Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Corpse Eaters (1974)

Directed by:
Donald R. Passmore
Klaus Vetter

Lawrence Zazelenchuk, owner of the long defunct "69 Drive-In" outside of Ontario, Canada, decided he wanted to get into the movie business and have an original feature film to show at his establishment. He sunk his life savings (36,000 dollars) into producing this inept low-budget zombie flick (which he also wrote) and then hired Donald R. Passmore to direct. Four days into shooting, Passmore was replaced by cinematographer Klaus Vetter and the rest is history... in more ways that one. While the film played regularly at Zazelenchuk's drive-in for quite some time, it never seemed to book many (if any) showings elsewhere and was never officially released to either tape or DVD during the 80s or 90s. Eventually it was purchased by someone in the states who reportedly used it as a tax ride-off and then probably stuck it in a box. For years, zombie completists have wondered if this would ever make it off the shelf and onto a home viewing format. The answer is... sort of. A little company called Encore Home Video offers it for 20 bucks and claim "Our tape has been transferred from the only known surviving print." They have also stamped their company name on the entire film.

The narrated intro tells us that the theater owner has a "moral obligation" to warn us about the "stomach-upsetting scenes" we are about to see. We're also informed that a gimmick has been inserted - a warning bell and flashes of an old man acting like he's about to heave - that is to proceed any possibly nauseating moment. We're then off to Happy Halo Funeral Home, where the deranged Dr. Zaroff tells a costumer that "business is never good enough." A corpse mutilated by a bear is on its way there but that's OK because mortician Bill "kind of likes those hardcore cases." While he's working on that, Zaroff drives around the cemetery in a hearst and we get to hear his inner thoughts, which are basically equating his clients with "dead pieces of meat" and thinking about how stupid and naive the families of the dead are. Nice guy.

Meanwhile, two fun-loving couples; Allen and Lisa and Richie and Julie, ride around on a boat. They dock, get out, lay down a blanket and then two of them start fucking right in front of the others, which is especially uncomfortable when we realize that the guy doing the fucking is the brother of the other woman. After swimming, everyone tries to decide where to go from there. Since it's Friday the 13th, one guy comes up with the idea to spend the night in a graveyard. Once there, rain drives them into an open vault and then Richie remembers a Satanic incantation his uncle taught him. Might as well try it out, right? What's the worst that can happen? He draws a circle on one of the coffins, turns a crucifix upside down and does his chant ("Lucifer! Lucifer! Barabas! Barabas! Satanas! Satanas!") A few zombies pop out of their graves outside, bite Richie and then kill Julie and eat her guts. One cuts off her hand with a shovel and eats that instead. The other three get to the car and take off.

Arriving at a hospital, Richie is immediately taken into surgery but dies. The doctors can't understand why, but his body has rejected blood transfusions and everything else they tried to save him. Lisa passes out from shock and has a nightmare that her brother rises from the grave and gets blood all over her mouth kissing her. She then imagines herself becoming a zombie, biting a chunk out of Allen's neck and then stabbing her nurse to death with scissors and eating her. The latter is shot in shadow and clearly influenced by the cellar / spade death in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (which was still popular in drive-ins when this was made). Richie's body is finally hauled off to Happy Halo where a drunken Dr. Zaroff eventually stumbles in on Richie and some other corpses eating the face off a body before he gets his own eyesball ripped out. Then there's a surprise ending.

An ugly, poorly lit, cheap looking and technically inept film, this has bad acting, Halloween kit makeups (which are also by Zazelenchuk) and a dull storyline culled from the aforementioned Night and CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS (1972). This is only really worth seeking out for curio value and for zombie movie completists. Supposedly it was the "first gore film" produced in Canada, so I guess that's something. The runtime is only 57 minutes.



Stevie B. said...

Cool title. Never heard of this one before. Too bad it sounds like it's pretty shitty.

CavedogRob said...

I think I'd like to see this anyway..just once!

Stevie B. said...

I'm sure I've sat through worse zombie movies.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

It's a definite curio since there weren't all that many of these in between NOTLD and Dawn. Just make sure you keep those expectations lowwww.

Flip Jack said...

One of the main "actors" is the media person for the Nuclear Waste Organization....another horror show.

Anonymous said...

One of the main bad actors is now the communications director for the Nuclear Waste Organization which is another bad horror story

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...


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