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The Undertaker and His Pals


Title: The Undertaker and His pals
Year Of Release: 1966
Running Time: 63 minutes
DVD Released By: Part of the Great Cannibal Classics by American Home Treasures
Directed By: T.L.P. Swicegood - David C. Graham
Writing Credits: T.L.P. Swicegood

Starring: Ray Dannis, Warrene Ott, Rad Fulton, Marty Friedman, Sally Frei
Taglines:
A macabre story of two motorcycle-riding, knife wielding, shiv shaving, arm-twisting, chain-lashing, scalpel-flashing, acid-throwing, gun-shooting, bone breaking pathological nuts and their pal the undertaker…
Alternate Titles:
None found

Review Date: 6.7.05 (updated 1.1.10)

Shadow's Title: "10 Reasons To Eat At Home"

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Undertaker and His Pals

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The Undertaker and His Pals 

Drive-In Double Feature: Undertaker And His Pals (1966) / Carnival Of Blood (1970)

Great Cannibal Classics (The Undertaker And His Pals / The Severed Arm / I Eat Your Skin)

Characters
Mort the Undertaker – He runs the Shady Rest Funeral Parlour and is creepy. Very creepy. Well, he is very effete, which in my book automatically equals creepy. While he adds outrageous extras to his bills and gouges his customers, you gotta love an Undertaker who gives out trading stamps
Spike – This complete whack-a-do is the counter man at The Greasy Spoon cafe. One seriously f*cked up homicidal freak that deserves a quick bullet to the head. He takes real delight in inflicting pain and suffering on others, something that he apparently shares with Yanni.
DocThis total nutjob is the cook at The Greasy Spoon. His culinary treats are about as appetizing as a plate of sawdust…and not much more nutritional. To call him psychotic is like putting a tray of crackers before a starving Kirstie Alley – woefully inadequate.
Harry Glass – Harry here is a private dick. His office is near The Greasy Spoon and he often drops by for a meal, since he appears to know both Spike and Doc. He gets involved with murder spree investigation when his secretary is killed and then her replacement goes missing.
Ann Poultry – Harry’s secretary. Evidently her job came with some unusual benefits, as there is evidence to point to her and Harry boning each other on a regular basis. She wants him to marry her, but he claims he cannot afford to do so. I don’t blame him one bit! Women are costly.
Friday – She arrives at Harry’s office and applies for the job of secretary after Ann is murdered. The application process seems to involve wearing a tight dress and stretching out provocatively across the Harry’s desk with a whole lot of flirting and sexual innuendo thrown in for good measure.
Thursday – I know that no one would have ever guessed it based upon the pictures, but this woman is Friday’s twin sister. She shows up towards the end of the film looking for her missing sibling and runs into Harry in the kitchen of The Greasy Spoon.
Detective Jennings – This hefty gentleman is the local cop working the case of the mutilation murders. He really does not show up very much, but it does seem that he gets the girl in the end, despite sporting a figure that looks like it was honed on the Krispy Kreme donut diet.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

Did those wrestlers have to change the name of their organization AGAIN?The action begins at night when we see a lone motorcyclist come barreling down a road until he reaches what looks like a wide area of street in front of a gateway – the type of gateway that leads to factory complexes and the like. He turns and completes one circle in the middle of the road and then is joined by a second motorcyclist. These two make a circle before a third guy on a motorcycle joins the duo. Another circle is made by the three of them before they all pull over to a nearby phone booth, which is a good thing – one more circle in the road and I would have turned the film off! So now one guy gets off his bike and enters the booth. He opens the phone book, which right away tells you that this movie takes place in fantasyland, as phone books are never in phone booths; and picks a name at random. Then the three are off. I should note at this point that all three are dressed similarly: black pants, black leather jackets, goggles, white helmets and black bandanas over their lower faces, thus hiding their features.

After riding down city streets for a while, they come to a multi-story apartment building. One guy stops and enters through the front while the other two speed off. The guy who enters peruses the mailboxes until he finds the one that lists the apartment number of the person he is looking for: a Sally Lamb. Upstairs in her apartment, we see the blonde Miss Lamb stretched out on her sofa and exposing a lot of leg. She is writing a letter and placing it in an envelope, which may very well be intended for the sailor featured in the picture atop the nearby end table. Watch closely as the camera pans along her, you can see the shadow of the cameraman on her legs.

Now we see the other two motorcycle riders. They have pulled up around the backside of the building and are scaling the fire escape. Miss Lamb hears a knock at her door and when she answers…why, it's motorcycle dude number one, who promptly tries to force his way in. Miss Lamb runs for the phone, hopefully to call the police, but remember – she is blonde – anything is possible. Motorcycle dudes number two and three come through her open window at this point, ending her chance to make a call. This is strange because motorcycle dude number one had to look at the mailboxes to find out which apartment she was in, yet these two automatically knew which window to go to. Even stranger, her apartment number was 214, yet these two were show ascending the fire escape to at least the fourth floor!

So she backs away, but the first guy has broken in through the front door and he now grabs her. She struggles as the other two unveil some rather big knives. I’m guessing they’re not about to demonstrate Ginsu technology in her kitchen. She is pushed towards them and in short order she is stabbed numerous times and falls to the floor, dead. At no time during this whole tragic affair did she scream or call out for help as loudly as possible. Like I said – she’s blonde. You’d think neighbors would hear and offer some kind of assistance, but the thought did not enter her head. It must have been rebuffed by all that highly pressurized air. If three guys with huge Ginsu knives had me cornered in my own apartment, I’d be wailing louder than the three tenors combined. Of course, I have quite the extensive sword and knife collection in my place, so I could easily grab a weapon and go all Samurai on their asses if need be.

