1/10
MEATCLEAVER Massacre (Evan Lee, 1977) BOMB
18 July 2015
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!
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