Sneak Preview: Corpse Grinders 3
A Ted V. Mikels’ film is a difficult animal to pin down, so the idea of duplicating his unique style seems almost impossible. Spanish director Manolito Motosierra and the crew at Tyrannosaurus Entertainment have done a surprisingly good job of capturing the beast though with their new film, Corpse Grinders 3. The third installment in the lurid Lotus Cat Food saga was filmed almost entirely in Spain with an English speaking cast. Only a few pick up shots with American actor John Martino were added courtesy of Richard and Gary Lester at Blue Heron International Pictures in Florida.
In the true spirit of recent Ted Mikels’ film franchises, Corpse Grinders 3 has little to do with the two previous films and plays more like a remake of first movie than a sequel. The story concerns a nebbish named Arnie who lives at home with his cat obsessed mother and spends most of his down time reading risqué comic books. When his mom’s beloved cat Mr. Beasley chokes to death on a can of the local Grizzly Cat Food, he’s off to the plant with a bag full of ripening evidence and threats of litigation.
Since the small company can’t handle a lawsuit, proprietor Mr. Grizzly decides to shut down the whole operation and send his two dimwitted employees, the not so excellent Bill and Ted, packing. The paint isn’t even dry on the “out of business” sign when an American representative of the Lotus Cat Food Company turns up with an offer this toe headed trio can’t refuse – reopen the plant as their new Spanish subsidiary complete with a fully automated grinding machine!
More astute Mikels’ fans can already see where the plot is headed and shortly after Bill and Ted fire up their newly modified meat mauler their irate landlady accidently becomes the first case of tasty new product. Of course this special recipe becomes an overnight hit with the feline population and soon cans are flying off shelves faster than they can be stocked. It isn’t long before the parent company, unaware of the ingredients or the inherent dangers, wants an even more addictive version and the boys comply by adding illegal drugs into the caustic concoction as well.
Meanwhile Arnie is dragged back into this cat-astrophe when Mr. Beasley 2, one of many new Lotus consumers, attacks his mother and forces him to play amateur detective to get to the bottom of things. The local cats become more and more aggressive until the situation comes to predictably messy head at a Lotus sponsored cat show. The town is plunged into chaos as the blood thirsty kitties attack their owners, town officials, a gang of bikers, and even a Templar knight and all while the corpse grinding machine is on its way to reaching critical mass!
Corpse Grinders 3stays true to the Mikels’ formula of emphasizing humor over graphic violence but there is still a modest helping of gore on display. Much of the humor comes from the Spanish accents that make even the most mundane dialog sound pretty funny. Supposedly the film was shot entirely in English with no dubbing and the thick accents had me wishing there was a subtitle option during a few scenes. Otherwise the acting is uniformly good, if understandably over the top for a picture with this one’s goofy sensibilities. CG3 also features some of the kitchen sink mentalities of recent Mikels’ films with multiple creatures, an Alice Cooper like drug dealing undertaker, a purple witch at the cat show, and a Templar knight skewering the killer cats all with little or no explanation!
The small town location used for filming gives the frequent outdoor scenes a refreshingly exotic look. This goes a long way towards stretching the limited budget even if the “crowd” shots never seem to have more than thirty people in them. Speaking of budget, the corpse grinding machine for this installment looks like it didn’t cost much more than the original but thanks to some well placed digital effects it does come across as a more advanced version. The lighting is also inspired by the original film with colored gels put to good use to give certain scenes an off kilter look. Unfortunately a few of these scenes, especially towards the end where the Lotus executive meets a rather unusual fate, are so dark that it’s hard to tell exactly what is happening.
Even with only limited involvement from Mr. Mikels in an executive producer role, I am happy to report that Corpse Grinders 3 does a commendable job of upholding the flavor of its predecessors (pun intended)! With an American release looming near on the horizon, I have my finger crossed that fans will see this film as the affection homage it is clearly intended to be. IF CG3 fairs well in home video sales and rentals, this could be the start of a new wave of Ted V. Mikels’ “legacy” productions with young filmmakers adapting the style of the seasoned master and breathing new life into some uniquely lurid premises.
Special Note: Viewers will want to stick around until the very end for a post-credits stinger and keep a sharp eye out for the original Lotus Cat Food labels from CG2 in this scene.