Sunday, May 3, 2009

Movie Review: The Undertaker and His Pals (1967)

The Undertaker and His Pals
THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS - bad horror comedy - cover image

Written & Directed by T.L.P. Swicegood

Ray Dannis .... The Undertaker
Warrene Ott
Rad Fulton
Marty Friedman
Sally Frei

A series of mutilation murders have terrorized the town for quite some time now, each one perpetrated by a group of three masked bikers clad in black leather. Private investigator Harry Glass has been far too wrapped up in his playboy lifestyle to care one way or the other until his secretary/lover Anne Poultry becomes their next victim. At the crime scene, Harry is approached by a Mr. Mort, the undertaker and owner of Shady Rest Funeral Home (with a sign outside that states “We Accept Trading Stamps”) and offered their budget funeral for $144.98. Quite a bargain, and, broke as he is, Harry accepts.

THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS - bad horror comedy - The Undertaker

Times must be tough all over. The dim-witted Spike and his mad surgeon friend Doc own the crappy diner not far from Harry's office. They have found that the price of meat has increased to a wallet-shattering level and decided to take the matter into their own hands, striking up a deal with their good friend the undertaker.

What exactly is going on here? Well, the day after one young Miss Lamb was found murdered, the diner's special of the day was “Leg Of Lamb,” and after Anne Poultry was killed, the special was “Chicken Breast.” Get it?

Mort, Spike and Doc cavort around town on their motorcycles seeking out characters with goofy names and murder them. Doc and Spike serve parts of their victims at the diner, and Mort shows up at the scene and scores the funeral gig. When Harry Glass stumbles upon what's going on, he vows to see the demise of the murderers. He sees it, all right, but has absolutely nothing to do with it.

THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS - bad horror comedy - And His Pals

Sound fun? It's really not. This film is the Blood Feast for the greasy spoon set, only infinitely less enjoyable in that sub-par, so-bad-it's-good kind of way. The Undertaker and His Pals is billed as a great shock film of the 60s, but the truth is that it's just a low-budget black comedy with absolutely no laughs. Kind of like British sitcoms.

The star of the film is unfortunately the soundtrack, full of saxophone solos and jazzy up tempo numbers direct from the Happy Hipster Handbook. If only the rest of the movie had something to offer. On the plus side, clocking in at just over an hour, this travesty will be over before you know it.

63 minutes
United States

T.L.P. Swicegood?

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