Torture and cannibalism has long been used to shock cinemagoers, the best-known being Ruggero Deodato’s 1980 exploitation sicko, Cannibal Holocaust, in which a group of documentary film-makers got castrated, disembowelled, cooked and eaten by natives in the Amazonian forest. Well, almost three decades later, the eating of human flesh remains a great taboo and film-makers know it’s still a dead cert to get audiences screaming.
From Thailand comes the grisly horror Meat Grinder in which a woman called Buss is trying to survive the mean streets of Bangkok by running a noodle stall. This being Sweeney Todd Asian-style, Buss’s special ingredient is human flesh. Her victims at first come by accident: starting with a dead body dumped after a riot, and a nosey young man searching for his missing girlfriend (Buss nails his fingers to the floor of her home and leaves the guy to stew, literally).
Before long Buss is running a successful business, attracting the attentions of a man called Attapon (the friend of the nailed guy). But Buss is cursed never to find true peace or love. Plagued by memories of being abused by her parents as a child, Buss is one very sick lady. Cue: more victims steaming inside her giant vat of soup, with lovely romantic Thai music stirring in the background.
With its multi-layered story and striking visuals, Meat Grinder, wants to be more than just torture porn, but the constant time shifts make it confusing to follow. Meanwhile, the OTT mutilation scenes only serve to remind the viewer that this is what they came for: noodles of gore à la Herschell Gordon Lewis and those 1980s exploitation cannibal films I wrote about earlier.
The stunning Mai Charoenpura looks suitably demented as the wide-eyed, flesh merchant of menace Buss, and we can expect the same from the actress/singer in her latest project, a horror anthology from the same filmmakers, Die a Violent Death.
Serving up lashings of stomach-churning scenes, Meat Grinder is a Thai buffet of blood, bone and gristle that could have been a lot meatier, but will still have you reaching for the sick bag!
Beware! This trailer contains some really, really bad english subtitles, unlike the DVD release.