Friday, June 12, 2009

In short: (Hollywood) Meatcleaver Massacre (1977)

Christopher Lee has been kidnapped! His abductors keep him in a hut, probably hidden away deep in some Bigfoot-infested woods and guarded by inbred cannibals, and force him to hold a long, mysterious and mysteriously long monologue into the camera. We'd better listen closely - this won't be important for the rest of the movie at all. When his majesty finally stops droning, the film's actual story begins (without him, of course).

A Professor Cantrell (James Habiff) and his family are assaulted in their own home by four inexplicably disgruntled drugged-out students of his, finally allowed to get their Manson on. The Professor's wife and children, and Poopser, their dog, don't survive the encounter, while the Professor himself only lives on in a vegetative state. He is a Professor of "that spooky stuff", though, and his spirit conjures up an old Gaelic god (Brak? Mobrak? Morrack?) to take vengeance on the murderers. The killers die one by one in rather peculiar ways (death by film projector, anyone?). From time to time, a cop (J. Arthur Craig) waddles through a scene, mumbling hypnotically. We end on the bad guys' leader Mason (Larry Justin), giggling away in his fine new padded cell, staring at an hallucinatory eyeball. Then Christopher Lee - now obviously barely able to hold back his laughter - appears again to tell us another unrelated story about shenanigans at a shaman congress. I hope he'll escape from his hut soon.

What begins as an exercise in boredom (hello, Christopher Lee at his droniest), soon transforms into a prime piece of hilarity, only to take its final form as a creature made in equal parts of the hilarious (basically whenever someone opens his mouth), the baffling (the sudden visit in porno land, the film's mere existence, Christopher Lee), and the weirdly disturbing. Meatcleaver Massacre is an exciting case of filmmaking at its most psychotically deranged, there's no sense, no plot, but moments of utterly beautiful nonsense one usually only encounters in dreams, sometimes building up to a fittingly nightmarish feeling of dread that is soon replaced by fits of laughter or helpless attempts to parse the dialogue.

How this film came to be, or why it does not contain a single meatcleaver, is a mystery to me, and honestly, I wouldn't want it to be any other way. It's enough to know of its existence. Watching it more than ten or twelve times a year would probably be bad for one's mind.


No comments: