In the 1970’s when Canadian directors Bob Clarke (Black Christmas), and David Cronenberg (Rabid) were paving the way for Canadian Horror, an unknown named Lawrence Zazalenchuk was staggering into George Romero’s zombie territory with his self financed zombie romp, CORPSE EATERS. It was filmed in Sudbury, Ontario, with the soul purpose of showing the film at his very own drive-in theatre, “The 69 Drive-In”. He funded the entire picture with his savings from working at a nickel mine which totaled $36,000. Zazalenchuk hired Donald Passmore as the films director, but subsequently fired him four days to be replaced by Klaus Vetter. Initially upon the films completion Zazalenchuk was unable to afford lab processing fees, but after saving enough money from his drive-in revenue, was able get the film developed. Zazalenchuk’s dream came true in 1974 when Corpse Eaters premiered at his drive-in. The movie had a long lifespan until a New York distributor purchased the film, to later shelve it into obscurity as a tax write-off.
The film opens with a warning message similar to that of a William Castle affair. The announcer claims “the producers feel a moral obligation to warn each and every ticket buyer” of the graphic scenes herein. If a viewer has the inability to control nausea, then when a questionable scene is about to happen a “warning buzzer” and a “picture of a patron reacting to the scene” will alert the viewer notifying you to turn away. The “picture” of the viewer, is of a lone businessman in a theater holding back his urge to chuck with a rag. The funny thing is, this actually occurs throughout the film.
The main premise of the film surrounds a day in the life of two couples, Lisa and Allan, and Julie and Richy. They spend the day having fun boating and later decide to dock for a while to relax with a few beers on the shore. Richy wastes no time in freeing Julie’s fun bags from her bikini to spray them with Molson Ex. Showing no reserve she promptly starts riding Richy in front of the others (not to mention a perverted owl). Meanwhile poor Allan is getting no action from Lisa, and is forced to sit watching from the sidelines. After a transitional skinny dip in the lake the crew discusses what their evening plans should unfold. They come to a ruling by drawing straws and decide since its Friday the 13th they should spend the night in a graveyard rather than attend a rock concert.
When they arrive at the graveyard, a mausoleum is conveniently unlocked, so they step inside. Once inside Richy suggests they perform some sort of séance, and suitably claims to know a passage to say, which he learned from his uncle. A bunch of shit is spewed with Lucifer thrown into the mix a few times, and next thing we know the fucking dead rise from below! The group is attacked, when we bear witness to the first warning alarm, and we are introduced to some quality gory goods. Zombies enter the room and disgorge poor Julie to pieces. One zombie even introduces a shovel to the mix of zombie terror hacking a succulent slice of gory human pork chop. The rest of the crew barely escapes the escapade; Richy being badly injured is taken to a hospital, hopefully realizing that those satanic rites are none to be fooled with.
Corpse Eaters is mess of a film as far as technical standards go. It is virtually devoid of any cohesive semblance of continuity. The film jumps all over the place, beginning with the morgue attendants, then to our sex crazed crew, to dream sequences, and back to the morgue again. Despite its lack of structure, the film does suffice with a running time of just under an hour. For a Horror film from 1974 (and one of the only Canadian gore films of its time), it shows no shortage of the wet stuff, that would make Herschell Gordon Lewis proud. The source of this review was taken from an old washed out, and incredibly dark transfer from some Encore source. Let’s hope a company like Something Weird Video can exhume this historical film and give it a more flattering and worthy presentation.
- Drenched In Blood Color
- Rotting Ghouls Return To Life In An Orgy of Cannibalism
- The dead come back- they have an un-natural hunger... HUMAN BODIES!
- You will be warned of scenes that could initiate INTENSE SHOCK during this film!
- Release date: 1974(Can, USA)
- Rated: R
- Running Time:61 min
- Production Co: Maniac Productions
- Distribution Co. Howard Mahler Films (USA),
Cast & Crew
- Directed by Donald R. Passmore & Klaus Vetter
- Written By Alan Nicholson & Lawrence Zazelenchuk
- Starring: Michael Hopkins, Ed LeBreton, Terry London, Michael Krizanc, Helina Carson
- Produced by Lawrence Zazelenchuk, John Guilbeault & Lynn Majkot
- Music by ???
- Cinematography by Klaus Vetter
- Film Editing. Michelle Jones