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  Corpse Grinders, The For Cats Who Like PeopleBuy this film here.
Year: 1972
Director: Ted V. Mikels
Stars: Sean Kenney, Monika Kelly, Sanford Mitchell, J. Byron Foster, William Ball, Ann Noble, Vincent Barbi, Harry Lovejoy, Earl Burnam, Zena Foster, Ray Dannis
Genre: Horror, Trash
Rating:  2 (from 2 votes)
Review: A couple watching television one night hear their pet cat scratching at the front door, and the woman goes to let it in, only to be attacked by the creature. What could have caused this? Is it anything to do with the Lotus Cat Food Company, now led by Landau (Sanford Mitchell), which has taken cost-cutting measures to find cheap meat for its cat food? Meanwhile, at the hospital, Dr Howard Glass (Sean Kenney) is talking with his nurse and girlfriend Angie (Monika Kelly) while she feeds her cat with Lotus pet food, when suddenly the cat goes haywire and launches itself at him. This is merely the beginning of an investigation that Howard and Angie embark on to discover the horrifying truth about the meat product...

You know how you sometimes hear about the death of a little old lady who lives with lots of cats, and when the police find her body, she's been half-eaten by her pets? Apparently one-man exploitation expert, producer, director and editor Ted V. Mikels has, as he works from a script by Arch Hall and Joseph Cranston, which sees the furry felines turn against their masters. The reason, as we are shown early on, is that Lotus has been putting human beings in their cans, specifically corpses dug up from the local cemetery by the hulking grave robber Caleb (William Ball), for some obscure reason - could be cheaper, maybe? This leads to cats acquiring a taste for human flesh, and hurling themselves at the throats of their innocent owners, here illustrated by having kitties thrown from offscreen onto the actors.

This is a shabby, shoddy production through and through, lacking the resources even to do justice to the limited imagination of its central idea, as can be seen in its corpse grinding machine. Basically, it's a large plywood box decorated with a few dials, with a hole at either end; embarrassed bit part actor goes in the big hole, and cat food emerges from the small hole. Incidentally, to spare the actors' blushes, they go into the machine wearing their underwear, so perhaps it's the taste of underpants that drives the cats crazy? Whatever the case, scary this isn't, but cheap and nasty it is - it looks more like a home movie.

It's all very well having the villains' lair being seedy, but the heroes are pretty tawdry too, in fact everything about this screams no budget. As the protagonists delve deeper into the mystery, they track down the whereabouts of the previous owner of the Lotus Cat Food Company, Mr Babcock, who has disappeared (well, I wonder where he could be?). This sees them hanging around rented accomodation and what looks like anywhere the film makers could find to film at the minimum price as the cat-related bodies pile up. The good doctor and nurse are incredibly slow to realise what is happening, which is a pity considering the police are never called in, making the already brief running time drag along.

Eventually they realise that something is not right at the Lotus company, or at least Angie does, and the net closes in - a mystery man revealed to be a government agent is skulking around as well. Landau hasn't really thought his plan through, especially as he's graduated to actively killing people for his cat food machine, I mean, how many people would you need to kill to keep yourself in business, anyway? Particularly as he only has one grinder in his basement. Too inane to be taken seriously, The Corpse Grinders stutters to its finish line, the inevitable comeuppance for the baddies, and the overdue end of the mayhem. It won't make you scared of cats, but it might make you feel sorry for the ones flung around here in the name of movie history. Nothing could live up to that title, but as compensation we do get to see parts of the famed Mikels castle. The music is also by Mikels.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Ted V. Mikels  (1929 - 2016)

Ostentatious, characterful Z-grade director whose film career spanned more than 50 years. The best thing about his movies are invariably the titles, but there are some cheesy pleasures to be found in the likes of The Black Klansman,The Astro-Zombies, Blood Orgy of the She Devils, 10 Violent Women, The Doll Squad and The Corpse Grinders. Still directed, and ran film-making seminars right until his death.

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