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Sunday, August 23, 2009


I finally got around to seeing this serial murder/cannibalism "classic" after years of hearing about it and I'm frankly surprised at what it turned out to be. You know Herschell Gordon Lewis' seminal gore shocker BLOOD FEAST (1963), right? Well imagine BLOOD FEAST if it had been created by and for kids, and then you pretty much have THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS.

The title characters: on the prowl for victims and not entering as contestants in "spooky biker night" at the Manhole Bar.

Cheap and very silly, THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS offers up the title characters and takes us with them as they ride around on their motorcycles in search of nubile and innocent women to butcher, thus providing the ripoff-artist undertaker (Ray Dennis) with business and allowing his accomplices a two-pronged benefit: one gets to practice his insane amateur surgical skills while the other aids him, and the parts gruesomely pilfered from their victims become the day's special at the pair's greasy spoon diner.

Miss Lamb, that is...

As a feeble detective investigates the murders (which include his secretary/lover and an aggressively horny blonde who seeks to fill the secretary's position), all of it is played for juvenile laughs and brought in at a mercifully short sixty-three minutes.

No bullshit, while watching this all I could think of was the godawful, borderline-public-access-level 1970's kiddie show THE HORRIBLE HOUSE OF FRIGHTENSTEIN, only if it had segments of meaty gore and medical school surgery training film footage. The movie was quite clearly influenced by BLOOD FEAST, but I have to say THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS included a few cinematic elements that its predecessor completely lacked, such as pacing, decent editing, genuine attempts at acting by all who were in front of the camera, semi-successful humor and the common decency of being a film one can actually sit through without being bored nigh unto a torpor. Even with all the bad taste and (marginal) gore on display, THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS is a surprisingly cheerful and tongue-in-cheek effort that would be acceptable by most parents as a grand guignol for under-tens who can take it and be in on the gag. Utterly frivolous but worth a look, provided you don't have to pay for it (I got it on a triple-feature "Cannibal Classics" disc along with THE SEVERED ARM and I EAT YOUR SKIN, so I'd say it was worth the five bucks for a three-in-one).

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