Recently, I was treated to a membership in the Vancouver International Film Centre for my birthday - it included a free ticket to any showing and since the VIFC was holding a retrospective of Canadian horror movies, I decided to indulge myself with one of the unsung classics of the genre:


With a poster like this, how can you go wrong?

This movie is a classic example of what you can do with $36,000 in 1973 dollars and the talents of the Sudbury, Ontario film industry.

(Yes, I’m joking - well, at least about Sudbury. Speaking of Sudbury jokes:

Q: What do you call the most beautiful woman in Sudbury?

A: A tourist.

Okay, I’m done now.)

Before the movie actually begins the audience is treated to a public service announcement by the producers who feel that because the movie includes scenes of extreme gore and violence they must give us a warning before they’re shown. The warning consists of a siren and a clip of a man supposedly barfing into his handkerchief (to me, it looks as if he’s trying to eat his hankie):


Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?

The movie starts inside a funeral home where the owner asks his mortician to stay late and handle a body that’s just coming in, apparently the victim of a wild animal attack. After telling Bill the Mortician to do his best work, he hops in the hearse and drives around for a few minutes, talking to himself about nothing much before driving back to see how it’s going.

Bill has done a great job of fixing up someone who supposedly had his face nearly torn off - after all, there’s only one HUGE scar left on the corpse’s face!

We then go into a flashback - although this is not immediately apparent (no harp glissandos or visual effects on this budget, no sir!) - of two couples (this being the late ’70s, it’s the traditional boy/girl system configuration) taking a boat ride to a deserted spot where they set up camp, they drink beer and engage in some miscellaneous fondling…we get some gratuitous boobage as well as a shot of said topless girl riding her boyfriend (unfortunately she’s still wearing her bikini bottom and besides, it’s shot from the waist up).

Eventually everybody gets bored and start talking about what to do next. A rock concert is suggested but shot down as they’ve been to far too many shows recently. After a while, someone comes up with the great idea of spending the night in a graveyard because, after all, it’s Friday the 13th!

Plot Point #1: No good ever comes of doing strange things on Friday the 13th.

Once they get there, it starts to rain so instead of going home, they set up shop in a crypt that just happens to have an open door.

Plot Point #2: Open crypts are never a good thing.

While the foursome are thinking of what to do next, one of the guys remembers a game his uncle used to like to play…new from Milton Bradley - “Let’s Try to Conjure Demons!”

Plot Point #3: Some families are more dysfunctional than others.

We then see everybody holding hands while the guy chants, “Lucifer! Lucifer! Barabbas! Barabbas!…” and some other names that may or may not be gibberish; I can’t be sure because my family never engaged in this sort of crazy behaviour so I have no devil-worshipping uncles to ask.

Nothing happens, however, until the guy gets the bright idea to turn a nearby wall-mounted crucifix upside down and then repeat the incantation.

Plot Point #4: Foreshadowing: your indicator of quality!

Eventially, something does happen - corpses start popping out of the ground and, of course, they hunger for human flesh:


Extra-Strength Clearasil, anyone?

True to tradition, the woman who took off her top and let her boyfriend fondle her is set upon, torn apart and eaten…but first, here comes the warning!


Please, sir, may I have some more?

Plot Point #5: Some traditions endure…in horror movies, the slut dies first.

The gore was surprisingly good, although according to the program guide they used pineapple as one of the ingredients and I certainly didn’t see any pineapple - not that it really matters, as I don’t like pineapple much.

The guy who started the whole damned thing gets attacked and injured, and the other two help get him out of the crypt while “beating away” the zombies with a shovel (I’ve seen kittens beat on each other harder than that). They get in their car and head to the hospital where Injured Idiot is taken into surgery while the remaining girl is sedated and given a room to sleep in because, as we all know, girls are fragile and can’t handle shocks such as seeing zombies eat their friends.

We’re treated to scenes of the OR (which are filmed in such a way that they avoid showing any surgery FX, saving on pineapple) and a nightmare sequence where the girl dreams she’s turned into a zombie and starts eating her boyfriend (not that way, you pervs!).

Injured Idiot dies of his wounds and is sent to the funeral home, which brings us back to the present (remember Bill the Mortician?). After the body is placed in a casket and stuck in a viewing room, the director of the funeral home sits down to have a few drinks and fill out some paperwork; this leads into what can easily be the best part of the evening…

The CORPSE EATERS DRINKING GAME!

Guy scribbles his name - take a shot;

Guy pours a drink - take a shot;

Guy slugs back the drink - take a shot;

Guy scribbles some more - take a shot;

Guy drinks right out of the bottle - take TWO shots

BONUS ROUND: When the filmmakers were adding the sound FX in this scene they botched it and the sounds are out of sync; I started thinking about ways to make the movie even more fun than it already was -

Sound effect out of sync with action - take a shot

- but I realized you’d be too wasted, if not dead from alcohol poisoning, to continue watching the movie.

Eventually the funeral home director starts to hear noises from the viewing room, so of course he does what any sane person would do - he goes to investigate. What does he find?


Nothing says lovin' like something from the oven!

Reanimated corpses hungry for flesh!

The man is attacked and his eyes torn out (we get a nice shot of an eye on the floor) and after a suitably long period of bad camera angles and psychedelic music, we cut to a scene of the funeral home director being stuck in a straightjacket and plopped on a chair as he screams, “I’M NOT INSANE!”*

The camera pulls away from the outer walls of the asylum, and the end credits roll.

I wish I could describe this movie in better detail as the words I have written here do not do it justice; if you thought that Plan 9 from Outer Space was the worst movie ever made, I can tell you from personal experience that it no longer holds the title - CORPSE EATERS does - but one of the reasons it’s so bad is because it’s only an hour long! I know it sounds like I’m contradicting myself but I’m not; if it was at least 20 minutes longer it would achieve MST3K-worthy status but as it is, it’s just too short to riff on successfully. The extra time could have also helped explain the ending - was the entire thing dreamed up by the funeral home director and there were no zombies at all, or did the zombies stick his eyes back in their sockets and then clean up the room before taking that long-overdue vacation in Puerto Rico?

Of course, adding more gratuitous boobage certainly wouldn’t hurt.





*For those of you who don’t remember where this was previously mentioned, you can relive the fun here.

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