Now, two things need to be noted at this juncture. One is this: up until now, the entire film looked like it was shot with a cheap piece of yellow glass over the camera lens. I was beginning to think that it was just a result of the movie being old and the print being bad, but as soon as Miss Lamb hits the floor…POW, we get hit with full living color! Now, it may still be a case of the print being bad, but since the film remains in full color for the remainder of this marvelous mess, it may not be a coincidence after all. The second thing that should be noted is the picture of Miss Lamb’s sailor boyfriend. When her body hit the floor, we see the expression on his face has changed to one of shock. It really is quite funny…in a –holy-crap-I-don’t-believe-they-did-that sort of way.

"My girlfriend!""Time to find a new girl in THAT port."So Miss Lamb is now dead. The first motorcycle dude unsheathes his own big knife and goes to work on her legs, while the picture of the boyfriend changes yet again. Finishing up their job, the three killers take some newspaper and wrap up Miss Lamb’s severed legs. Then they abscond with said appendages through the window. The film fades out and we see the movie’s title card accompanied by some rhyme about dying. Hard to believe we’re not even five minutes into the film at this point.

Now we see the Shady Rest Funeral Parlour, which has a huge banner above the front door that proudly proclaims that “we give trading stamps.” HAHAHA! Ya gotta love that idea. I’d almost be willing to arrange for a few “accidents” among my own extended family if it meant fabulous prizes being made available in exchange for a few books filled with stamps.

An older couple dressed in the traditional mourning color of black enters and Mort the Undertaker cues a tape recorder, which plays the wrong music at first. The grieving couple are Sally Lamb’s parents and what an odd couple they are, indeed. Mama Lamb looks more like Mama Cow – she’s big and wide. Papa Lamb looks more like a stick. He’s tall and really thin. In addition, the man has no chin whatsoever. His face just ends beneath his bottom lip. He really is an odd-looking guy. Anyway, while Mama Lamb pours tears over her daughter’s open casket, Mort talks about how beautiful the dead woman looks and how he painted her himself. Usually dead people on display have their eyes closed – it helps convey that whole “resting in peace” notion, but Sally’s eyes are slightly open and it makes her look like someone vegging out on pot.

While Mama Lamb tries to maneuver her considerable bulk into a position where she can bend over and kiss her daughter one last time, Papa Lamb has a discussion with Mort. The latter presents his bill to the former, saying that it will help take his mind off his grieving. Papa Lamb is shocked to learn that the bill is for $1250. He is slightly pissed because the advertisement which drew him in only stated $144.98 as the final cost. The Undertaker then explains there were added costs such as the flowers, the use of the hearse, the lining in the coffin, etc. Papa Lamb refuses to pay. At this point Mama Lamb approaches and when she sees the ream of trading stamps coming her way, she grabs them away from the Undertaker, stuffs them into her purse and them calls both men horrible for talking of money at a time like this. Mort gets somewhat indignant, reminding them that just like Smith-Barney, he makes his money the old fashion way: he earns it. In this case it was earned by sowing plastic legs on the cold corpse of their leg-less daughter. Papa Lamb passes out when hearing these details, prompting Mama Lamb to help him back up. The two make their way outside; Mort reminding them that they will pay the bill.

An establishing shot of a street and a building precedes a shot of a name plate on a wall that reads, “Harry Glass – private detective.” At his desk, Harry is working when his secretary Ann tries to interrupt him and show off her new dress. He gives her token acknowledgments until she gets somewhat cross, then he takes the time to look her over real good. She sits in his lap and they kiss! Now that is what I call a secretary! He pushes her away so he can return to work, but she wants to know why he won’t marry her. Harry answers by saying that he cannot even afford himself. She playfully acts like she is going to jump out the window to which he responds by picking up the phone and having a mock conversation with the employment bureau, asking for a new secretary. HAHAHA!

Pow! Now it is night and we see Harry and Ann pull up and stop in his convertible. They have arrived at The Greasy Spoon Café, a local eatery. They enter and after some more playful (and painful) banter, Ann says that Doc, the short order cook at The Greasy Spoon, was kicked out of medical school for being “very, very, weird.” Hell, if that is all it took to get tossed out, there’d be very few doctors left in the world in my opinion. I have not met very many that were not weird in some fashion. Now Spike appears and when Ann asks him what he recommends, he points to a chalkboard where the specialty of the day is listed: leg of lamb. Leg of lamb! Get it? Get it!? You see, that Sally Lamb woman had her legs chopped off …ok, you get it.

Spike asks what she’ll have and Ann orders the lamb. A few more words are exchanged and Ann reveals that her last name is Poultry! Ok, I bet you can see where this one is heading! Spike teases her on her name, and after she gets all in a huff, he resorts to calling her “chicken.” Harry then orders the specialty as well and Spike calls back to Doc to prepare two plates. Then the three discuss the recent murder of Sally Lamb before the food arrives. Harry cuts his meat, but sniffs it before he takes a bite. He wants to know what it is, but Spike just replies (truthfully I might add) that it is “Lamb.” Harry ushers Ann out before she can take a bite. She threatens to call the health inspector as she gets up to go. Um…why? She didn’t take a bite. Harry did not take a bite. All he did was sniff it. Seems like very little evidence to support a call to the health inspector to me. Does Harry possess some type of bionic implant that augments his sense of smell, allowing him to determine with a brief sniff when something has gone bad? After they leave, Spike continues to look in their direction and ominously says, “good night, Miss Poultry.”

Harry has obviously been visiting The Greasy Spoon for a while, as he seems to know Doc and Spike quite well. Then why is it that he just now decides to pass on the food? Sally Lamb was not their first victim, so they evidently served up portions of other people in the past, which Harry no doubt ate. Maybe the cooking was off the night he took Ann there for a bite to eat? They should have gone to Jack In The Box instead. At least at a reputable fast food chain like that, they can be assured that the meat is actually safe to eat. Right?

