THE MAD BUTCHER aka MEAT IS MEAT (1971) Reviews and overview

 

‘Sausage lovers… Don’t see this movie!’

The Mad Butcher is a 1971 Italian-German dark comedy horror film about a psychopath who strangles women and makes them into sausages. Also known as Meat is Meat

Directed by Guido Zurli [as John Zurli] (The Little Eye-Witness; Either All or None) from a screenplay co-written by co-producers Dag Molin and Dick Randall [as Robert H. Oliver] based on a story by Charles Ross [as Karl Ross].

The movie stars Victor Buono (The Evil; The StranglerHush… Hush, Sweet CharlotteWhat Ever Happened to Baby Jane?), Franca Polesello (Gangsters ’70; 28 Minutes for 3 Million Dollars; Mission Bloody Mary), Brad Harris (Lady Dracula; The Mutations; The Girl in Room 2A; King of Kong Island), Dario Michaelis and Karin Field (The Demons; Web of the Spider; Cave of the Living Dead).

The playful jaunty soundtrack score was composed by Alessandro Alessandroni.

Plot:

Vienna, Austria: Butcher Otto Lehman (Victor Buono) is released from the asylum where he was locked up for three years for assaulting a customer with some liver. Not wanting to go back with his wife Hanna (Karin Field), he settles into a room above his shop.

Here, caught by his wife spying on a woman who undresses, he strangles his wife and gets rid of the body by making sausages. Noting that his own sausages get the favour of customers, Otto will kill other women to turn them into food too…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“It’s basically a Euro sleaze curiosity piece that’s interesting due to Buono‘s participation and an ample dose of topless nudity. It’s strictly black comedy, and despite the film’s cannibalistic themes, there’s no bloodshed…” DVD Drive-In

“The best element of this movie is Victor Buono’s performance in the title role; his measured delivery and assured use of gesture and business make him a delight to watch, and he remains the primary reason to catch this one. However, even that delight starts to dissipate as the movie progresses.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“All of the murders are restricted to strangulation, while the grinding scenes are limited to darkly humorous shots of linked sausages pouring out of Otto’s machinery. Instead, the film earns its R rating thanks to heavy injections of cheesecake topless nudity […] only for comic effect. Buono is actually quite good in the leading role…” Mondo Digital

” …this 1971 black comedy is a confused – and ultimately droll – affair; it can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be biting satire or straight grand Guignol. Instead, it sits on the fence and sputters aimlessly without much direction. The rotund Buono is always watchable, however…” The Terror Trap

Cast and characters:

Victor Buono … Otto Lehman
Franca Polesello … Berta Hensel
Brad Harris … Mike Lawrence
Dario Michaelis … Inspector Klaus
Karin Field … Hanna Lehman (as Karen Field)
Luca Sportelli … Karl Brunner
Hansi Linder … Frieda Ulm
Tina Buranzo … (as Tina Buronzo)
Giacomo Pergola
Dino Peretti
Claudio Trionfi
Dick Randall … Police Officer (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Cinecittà Studios, Cinecittà, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Vienna, Austria

Technical details:

83 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Eastmancolor

Production companies:

Neptunia Film (Rome, Italy)
HIFI Stereo 70 Kg (Munich, West Germany)
Regina Films (Monaco)

Alternate titles:

Lo strangolatore di Vienna (Italy)
L’étrangleur de Vienne (France)
El estrangulador de Viena (Mexico)
El carnicero de Viena (Spain)
Der Würger kommt auf leisen Socken (West Germany)

Filming dates:

Shot 18th June 1970, the film received an Italian censor’s certificate on 13th October 1970. It was released in Italy on 22nd January 1971.

[Spoiler] Fun fact:

The words “Buon appetito” appear over the final shot, a close-up of the sausages made when Victor Buono falls into the meat-grinding machine. After a few seconds, the letter “o” is added, changing the caption to “Buono appetito.”

Trailer:

Watch Meat is Meat on YouTube