Thursday, November 6, 2014

Big Meat Eater (Chris Windsor, 1982)

I don't know where to start, nor do I, as you'll soon find out, know how to string sentences together in a semi-coherent manner. To begin my review of Big Meat Eater with a saucy diatribe about the frilly underthings lurking underneath the orange skirt currently attached to the organic structure of the mayor's secretary seems like an ill-advised thing to do at this juncture. I mean, this film is beyond lingerie. It's chemically engineered lingerie with a hint of linoleum, uranium, plutonium, acid, alkaline, red dye and freon. It's...uh. No, it's radioactive lingerie for the fall-out set. Yeah, that's the stuff. Besides, you can't talk about lingerie, radioactive or otherwise, when robotic space aliens reanimate the corpse of Mayor Carmine Rigatoni and then replace his severed hand with a whisk. Well, you can talk about lingerie, just not right away. To do so would undermine and undercut the uncut weirdness this film, directed by Chris Windsor, un-repeatedly puts out there. Anyway, as things got underway, I thought I had stumbled upon an old educational film from the 1950s that teaches children about the joys of living Burnaby and Coquitlam, British Columbia, or, as it's known in this film, Burquitlam, British Columbia. But in reality, I had actually stumbled upon a zany slab of creamy (Canadian) cinematic goodness.


However, it should be noted, like all great cult films, words like, "British Columbia" and "Canada" are never rarely ever mentioned. Neither are pesky things like, dates and times. No, this film takes place in its own unique universe and don't you forget it.


Believe it or not, Big Meat Eater is a musical about the son of Mordvinian immigrants who dreams of exploring the vast reaches of outer-space. Seriously, that's what the film is about. Living above Bob's Butcher Shop with his kooky family in the forward-looking town of Burquitlam, Jan Wczinski (Andrew Gillies) is desperately trying to gather together the chemicals necessary to launch his himself into the cosmos.


(Don't tell me, a deranged butcher's assistant named "Abdulla," played by Clarence 'Big' Miller, will stop at nothing to prevent Jan from achieving his space dream.) Wow, you are way off. You're right about one thing, though, Abdullah the butcher's assistant is definitely deranged. It's just that Jan and Abdulla the butcher's assistant don't even cross paths. It's true, Jan's actions do have an impact on Abdulla the butcher's assistant's day-to-day existence, just not in the way you might think.


When the person singing "Bob's Theme," the film's opening musical number asks: "Who's that man... strutting down the street?" They're asking a hypothetical question, as everyone knows Bob (George Dawson), he's a respected pillar of the community.


Heading over to Burquitlam's town hall in his usual jovial manner, Bob plans to unveil ADANACO, the new universal language he has created.


The reason, by the way, everyone at the town meeting is sweating so profusely (including the mayor's sexy secretary) is because Abdulla is putting way too much material into the building's furnace. And by "material," I mean henchmen; specifically, one of the mayor's henchmen.


When the mayor catches wind of this, he fires Abdulla. And, no, he wasn't fired because he stuffed one of his henchmen in the furnace, he was fired because he sucks as a janitor. As you might expect, Abdulla is none too pleased to be out of a job. To get back at him, Abdulla murders the mayor outside his office (he severs his fingers with his car's cooling fan).


Tired of lugging the mayor's body across town, Abdulla decides to take a breather. Placing the body (which has been hastily shoved into a large sack) on the sidewalk outside Bob's Butcher Shop, Abdulla goes around to the side of the shop to rest. Mistaking the bag containing the mayor's body for a sack of meat, a delivery man picks it up and carries it into Bob's Butcher Shop. Yep, the mayor's body is now hanging in the freezer of Bob's Butcher Shop: "Pleased to meet you! Meat to please you!"


While trying to get the body back, Abdulla inadvertently lands a job as a butcher's apprentice. This leads to the film's second musical number to feature Abdulla (the first being the boiler room set, "The Baghdad Boogie"), a nasty little ditty called "Big Meat Eater," - "I'm a big meat eater... pass the ham."


"How times flies when you're grinding meat." You said it, Bob. I like this Bob character. He's affable, clean and neat.


Meanwhile, in civics class, Jan Wczinski is patiently listening to his teacher blather on about raising money for the "Crippled Children Car Wash Fund." And when she's not doing that, she's instructing the class the massage their gums. Talk about ridiculous. I mean, you're not going to raise any money putting on a car wash.


As Jan is busy working on his spaceship, his sister Nina (Sharon Wahl) is pouring her mind-altering curves into a tight dress for her date with some guy named Ace. She tells her parents that going to see a 3-D movie called "Panic on Muscle Beach," but I'm not buying that for a second. And neither does Nina's grandma (Ida Carnevali), who says the only 3-D's she's familiar with are death, doom and destruction.


I must say, Big Meat Eater is unlike anything I've ever seen. And I was all ready to give it a mildly enthusiastic review (after all, the mayor's secretary wears an orange skirt and Jan's sister is smoking hot). But then something earth-shattering occurs. Something that supersedes orange skirts and smoking hot sisters. When Jan bumps into Bob outside his butch shop, the latter asks the former where they're going. When Jan says he's going to his room to work on his "science project," Bob asks if he can tag along.


You wouldn't think that Jan and Bob's meeting would be the impetus for one of the greatest scenes in movie history, but it totally is. Standing in Jan's room, surrounded by machine parts and beakers, Bob begins to ask him about his project. When the subject of chemicals comes up, Bob's eyes light up and he goes on a tangent about how important chemicals are. This leads to a Devo-esque song called "Mondo Chemico," a super-catchy show-stopper about–you guessed it–the importance of chemicals.


If that wasn't enough, we're treated a talent show that features a glam rock band performing "Missile Love" (with Nina on keyboards) and robotic aliens who mutate humans in order to further their sinister agenda. When Bob says, "The future lies in the future," he could be referring to this film, as its power to baffle and amaze only gets greater the closer we get to the future. Someone put this movie on a double-bill with John Paizs' Crime Wave, stat!

2 comments:

  1. I'm searching for an old movie that I saw back in the early eighties or late seventies on City TV late night. I don't know the title of it or who any of the actors were but it was so bizarre and out there that if anyone would recognize the description, it would be you. The movie had a geeky guy for a hero who had a groupie chick trying to catch up with him. The police were also looking the guy. The bizarre angle was that there was a bird who followed the girl around who would shit on people and they would die. Her car had a licence plate BRD SHT. In one scene she catches up with the guy and after watching someone die from bird shit he pukes but the groupie makes out with him right away. There is another memorable scene where the detective questions a prostitute who offers him a freebie for being nice to her. She keeps her prices on a menu and he selects the most expensive item, a simple kiss. I don't know if any of that rings any bells for you but I would love to find it and watch it again. Any help would be appreciated...
    MMC

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    1. Sounds like Brewster McCloud (1970).

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