Now it is no longer day. Then again, neither is it night. Indeed, Day-for-Night has settled over the city! Harry pulls up to Ann’s place and walks her to her front door, the sound of crickets piped in to remind us that it is supposed to be night and not mid afternoon like the blue sky would have us believe. Without a word, Harry kisses Ann and then turns to leave as she enters her house. No going for a grope, no trying to worm his way inside for some Boom-Boom action – he just skedaddles back to his car and drives off. Moron, moron, moron! What guy wouldn’t be trying for a round of the matress Mambo? Unless…he has something else already lined up and is itchin’ to make his booty call. Inside, Ann hears her cat Tobey (who makes a sound like an elephant just stepped on him) and calls out to him. No cat. Then she begins to disrobe. I will refrain from making a crude kitty/cat/pussy joke here.

A quick cutaway shows us three guys on motorcycles roaring down a street, decked out in leather jackets and sporting white helmets. The killers are on the prowl again!

Back at Ann’s place, she continues to change clothes, donning a sea-green robe after giving us a nice shot of her in her undies. She goes outside to find Tobey, who can be heard making noises usually consigned to an episode of “Slow Cats, Fast Cars.” Now it really is dark outside, no more day-for-night crap. Ann walks along some bushes, calling out for the cat, and we see some feet and legs stalking about nearby. Just feet and legs, mind you. I’m just going to assume at this point that they are attached to a person and are not heralding the approach of some nightmarish army of severed body parts given life. Then again, that would make for better entertainment that a lot of the crap out there. Where was I? Oh yeah…more calls to the cat, then two more pairs of feet and legs join the first.

At this point, the film shows us a shot of Ann in her front yard and we see the fence that divides her property from that of the neighbors. Jeez! I’ve seen friendlier fencing around Russian Gulags! Whoever designed this thing had no conception of the word “ergonomics.” This thing is comprised of vertical metal bars – every other one sticking up higher than the rest and featuring a very sharp-looking point. I’d hate to be the kid in this neighborhood tasked with the duty of hopping her fence in order to retrieve a lost ball. One small slip and it’s kid-a-bob time.

So Ann finally locates the cat, which turns out to be of the stock-footage breed. She smiles and turns to go inside…without the cat. Now, if she is going to go back inside without the damn cat, why in hell was she looking for it in the first place? Anyway, standing on her porch is the three killers. She backs away, shaking her head, but they follow. They back her against a wall (they seem to cover the same four-foot section of lawn about three times as they do so) and she just stands there like an idiot as they close in on her. No screaming, no trying to run…just standing there. She may have brown hair now, but must have been naturally blonde. Finally, when the killers are just a couple feet away, she makes a break for it. Alas, she waited too long and the three grab her easily enough, dragging her out of frame. It really is somewhat pathetic on her part, as it must have taken these three dorks a full thirty seconds to close in on her – time she spent shaking her head in denial when she should have been a block away and still running.

"This fence is a hazard. I’m calling the home owners association at once!"The camera now focuses on the nasty-looking fence I mentioned earlier and slowly pans along its length. As this occurs, we hear the sounds of struggling. Finally…and I do mean FINALLY, Ann lets out a scream…but it was not a scream for help, it was a scream of pain. The camera finally reveals Ann, impaled on the fence with one of those sharp points protruding through the bottom of her chest and an expression of “oh crap” on her face. I bet now she wishes she had screamed for help or ran earlier than she did. Idiot.

An ambulance is heard and now it is morning. The police are going over the crime seen and Detective Jennings has found a patch that fell off one of the killer’s jackets. “One of them was probably wearing this,” Jennings says to Harry, who is also poking around. Apparently this is the fifth such mutilation murder and the cops have gathered enough evidence that they have determined that there were three assailants, the physical proportions of the attackers based on their boot prints, the fact that the three were riding motorcycles and the types of tires on said motorbikes. Jennings quizzes Harry for any information, but Harry has no idea as to who killed Ann. Jennings then cautions Harry to not take matters into his own hands. Yeah right.

As Harry pokes around some more, Mort the Undertaker suddenly appears. Harry wants to know who he is and once Mort introduces himself, Harry tells him to get lost. Mort sticks around, insisting that Harry needs him at this unfortunate time, especially since the deceased Ann had no relatives to make funeral arrangements. Talk about an ambulance chaser! Harry agrees to let Mort handle everything and the Undertaker quickly produces a contract for him to sign, quoting a price of $144.98. Yeah, I’m sure Mr. Lamb was told the same thing. Harry looks over the contract and notices that there is no price listed. Mort explains that is because there are often “extras” that need to be added to the grand total. Harry, wise to Mort’s game, takes a pen and writes in the $144.98 price before signing it. Mort is visibly upset and tells Harry that he is making a “terrible mistake.”

Harry rebuffs him and when Mort turns in a huff to walk away, some truly idiotic music now begins to play – the type that sounds like it was used to score a chase scene in an old silent film and was compsoed by a cat chasing a mouse up and down the piano keys. Mort nearly runs into a police officer and in his haste to get away, steps on a skateboard and ends up rolling down the driveway, struggling to maintain his balance. Where the hell did that skateboard come from? Ann didn’t strike me as the thrasher type. Harry laughs as Mort goes on a wild ride that ends with him rolling out of a driveway and into the roadway. He eventually winds up on his ass in the street, a small boy running up to retrieve the skateboard before skampering off with some other kids. Uh...quick question…I can understand that this is where the skateboard came from – the small boy, but how did it get at the crime scene? The cops must be really lazy if they’re allowing neighborhood kids to tromp all up and down a murder investigation scene.

