(Note: The Trashfilm Guru reviewed this film on his own site in 2012. Check out his review by clicking here!)
With this being Mari Gras weekend, I imagine that thousands of people are currently flooding into New Orleans and hoping to have a good time. In honor of their commitment, I have been reviewing Mardi Gras-themed films. Today’s film is low-budget 1978 “shocker” called Mardi Gras Massacre.
A serial killer is stalking New Orleans and…
Wait a minute. Does this sound familiar? Hmmm … okay, sorry, let’s continue.
…the police are powerless to stop him…
Okay, I swear, I think I’ve described this situation before. But, anyway, to continue with Mardi Gras Massacre:
…despite being the most obvious serial killer in history, the murderer is able to move undetected through the Big Easy. His motive? Human sacrifices to an evil power…
OKAY, STOP! I just realized that I’m basically rewriting my earlier review of Mardi Gras For The Devil. Despite the fact that there’s a 15-year age difference between the two films, both Mardi Gras Massacre and Mardi Gras For The Devil have the same basic plot. A psycho wanders around New Orleans and commits occult-themed murders while an intense cop tries to stop him. Eventually, the cop’s lover is targeted by the killer…
I mean, it’s the exact same plot! The only real difference is that Mardi Gras For The Devil starred recognizable actors like Michael Ironside and Robert Davi while Mardi Gras Massacre was a low-budget obscurity starring no one that you have ever heard of.
In Mardi Gras Massacre, the killer’s name is John and he’s played by an actor named William Metzo. John spends all of his time looking for prostitutes and strippers who he can sacrifice to an Aztec God. John has an altar in his apartment. The altar, of course, is surrounded by red curtains. As I watched the film, I wondered where he got the altar. Even more importantly, I wondered how he could fit that huge altar into what appeared to be a pretty small apartment.
John manages to sacrifice quite a few women without anyone becoming overly suspicious of him. This is despite the fact that John spends almost the entire movie wearing a three-piece suit and glaring at everyone he meets. When John steps into a bar, the first thing that he asks the bartender is where he can find the “evilest” prostitute. No one seems to find that strange. Then again, New Orleans is a very forgiving town.
Anyway, Sergeant Frank Herbert (Curt Dawson) is in charge of the investigation and, as soon as he shows up with his porn stache and his hairy chest, we know that we’re watching a movie from the 70s. Sgt. Herbert falls in love with a prostitute named Sherry (Gwen Arment). Halfway through the film, we get an extended falling in love montage. New Orleans looks really pretty in the montage but, at the same time, the film has just spent 45 minutes establishing it as a city where a serial killer can ask for the “evilest” prostitute without raising any suspicion. So, romantic montage outside, I have hard time believing that Mardi Gras Massacre did much for New Orleans tourism.
I should point out that, much as with the case of Mardi Gras For The Devil, there’s not really a whole lot of Mardi Gras to be found in Mardi Gras Massacre. Towards the end of the movie, we get a chase through a Mardi Gras parade. It’s obvious that the filmmakers filmed the chase during the actual parade so, from a historical point of view, it’s interesting to see how Mardi Gras was celebrated in the 70s. At the same time, throughout the entire scene, drunk people are waving at the camera. (One person even tries to grab the lens as they walk by.)
On a positive note, Mardi Gras Massacre features one of the best trashy disco scenes ever . As well, the version that I watched had Spanish subtitles and I’m happy to say that my Spanish is apparently getting pretty good! As for the rest of the film, it’s a movie that will be best appreciated by grindhouse aficionados. It’s a low-budget, poorly acted, thoroughly silly film and its obviously fake gore managed to get the film banned in the UK. It’s a historical oddity and, like many grindhouse films, its appeal mostly comes from watching it and saying, “Someone actually made this and managed to get it into theaters.” At the very least, it will hopefully remind you to not admit to being the “evilest” anything during Mardi Gras.