An archive review from The Gingold Files.

By Michael Gingold · December 21, 2019, 9:55 PM PST
Corpse Grinders

Editor's Note: This was originally published for FANGORIA on December 21, 2001, and we're proud to share it as part of The Gingold Files.

The long convoy of B-movie DVDs from Image Entertainment hits a speed bump with their releases of The Corpse Grinders (pictured) and Blood Orgy of the She-Devils, a pair of early-’70s productions by prolific schlockmeister Ted V. Mikels. More notorious for their titles, and the juicy/racy action the monikers and ad campaigns promised, than for the films themselves, both features come off as fairly quaint and tame today. Blood even won a PG rating back in the day, even though it is slightly more extreme in its violence than Corpse, whose R tag probably had more to do with its subject matter than the actual presentation.

On a technical level, these discs don’t bear the restorative quality of Image’s recent H.G. Lewis and William Grefé DVDs. Corpse, letterboxed at 1.78:1, suffers from significant print damage, though it is nicely mastered with good colors and level of detail; the Dolby Digital mono sound is acceptable, its flaws largely a result of the original mix. The elements used for Blood Orgy’s fullscreen transfer are in better shape, and the picture is darkish but watchable with generally clear Dolby Digital mono audio.

Mikels’ audio commentaries on both discs, sadly, shape up as disappointments. He’s clearly an affable fellow who looks back on these projects with affection, but he doesn’t come up with much to say about them. There are long pauses on both talk tracks, and often he pops in only to comment on the action (“You’re gonna get it now, Mara!”) or repeat a line of dialogue he finds especially amusing. He does let us know where many of the scenes were filmed—ranging from his own castle to Cecil B. DeMille’s estate—insists that Corpse’s grinder was not, as is often joked, made of cardboard and reveals that his Blood Orgy script (the first one he followed “to the word”) was based on his experiences attending real-life seances. But the information to be gleaned from both commentaries could have been covered in toto in a half-hour interview segment.

Blood Orgy additionally comes with only a trailer, but the “Freshly Ground Extras” on Corpse are more substantial. They include the trailer—which, like Blood Orgy’s, condenses the shocking highlights—a nonsensical tribute music video (no footage from the early-’90s Chicago Corpse stage play, sadly) and a large collection of black-and-white stills, including on-set shots of a topless actress who wears a bra in the movie scenes. Each disc also includes a Mikels filmography—which, despite the negligible results in these two DVDs, can only make one hope that Apartheid Slave Woman’s Justice will someday, somehow make it to disc.