We’re back at The Greasy Spoon, where Spike is filling up a cup with some coffee in what has got to be one of the dirtiest kitchens in town. It is so nasty that I think the cockroaches packed up and left for cleaner digs. Spike moves up to the front of the café, where he hands over the cup to Harry. On the wall, the chalkboard advertising the daily special now reads “Breast of Chicken.” GROAN. I saw that one coming. You saw that one coming. I think even Helen Keller could see that one coming, but it still makes us groan to see it. Spike offers his and Doc’s condolences to Harry and pledges to help him if he should find the guys responsible. Harry asks for a donut and when Spike looks back into the kitchen and asks Doc for one, the latter informs him that they have not been delivered yet.

In the kitchen, Doc is reading a medical text that illustrates how to perform surgery. Doc seems very excited by the information, especially over the fact that the scalpel should always be sharp. He gets a little too excited and cuts himself. As he is bandaging his hand there is a knock at the back door. It turns out to be a delivery man. Doc opens the door and a black guy comes in with a huge box full of groceries. Now, normally I would not point out a character’s ethnic background unless there was a reason for it, and in this case there is…just wait. He asks about Doc’s surgery book, but Doc gets perturbed and walks off to read his book some more. The delivery guy wants to know why Doc never orders any meat, but Doc says they obtain it from somebody else. The delivery guy then asks who it is that they get their meat from, but Doc doesn’t answer. He notices that the delivery guy is now displaying the noted “curiosity that killed the cat” by poking around the kitchen, so he picks up a cleaver and approaches the guy. The delivery guy opens the freezer and is shocked to see human legs hanging from hooks. It seems he has uncovered Doc’s culinary secrets. Alas, they do not involve 11 secret herbs and spices. Rather, it involves a meat cleaver to the head! Before he can do anything, Doc runs up from behind him and buries said cleaver in the poor bastard’s forehead. The unlucky sod lets out a scream as he dies. It could not have been too loud, as Harry never seemed to have heard it up in the front part of the café, unless he was already gone.

By the way, Didn’t anyone miss this delivery guy? His employer no doubt wondered why he never came back from his delivery and should have called the cops. The police would know where his deliveries where going that day and quickly narrow down what was the last stop he was seen at. Yet, no one ever mentions this guy or comes asking about him.

Accidents at the barbershop: a shocking expose.Speaking of the front part of the café, we now see a guy enter through the front door. It is quite dark outside, so it must be night. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else in the café. He takes a seat and Spike asks him what he’ll have. The guy orders fried chicken but Spike informs him that they are out of that particular dish. Same thing goes for the hotdog he tries to order next. Since they don’t seem to have anything the guy wants, he settles for the breast of chicken. Spike turns and looks back into the kitchen only to see the dead delivery guy sprawled out on the floor, the cleaver still stuck in his head. Spike now turns back to the patron and asks if he wants white or dark meat. This was the reason for mentioning the late delivery man’s ethnicity – a really lame joke. Hardy har har. The patron reminds Spike that chicken breast is only white meat to begin with and wants to know if he is on Candid Camera or something. He changes his order from chicken to pie – not just a slice, but the whole pie. Spike hands him the pie and the guy proceeds to take it and throw it back into Spike’s face. Now, I don’t know about you, but the pie in the face gag lost its humor when I was eight years old and The Donny & Marie Show utilized it to death. Here, situated in a film with gory murders, it is just flat out stupid.

Over at the Shady Rest Funeral Parlour, Harry has arrived for Ann’s funeral service. Mort greets him and when he asks to see Ann, the Undertaker reminds him that Harry did not want to pay for any extras. He then pulls back a drape to reveal a large packing crate! There is a cheap candle atop it along with some cheapie flowers. Stenciled on the side are the words “this end up,” and blood can be seen leaking through the wooden planks! Mort then says that “our association doesn’t approve of low priced funeral,” but he is ready to help the needy when the time comes. I’m assuming by “our association” he means the funeral parlour community as a whole. This infuriates Harry, who no doubt is also pissed at seeing Ann’s cheap-ass coffin and services better suited to a K-mart special. He punches Mort and then breaks a flower vase over his head before storming out. Mort just sits there and mumbles, “Gratitude. That’s what this world needs…gratitude.”

Back in Harry’s office, a sexy blonde walks in and immediately gets Harry’s undivided attention. When she learns that he is the Harry Glass that she is looking for, she proceeds to lie down on the desk in front of him. After much flirting, during which she mentions her sister more than once (PLOT POINT!) it turns out that she is a typist and she wants to know if she’s got the job. How about typing something first, lady! And who the hell applies for a job like that anyway? If that’s all it took to get hired, I would have tried that years ago! Then again, it probably would not have worked as well for me.

Harry asks what her name is and she says that it is “Friday.” More flirting follows before Harry suggests that she go downstairs and get something to eat before returning to discuss the job position (I can just imagine what position he has in mind...tell ya the truth, I’m thinking the same thing). She thinks this is a swell idea, but instantly hits him up for some money…which he forks over! Absolutely unbelievable! She is barely in there two minutes and she has managed to get money out of him. I tell you, some guys can be charmed out of their skin at the mere prospect of some tail. A really odd thing about this scene is that partway through it, when she asks him for a second time if she has the job, the film cuts away for a split second to a shot of the building in which Harry’s office is located. Why that happens is beyond me.

So Friday enters The Greasy Spoon and we see that it is quite dark outside. Odd, since Harry’s office windows would seem to indicate that it was the middle of the day. Then again, maybe Friday got lost on her way down to the ground floor, I hate to say it, but she IS blonde. After some not-so-witty banter with Spike, she orders a hamburger. “Don’t have any,” Spike replies. Friday then says that she has a pain because she hasn’t eaten. This lures Doc up front from the back. “Who has a pain?” he gleefully asks. He quickly locks the front door, places the “closed” sign in the window and refers to Spike as “nurse.” When Friday wonders what is going on, Doc alludes to the pain in her stomach. Quickly he and Spike use some chloroform to render her unconscious. I wonder if this is how they get dates as well?

