Microwave Massacre

Microwave Massacre

Microwave Massacre

directed by Wayne Berwick

starring Jackie Vernon, Loren Schein, Al Troupe

Reel Life Productions, Arrow Video

Beware the three star IMDB rating, especially when it involves a Borscht Belt comic doing low-budget horror. In this 1982 cheaper-creeper stars the remnants of Jackie Vernon’s career as he makes a last stab at humor, and fails with a prat fall and a pie in the face. Vernon plays a construction worker Donald; his wife May (Claire Ginsberg) bought a giant microwave oven that looks like the Apollo 11 flight computer and takes up gourmet cooking. Donald just wants a sandwich and an apple for lunch, the lobster thermidor just isn’t doing it for him. He even tries dog food, but eventually he kills May in a calm rage, and cooks her in her own oven. Lunch is MUCH better now, and his work mates Roosevelt (Loren Schein) and Phil (Al Troupe) love his new recipes. Soon May is consumed save for her head, and Douglas is on to murdering hookers and taking them home in a doggy bag. His best line aims at May: “You look so much better in the dark.”

The concept is no worse than any other cheap horror film. The special effects are good and the décor of Douglas’s mid-century house are now oddly in fashion. It’s Vernon’s delivery that torpedoes this film. As a standup guy delivering a dead pan, beat down everyman Vernon excels in the style of Charlie Chaplain’s Little Tramp. That charm gets lost in this more dramatic, plot-driven vehicle and Vernon comes across as reading off a cue card with no emotional investment in the lines. A string of gratuitous nudes perks up the wandering plot as does great supporting work by Schien and Troupe, but the urge to fast forward is often overwhelming. A string of special features include a commentary track that adds little to the background of the feature, and some better material on the special effects and prosthetics. This movie won’t kill you, but it misses the bat on both the cannibal horror front and again on the old school comedian front. If you do watch this; please do not think less of Mr. Vernon. He really was a comic genius when left to his own material.


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