• Mardi Gras Massacre

    Released by: Code Red
    Released on: September 27, 2011.

    Director: Jack Weis

    Cast: William Metzo, Laura Misch, Cathryn Lacey, Nancy Dancer, Butch Benit, Wayne Mack, Ronald Tanet

    Year: 1978

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    The Movie:

    From the director of Crypt Of Dark Secrets and Quadroon comes 1978’s Mardi Gras Massacre, a low budget disco powered horror film set in New Orleans that somehow wound up being owned by VCX (yes, the adult film company) whose poster art made it look like a far more intense movie than it actually is.

    When the picture begins, two hookers are hanging out at a bar just chilling a bit. A dude (William Metzo) comes into the bar, looking dapper in his suit and flashing some cash around and tells one of the hookers, Sherry (Gwen Arment) that he’s looking for a special girl – he wants the most evil hooker in the entire joint to head home with him for a night of special entertainment. Sherry, realizing she’s not evil enough, points him in the direction of Shirley (Playboy centerfold Laura Misch Owens, who also played hookers in Hard Times, Mandingo and A Shadow In The Streets), who tells him she could win any evil contest ever in the history of evil. Convinced she’s the one, they had back to his place where he won’t let her have any wine. Nope, he’s got bigger plans – it turns out he’s got a secret ceremonial chamber with an alter set up to honor the Aztec wind gods and that after he oils her up and plays with her tits, he’s going to put on a blanket and a mask and slice her up as a human sacrifice.

    Apparently sometime after the guy kills Shirley he tosses her body on the railroad tracks where the cops find her. The case is assigned to two of New Orleans’ toughest homicide cops, Mike Abraham (Curt Dawson) and his streetwise bearded partner. These two hit the streets and wind up in the bar where Shirley was picked up in the first place and start chatting Sherry up for information. She doesn’t remember much but they wind up taking her out for dinner and afterwards, she and Mike start falling for one another. Meanwhile, our killer is picking up other whores, evil ones the whole lot of them, and taking them back to his chamber for more human sacrifice fun. He also runs into a guy called Catfish, a long haired hippy pimp who works at a strip club and who speaks completely in rhyme for reasons never explained. The coolest of the girls he slaughters is one credited as Nancy Dancer, who is not evil at all but seems perfectly nice. He orders her some Chinese food and then tells her to do what she does best before he ties her up, so she impresses him with a ballet routine. So touched is he by her grace that he tells her to leave before he can change his mind and cut out her heart, but no, she wants him to get what he paid for – bad move, before you know it her boobs are covered in dirty looking oil and her heart has been cut out of her chest.

    When Sherry realizes Mike is a no good dirty cop, she kicks his mustachioed ass to the curb and heads back to turning tricks where she winds up being approached, along with a pair of other unlucky sluts, to accompany the killer (who she evidently doesn’t remember – she must have awful short term memory) to his own special Mardi Gras party. Will Mike get out of his funk and hit the streets in time to save his beloved prostitute in time or will the maniac keep killing and killing and killing!?!?!

    FUUUCCKKKK…… where do we start with this one? Jeez… ok. We’ll start with William Metzo’s star making performance as the killer. This guy is so sinister that he can make ordering Chinese food sound terrifying, particularly when he makes damn sure he’s going to get a fortune cookie with his order. He saunters around the Big Easy picking up whores left right and center and somehow never comes to the attention of anyone who might be concerned by his continued requests for the most evil adult entertainment options money can buy. His eyes always look like they’re about to pop out of his head and he has great taste in suits and he plays his role as if he were in some sort of Shakespearian play. This contrasts in very strange ways with the bitch slapping non-acting of Curt Dawson, who actually somehow manages to completely disappear a good while before the movie finishes, never to be seen again.

    But what about the ladies? Well, Cathryn Lacey, Laura Misch Owens and Gwen Arment all worked with Weis on the previous Crypt Of Dark Secrets, though sadly the mighty Nancy Dancer did not (shockingly this is her only screen credit). They’re basically all here to get naked and oiled up, some periodically strutting their stuff on a seedy strip club stage, others maybe getting some dialogue here and there but really, they’re eye candy. Even Arment, who is the female lead and given a good bit more to do dialogue wise than the others, doesn’t offer much substance. But then, neither does anyone or anything else associated with this movie.

    The gore scenes are pretty fun, with gigantic cow hearts being pulled out of latex chests with surprisingly frequency, and the film manages to capture some interesting and seedy atmosphere any time it heads out into the streets of the city – look for a weird Elvis museum, a Chinese takeout giant called ‘Takee Outee’ (where you can buy cold beer for less than the price of corn!) and some pretty rad looking nudie bars like Papa John’s and more. The movie never really comes close to making sense, but if you’re a trash film fanatic, well, they don’t come a whole lot better than this stupid piece of sleazy cinema.


    In my younger days a wise man once told me that you can't polish a turd, but Code Red appear to have done just that. Though their source is taken from a video master according to the pre-movie text screen that appears on the DVD, the transfer actually looks pretty decent. Granted it is a fair bit softer than a good film based transfer could be but the image is stable throughout. If there's some color fading here and there it's not that big a deal and there are no obnoxious drop outs or rolls to note. This won't win any awards but it doesn't look bad at all, all things considered.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track ,the only audio option on the DVD, is also fine. The levels are well balanced and there are no problems with hiss or distortion outside of a couple of bits of dialogue that are just a bit shrill. The score, made up almost entirely of bad disco music, also sounds fine.

    As Code Red has released this as part of their ‘Maria’s B-Movie Mayhem’ line, you’ve got the choice of watching the movie with an optional introduction from wrestling star Maria Kanellis, who does a pretty decent job of playing horror hostess. For those who don’t want Kanellis’ into/outro, well, it’s optional so you can watch the movie au natural if you want.

    The best extra, however, is a ten minute interview with the killer himself, William Metzo. Now sporting a giant beard, Metzo talks about how he didn’t have to audition for his role in this film and instead got it based on a recommendation given to Weis by someone he knew, how the first girl he killed had big fake tits that had lost the ability to move and feel and how he was just as confused as we were by Catfish the rapping pimp. He also notes that the film did play a theatrical screening in NYC before then more or less disappearing (though one sheets pop up on eBay from time to time for the movie, so maybe it had a small release after that initial screening) and states that, yes, Nancy Dancer was the legal name of the ballerina hooker he guts in the movie.

    Aside from that, there’s a hokey ‘Maria’s Fantasy’ music video here, trailers for Blood Mania starring
    PETER CARPENTER, The Hearse and The Babysitter, menus and chapter stops.

    The Final Word:

    A movie that plunges the very depths of stupidity, Mardi Gras Massacre is as ridiculously entertaining as it is logic-defyingly obtuse. Metzo’s performance is awesome, there’s loads of boobs and blood, and some decent New Orleans location footage all wrapped up in a plot that just doesn’t matter and a score that will make you want to shake your grove thing. It’s really tough to sum this one up, as it’s really and truly one of those amazingly retched but blissfully fucked up films that you need to see for yourself – and Code Red’s DVD is the best way to do just that.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Randy G's Avatar
      Randy G -
      I'm irrationally fond of this one and was thrilled it got a DVD release.