The Meat Eater
review submitted by the Wise and Powerful Danimal!
THE STORY: Before beginning this review, I have a brief
announcement to make.
Thank you for your attention.
It's the 1970s, unfortunately. The Crest movie theater is for
sale. Some old man is watching the Frank Capra film, Platinum Blonde, alone by himself at
night in the projection booth. When it's done, he wanders off and eats a rat in gory
close-up. The old man will watch Platinum Blonde twice more in the course of this film, so
as if The Meateater weren't already bad enough, it has the gall
to contrast itself with a classy '30s film by a good director!
Somewhere else, shoe salesman Medford Webster comes home to his wife. Peter
Medford, and I only want to know who on God's earth ever mistook this man for an actor. I
talking about a performance so bad that Denise Richards in The
World Is Not Enough looks like Audrey Hepburn by
comparison. For the entire length of the movie, there's no relief from Spitzer and his
nasal, petulant voice. The rest of the cast wasn't any great shakes, but next to Spitzer's
mind-rending awfulness, none of them looks too bad.
Anyway, Medford complains to his spouse about how rotten his life is. Then he finds that
his bid on the Crest Theater has been accepted, and the family leaves town to take up this
new business. The Crest has been closed for five years; because the last owner showed porn
films there, nobody would attend. The Websters show nature films, thus packing the
theater. Um, right, that sounds exactly like real-world movie theater
economics to me.
Medford hires a projectionist named Raymond, a nerdy guy who seems
chiefly interested in ogling Medford's daughter, Jeannie. In fact, you
get the feeling that Raymond was probably the most disappointed man in town when the
previous theater owner packed up and left. You also get the feeling that Raymond's going
to be dead soon. You'd be right. As for Jeannie, she's pleasant enough to look at, but
she's got a voice somewhere between bass and baritone. Luciano Pavarotti's voice is
more feminine than this girl's. More importantly, she's a flighty, brainless,
spineless, and incredibly whiny person.
On opening night, Raymond fumbles around a lot in some excruciating "comedy." He
has a hard time playing the sound for the nature film. Unfortunately, he succeeds in the
end, and some of the worst narrative ever spawned for a nature film is played into my
cowering ears. Then the old man from the opening scene electrocutes Raymond. Hurrah!
As Dr. Freex would say, "Die, comic relief! Die!"
The nature film is turned off, and a light from behind the movie screen reveals a hanged
man to the audience. The theater patrons all flee from their seats screaming, much as the
watchers of The Meateater itself must have done. The police arrive and break down the door
to the "backstage," where they find the hanged body of Crawford, who I think was
the theater's previous owner, and who didn't leave town after all as everybody thought.
Mrs. Webster finds an old stuttering guy mooning about in the theater, mourning his
brother Ben who long ago was burned alive in the theater. Ben was a
projectionist and one night the nitrate film caught fire, burning him alive. You
will notice I did not say "burning him to death." No points for
guessing that Ben is the old man who's been watching films by himself and who killed
Anyway, the Websters show the same nature film again a few nights later to another packed
house (these citizens sure like nature films). Ben strangles a
long-haired bespectacled teen guy. Meanwhile Jeannie, who is working the theater
concession stand with her mom, throws a babyish temper tantrum and runs off. The killer
intercepts her and drags her off to an isolated room in the second story of the theater.
Ben, who is of course horribly disfigured by burns, protests his love to Jeannie, because
she looks just like Jean Harlow from the movie Platinum
Blonde that Ben is always watching. That's right folks, this whole movie
should have been titled The Phantom of the Movie Theater. Just
like The Phantom of the Opera, except cheap and tasteless. After
the show is over and the patrons are gone, he shows her the long-haired kid's corpse as a
"surprise," then drags her down into the seats and forces her to watch Platinum
Blonde. Jeannie's parents finally notice that she's missing and start looking for her.
