It’s a “Mardi Gras Massacre” Breakdown! (NSFW sorta)

There are a lot of horror movies set during the festive Carnival season, which isn’t surprising as the setting lends itself to horror. Masks, skeletons, excess, debauchery. How could a crazed killer resist such temptation?

If you go to imdb, type in “Mardi Gras” and see what pops up. Some of the search results may surprise you, but as a guy who actively seeks out films about, and set during, Mardi Gras, a horror film with Mardi Gras right there in the gotdang title is too much to resist.

Being one of the UK’s infamously banned 39 “video nasties” moved “Mardi Gras Massacre” straight to the top of my list of “must-see” movies. Unfortunately, it was almost impossible to find a copy, and has still never been released in the UK.

It was hard to find, that is, until a company called Code Red released the “Maria’s ‘B’ Movie Mayhem” version on dvd, which is easily obtainable via amazon.

The Maria in question is Maria Kanellis, who apparently is famous as a wrastling “diva” but also has tried her hand out as a “horror host”.

Mardi Gras Massacre 0On this dvd, you can “watch the movie with Maria”, which is where she does her best (but not very good) Elvira impression and makes comments throughout the film. If you like that sort of thing, it’s ok, but personally I can’t recommend it.

It also includes a music video for her original hit single, “Fantasy”, which I could only make it through about 5 seconds of, and is shot in Los Angeles and has absolutely zip to do with massacres or Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras Massacre 62Thankfully, you can just “watch the movie only”, which makes it sound really boring, but clearly is the best option.
So without any more introduction than that, let’s watch it!

Mardi Gras Massacre 1

Super cool title screen. I think that is supposed to be blood? “Mardi Gras” is written all festive, but “MASSACRE” is very matter-of-fact, and adorned with blood. I think.

Mardi Gras Massacre 2

The movie opens with this weirdo, immediately identified as the antagonist by his bad guy voice, his fancy suit in a bar full of ‘tutes, and his persistent desire to meet the “most evil” prostitute in New Orleans. Here he is approaching two willing ladies and asking about which gal in the bar is the “most evil”.

Mardi Gras Massacre 3

He is then introduced to, supposedly, the most evil woman in the bar.
You would almost think that this guy is going to turn out to be a “Se7en” style biblical avenger, the way he is going after evil women and prostitutes. Turns out, not so much..Mardi Gras Massacre 4

Yes! Ritual sacrifice! I knew it!
John (probably an alias, the wily bastard) leads the most evil woman in New Orleans (in 1978) to this odd room in his apartment. He bids her to disrobe…

Mardi Gras Massacre 5

…which she does. Willingly. I think they may have introduced him to the “stupidest woman in New Orleans” rather than the most evil. Common mistake.
Have prostitutes ever seen a horror movie? Surely they know that they are the number one target of multiple types of killer, right?
“Hey, take your clothes off, then let me tie you to this weird… um… bed.
I am not kidding at all. That conversation actually happens… AND SHE’S COOL WITH IT!

Then he comes out in his pajamas and booty shorts, with a gold mask.

Mardi Gras Massacre 6

“Behold! My god! PREDAKING!” (g1 Transformers reference yall, just to rep my geek cred)

Mardi Gras Massacre 7

This is one dirty lady. Get it? If not, check out the dirt lines in her armpit folds. Nothing says “grindhouse trash” like dirty dead women.

It is also during this scene that we get a look at the bright red “Kensington gore” blood that is used throughout the film. It’s a throwback to the theater days, when the blood had to be bright red to make sure the audience could see it and know what it was. Realistic gore and blood is actually a fairly recent thing. I also think this is a reference to this film’s inspiration, HG Lewis’s classic “Blood Feast”, considered the first splatter film, and features a guy sacrificing women to his Egyptian god.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 8

This is probably the first shot where I thought, “This really is filmed in New Orleans!”

They find her body dumped near the tracks behind Cafe du Monde. Not exactly what you want the tourists to see, but hey, it’s New Orleans. They’ll appreciate the “grit”.

Mardi Gras Massacre 9

Our two protagonists, Starsky & Hutch, finally show up to question the bar owner.

I know I didn’t show it, but the bar owner was instrumental in directing “John” to the stupidest woman in New Orleans, but yet here he can’t seem to recall what he looked like, except he wore a big gold ring. Maybe you can chalk it up to the proverbial bartender code of silence, but you’d think Geoffrey here might be interested in catching the guy who knocked off one of his top earners.