Doc and Spike now carry the unconscious Friday into the back. They stretch her out on a table and Doc preps for surgery by washing his hands and donning some gloves. Spike has helped by removing some of Friday’s clothes (there is a joke in there somewhere, I’m just too lazy to find it). As Doc prepares to make his initial incision, he notices a fly buzzing around. This prompts Spike to grab an aerosol can and jump around the room chasing after the insect and spraying everything in sight with the contents of the can – including Friday’s exposed tummy. No worries, it was just a can of deodorant…the fly was able to escape.

Doc then takes the scalpel and proceeds to make an incision across Friday’s stomach. With her abdomen now hanging open, Doc now fondles her guts. An infamous line from 1973’s Flesh for Frankenstein is running through my head at this point (“To know life you first must f*ck death in the gall bladder”). Now, having some creep running his fingers through one’s guts is not the sort of thing that people sleep through, so naturally Friday awakens at this point and begins screaming up a storm. Doc wonders where the anesthetic is, but before anything can be done, the poor girl dies. Doc now wants to know what they are going to do with the dead Friday. Instantly we see Spike erasing Breast of Chicken from the special of the day board, and replacing it with Hambur-ger…and yes, he really does spell it like that. Elsewhere, Doc can be seen shoving a hand into a meat grinder, untold pounds of ground meat exiting the other end. One can assume that the hand was the last part of Friday to go through the grinder.

Sometime later, Doc is making patties from all the ground girl meat and Spike is sweeping up. I would imagine after chopping up Friday in order to make her small enough to squeeze through the grinder, there would be lots of blood and a mop would be a better tool…but I suppose a broom is all they had. Anyway, there is a knock on the back door and who should enter, but good old Mort the Undertaker! Spike and Doc must be the pals mentioned in the film’s title! Really, if anybody at this point has not realized that Mort, Spike and Doc are the same motorcycle-riding trio of killers, then they are definitely operating under an expired warranty. So Mort is a little peeved cuz Spike and Doc didn’t save any part of Friday for him to bury. It seems the three have a deal: Mort gets to bury Doc’s mistakes and good old Mort is feeling financially strapped as the month draws to a close. Doc notices some bandages Mort is wearing on his head and Spike explains that Mort shaved his head with a _____. Your guess is as good as mine as to what goes in that blank spot, as for some reason, whatever Spike said got bleeped! Doc and Spike then promise to help Mort that very night.

The guys had trouble with their Village People tribute band when everyone wanted to be the biker.Bang! It’s night…or at least, later that same night. The trio of killers are back on their cycles and picking a name at random from a phone booth again. Then they’re off! At some other place in the big city, we see a sauna with three scantily clad young women. Two are leaving, but a third – Rose – decides to stay for a while. Unbeknownst to Rose as she lies there, the killers have entered the room with green sheets over their heads. They look like some cheap-ass promotional gimmick for McDonald’s Shamrock shakes. Rose hears them enter, but she thinks it is her friends, so she starts babbling on about her plans to get married for the fourth time. When she finally opens her eyes, she sees that the other occupants of the sauna are rejects from The Village People. One of the killers has let his black bandana slip and his face is now exposed…we see that this is Spike.

Despite what must be a truly hellish temperature in those leather jackets, Spike pulls a nearby chain (I’m guessing it was part of the gizmo that poured water on the blazing hot sauna rocks in order to produce the steam) loose and then uses it to pulverize a small statue. Rose tries to make a break for it, but Doc and Mort use their Ginsu knives to force her against the wall. Once he’s done reducing the statue to pieces, Spike then turns his attention to Rose and proceeds to whip her with the chain. There are a couple of good shots of Rose getting smacked square in the face with a plastic chain. Eventually, the screaming Rose is killed. Hey, at least THIS victim screamed plenty…it's just too bad no one was close enough to hear or help.

As the three killers are sneaking out the window, one of them carrying a large blood-soaked sack, they are seen by two other women. One woman rushes to a nightstand (what the hell is a nightstand doing in a place with a sauna?) and pulls out a gun. She squeezes off a couple shots, the sounds of the gun firing obviously dubbed in and very ill-timed with her bodily jerks to denote recoil. The killers run for their motorbikes, but Annie Oakley manages to shoot the license plate off one of the cycles.

Over at Harry’s office, the phone rings and it is Detective Jennings. He informs Harry that the police now have a lead on the murders. They found the license plate left behind at the latest murder scene and have traced it to the undertaker at the Shady Rest Funeral Parlour, Mr. Mort. The police are planning on picking up Mr. Mort, but Jennings asks Harry if he knows with whom Mort associates. Harry is at a loss, but says he will find out.

The killers have now arrived back at The Greasy Spoon, carrying their bloody bag of goodies. This means the cops are actually on the ball if they already know to whom the lost license plate belongs and accomplished this before these clowns got to their destination. Mort the Undertaker is sporting a nasty wound on the back of his neck where a bullet grazed him. Spike gives him a bad time for losing his license plate. He realizes the cops will track the plate to Mort and when they question him, discover his bullet wound. Doc then announces that they will “have to operate.” Mort knows what this means – evidently Doc has never had a successful operation – and so he tries to escape, but the other two grab him. Spike says that they do not have the time to operate and they need to get rid of him fast. He motions toward the huge vat of acid that they just happen to have in their kitchen. Mort then manages to break lose and get Spike in a headlock. He convinces Doc to shift his alliances and the two decide to drop Spike in the acid instead.

Harry is in his office making a phone call to a local pool hall, looking for “Charlie the stoolie,” no doubt one of his sources of information. He asks Charlie who Mort the Undertaker spends his time with, and Charlie tells him that it’s the two nuts who run The Greasy Spoon.

Back at The Greasy Spoon, Doc and Mort have Spike tied in a rope and suspended over the vat of acid. Spike pleads for his life, but the other two gleefully lower him into the vat…slowly. Much high-pitched screaming follows as Spike meets his end. Mort and Doc then decide to hang low for a while.

