Microwave Massacre (1983) Review


Dumb, ridiculous and downright dirty Microwave Massacre is a sexist and sick comedy horror flick that may or may not be trying to teach us all the dangers of mixing convenience cooking and extreme misogyny.

Centering around American comedian Jackie Vernon, a raunchy stand up dubbed The King of Deadpan in his heyday, Microwave Massacre sees him play downtrodden construction worker Donald who has reached the end of his tether with his infuriating wife May (Claire Ginsberg) who insists on using her massive microwave to cook him all manner of disgusting and badly prepared gourmet food.

With visions of gastronomic grandeur far beyond her own social standing and behavior or Donald’s wages or stomach May pushes her husband too far and whilst drunk one night he gives her what for before bludgeoning her to death with an oversized pepper grinder and then storing her hacked up body in their huge freezer with the rest of the meat.


Although freaked out at first by his psychotic break Donald soon realizes he is better off without his spouse and goes about his usual routine until one night whilst looking for a midnight snack he mistakenly devours her chilled hand which turns out to be far tastier than he could have ever imagined.11212

Cooking up parts of her body and taking them to munch on at work his colleagues ask for a taste and become as hooked on Donald horrific microwave mutilation as he is, their only disparaging comment being the meat tastes a little tough.

From that point on Donald decides to pursue younger women to devour as his appetite for flesh increases bringing back with it his long lost carnal cravings. Intensifying his pursuit of female victims, who seem more than willing to oblige to take home for sex and then dinner but not as they expect, his murder spree grows along with his hunger until he seems unstoppable.

In the lead Jackie Vernon is somehow strangely likable at times despite his depravity and the one liners trip of his tongue as easily and frequently as the chopped up body parts replace them.

As a portrayal of the creation of a psychopath Microwave Massacre is perhaps more realistic than might be expected due to the banality and normality the character treats his slayings and the use of his wife’s head in the freezer as a confessional companion interestingly draws a parallel between the film and Ryan Reynolds recent outing as a disturbed serial killer in The Voices.


With its themes of cannibalism, depraved sexual desire, class envy and death on paper at least Microwave Massacre could be seen as a serious social and political comment on 1980’s America in the same bloody vein as Society and Dawn of the Dead however any earnest and sincere message the movie could make is suffocated under the massive amounts of politically incorrect jokes and extremely sexist portrayal of the entire female species.

Vernon is most definitely the anti-hero of the disturbing story and the fact that his life seems far better once he starts molesting, mutilating and eating women makes it hard to see the film as anything but gory and deliberately grotesque exploitation.


In fact when Donald visits a psychiatrist in a lucid moment of self-awareness and doubt to discuss the fact that he can only defeat his sexual impotence with the knowledge that he will get to kill the object of his hunger afterwards the punch line is that the doctor is not even listening and mistakenly encourages him to keep killing.

This jet black comedy which is made even darker by Vernon’s desert dry delivery and the films uncaring attitude is present from the start with the opening titles played out over a big breasted scantily clad girl strutting down the street on her way to be sexually molested by the building site much to the delight of the central characters.



Fundamentally the film outlines the transformation of women into literal meat for the men to conveniently and quickly consume both sexually and digestively but it is hard to work out if Microwave Massacre is actively promoting sexism or mocking masculinity and this hesitation causes the viewer to be placed in an uncomfortable and unsettling position.

Maybe I am looking into Microwave Massacre far too much and it is nothing but a bad taste cult oddity but as an essay on the objectification of women it offers a disturbing vision of the savagery of the male species that serves as a warning to us all whether we own a microwave or not.

Movie Rating: ★

★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 



Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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