Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Euro - Horror Vaction: The Mad Butcher (aka Lo Strangolatore Di Vienna) (1971)

The Mad Butcher (aka Lo Strangolatore Di Vienna) (1971)
Director: Guido Zurli
Starring: Victor Buono, Franca Polesello, and Brad Harris
Running Time: 81 min

  I came across this film somewhere, I can't think of where but I remember reading the description and it made me laugh.  It reminded me of "Delicatessen" and "Eating Raoul", which I love and it looked like a fun B-movie cuz it had the guy who play "King Tut" on the 1966 Batman show, Victor Buono.  So I put my dollar down and took my 20 ounces of terror.

After being given a "not crazy" certificate and released from the mental institution, Otto Lehman can finally return to the one thing that he loves the most in the world, his butcher shop.  Unfortunately when he returns to his shop, he finds that his brother in-law, has not been keeping up the same standards of clean in his store and has doubled the prices on all the meat they are selling.  Otto's wife tries to explain that the prices has gone up because of inflation and reminds Otto that he has been away for three years, but Otto won't hear of it and reduces the prices, even though they are way below cost.  He then tells his wife that he is going to live in the room above the butcher shop until the store is running the way it was before he left.
  After a hard day of cleaning the shop and working, Otto goes up to bed and finds a sexy silhouette in the window across the street.  Otto watches the silhouette but gets distracted by the cats meowing below, so he throws a bottle at them to stop.  When he looks back at the window across the street, the sexy figure is gone.
  The next day is much of the same, cleaning and butchering and at night, he finds his sexy figure in the window again, but so does his wife.  She starts nagging him about watching sexy girls in windows, how she is the laughing stock of the town because he won't come home, and blah, blah an blah... until he strangles her to death.  Otto then decides the best way to get rid of the body is to butcher her and put her in the sausages.  Thus solving two problems, a price of meat and a nagging wife.  Has Otto found the best solution to his problems or will the police catch up with him and his delicious murders?

  This wasn't too bad and it was amusing at times.  If it wasn't for the performance of Victor Buono (What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, The Evil) as Otto Lehman, then it would have been a real write off.  Buono makes the character charming and funny and it makes it easier when the people he is killing are not.
  Also the police department in this is pretty funny as well.  They are portrayed as more keystone cops, just bumbling around with an outside reporter actually doing the real investigating.  I find it amusing that the only reason they are tipped off to Buono is because of a dead cat and that there isn't any other crime in Vienna at the time, so they can put the forces time on this cat murder.

  The pacing in this is pretty slow and although the story is funny, it's not very good.  The ending is a little disappointing because the they went with a happy, feel good thing instead of a, that's really messed up ending, which I was hoping for.  Also the ending, has elements that seem out of character for Otto, who is generally meticulous and smart but who knows what goes on in the mind after you butcher people and make them into food?
  Also, the violence wasn't as graphic as I was hoping it would be.  There may be one meat grinder scene and Buono is mostly strangling most of his victims, so it's low on slasher stuff.  I was expecting more butcher stuff, where he's cutting up cadavers but sadly there is none. :(

  This isn't Grade A terror but a cheaper cut of horror comedy that has some good things about it.  Victor Buono is charming as a downtrodden man just trying to keep his dream alive by butchering the people he hates and feeding them to the city.  This is one B-movie that may save you some money and keep you away from food trucks or carts.


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