The Corpse Grinders (1971)

Lately cats have been attacking people for no apparent reason. These cats and their owners can’t get enough of ‘Lotos cat food’ that has minced human flesh as it’s special secret ingredient. Factory owners Landau (Sanford Mitchell) & Maltby (J. Byron Foster) pay a fat guy called Caleb (Warren Ball) and his wacko wife Cleo (Ann Noble) who feeds and sings to a plastic doll as if it were a baby, to dig up bodies from the local graveyard that they put through a large mincing machine to provide the necessary ingredients. Their work force that consists of a mute one legged woman who has a bad hair day everyday called Tessie (Drucilla Hoy) & an old geezer named Willie (Charles Fox as Charles “Foxy” Fox) can’t keep up with demand. Dr. Howard Glass (Sean Kenny) and his girlfriend and fellow medical professional Nurse Angie Robinson (Monika Kelly) are having a bit of a chat when after giving her cat some Lotos cat food it attacks Angie. Soon after, somewhere else in town a woman named Annie (Mary Ellen Burke) is also attacked by her cat which bites her throat out. The body ends up on Dr. Glass’s table and both he and Angie decide to investigate after Dr. Glass discovers that a cat was responsible for severing Annie’s jugular. After performing an autopsy on Annie’s cat he comes to the startling conclusion that the cat must have eaten some human flesh for it to have attacked it’s owner. Dr. Glass finds traces of what might be human flesh in the cats intestines but the sample is too small to be sure. While searching Annie’s apartment Dr. Glass and Angie find a can of Lotos cat food and become suspicious. They talk to the local food standards inspector, Mr. Desisto (Earl Burnam) who says there is nothing he can do at the moment but gives them the address of the factory which makes the stuff. Dr. Glass and Angie head over to the factory and confront Landau and Maltby. They all become suspicious of each other. Angie is convinced that something is happening at the factory and won’t let it go. Will she be able to stop Landau and Maltby’s gruesome scheme?

Edited, co-written, produced and directed by Ted V. Mikels, who also has a music/sound editor credit, on an estimated budget of $47,000 according to the IMDb, I have to ask myself why so much?! Where exactly did the money go? At least we know where to lay most of the blame. There is not one single good aspect to the Corpse Grinders as a film. The script by Arch Hall and Joseph Cranston has a reasonably fun central premise and in better hands the thin material could have been turned into a half decent exploitation film, but as it is the entire film sucks, big time. There is a funny sequence, and at the same time totally idiotic, when Caleb pulls a gun on Landau and forces him to pay him money that he owe’s, after Landau has given Caleb the money Caleb hands Landau the gun! What!? It doesn’t take a genius to realise that Landau may not be too happy at being held at gunpoint and threatened especially since this guy has no worries about mincing dead bodies up as cat food which Caleb knows about! Looking at this film I felt a good 75% of the extremely short 70 odd minute running time was padding. There are endless boring shots of people walking, driving, opening doors and other such pointless shots with which to eat up the time without having to spend any money. Forget about any blood or gore as there isn’t any, just a barrel of human body parts at the end of which nothing is recognisable except a very rubbery arm & a short cat autopsy. The acting is horrendously bad, real rock bottom stuff. The production values are some of the worst I’ve ever seen, the Hospital is nothing more than a white room with a medical cabinet in one corner. The mincing machine is nothing more than a large box with a few dials & buttons on it and an opening for the body (still wearing underwear) to go into. The photography by Bill Anneman is terrible and the film was probably shot on 16mm so the entire thing looks grainy and either too dark during the night scenes or too light during the day. The music is awful, bland and doesn’t really fit the film that well. It came as no surprise to see a credit at the end of the film that said ‘music supplied by’ so from that I assume that the music wasn’t composed for the Corpse Grinders. The average daytime soap opera has better sets, props, photography and acting. Avoid at all costs, this is the film equivalent of Monday morning, boring, dull, a real chore to get through, really depressing and totally soul destroying!