Instead, he directs the cops to the two gals from the beginning of the movie…

Mardi Gras Massacre 10

One of whom the detective takes out for a fancy dinner at a place with red candle holders, lacquered brick walls, vinyl seat coverings… THE WORKS.
Is it a little unprofessional for a detective to take a hooker to dinner? One who might even be a potential suspect? Nah! It’s Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras Massacre 11

There’s a lot of scenes like this in the movie, as John keeps a look out for the most evil woman in the world, and I like it. The world could use more go-go dancer, burlesque-style strip clubs, and less Hustler Clubs.
After a little asking around, he is led to this weasel:Mardi Gras Massacre 12

With that scowl, I almost could believe it this time. Like a cornered rodent.Mardi Gras Massacre 13

Here is a superb shot of his get-up: pajamas, gold mask, ritual knife. Just in case anyone needed a costume for Mardi Gras this year. Actually, that isn’t a bad idea. An obscure reference, so anyone who knows what it is, is instantly your best friend!

Mardi Gras Massacre 14“First, I cut your feet, which brought you to this lifestyle and into my lair!”

Mardi Gras Massacre 15This is the second, but not final, shot of this fake body being disemboweled, as John cuts out the part used “for evil”. Looks like a liver to me. Maybe he’s just a frustrated teetotaller, mad because he must live in New Orleans, the drinkiest city ever, due to his job as a plastic bead stringer.

Or… maybe… he’s in one of the oldest, and most secretive. of Mardi Gras Societies? Ooooh, now that’s a twist!

 

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 16

I’ll be honest, I get the feeling that the filmmaker really loves New Orleans, which is something I can appreciate.

Our hero, and his newfound hooker love, spend their days hitting the hot spots. Jackson Square…

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 17Eating beignets at Cafe du Monde…

Mardi Gras Massacre 18…and, generally, being tourists in their own town. Can’t say I blame them, but shouldn’t he be looking for a killer, not canoodling with floozies?

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 19Oh, ok, there he goes.
Beavis and Butthead get a hot tip to go talk to a professor of ritualistic killings at the local university (Tulane, I guess?). He tells them all about the god that their killer is sacrificing hookers for, “Hjagctfehdncjfisacbg”. No really, it’s something like that. It actually sounds more like Jhahcndhsjkeikfn.

The cops are really worried that the publicity surrounding the murders will be bad for Mardi Gras. Being as this came out in 1978, does that sound familiar? Maybe a sea beast, killing people, driving away the tourists? That’s right, it’s ripped off from the horror classic, “Orca: The Killer Whale”.

womp womp.

Mardi Gras Massacre 20Meanwhile, it’s time for John to continue his hunt for the most evil woman in the world, who also just so happens to be the easiest to murder the shit out of.

It never really says what John thinks will happen with these sacrifices. Does he think Predaking will come to life and serve him as master? I would love it if he was sacrificing all these nubile young ladies as part of a “find true love” blood ritual.

“Dear Predaking, please help me find my true love. Yours always, John”

“Dear John, murder as many women as you can find. Love, Q.”



Mardi Gras Massacre 21“Uhhh, I like your devil costume. Does that mean you’re really eeevil?”

“It means I’m as evil as your $100 says I am.”

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 22

BOING-OING-OING!!!

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 23

This weirdo comes up to John, scatting and spitting all over the place.
“Hey daddy-o, give me a one and have a little fun! Give me two and more for you! Give me three and bang a tree!”
You get the idea.

Does this type of person exist anymore? The scumbag who “dooby-doo’s” his way around dark alleys, selling obsolete drugs and pimping out evil women? I like to think this guy would be murdered in about two seconds these days, but then again, I haven’t been to California in a while.

Mardi Gras Massacre 24

“Let me help you with your coat. Would you like some wine, or some Chinese take-out?”

“Boy, you really know how to treat a lady!”

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 25

The look on John’s face here is similar to ones I’ve seen on other guys’ faces (not mine, ever). It reads, “When is she gonna shut up so I can go play with my pajamas and gold knife?”

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 26

He asks his potential victim what her favorite thing to do is, and she says, “Dance”. Then she does a dance. I think it’s supposed to be a classy ballet dance, but kinda just looks like a wounded seagull. It could be a disco version of “Swan Lake”, I suppose.

Whatever it is, it works on John. He tried his best to get her to leave, apparently having a change of heart, but she says, “You paid good money for me, LET’S GET IT ON!”

 

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 27

This is “getting it on” in the only way John knows how. Poor guy.

That bush is standing up loud and proud tho, amirite?

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 28

While John is getting it on, a lover’s quarrel breaks out between our two sweethearts. This ends with Detective Frank swatting Hooker “Sherry” like a fly, creating a new twist in the completely unnecessary side story of their love affair.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 29

I haven’t brought up the incredibly pervasive disco music that vigorously permeates the entire film because I was waiting for this moment. The moment when “Sherry” goes out on the prowl, as people are wont to do after a bad breakup and subsequent swatting.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 30

Sooo much disco. Sooo much chest hair. “Cheee-aaa-eeers!”