"Listen, bub…I have a bone to pick with you."Sometime later Harry breaks into the kitchen of The Greasy Spoon to do a little investigating. He finds the vat of acid and when he pulls on the rope, a skeleton emerges from the inside. I suppose that is all that is left of Spike. I wonder what his holding his bones together if all the tissue has been eaten away by the acid? Harry is then startled by a woman who has entered through the front. It’s Friday! She is alive! But wait…it’s not Friday. The woman says that Friday was her twin sister and that her name is…Thursday. GROAN. Thursday is looking for her sister and Harry admits that he has a good idea as to what happened to Friday. Some idiotic flirting then takes place, during which Harry invites Thursday to spend the night at his place…which she accepts (I wish it was that easy).

Outside, Doc and Mort see Harry’s car pull away and they decide to pursue. This looks dorky because Harry’s car appears to be parked in a city alley while the two morons on motorcycles seem to be in the suburbs on some street with trees – in the daytime. The two shots do not match up at all. Harry goes to a phone booth and calls Detective Jennings. He relates the information that Charlie the Stoolie gave him about Mort the Undertaker’s friends. He even tells the Detective that all the evidence he needs can be found inside The Greasy Spoon. As Harry pulls away from the phone booth, Doc and Mort continue their pursuit. Harry goes back to his place near the beach (and in a different time period apparently, as it is now day again). Thursday changes in to some pajamas, has a drink and tries talking to Harry, but he is so tired that he falls asleep on the couch. Idiot.

 

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

 

When morning comes, we see Harry and Thursday leave again in his car. Mort and Doc are still on the beach and once again follow. You mean to tell me that these two clowns just waited there all night (well since about four AM, as that was the time Thursday was seen trying to talk to Harry on the couch)? Why didn’t they go in and deal with Harry and Thursday while they were sleeping? Why wait until now? So Harry drives into some coastal hills and at one point his car runs out of gas. He flags down a ride and takes off, leaving Thursday to wait in the car. Eventually Mort and Doc show up. Thursday tries to run, but they just toy with her. She runs back and forth up and down the road for what seems like a zillion times, the two morons on the motorbikes chasing after her. Finally, Doc isn’t too careful and is hit by a large truck coming up the road. POW, he is dead. Mort takes off like a bat out of hell. Out of the truck pops Harry, who was returning with gas, no doubt.

A very quick scene shows Mort building some kind of explosive device out of a paint can and laughing maniacally.

At Harry’s office, he is trying to console Thursday on the loss of her sister. He exits the office and looks as if he is going to go downstairs, but KABOOM! Mort had planted his paint can bomb and poor Harry just went to pieces over it. Thursday comes rushing out to see what happened…and she is the ONLY person to do so. You’d think a bomb detonating in a building’s stairwell would get all sorts of people out of their offices and wandering around. So Thursday sees Mort lingering nearby, and despite never having seen his face before this instant, knows that he is the last surviving bad guy. She heads back up the stairs in order to get away, Mort following her, albeit somewhat slowly.

The next sequence is somewhat comical in an unintentional sense. We get alternating shots of Thursday and Mort as they ascend staircases. Whenever we see Thursday, the music is a piano theme that again sounds more at home in a silent movie. However, when we see Mort, the music has a much slower and more ominous tone to it. Thursday is hauling ass up these stairs, but Mort is shown going very slowly, yet he never seems to be that far behind her. Finally, they get to the roof of the building; having climbed at least ten staircases…yet the view from the top makes the building look no more than four or five stories in height.

Some more Cat-and-Mouse games unfold on the rooftop, which end when Mort makes a lunge at Thursday and misses, plunging over the side of the building instead. In a display that would make the most spastic gimps emabarassed for his lack of coordination. It should be noted that this building, which is supposed to be where Harry’s office is located, looks nothing like the one featured in an establishing shot near the beginning of the film. It doesn’t even appear to be in the same part of town! Thursday slowly heads back downstairs, but we see that Mort didn’t plummet all the way to the ground. Rather, he was able to grab hold of a ledge partway down. He climbs back into the stairwell and begins stalking Thursday again. He goes to Harry’s office and hides behind some curtains that separate the main room from a supply room. He pulls out his big ass Ginsu knife and waits for Thursday.

Migraine Man – a failed promotional concept from the makers of Advil.Thursday enters to find Detective Jennings. He mumbles something about “they don’t make them like Harry anymore” and then lets a bunch of metal pieces fall from his hand to the floor. WTF? Was Harry a robot or something? No wonder the dumb bastard was never interested in getting laid! What kind of bomb did Mort build? It seemed to have completely obliterated Harry, leaving nothing of him behind, not even a drop of blood. My only guess is that Harry was exposed to just the right amount of anti-matter and when the positve and negative charges negated one another, he popped out of existence. Amazingly, the blast was small enough to not even blow out nearby windows. That is a damn good directed energy release. I think the military would love to know how that works.

Jennings then idly picks up a knife and walks around the room, talking about how the world doesn’t need anymore evil...which I’m guessing must mean that the people who made this film were taken out and summarily shot for inflicting it upon us. Behind the curtain, Mort is preparing to strike as Jennings gets close. The Detective continues to talk and to illustrate his point, takes the knife he is holding and uses it to strike through the curtains…where it ends up planted firmly in Mort’s forehead. The Undertaker slowly falls through the curtain and to the floor, dead.

The End.

Well, not the exact end. Now the film goes back and shows us everyone who starred in the film. They all smile and/or wink for the camera. This is all done in the order in which their characters died in the movie and many have some type of sight gag related to how they met their demise – for example, Friday, who ended up ground into burger meat, is seen taking a bite from a hamburger. We finally end with the living Thursday and Detective Jennings, and it seems the young blonde has found herself a new sugardaddy. Eww. I get sick just thinking about that one.

