It takes a twisted sort of genius to make multiple disembowelment murders look boring, but that’s exactly what Jack Weis accomplishes in Mardi Gras Massacre! Today may be Fat Tuesday, but let’s rechristen it “Splat Tuesday” in honor of this late 70’s splatterfest.
The actual “massacre” part of this movie is an incredible disappointment. An insane, hate-filled man with a knife – no, not Jim Bowie (rimshot) – is roaming around New Orleans during Mardi Gras targeting prostitutes as sacrificial offerings to the Aztec deities he worships. That sounds promising for a horror film but the disembowelment ritual is reenacted word for word and movement for movement for EACH VICTIM! There is no variation and also no suspense because after the first killing we know exactly how all the subsequent sacrifices will play out. The only chills come from listening to the awful disco music that plays during the ceremonial slayings. (“NOOOOOOOOOO!”)
What this “horror” film lacks in scares it more than makes up for in gut-busting (sorry) laughs. Mardi Gras Massacre is a treasure trove of all the things we bad movie fans love about low-budget schlockers like this. The flick treats us to:
Real-life Mardi Gras celebrants passing by and dumbly staring, slack-jawed, at the camera, oblivious to how they’re ruining so many shots … almost as many as the director himself ruins in fact.
Actors very obviously – and limply- reading their lines off cue cards held just off-camera. Some people give more dramatic readings of their eye doctor’s charts than these people give to their dialogue.
A lack of opening credits. Just black screen, the movie’s title and then we get plutzed right into the film.
An unintentionally HILARIOUS romantic montage as the cop investigating the murders pitches a little woo with a hooker who helps him journey through the seedier side of New Orleans nightlife.
Poorly- matched shots, so that in close-up the character speaking is seated but in long shots of the same scene they’re standing and sometimes vice versa.
The terrific “to hell with retakes” attitude that low-budget flicks often have when actors muff their lines multiple times and it’s all left in the finished film!
Wonderfully campy dialogue like “I hear you’re the most evil woman in the room.” Classic!
A chase scene that supposedly features the cops chasing our killer but which omits ANY footage of that killer! The resulting scene looks more like the cops are running away from something we viewers never get to see and will leave you rolling with laughter as it goes on and on and on. You get to play “Where’s Waldo” with the movie’s villain.
If you’ve got a weak stomach for cheap gore effects by all means steer clear of this film, but if you go in for the darker and more tasteless offerings from the cinematic badlands you NEED to see Mardi Gras Massacre.
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