The Corpse Grinders (1971): United States – directed by Ted V. Mikels
Rated R by the MPAA – contains violence
Edit: This review is an April Fool’s joke. The Corpse Grinders is a terrible movie
The Corpse Grinders is the seminal masterpiece by renowned auteur Ted Mikels, the man responsible for other works of genius such as The Astro-Zombies. With The Corpse Grinders he manages to take his artwork to the next level, providing an unparalleled story of depth and complexity while combining it with pertinent social themes.
What is the cost of human life? What is the worth of a person’s body? These are some of the difficult questions that Mikel’s dares to ask in The Corpse Grinders. By framing these issues around a group of villains intent on using human bodies as cat food he manages to provide a few answers, but, more importantly, gives the audience plenty to ponder.
The answer to the second question is provided in the film: $0.20 a pound. That is how much a blue-collar gentleman and his wife get for digging up bodies from the cemetery. Their brief inclusion in the film shows the condition of the working stiff and the difficulties they must face trying to get ahead in life. They also warn about the excesses of greed: at what point will your benefactor refuse to keep you working, and instead grind your body into cat food?
Cat food is the ultimate destiny of these poor soulless bodies that the villains collect. Not content to use rotting corpses, they also prey among the weak and forgotten members of society. The homeless and mentally ill had better beware. But isn’t this how we all treat the downtrodden? Instead of a kind word and a friendly glance we ignore them and stride past. Surely our actions are as cruel as those of the Lotus Cat Food Company, if slightly less messy.
In a move of pure genius, Mikels does not let their actions go unpunished. All actions have consequences, and in The Corpse Grinders there are plenty of unexpected, but credible, surprises. No one would have guessed that cats who eat the Lotus Cat Food Company’s cat food might turn on their owners, preferring the taste of human flesh over canned food. But this it the ultimate end for those who give in to corporate greed. Is that not what today’s giant conglomerations do daily? They sell us products that will only continue to harm our bodies and souls while providing shallow immediate nourishment.
But this is where the heroes have a chance to intervene. Dr. Howard Glass (Sean Kenney) and his fetching assistant/partner Angie Robinson (Monika Kelly) are intrigued by the rash of cat-related homicides and are intent on discovering the answer. As they get closer to the source of the problem they come across some harsh resistance; no corporation is willing to let their evil deeds be easily exposed. The Corpse Grinders excels as a corporate thriller, building the tension to near-unbearable levels before providing a satisfying conclusion.
But the film would be just another persuasive sermon if not for the delicate and subtle touch Mikels and his cast add. The acting is superb, especially by Kenney, who seems every bit at home as a doctor and savior of humanity. The production is likewise flawless. Mikel’s camera gently toys with the audience, caressing the art design and tugging out important plot points. The messages and themes are carefully hidden, making them all the more powerful once exposed by the thoughtful viewer.
As a scary horror film, The Corpse Grinders is better than average. As a corporate thriller it positively excels. As a work of art it is phenomenal. Rarely have so many elements come together so perfectly to create a compelling masterpiece, one that rings true with every note, every scene, every camera angle. Not only is the film one of the greatest of the 1970’s, it should well be considered one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of all time.