In the most amazing sequence in the film, Mrs. Webster calls the police to help find
looks across the street and notices that the light is running in the theater's projection
instantly realizes that Jeannie might still be in the theater, and hangs up on the
dispatcher to run off and find Jeannie herself! She has run off
without her key to the theater, so she has to break the glass doors to get in. She then
grabs Jeannie (who is carrying on and screaming and being generally useless)
away from Ben and drags her up the aisle to the front of the theater. Lo and behold, Ben's
harmless brother is standing at the broken door, so Jeannie and Mrs. Webster turn
around and run back down the aisle toward Ben!!! Somehow Ben misses them and
he chases them around for awhile. When they evade him, both Ben and his brother climb to
the top of the theater. Why? Because the bad guy always climbs the
tallest structure in sight at the end of the movie. It's in the union
So Ben's brother pleads with him to stop the carnage and then throws Ben off the top of
theater to his death on the concrete below, splattering his brains everywhere. Yecch.
The Websters sell the theater and go back to selling shoes. And somebody (who?
I don't know or care) is still watching movies alone at night in the Crest
Theater. The End! Casualties: two boys with glasses, one homicidal
maniac, and one rat. Crawford doesn't count. He was dead before the movie began and I'm
not even sure whether he killed himself or Ben murdered him.
This is almost as bad as '70s drive-in movies get. You may have some slight understanding
of how stupid this movie is, but you cannot realize how slowly and boringly all these
stupid things happen. The film moves along at the torrid pace of a stroke victim in a
I will not name most of the actors in this movie. They have their lives to live, and have
a right to leave this unfortunate episode behind them. But for Peter Spitzer,
let there be no mercy! This
man, who did not shrink from claiming the timeless classic Gas Pump Girls
as his lone credit in the Internet Movie Database, chose to leave this
movie off of his resume. And director-screenwriter Derek Savage will burn in hell for
Best Lines: "All creatures, great and small, cavorting on God's big, bad
playground." -This, God help me, was the narration of that nature movie,
which I had to listen to at least 46 times.
"She has your looks and my brains."- Medford describing his
daughter Jeannie to his wife.
Believe me, this was not the compliment he thought it was.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? :
1) The townsfolk won't
watch porn films, but will watch the same nature film over and over again? Give me
2) After Ben falls and breaks
his skull open, Jeannie deliberately sticks her hands into the gooey
mess, then looks at her palms and screams! Why the !@#$% did you do that, you
3) Why did the Websters sell
the theater at the end? The murderer was dead, for Pete's sake!
4) Seduction by dead mouse.
Boy that Spitzer has charm!
5) There is a shot, which
will be etched in my nightmares for years, of the Websters driving
along screeching "I Wish I Were An Oscar Meyer Wiener." It has
no purpose whatsoever except to inflict pain on the viewer.
6) After Raymond is killed,
the paramedics bring the wrapped-up "body" out on a stretcher.
Except it's perfectly obvious that whatever's under the plastic is way too small to be
NUDITY AND SEX: None.
HUH? : I don't see how this movie could have been good even as drive-in
fare for people to neck
by. I mean, genuine scares might cause your date to hug you for moral support, but there
are no scares in this movie, just scattered grossness. I don't think many
dates were put in the mood by
decomposed hanged corpses and spilled brains.
The publicity stills that appear on the back of the video box do not appear in the film
Mrs. Webster spends half the movie wandering around doing absolutely nothing. At one point
she wanders into Ben's brother's house, which is plastered with posters for the magician
Simon Birch. You might think Simon Birch is eventually going to be important. Nope.
THE TALLY: You saw this one coming, folks.
For loathsome sloth and boredom, for irredeemable vileness, and above all
for Peter Spitzer, this Assistant Demon orders that The Meateater pass all eternity in The
Devil's Drive-In, where countless mosquitoes shall suck its blood, the projector shall be
out of focus, lines shall scar the face of the films, and the sound shall be
unrecognizably distorted for ever and ever. Amen!