The Undertaker and His Pals/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
"Did you ev-er think when the hearse rolled by, that someday you are going to die?..." - Opening song lyrics
Ever since I first saw the trailer for this film, I wanted to watch it. One day to my surprise, I found it in a 12 disc horror boxset I had bought a few years before. Once I sat down and saw the opening sequence which was shot in a cool sepia tone, I knew I was in for a twisted ride. The story follows a local undertaker and his pals Spike and Doc, who are slicing and dicing up anyone that happens to cross their path. The thing that makes this terrorizing trio stand out most is the fact they drive around on motorcycles in black leather outfits (complete with their own skull & crossbone icon patches) with masks over their faces. While The Undertaker puts on a front of being a holy servant of the public, Spike and Doc run a little diner nearby where they serve some real choice cuts of meat.
Their first "dish" is Leg of Lamb, Sally Lamb that is, who the guys kill in the opening of the movie. Watch when The Pals are chopping Sally up, her boyfriend's portrait changes expressions from happy to shocked. That clues you in to what kind of off the wall black comedy-gore flick this is. Another aspect that really adds humor to the story is the fact each of the first victims happens to have a meat related last name such as "Lamb", "Poultry" etc.
I was really surprised at how nasty this movie was. For a horror film from 1966 this thing was sadistic! Girls being whipped with chains, a grocery man cracked in the head with a cleaver. One of my favorite scenes is when the boys chop up a poor girl in the kitchen. Doc tells Spike the place needs to be sanitized, so ol Spike takes out some deodorant and starts spraying it everywhere. Then Doc starts "the operation" and we see an obviously unrelated insert of someone playing with animal organs, which was a standard FX gag for a lot of gore films. The next dish of the day is "Hambur-ger".
I loved the way this movie mixed screwball comedy with over the top acting and nasty gore. Those aspects make it very intriguing and entertaining even though its a low budget production. It gives the film a pulse. It also led me to wonder if a young Tobe Hooper saw the film before he made his horror masterpiece The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Recommended.
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. A Massachusetts native, he is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life. He is currently majoring in Communications and Interactive Media Design.