 

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 31

“Sherry” dances with the wrong broad’s man, who looks like an extra from “Welcome Back, Kotter“. He’s on the left with the pink fly collar, thoroughly enjoying the first, and last, time two ladies fought over him.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 32

This is the Bourbon Street I remember from my childhood. I seriously remember walking down Bourbon with my parents as a kid, with my mom covering my eyes. I have no idea why we would be there in the first place, but there we were.
The next two pics are specifically to illustrate the 1978 Bourbon Street.

Mardi Gras Massacre 34

I know Big Daddy’s is still there, and you can sorta get a glimpse of the legs coming out above the window, but it’s never looked seedier than here in this 1978 trashy piece of cinema.

Mardi Gras Massacre 35

Once again, I feel like the people who made this movie really loved New Orleans. There are numerous shots of people that I am choosing to believe were local personalities at the time. People that locals in 1978 would recognize immediately. There’s no other way to explain shots like this one, where this badass dancer cuts a rug for a good few minutes before the cops ask him a few quick questions.

Mardi Gras Massacre 36

Up until this moment, the movie has only paid a little lip service to Mardi Gras, which led me to think that having Mardi Gras in the title was just a marketing ploy. Or that they were too cheap to actually film in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

But yet here we have Rex, rolling into view with their Boeuf Gras float, pulled by a tractor. I wonder how many permits they got to film this? My guess is none.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 37

One thing that people always talk about is how wild Mardi Gras is, but there are definitely places you can stand that are family friendly. Here in this shot, there are a lot of families catching the parade. In New Orleans, Mobile, and anywhere else that celebrates the Carnival season, there are tons of ways for families to enjoy it together, contrary to popular belief. And, while I stay clear of anything remotely “family friendly”, I do enjoy the memories of attending parades as a kid, and I want other kids to have these same positive experiences with one of the most unique celebrations in the United States.

Mardi Gras Massacre 38

Here we get to see a band march by. What I notice most in this scene? No barricades. It’s rare these days to find a spot on the parade route that doesn’t have barricades, but when I was a kid, you could walk right up to the floats and everyone had enough sense to not step out in front of one.

Mardi Gras Massacre 39

Here comes the Rex title float. This is the float that, in every Krewe’s parade, announces the theme for that year. I really like the person in the red costume. My mom and aunt always dressed us up as clowns.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 40

Look how huge that float is! As always, Rex rolls under the banner of “Pro Bono Publico” or “For the Public Good”.
Another thing I really like about these Mardi Gras scenes is that they could easily have been shot just last year. A lot of things change, but the traditions of Mardi Gras will always stay, more or less, the same.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 41Our man John hits the streets! Decked out in his normal business attire, but with a gold mask, John is fabulous as an Uptown reveler OR as a costar in “Eyes Wide Shut”. But John is not here to revel. He is on the hunt, in what we believe to be the culmination of all his sacrifices! The climax of which is… what?
I guess on Ash Wednesday, after Quatcalloptaeryx pulls a Great Pumpkin, John will go back to being just a boring ol’ Catholic, getting palm ashes rubbed on his forehead.

 

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 42

The cops know that the killer is on the loose, and prowling the Fat Tuesday streets of New Orleans for another evil woman or two. Or three.
In the background of this screencap, you can see a food stand selling “hot buttered corn”. These food stands pop up several times in the movie, which makes me wonder if people in the late 70s didn’t have funnel cake, or polish sausage, or chicken-on-a-stick. Was “hot buttered corn” really a treat back then? Coming from a world where deep fried candy bars exist, I really have to feel sorry for the Dickensian people of the 70s, thinking hot corn is hot shit.
But I mostly want to point out this pop-up Elvis museum.
Look at that thing. What awesomeness could possibly await inside? Some white cotton draws? A syringe of sweat from the King? ANYTHING. Or probably nothing, since they have your money at the entrance and the internet didn’t exist yet.
Still, I have vivid memories of these kinds of pop-up emporiums from my childhood. I particularly remember a “World of Snakes” one that sometimes showed up at the fair, or in the mall.
You’d pay your 2 bucks, then walk through a double-wide filled with aquariums containing the most miserable bunch of snakes ever put on earth. The close proximity made it a little uncomfortable, but I loved it. In case you haven’t noticed, this Elvis museum has sparked my imagination and my nostalgia.

