By Steve D. Stones
If ever director Ted V. Mikels created a masterpiece film in his career, I would certainly rank The Corpse Grinders as his best effort. Unlike many of his other films, such as Blood Orgy of The She Devils and Astro Zombies, which have plots that are very difficult to follow, The Corpse Grinders has a coherent plot that is easy to follow.
Mr. Landau and his partner Maltby run the Lotus Cat Food Company. The company is new and just beginning to turn a profit. They are unable to keep up with the demand of their product, so they decide to use human corpses as meat for their cat food. A gravedigger named Caleb digs up corpses from the local cemetery to sell to Landau and Maltby. Several morticians also supply the bodies they need.
Dr. Howard Glass and his beautiful blonde nurse Angie Robinson serve a can of Lotus Cat Food to a cat in the doctor’s office. The cat attacks and scratches Dr. Glass after eating the cat food.
Landau and Maltby take the corpses from the cemetery to the basement of the Lotus Cat Food Company and send them through a meat grinder. The front end of the grinder spits out what looks like hamburger meat. Landau refers to the grinder as “The Hopper.”
Meanwhile, a cat attacks a middle-aged woman in her home as she is sleeping. Her husband rushes into the room, only to find that the cat has torn the woman’s throat open. She is rushed to the hospital, where Dr. Glass concludes that she bled to death from a severed jugular vein. The husband informs Dr. Glass that a cat attacked the woman after eating Lotus Cat Food. This prompts Glass to conduct an autopsy on the dead cat. He concludes that human tissue was found in a sample of the food found in the cat’s stomach.
Dr. Glass and nurse Robinson decide to conduct their own investigation into the Lotus Cat Food Company. They meet with Mr. Desisto of the Food Adulteration Agency. Desisto rejects their premise that human flesh is being used in the Lotus Cat Food product. He suggests that they meet with Lotus Cat Food Company owner Carlton Babcock who has turned up missing in recent weeks. Dr. Glass and nurse Robinson visit Babcock’s wife to try and locate him. She has no idea of where he can be found.
Desisto’s pretty brunette secretary is sent home early that day. She arrives at her apartment with groceries. She strips down to her panties and bra to lounge on the couch to drink beer and watch TV. Her cat attacks and kills her after eating Lotus Cat Food.
Glass and Robinson pay a visit to the Lotus Cat Food Company. They are greeted by Landau and Maltby and pretend to be interested in purchasing a case of Lotus Cat Food. Maltby becomes immediately suspicious of the couple, thinking they are undercover police. Landau insists on selling a case of the cat food to the couple anyway. He is not suspicious of them.
After purchasing the case, Dr. Glass examines several cans of the cat food carefully, only to discover that they contain the normal ingredients of fish and grains.
Although his tests on the cat food prove nothing, Dr. Glass decides to return to the Lotus Cat Food Company with nurse Robinson for a second look around. There they discover the door leading to the basement locked. Landau catches them trying to open the door. They pretend as if they are there to purchase another case of cat food. Landau asks them to leave.
Gravedigger Caleb is getting impatient with Landau for not paying him for the dug-up corpses. He calls Landau and demands immediate payment. Landau arrives and kills Caleb with a gun so that he does not have to pay him. Caleb becomes one more victim of the corpse grinder.
Nurse Robinson decides to do a little investigating of her own by returning to the Lotus Cat Food Company for a third time. She leaves a note for Dr. Glass, informing him of where she is going. Shortly after arriving at the cat food company, Maltby sneaks up behind nurse Robinson and forces her into the basement. He places her body on the table of the corpse grinder. Landau appears and shoots Maltby dead. Dr. Glass finds Robinson’s note, and rushes to the cat food company. When arriving, he rushes down the basement stairs where Landau shoots him in the arm. A private investigator arrives at the scene killing Landau with a shot. This puts an end to the corpse grinders forever
Despite what some critics have said about the actual corpse grinder machine used in this film, it is not made of cardboard and painted duct tape. In fact, on the extras feature provided on the DVD by Image Entertainment, director Ted V. Mikel sets the record straight by pointing out that the corpse grinder was made of plywood. I get a real kick out of the cheap looking appearance of the grinder. It reminds me of a giant space ship my friends and me tried to build out of scrap wood, buttons and bottle caps when I was a kid.
The Corpse Grinders is also appealing to me because I have a soft spot for cats. As pets, cats are great to have around because they are so independent and low maintenance. Some might say that this film shows cats in a negative light, but I don’t view it that way at all. Knowing that cat food laced with human flesh causes the cats to become fierce is what adds entertainment value to the film. If the cats were just simply attacking their owners for no particular reason, then perhaps that would cast cats in a negative light. Besides, I know cats well enough to know that they are very picky eaters, and it is unlikely they would eat human flesh in a can of cat food anyway. All the more reason why The Corpse Grinders is an entertaining film. Watch out for those cans of Lotus Cat Food!!