Once you have the grinder set up and a bucket in place shove Pee Wee Herman in there. Wait for the bowtie to be fully incorporated and then it’s John Waters’ turn. Add Little Shop Of Horrors, both the Corman original and the 1986 musical, and lastly the grindhouse classic The Corpse Grinders from 1971. Maybe just a sprinkle of Hershel Gordon Lewis to finish it off. Now, since the film is Canadian, politely apologize to the contents of the bucket.
Chris Windsor is the auteur who wrote, directed, edited, and produced Big Meat Eater in 1982. It was the only feature film he ever made. It’s a spoof of 1950’s science fiction films and the optimism of that era. All the characters in the film look forward to a bright, sparkly future enhanced by science’s newest advances. It’s an easy era to parody and many films fail to make interesting or creative use of it, but Big Meat Eater has a sinister edge and is unhinged enough to keep things interesting, or at least entertaining.
Big Meat Eater uses “The Plan” from “Plan 9 From Outer Space” as its jumping-off point. If you are unfamiliar with said plan it is a diabolical procedure whereupon the dead are resurrected as zombies and become a cannibal army laying waste to the Earth in preparation for an alien invasion. Windsor takes this premise and throws in some slasher schlock and musical numbers and the result is a campy, bloody, enjoyable mess.
The musical numbers are pretty good. I won’t be first in line to buy the soundtrack but I would listen to the songs more than once. There’s one number sung by a rock band that looks like a cross between The Rocky Horror Picture Show and my favorite band in the whole world, The Cramps. In fact, the whole movie might be described as Cramps-inspired with songs like I’m A Big Meat Eater (sung while aggressively molesting a pile of raw meat) and I’m A Heat Seeking Missile For You Baby (sung while a hula dancing troupe does their thing in full regalia). I get the sense that at some point people were just calling up Windsor and asking to be in his movie and he adopted a come-one-come-all policy.
Windsor not only parodies 50’s science fiction he takes on traditional stereotypes as well. Amongst the characters are an Italian Mafioso Mayor, a heavily accented family of Moldavian jews, a ditzy blonde secretary, and a big, menacing, black man named Abdula. As parodies, they provide a series of caricatures intended to poke fun at stereotypes but it gets a little uncomfortable at times.
Pound for pound Big Meat Eater is 82 minutes well spent. Some low-budget films are dragged down by their lack of polish, but Big Meat Eater uses its awkward, rough edges to convey a sense of freedom and enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is perhaps the best replacement for a lack of money, skill, and even talent. It’s unlikely that The Cramps ever wrote a song with more than 3 chords but they were committed to those chords, and when their lead singer, Lux Interior, started writhing in his leather pants and high heels there was just no resisting his complete abandon.
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