CORPSE EATERS (1974) – The Dungeon Review!

I was compiling a list of Canadian horror films via IMDB a while back and stumbled upon Corpse EatersCorpse Eaters is a low-budget zombie flick circa 1974 filmed in Sudbury Ontario. It had an interesting story behind it that motivated me to try and find it. Here is what I read:

Produced in 1973 by Lawrence Zazelenchuk, who owned “The 69 Drive-In” on Rt. 69 outside of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. He had saved $36,000 from working at a nickel mine and decided to write and produce a horror film to screen at his own drive-in. Director Donald R. Passmore was hired, then fired after four days and replaced by Klaus Vetter. Once finished, Zazalenchuk found he could not afford the lab costs to have the film developed, but finally saved enough in drive-in proceeds to get it processed. It premiered at “The 69 Drive-In” in 1974 and went on to a long local run before it was bought by a New York distributor in the market for a tax write-off. -from IMDB

Lawrence Zazelenchuk poured everything he had into getting Corpse Eaters made so he could play it at his own drive-in. Don’t you have to appreciate that on some level? Corpse Eaters isn’t a great movie by any means; but if you can enjoy a film like The Undertaker and His Pals, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, or Blood Feast you might get a bit of a kick out of it. All three of those films really tickle me and Corpse Eaters kinda tickled me too.

Corpse Eaters was grainy and my screenshots turned out shite, but I am using them anyway. This review needs screenshots; it’ll be more fun that way.

Before the film begins we are given a warning. A middle-aged man in a suit walks into a theatre and sits down. A flashing red and green circle comes on and a voice warns that there are many stomach upsetting scenes in the film we are about to watch. Apparently a test audience suggested a warning be put up before the sickening scenes so patrons may be afforded the chance to look away.

The warning is the patron we met seating himself earlier. Except now he is flashing green and is holding a handkerchief over his mouth looking as though he is about to wretch! Holy crap is it hilarious! Sadly we only get to see him twice more!

This is the funeral director and he is being told there is a corpse in pretty rough shape that needs to be attended to immediately.

This is the corpse. He has a mustache, so that is what I am going to call him. Mustache didn’t look to be in all that rough of shape even before he was cleaned up. I guess that is supposed to be a nasty looking scratch on his cheek. The report says he was attacked by a bear, but we are about to learn differently.

Enter quartet of youngish people; Mustache being one of the group. They are cruising the lovely waters of Sudbury Ontario and pull their boat in for a break. There is a super long sex scene with one of the couples. One couple is fucking while the female of the other couple is pouting and slapping her mans hand away. They interchange several times in between the two couples. Corpse Eaters runtime is only one hour and it is a solid 20 minutes before anything of interest happens. Eventually they have a conversation about their evening plans. They decide it would be a hoot to go to the graveyard and smoke some weed.

Oh man this scene is great!! So they go inside a crypt and Mustache says when he was a kid he had an uncle that told these crazy stories and would draw circles and such. So Mustache draws up some circles and they all join hands and he starts in with this chanting “Lucifer! Baratis! Satanis! B-satanis!…” Hahahahaha! Yeah, that uncle tells some crazy stories alright! But nothing happens right away so he walks around the crypt and notices a crucifix hanging on the wall which he turns upside-down. He tries the incantation again and this time we get a nutty psychedelic scene where pouty girl has a wee freak out.

Oh yeah baby…look at those wheels.

Look who’s here! It’s sick patron! You know what that means?!

ZOMBIES!

Pouty girl has a really coo-coo outrageous dream. Have I mentioned that Pouty girl is Mustache’s sister? Did he fuck his girlfriend two feet away from his sister earlier? Well, wait until you get a load of her dream. I don’t want to spoil all the fun for you since it is one of the best scenes in the film.

They sure do love close-ups! Close ups of faces, close ups of needles going into arms, close ups of phones, and close ups of clocks.

The funeral director is looking a little disheveled. What becomes of him? You’ll have to see it to find out!

Like I said, Corpse Eaters isn’t a great film. Heck, it is not even a good film. It was far too dark at times; there were moments you really could not tell what was going on. The pacing was bad, the acting was sketchy, the dialog if often painful (although it was kinda funny sometimes). And yet, I can’t say it didn’t have its entertaining moments. There is some creativity here and there but mostly this gave me a good laugh whether it was intended or not. I sorta liked Corpse Eaters, but I can’t really recommend it. For completists only.

Dungeon Rating: 2.5/5

Directed By: Donald R. Passmore & Klaus Vetter

Starring: Michael Hopkins, Ed LeBreton, Terry London, Michael Krizanc, Helina Carson, Douglas Deering, Gary Stevens, Bill Sharen, Louise Parr, Bill Costello, Cathy Hicky, Ted Majkot, Peter Travaglini, Doris Costello, Chris Kemp

9 Responses to “CORPSE EATERS (1974) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. We just watched Corpse Eaters about a month ago, but I had forgotten all about it until I read this! I agree the way it got made was an interesting story and of course, being a trash film fan I didn’t hate it, but it definitely was…special.

  2. I want it!!! I’ll serach sub…

  3. Until your excellent review,I too had forgotten I had seen this film on bootleg video back in the 1990’s. A super fun movie. The red/green warning light and sick patron is classic movie ballyhoo,with roots in the Mark of the Devil vomit bag. I almost wish Lawrence Zazelenchuck had directed the film,because Corpse Eaters is his baby all the way,and it’s a shame the film didn’t get the wider release Zazelenchuck had hoped for when he sold the film to the New York distributor for 5,000 dollars who did not tell Zazelenchuk he had no intention of releasing the film. I hope a corpse eater got the guy for simply using the film as a tax write-off. If you haven’t seen it,Goregirl,you should look for Caelum Vatnsdal’s book They Came From Within:A History of Canadian Horror Cinema. There are several pages devoted to Corpse Eaters.Apparently Lawrence Zazelenchuk eventually moved to Florida and died at the age of 36. But at least he fulfilled his dream in part. Zazelenchuk was a horror film fan and his movie was made with we fans in mind,and there are many references and influences stuffed in that 58 or so minute labor of love. Again,great review,and watch out for the owl!

    • $5000? Even with the ticket sales there is no way he made his money back. And died at the age of 36? In Florida no less? That’s pretty depressing.

      They Came From Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema-Well that is definitely a book I need to have!!

      • Poor Lawrence thought the New York distributor was going to release his baby throughout the United States. I honestly feel the film would have done well at drive-ins everywhere. Perfect drive-in fare. He was seriously ripped off by the crook from the Big Apple. I think maybe he died so young from a broken heart. But at least his film remains and he got to see it play at his drive-in.I think you will like Caelum Vatnsdal’s book. He covers everything beginning with The Mask from 1961(If I recall correctly).

  4. Wouldn’t Zombie Eaters be someone who eats zombies?

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