Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mardi Gras Massacre (1978)








DIRECTOR: Jack Weis

WRITER: Jack Weis

CAST:

Curt Dawson
Gwen Arment
William Metzo
Butch Benit
Nancy Dancer
Cathryn Lacey
Laura Misch Owens
Wayne Mack
Ronald Tanet

PLOT:

The police are on the hunt for a serial killer who is stalking the streets of New Orleans during the Mardi Gras festival. While people celebrate the festival. A serial killer is on the hunt and likes to hang at bars and clubs where ladies of the night like to frequent. The killer has only one request when selecting his victims, the lady he chooses must be the worst of the lot. She must be a bad girl. Once he finds the most wicked of the lot, he will sacrifice her to his Aztec gods.







So here in Australia, Mardi Gras is a two-week celebration where the LGBT community gets to celebrate pride. Secretly, I was hoping to watch a movie that featured a killer running rampant at LGBTQI pride but being that this movie was set in the seventies, I knew we weren't going to get that type of flick. So sitting down to watch this slasher, my next hope was that I'd be witnessing a movie where a blood-thirsty serial killer runs around killing woman flashing their breasts for plastic 'Jerry Springer' beads. Boy, was I about to be disappointed?

I'm going to start with the positive of Mardi Gras Massacre. I say positive and not in its plural form because the only thing that I found even remotely enjoyable about this movie was the gore. Said to be an extremely low budget remake of Blood Feast, this film seems to have only taken one aspect of the Herschell Gordon Lewis classic, and that is his talent for gore as nothing else in the film seems to come even close to his film. The gore effects really are the standout here. If you watch it for anything, it has to be for that element.

With the gore and makeup effects being the standout of the movie, I have to say that while they are impressive, they are repetitive. Due to the killer trying to do the same ritual over and over again. We get to see the same sacrifice scene three times. While the killer does amass a rather small body count, all three deaths are the exact same. Their feet and hands are sliced, the stomach is cut open, and the women's hearts are removed. I thought the slicing of the stomach and removal of the heart really was a great makeup effect. Not that I've ever really seen it happen in real life, I imagine it looks pretty close to the effects used in this film.

Now, where the movie goes wrong, let me count the ways. First, we have the terrible characters in this movie. Our killer attends many different bars and instead of being incognito about his desire to kill, he asks the entire female clientele about which girl is the worst. Due to no girl code and jealously, they point her right out, and she ends up dead. The bumbling police force who are trying to hunt down the killer is unable to get even a picture of the killer because it appears the twenty girls who have seen this killers face can't give them a description or remember. Not only terrible but also braindead.

Mardi Gras Massacre also delivers a healthy amount of sleaze for all those trenchcoat wearing guys who probably flocked in droves to watch this movie during the midday showings when the cinema was showing. While the sex scenes are never extreme, it does try to deliver enough full frontal nudity to secure it an X rating and keep most of the core red-blooded male audience happy. Don't expect anything really sexy as this movie is really unattractive to watch. I sat and laughed during a lot of the 'romantic' scenes as they were more unintentionally hilarious than hot.

Now we come to the score of Mardi Gras Massacre. I'm finding that while doing my seventies and eighties slasher retrospective that a lot of the seventies slasher films have really terrible scores. A lot of them don't match the feel of a horror film. This is no exception. Instead, we get this very blaxploitation soul and blues soundtrack while an Aztec priest and serial killer does rituals where he rips out women's hearts. It's all very mismatched and feels completely out of place in this type of film. Gone are the creepy scores in place of something I'd expect to see in Shaft.

I have to bring up the editing and film stock. The way this movie is filmed is very low-budget. I am all for low-budget horror, but at times, this thing was all over the place. Some scenes in the film were hard to hear or even see. This may be down to the film stock and the copy I saw though. The way this movie was edited was a bit of a mess. Who was the editor of this film, Freddy Krueger? Scenes and shots are spliced to the point where at some points, scenes don't even really make sense or gel well together. From one scene to the next, we never know where this thing is going to land because of the editing quality.

Lastly, the acting in this film was poor. I'm not going to single anyone out because I think the whole thing was low-rent and cheap. With a title like Mardi Gras Massacre, I don't expect some Meryl Streep type of performance from the cast, but here, a lot of factors play into the way the performances turn out. With the mentioning of terrible characters and shoddy dialogue, It's all very amateurish and more laugh out loud then a serious horror film. The performances play that way. We won't see anyone being nominated for an Academy Award.







DEATH TOLL: 3

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Women's have their hand and feet sliced.
- Women's stomachs are cut open.
- Several women have their hearts removed.







With a title like Mardi Gras Massacre, I was hoping for something fun if not a tad silly. What I got was silly, but this lacked the fun. The movie is low-budget, sleazy and has some bad acting. The film at times doesn't make all that much sense as scenes are spliced together, and it feels like an afterthought. Where this movie goes right is the gore. I think the standout is the makeup work. Some may find it cheaply done, but I was relishing the nasty gore effects used in the film. If I could recommend this for anything, watch it for the repetitive bloodshed as it's about the only redeemable aspect of this Mardi Gras festival.

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