all effect those kills should have had. Unfortunately, when bad guy Mason gets it near the end, the filmmakers do decide to show us a bit of the alleged demon, and they really shouldn't have. It looked like a toxic bum with a wig & bad make-up. Oh, what's that? This film tries to be clever at the very end? Well never mind that, as it's far too late already.
As everyone knows by now, the movie's opening- & closing minutes feature Christopher Lee telling a couple tales of the occult, which bear no relevance to the actual film. I do hope he got payed for his work, regardless how his footage ended up in "Meatcleaver Massacre". And let's repeat something else that everyone already knows: There's no meat-clever to be spotted in this film. But, hooray, around the one-hour mark, there's a bit of welcome female nudity for pretty much no reason in particular. Anything else I might have forgotten...? Perhaps, if you should decide to watch it, try to watch it when you feel up to it, otherwise it might put you to sleep. It's not really a very exciting film.
The one and only reason why "Meatcleaver Massacre" hasn't vanished into complete obscurity and oblivion just yet is solely the fault of Christopher Lee. This living horror legend appears as the narrator at the beginning and ending of this film and afterwards attempted to initiate a lawsuit against the producers because he wasn't aware for what movie he was hired to narrate. Well, when comparing Lee's monologues to the actual content of the film, I definitely do believe he didn't have a clue about what for the footage would eventually be used for. The narrations at the beginning & end are completely irrelevant to the film's actual substance. Christopher Lee, reliable and stern-voiced as ever, compellingly proclaims wonderful stories about the strength of the soul and how it can be a foreteller of great things to come. I particularly enjoyed the parable about the soul of great knight leaving its host while he was asleep and then afterwards leading him to great undiscovered treasures. Or the cute little saga at the end, about two sorcerers engaging in a magic showdown and gradually involving the entire world. In other words, I actually enjoyed listening to Christopher Lee a lot more than I did watching the mediocre middle-section of the film. If this man would have lectured at my university, perhaps I would have attended some more of the classes. But in all honesty, the rest of the film isn't as bad as reputed to be. "Meatcleaver Massacre" which doesn't contain any sequences with meat cleavers whatsoever is a standard and derivative story about spiritual retribution, occult summoning and teenage hoodlums. Professor at college and expert in demonology Dr. Cantrell embarrasses one of his students, tough kid Mason Harrue, in front of his friends. The kid is obviously quite offended because he promptly recruits three of his docile friends to pay a nightly visit to the professor's house. The gang sadistically murders the professor's wife, son, daughter and dog. The dog's name was Poopers, so I guess the poor thing is better off dead. Prof. Cantrell himself survives the attack though just barely but has enough strength left to summon an avenging demon from his hospital bed. The demon, which remains invisible throughout in order to save budget and because probably nobody knew what it should look like, imaginatively ticks off the assailants one by one but keeps something extra special in store for Mason. "Meatcleaver Massacre" is a largely unoriginal film with several tedious moments and amateurish production values, but I've seen movies that are a lot worse. The dialogs are quite hilarious ("The professor is lying in his coma like a carrot") and the murder sequences are pretty decent (especially the head-crushed under car hood moment). All in all, this is still a much better film than "Funny Man" in which to my recollection Christopher Lee appeared voluntarily!
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