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1978 / Horror
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7.3 / 10
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Directed by Jack Weis
Written by Jack Weis
Starring William Metzo, Curt Dawson, Gwen Arment and Butch Benit

Police try to capture someone who is committing ritual murders of women during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

The following tags are associated with this movie: Serial Killer, Video Nasty
Mardi Gras Massacre (1978)
Review by Bradley Frohloff

8 / 10
This is one of the original video nasties from the 70's featuring over-the-top dissection of prostitutes for the purpose of ritual sacrifice. It was rated X in the US and banned in other countries such as the UK.

The killer in the movie is played by William Metzo, and he didn't have to audition for the role as he knew someone involved in the production and was handed the role. Metzo has an extremely charismatic presence and I am amazed that he has not really appeared in anything else. I feel that he emits a similar vibe to that of Andrew Divoff from those Wishmaster movies. There's something about his eyes, facial expressions and the way he delivers his dialogue that make him really stand out. There is an interview with him on the Code Red bluray release of this movie in which he gives some very interesting trivia about the production of the movie, some of which helps me to form this review.

The director/writer/producer Jack Weis had a formula for the movie, which was to feature anything that was popular in movies at the time and cram it all in. There's nude women, sex, extreme gore, fights, car chases, even disco music was popular at the time so the movie is full of funky and disco themed music that almost made me get off my couch to get my Saturday Night Fever groove on. They would constantly run out of film while shooting scenes and have to wait until they could buy more film to continue shooting. This is evident by many scenes that tack on way longer than necessary and use a limited range of close-ups, of which many were meant to be shot later but they obviously didn't get done.

The limitations with the amount of film they had available to shoot with has left us many unintentionally humorous scenes, and I'll list some of the many instances of this from the movie. The few small fight sequences in the movie are laughably bad and look more like what you'd see from a rehearsal rather than a proper take. There is a scene where a lady is arguing with her cop boyfriend, first she stands up, one second later they cut back to her sitting down again, and two seconds later they cut back to her standing up again. The main cop that has been chasing the killer through the entire movie finally finds his apartment, but as soon as the killer flees out the window, the main cop just awkwardly disappears from the movie (presumably they ran out of film or he wasn't available to shoot anymore scenes).

It's easy to see why this was such a controversial movie as the gore scenes are quite graphic, but clearly fake and appear to use organs that are way too big for the bodies that they are being removed from. In this day and age, with how desensitized we are to everything, there's not a whole lot to be squeamish at here for those who are used to seeing blood and guts in movies.

While it will never reach the level of popularity that movies like The Room or Samurai Cop have attained in the "so bad they're good" category as this movie moves at a slow pace and has a much more limited demographic, it's still enjoyable in a similar vein to those movies. Mardi Gras Massacre is a terrible film by normal standards, but everything that is so wrong with the movie is what makes it quite an enjoyable experience.
Mardi Gras Massacre (1978)
Review by Michael Mahoney

5 / 10
This is a movie that I've long wanted to see, and for the longest time, I've pretty much known it wasn't going to be that great, which is certainly accurate after finally having seen it.

In many ways, I was reminded of the classic H.G. Lewis flick Blood Feast from 1963, from a sacrificial killer to decent gore, only it wasn't near as engaging (Blood Feast, on a side-note, isn't really an amazing movie, but in many ways, it blows this out of the water). The main problem was that this was so repetitive, almost to the point of parody.

Step one, the killer enters a bar and asks for someone evil. Step two, the evil woman accompanies him back to his apartment. Step three, the killer offers some wine. Step four, they go to a room where oil is rubbed on the evil woman's nude body before she's tied up and stabbed through the hand, sliced on the sole of her foot, and lastly, slit from her gut upward. This happened three times in the movie with minimal variation. The first time was fine, and the gore is decently gruesome (or it tries), but God, is it as dull as it sounds? Is it ever.

It doesn't help that the main protagonist of Mardi Gras Massacre is a woman-hitting cop (which isn't surprising, as a rather high amount of cops beat their spouse) with the sympathy level of a KKK Grand Wizard, played by Curt Dawson. None of his investigation was particularly interesting or noteworthy, and when he slaps his girlfriend (Gwen Arment) twice, I hoped for a painful death that he never got. Instead, the girl apologize to him and they got back together. Fantastic character arc - love it. The killer, played by William Metzo, did the best of everyone, and possessed a certain charm, so if you see this one for any reason, do it for Metzo.

Also worth noting, I'm not opposed to disco. I love me some Bee Gees, Tavares, KC and the Sunshine Band, and a handful of others, but when your whole soundtrack is composed of generally generic disco, I'm going to have a problem, which I did. It was sort of funny, but boy, just like the repetitive nature of the plot, the soundtrack got really old.

With a title like Mardi Gras Massacre, I personally think people would expect a movie more wild and fun, but this is neither. It's not a great film whatsoever, and it's pretty close to being too dull to classify as a 'so-bad-it's-good' film. The best I can say is that the gore is decent, but even that can't make up for the unlikable characters or the dull nature of the film. 4.5/10 (rounded up to 5/10 to fit site's format).
More releases from 1978 for you to check out

The Evil (1978)

Halloween (1978)

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

The Swarm (1978)

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