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Maria's B-Movie Mayhem: Mardi Gras Massacre
Lord, what have I done to deserve this? Oh yeah, I asked for it! So here again, let's check out one of those crummy movies that sat neglected on the VHS shelf for years, because just by looking at that box art, you knew in your heart that Mardi Gras Massacre would stink like a week-old flounder. Turns out, those instincts were right on the money, and good old Code Red is kind enough to give us a chance to see for ourselves what a lunatic suck-fest this massacre really is.
Mardi Gras Massacre is pure Herschell Gordon Lewis-style dreck. No mistake, I love H.G. Lewis, but you can't deny his movies are mostly stilted crap, and writer/director Jack Weis has clearly taken the ethos to heart in this 1978 shocker that will test your every nerve. You'll be astounded by similarities to Blood Feast! You'll be driven to drink by acting that makes Montag the Magnificent from The Wizard of Gore look like some kind of theatrical triumph! You'll be enraged by the fact that Weis appears to have used only one effects shot over and over again for the entire movie! And you'll be vaguely disappointed that Massacre's Gore Gore Girls-inspired stripper nudity is even less appealing!
Yeah, Jack Weis has all the earmarks of a used car salesman who decided to "get into movies," despite what his curious IMDB filmography seems to indicate. This exercise in static recycling seems defiantly amateur, made by someone just looking for a quick buck. In it a character, seemingly modeled on Fuad Ramses from Blood Feast, wanders aimlessly around a Mardi gras parade wearing a weird gold mask. Stiff, overly formal, and slow as hell, he still manages to lure a few evil prostitutes into his lair wherein he strips 'em, rubs 'em down, and then cuts out their hearts. A pair of dull, inept detectives dogs the maniac's trail; that is, they sit around or stroll casually through the streets, looking doleful. Somehow, some way, the movie ends.
You might wonder, though, if Weis was all that concerned about ending the movie, since he makes one poor choice after another. For instance, is 75 minutes into a 95-minute movie really the right time to insert a lengthy, momentum-killing '70s disco parade montage? (Possibly, if you love looking at longhaired white guys wearing suede jackets.) Not that there's really any momentum to kill. Watch some blah strippers shake their things, then watch them or their 'evil' prostitute friends lie naked on the killer's bench as he slices open what appears to be the exact same prop gut over and over again, somehow missing even the intended effect of revulsion.
Mardi Gras Massacre is amusing as all hell in a nostalgic way, with crippling lapses in logic and narrative. It should almost satisfy jaded gore-hounds who - despite their best efforts - haven't yet seen it all. Just be aware that the tags for this movie include: plodding, cheap, boring, and stupid. (If this still sounds good to you, then we both share the same disease!)
This professionally manufactured check disk screener doesn't necessarily represent final product, so my assessment is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Code Red Releasing warns you right off that this presentation has been sourced from a 1" master, meaning that the 1.33:1 fullscreen ratio picture is occasionally a bit soft, and film damage is evident. Digital Noise Reduction does the best it can with what it gets, though is sometimes a bit too much, making skin look waxy occasionally, and dark scenes a bit watery. Black levels vary from grey to almost black, and colors are drab and all 70s-washed-out. This dorky lost movie on DVD doesn't look much better than a great VHS copy, but at least you don't have to worry about your machine eating the tape.
Dolby Digital Mono Audio in English is decent, surprisingly not suffering much in the way of things you'd think you might hear from a 1" Video source. Dialog is discernible though at times a little harsh, but no dropouts or distortion are present. If you like generic disco music, then the soundtrack sounds just fine too.
The main extra here is the presence of Maria Kanellis, who is certainly easy on the eyes. You can watch the movie without her input, or watch with Maria's Introduction and Outro, which doesn't eat up more than two or three minutes. Maria's reasonably personable, ever so slightly sarcastic, and mildly amusing. It's an exercise in underwhelming, so go ahead and skip it, unless you really need that eye-candy.
There is a ten-minute interview with William Metzo, (the actor who plays the killer) which is both amusing and informative, and definitely worth a look. You also get some other Code Red Trailers and a Maria Kanellis 'Fantasy' Music Video.
Mardi Gras Massacre is amusing as all hell in a nostalgic way, and should almost satisfy jaded gore-hounds who - despite their best efforts - haven't yet seen it all. As an almost more-inept version of H.G. Lewis' Blood Feast, this massacre simply massacres any notions of suspense, disgust, or engaging storytelling. With skanky, naked hos, beyond repetitive gore, and mucho stock footage of a Mardi gras parade, the movie certainly satisfies the need for those cruddy intangibles, just be aware that the tags for this movie include: plodding, cheap, boring, and stupid. Had I not had to review it, I wouldn't feel bad if someone told me to Rent It. Which is what I'm telling you. But if you've got scads of cash around just waiting to be spent, well ...
- Kurt Dahlke