The Corpse Grinders is a lurid and rather crass film that revolves around a cat food company called Lotus Cat Food. The Lotus brand of cat food is the most costly and superior cat food on the market. Run by two shifty businessmen (Landau and Maltby), the pair get into trouble with their suppliers and have to find an “alternative” supplier who is a local grave robber. They buy cadavers for 20c a pound and eventually come to the conclusion that “ingredients are everywhere” and resort to seeking out live product, mainly people they owe money to and winos.
The new product causes cats everywhere to go completely wild resulting in the cats attacking and killing their owners (this provides some rather entertaining scenes). At the local vet clinic, a man comes in and tells Dr Howard and Nurse Angie how a woman was killed by her cat, he then brings the cat in to have its stomach contents checked. The Dr and Nurse are alerted to the fact that Lotus Cat Food seems to be the cause behind this sudden out-break of flesh-eating cat attacks and set out to solve the mystery.
The DVD cover may make the movie seem more of a gross out fest than it actually is, with taglines such as ‘Bone-Crushing Terror! Spine-Tingling Chills!’ and ‘ Turn bones and flesh into screaming, savage blood death!’. The Corpse Grinders does not fail in delivering some gross out scenes, such as a fake cat stomach content autopsy; piles of cadavers; bins full of human remains and the “corpse grinding machine” which crushes and then excretes human remains that resemble mashed mince and pâté.
The Corpse Grinders plays heavily upon stereotypes. The Doctor/Nurse relationship, decrepit old men, the sleazy businessmen, the Burt Reynolds look-alike cop, but all the characters seem to have their own redeeming/quirky qualities, such as the Doctor drinking in between surgeries, Landau being kind to his deaf and one legged worker Tessie (he even communicates with her in sign language) before turning another worker into cat food; lets not forget Maltby being attracted to the young female cadavers.
I love the anaemic colour of 70s films, the graininess and the flaws and inconsistencies that accompany the aforementioned qualities. The Corpse Grinders is full of them: fog that dominates then dissipates then suddenly comes back, the grave robber and the freshly dug up cadavers that are not dirty, the oh so familiar night and day fuckups, but I was quite surprised when I started seeing Argento styled lighting in the basement scenes at the Lotus cat food factory.
The Corpse Grinders along with Plan 9 From Outer Space, has been dubbed ‘one of the worst movies ever made’, now you have to give it a fair chance, if all you like is mainstream horror spawned by the Hollywood herd then of course you are not going to like it, but if you can appreciate low budgets and trashy fun then this movie is a gem.
The whole premise of the movie is absurd so who cares if there is bad acting or crappy looking sets? I mean come on, we all know that cats can’t kill humans by attacking them (well they can smother little babies) so to tag the film as lacking verisimilitude is idiotic. If you love fast paced, trashy movies then this movie is worth picking up.
- Feature-length audio commentary by Ted V Mikels
- Theatrical Trailer
- Special never-before-seen music video tribute by Bentmen
- Gallery of rare behind-the-scenes production photos
- Ted V Mikels Filmography