 

Review

As the 1950’s gave way to the 1960’s, a new kind of film began popping up in theaters across the land: the gore film. The radioactive monsters and strange creatures from outer space of the previous decade were gradually replaced in popularity by a new type of monster. This monster was quite often very human. Sometimes they were decidedly not. Either way, they had one thing in common: They killed because they wanted to and further, because they liked it. These were the monsters that represented the beast within the human animal. Despite the veneer of civilization, the depths of the human mind concealed a great capacity for wanton violence, cruelty and evil...and these new monsters revealed to us that society isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

More and more often, the films highlighting this new breed of human monster began portraying their violent deeds in more detail than previously shown on film. Now the grisly deaths were accompanied by gallons of blood, dismembered body parts and all manner of guts and entrails spewed about. Director Herschell Gordon Lewis is generally credited with jump starting this new genre of horror films with his classic Blood Feast and the numerous other films of his that followed. The Undertaker and His Pals followed his pioneering example and was part of a triple bill that also featured The Corpse Grinders and Dino Tavella's Il Monstro di Venezia (otherwise known as The Embalmer). It was also the initial release by Ted V. Mikels' Geneni distribution company, the man responsible for such cinematic “classics” as Astro Zombies, Blood Orgy of the She Devils and the more recent Mark of the Astro Zombies.

In the realm of B-Movie fandom, most lovers of such cinematic cheese are well versed in the history of the medium – surely there are movies that one has never seen, but there usually are few that one has never heard of during their film-watching adventures. Still, every now and then the cult movie connoisseur will come upon a film which has, up until that point, eluded them completely by steering clear of their trash cinema radar. More often than not these films wind up being a disappointment, as all the “good” crappy films have been seen by the viewer, leaving only the “bad” crappy ones (I won’t even bother to try and explain that…you either understand it or you don’t). Yet, there is an exception to every rule and in this case it means that once in blue moon the viewer will unearth a previously unheard of low-grade film that actually manages to entertain on some level. This was definitely the experience I had with The Undertaker and His Pals. Let’s take a closer (not too close) look.

The Storyline.
Simply put: what story? The plot here is as about as complicated as your average piece of unknotted string. Very straightforward, the movie doesn’t believe in wasting time. The first murder occurs just moments into the film and from that point on the film is just as series of scenes that at times do not seemed related to one another. Many exist just to highlight some cheap sight gag; others to appease the gore hounds with some blood while others nominally advance the proceedings. There is a feeling that you’re watching a sequence of skits lifted from some macabre version of Saturday Night Live…except the humor is often better (which isn’t saying too much). Still, the film is more than the sum of its parts (only just barely) and despite the somewhat disjointed feel, it doesn’t linger long enough with any one scene for it to get boring. In essence, it’s a film geared toward the ADD crowd.

Characterizations & Acting.
At only sixty-three minutes in length, this film has absolutely no time to waste on such things as characterizations let alone character development. The personal motivations and inner demons of the characters are things that no doubt were never even in the script. The audience is told just enough to make things work. Harry is a private investigator. Doc belongs in an asylum. Spike is a nutjob. Mort is a greedy, cruel bastard. All the women are flirtatious and hot to trot. In a movie like this, who needs anything else? As for the acting…well, don’t expect anything beyond the caliber of your local high school production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The women, at least the ones with speaking roles, are adequately sultry and the killers are reasonably insane. If there is a stand out, it is Ray Dannis in the lead role of Mort the Undertaker. While not coming across as frightening, he does do a decent job of making Mort stand out slightly from the rest with his line delivery. Maybe a little over the top at times, he still seems more enthused than the rest of the cast, with the exception of Tiffany Sharon O'Hara as the twins Thursday and Friday.

FX.
The blood and gore effects here were probably pretty ghastly for the day, but now seem pretty tame. Most of the more gory shots, such as Ann impaled on the fence or the deliveryman getting a cleaver to the head, are only seen briefly. Blink and you may miss them. Other effects are very cheap in appearance, such as Sally Lamb’s severed legs hanging in a meat locker or Mort’s ultimate fate. And let’s not even talk about the effect used to achieve a mangled Doc after a motorcycle crash. It looks like someone smeared strawberry jam on his face! There is one stock footage shot of some real guts, no doubt filmed during a real operation.

Music.
Oh, lord. The music choices here are what really adds to the comedic feel. Aside from some very dated “rock n roll” tunes that sound more at home in a film from the 50’s, we get chase music that sounds like it was lifted from some old Charlie Chaplin silent movie. Rarely is the music ominous or haunting, and even when it is, it still manages to convey a sense of comedy.

Technique.
Despite the reliance on humor, this is not a film to run for your kids. I can only imagine the trauma and need for therapy that could result from that. There is no nudity (damn!) but even excised of blood and guts, this is still a violent movie filled with some very nasty people. On top of that, it showcases all the females as nothing more than meat – both in a sexual sense and in a literal sense. Only the most liberal of parents would let their kids watch this one unsupervised. Adults, on the other hand, will have varying reactions to this one. Some will love it for its fanciful mix of blood and laughs; others will be put off by that very same combination. Some will find it completely unfunny while still others will find the gore and horror aspects the most laughable elements. Whatever way you decide to go, you won’t know until you see it…so go track it down now and let me know into which category you fall.

Summation.
I must admit to being taken completely by surprise with this movie. I was expecting pure crap, and while I still pretty much got crap, I got crap served with some style and a sense of fun. This film is not easily classified. Is it a comedy? Yep. Is it a gore movie with remorseless killers and plenty of victims who die brutal deaths? It sure is. Viewed as either one or the other, the film would surely fail – the comedy isn’t all that funny (failing miserably in parts), while the horror aspects are not all that frightening or creepy. It is when the two main ingredients are put together that the movie finds it voice. In a way, I suppose the bad elements from each main ingredient cancel each other out in some strange fashion, while the positives compliment one another. It is this strange confluence of what would normally be crappy film making, that coalesces into a cinematic outing that will either endear itself to you, or make you roll your eyes with contempt.

