Home Page  
 
 

Microwave Massacre
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer-producer Craig Muckler moderated by Mike Tristano
  • Brand new making-of featurette including interviews with Muckler, director Wayne Berwick and actor Loren Schein
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork to be revealed
  • First pressing only: fully-illustrated collectorís booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower

Microwave Massacre

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Wayne Berwick
1983 | 76 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $34.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: August 16, 2016
Review Date: August 11, 2016

Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca

Share:

SYNOPSIS

Microwave Massacre stars legendary stand-up comedian and actor Jackie Vernon as Donald, a disgruntled construction worker whose wife's predilection for haute cuisine drives him to cannibalism. Donald unwittingly stumbles upon a solution to his two major problems in his life - his nagging wife and his lack of tasty meals - when, one night, he bludgeons his better half to death with a pepper grinder in a drunken rage. Thinking on his feet, Donald dismembers the body and sets about microwaving the remains, which turn out to be rather delicious. Trouble is, now he's got a taste for human flesh that needs satisfying... Eschewing all notions of good taste, Wayne Berwick's Microwave Massacre is a deliciously depraved exercise in political incorrectness that has gone on to gain a cult following thanks to a characteristically deadpan performance from lead Vernon, who delivers such choice lines as "I'm so hungry I could eat a whore". Vegetarians need not apply!


PICTURE

Arrow video presents Wayne Berwickís Microwave Massacre (not a very apt title since there is little in the way of microwave massacr-ing) on Blu-ray in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on a dual-layer disc. The 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation has been sourced from a 2K scan of the original camera negative. This review is covering both the North American and UK releases: I received a test copy of the UK release and a finished copy of the North American release and the discs are identical. Both discs are also region free.

There are a couple of minor issues to be found but on the whole itís a fine enough presentation, certainly far better than I believe anybody would ever expect. Thereís a lot thatís very striking about the image: the level of detail is superb and textures look very good. Colours are also very bright and rendered well with what I felt were just-right saturation levels. Black levels are also decent, though a couple of shots in a low lit bar present more obvious crushing.

The transfer is very clean and stable, looking filmic. Grain is rendered rather well, though a couple of those same low lit bar scenes present noticeable noise making the grain look unnatural and a bit clunky. Other than that I canít say any other digital anomalies stood out. The source materials are also in very good shape and it looks like a lot of restoration work went into the film: only a few marks and bits of debris remain, more obvious during reel change.,It almost looks like there are a couple of places between the reel changes where frames might be missing (the cuts arenít all that clean and feel a bit rough). All in all, Arrow again outdoes themselves, giving the film a new bit of life.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

AUDIO

The lossless PCM 1.0 mono track doesnít sound all that shabby. Even if the filmís sound design isnít all that imaginative the overall quality is strong. The music is admittedly a bit flat but dialogue is very clear.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Arrow has put in some surprising effort here with a couple of supplements: an audio commentary featuring writer-producer Craig Muckler and overseen by filmmaker Mike Tristano, along with a making-of documentary featuring Muckler along with director Wayne Berwick and actor Loren Schein. Though I didnít have high expectations for either I was still a bit disappointed by the commentary. Most of the interesting points in the track are covered in the documentary (origins of the film, wanting to cast Rodney Dangerfield, shooting in Monkees member Micky Dolenzís home, problems getting it distributed, deleted scenes, etc.) and the track kind of jumps around and has a few questionable stories (I had trouble swallowing one about Timothy Leary seeing the film, but I didnít know the guy, so really, what do I know). I guess people fascinated by the filmís production will get a kick out of it but I canít say I found it the most interesting discussion.

I preferred the documentary a bit more simply because it was more compact, covered the more compelling aspects mentioned in the commentary, and is a bit more fun to sit through, especially when everyone promises that a sequel could be coming (Iíd be interested to see if that ever sees the light of day). Berwick is also a good sport: I get the idea he doesnít think too highly of the film as he lets a couple of snide remarks slip. It runs about 21-minutes.

The disc then closes with a small gallery showing home video art and production photos. A trailer, taken from a VHS tape advertising it as the ďworst horror filmĒ ever made, is also included. And, of course, Arrow includes a booklet (which is only limited to first pressings) featuring a rather lengthy essay/defense of the film by Stephen Thrower. Despite any reservations I may have about the film itself I still enjoyed reading the essay (and the follow up about the production, reprinting interviews with the crew), which, in all fairness, isnít a full-blown defense, but where he does pick on the film is more along the lines of plot holes in the story, which for me was the very least of the filmís problems.

Not packed but I was surprised Arrow put in the effort they did (why is it Arrow can throw together a commentary for this film yet Criterion canít get someone to record a commentary for Muriel?) and fans may get some kicks out of the features.

5/10

CLOSING

The supplements may be scant but honestly I wouldnít have expected any effort at all to go into supplements for this title, so getting a commentary and a making-of is a bit of a shock, and something that should be pleasing to fans (though I didnít get much out of the commentary). Yet the biggest sell here is just how good the presentation looks. There are a few short-comings, yes, related mostly to materials, but itís a huge step up from VHS (the format Iím sure most people saw the film on prior) and still looks surprisingly film-like.




Share: 



Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca  




Join our Facebook Group (requires Facebook account)

This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection