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"Microwave Massacre" (1983) |


Photo credit: Apple TV

by Bone Jawnson

There is an old saying that goes, "You should never meet your idols." As a twist on this, I feel that "you should never watch actors who voiced your childhood cartoon of Frosty the Snowman cook his murder victims in a microwave oven." Yet, this is exactly what happened when I watched "Microwave Massacre." This film starred the ever-deadpan stand-up comedian Jackie Vernon, who played the role of a disgruntled husband and construction worker named Donald. (Click here for a clip of Jackie's stand-up routine.) During his film career, Vernon most notably voiced the character of Frosty in the classic, made-for-television cartoon "Frosty the Snowman" (1969), as well as the subsequent "Frosty's Winter Wonderland" (1976) and "Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July" (1979). 
"Microwave Massacre" is sandwiched between Vernon's third role as Frosty and an independent, seafaring mafia spoof movie called "Mafia on the Bounty." After conducting some research, I was unable to determine why Vernon was cast for Donald’s role. This film appears to be an outlier in his list of roles. Although he plays an eventual murderer, the premises and performance are in line with his style of humor. I will say that after my initial viewing, I thought this was just a poorly executed, drawn-out, boorish film. However, after researching Jackie Vernon's style of humor and deadpan, self-deprecating delivery, the way he portrayed Donald became funny, as it was very much in line with his previous stand-up work. 
The plot of this film is fairly simple: Donald is a disgruntled construction worker whose wife continues to pack him lunches that he can't stand and make dinners that he doesn't like. He eventually gets into an argument, kills his wife, chops up her remains, cooks them in the microwave, and eats them. He quickly discovers that he likes the taste of cooked human flesh, which reveals a lot about the nature of his wife's cooking. Throughout the film, Donald finds other victims to enable his newfound lust for flesh and shares his new recipes with his co-workers. 
Initially, I thought this film was a snooze fest; however, after watching some of Jackie's stand-up, I realized that he was playing the character of Donald to his strengths as a deadpan, self-deprecating, no-respect-given type of guy. Through an IMDB search, it was revealed that Rodney Dangerfield was initially offered the role; however, his salary was too high. I can now see why the producers and director went with Jackie Vernon instead.

Next up on my viewing list: "Blood Feast" (1963)

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