 

Expect To See:
Cannibals
Cannibals - The cannibals here are the unsuspecting people who frequent The Greasy Spoon café and order whatever the daily special may be.
Comic Relief
Comic Relief - Since much of this movie was supposed to be funny, nearly all of the characters fall into the Comic Relief category. Alas, no one ever claimed that they succeeded.
Crazed Killers
Crazed Killers - Not just one, but three crazed killers here. All of them like to dress the same when they are out on their nightly meat raids. Kind of like some wacky serial killer club.
Crazy People
Crazy People - The trio of killers here are all nutjobs, but Doc is definitely the looniest of the three, insisting on operating on people at the drop of a hat.
Extreme Violence
Extreme Violence - People are stabbed repeatedly, impaled on a fence, get a meat cleaver to the head, cut wide open while still alive, whipped to death with a chain…and many more.
Gore
Gore - Fairly strong for the day. Now it's just tame. Still, something the kiddies shouldn't be allowed to watc, unless you want to show them the consequences of misbehaving.
Skin
Skin - While there is no nudity on display, the film does take several opportunities to showcase all the female stars in some skimpy outfits. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they're hot.
Stock Footage
Stock Footage - Just a quick glimpse of some footage shot during an operation, showing what a person’s guts look like up close. Oh, and a stock footage cat.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: 9
Smokes: 3
Alcoholic drinks consumed: 1
Cups of coffee consumed: 2
Harry’s missed chances for sex: 2
Severed limbs: 3
Different daily specials at café: 3
Murder victims who don’t scream for help: 2
Different pieces of music heard in film: At least 25

03 Mins - Try screaming for help, moron!
04 Mins – A meat market next door to a funeral parlour. Not a good sign.
15 Mins - Is there somebody banging the drums in a nearby room?
22 Mins - A sight that would make Mr. Clean faint.
28 Mins - Are they going to bury her or ship her over seas?
34 Mins - Stock footage alert!!
44 Mins - That guy screams like a girl.
52 Mins - She is being stalked by an invisible marching band drummer.
59 Mins - So Harry was a robot?!


Shadow's Drinking Game: After every death, chug a beer.

 

Images Click for larger image

"Are you sure a burial is necessary?
Can’t we just drop her off at
the dump or something?"


Just don’t ask where the
meatballs came from.



"Playboy is never gonna print one
of your letters, so quit making
stuff up already."



 
The DUI tests in this town
are damn tough.

The typical reaction upon learning
the true nature of
Chicken McNuggets.

Spike was finally tired of the
gay porn industry.


 
"Behind curtain number three is…
your very own Boxcar
Willie luggage set!"

 
"When I said let’s play doctor, I was
thinking more of a physical rather
than a psychological examination."


You might as well just hand over
your wallet to her, pal. She’s
gonna get it all one way or the other.


"Now we’ll see if she’s a natural
blonde after all!"

"And Wendys thought a finger in the
chili was bad. I’ll show ‘em!"

Mother warned you about popping
those huge zits.

"Looks like I picked the wrong day
to stop smoking pot and
drinking paint thinner."

"I swear I heard him yelling
something about ‘two dollars’
right before we collided."

The good news is that he was
wearing his helmet, so his head
is still in one piece. However,
as for the rest of him…

"Wow. This new studmuffin aftershave
really works, even for a fat
old bastard like me!"

 

Immortal Dialog

Mort discusses the job he did on Sally Lamb with her parents.

Mama Lamb: “You're both horrible, to talk about money at a time like this!”
Mort: “I earned my money Mrs. Lamb. That girl of yours had her legs chopped off. How would you like to have to sew plastic legs on a cold corpse? Of course, I could've skipped the legs and given her a junior length coffin. That would have been more economical, wouldn't it?”

Shadow’s comment: What happens when there is only a head left? Now that is one I wanna see.


Mort and Doc lower Spike into a vat of acid.

Mort: “It’ll be painless if we dunk ya fast.”
Spike: “No! No, don’t do it!”
Mort: “Then we’ll dunk ya slow.”
Spike: “No! No! NO!” screams like mad
Doc: “Be quiet or you’ll wake the neighbors.”
Spike: continues to scream like mad as he is lowered into the acid.

Shadow’s comment: NOW he’s worried about waking the neighbors? What about all those other screamers who met their end in his kitchen?

 

Keep In Mind
  • When attacked by a trio of killers, screaming for help is not necessary.
  • Never forget your trading stamps at a funeral home.
  • Cops wait until daylight to begin examining a murder scene.
  • Grocery delivery is an extremely dangerous job.
  • Prostrating oneself across a potential employer’s desk is an essential part of any job interview.
  • The cure for hunger pains involves invasive abdominal surgery.
  • A huge vat of acid is standard equipment in a café kitchen.
  • Wearing leather and riding a motorcycle does not automatically guarantee coolness.



This Film & Me

Not really any history with this one as once again, this is a film which I had never heard of before finding the DVD. I bought the Great Cannibal Classics by American Home Treasures for one of the other movies on the disc, but ended up enjoying this film much more.

Shadow's rating: Four Tombstones



The Good

  • Sense of fun
  • Ray Dannis as Mort
  • Lots of hot chicks
  • Creative kills
  • Good gore FX for time period

The Bad

  • Some stupid characters
  • No real narrative, movie is more like a series of skits
  • Often uneven balance between horror and comedy
  • Too many piped in sounds

The Ugly

  • Horrible music in spots
  • Some patently unfunny moments
  • Absolutely terrible day/night continuity
  • Sloppy editing in places

 

 

Review Round-Up
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