Moving on…

 

This is just a random shot of a group of revelers. Drinking, carousing, making noise. All of it. And not a Girls Gone Wild film crew anywhere to be seen.

There is no way these people were paid extras. I wonder if they even knew what the camera was for. They probably just thought it was the local news.

Little do they know, there’s a killer on the loose! Who’s probably operating the camera right now, and holding the microphone, and directing.

All while stalking his next victims.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 44

This is a familiar scene. People throwing things off the balcony to the people below.

Was 1978 really such a simpler time? The earlier seedy shots of Bourbon would suggest otherwise. Yet, the people on the balcony are in full costume, and most of the people on the street, begging for trinkets, are grown men… not college girls from Iowa. Personally, I remember my childhood experiences at Mardi Gras as being a much more simpler time, but then again, they would be, right? All I cared about was hanging out with my cousin and friends and catching stuff.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 45

These people were definitely told they were gonna be on the news. Every single one of them is looking right at the camera. My favorite is obviously the lady on the right, although Clockwork Orange Doofus is pretty good too. I wonder where they all are now. Probably dead.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 46

John has lured three lovely flies into his web! And one of them is none other than Sherry!

“Look, are there beads up here or what? Or some of that peanut butter taffy?”

“No! Drink this.”

“Ok.”

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 47

There’s yet another Mardi Gras lesson here, ladies.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 48

Geoff finds the two good guys and tells them, “That guy who was in here the other night was in here and now he’s not here and now he’s upstairs with three of my best hookers… errr, waitresses!”

Mardi Gras Massacre 49

They’re at the right place! I decided not to screenshot it, but before they go in, they can’t get the door open… so they call the fire department. Then, they just chill by the door until the firemen get there, who knock the door in with two good whacks from an ax. These guys know that guns are stronger than axes, right? If this were a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, gun would beat ax, ax would beat door, and door would beat cops. Or something like that.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 50

Starsky and Hutch finally get through the door, after the fire department lets them in, all while some appropriately bad 70s porno music is playing.

Mardi Gras Massacre 51

John escapes out of the fire escape, and the detectives save the ladies! Yay!

But, no time for that! They must pursue the Aztec Killer!

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 52

“Here’s this thing.”

“Cool.”

I honestly have no recollection of what is happening here. I just took the screenshot because that cop looks so awesome and 70s. His nickname is definitely “Porkchop” around the Station.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 53

The cops pursue John to the Wharf, where they all (all of them!) run into this warehouse and leave the car running! John scrambles out of his hiding place behind a big yellow thing (I think it’s a front end loader) and jumps in the car. Bwahaha! Stupid cops!

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 54

He immediately does a U-turn…

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 55

And drives into the Mississippi.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 56

“Well, damn. He got away.”

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 57

Captain Nemo shows up to help! Seriously, even in 1978 this diving equipment was dated, right?

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 58

They pull the car out of the murky depths of the muddy Mississippi, where it has now collected enough asbestos and mercury to wipe out the Garden District.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 59

“A gold mask! It was our guy!”

But no body! Perhaps a sequel is right around the corner! Mardi Gras Massacre 2: Jazz Fest! Or maybe Voodoo Festival Massacre!

I could go on, but the sad truth is that John is probably crawfish bait now, and the camera crew that was documenting his exploits is now in prison.

 

Mardi Gras Massacre 60

THE END. No blood detail this time.

Mardi Gras Massacre 61Here is the genius behind it all, world’s biggest Blood Feast fan!

Thank you for reading this breakdown, and I hope you enjoyed it. The movie is actually pretty damn entertaining. How could it not be, right? It’s got it all! Full frontal nudity, booty shorts, bright red gore makeup and latex, MARDI GRAS, New Orleans, romance, beignets, etc. etc. etc.

So go pick it up, probably via amazon, and it will make a good addition to your Mardi Gras film collection.

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4 Responses to It’s a “Mardi Gras Massacre” Breakdown! (NSFW sorta)

  1. (Nice touch; the bar is playing “Werewolves of London” as I type…)

    Maybe a stupid question, but are you at all a fan of Poe’s work? “The Cask/Casque of Amontillado” is my absolute favorite short story by any author, and in my humble opinion, the perfect coldblooded murder blueprint–all set during “the supreme madness of the Carnivale season” in some unnamed Italian city.

    If you don’t mind a career military kid being pedantic (not to mention four shots and half a beer deep…), after spending my fair share of time observing the goings on in “breacher school”, there really is an art and science to blasting your way through some shithead’s door–Starsky and Hutch just weren’t equipped. Think sledehammers and shotguns loaded with the right kind of slugs.

    Perhaps the 1970s were a simpler time. Then again, as my own mother once confided: “Anyone who claims to remember the ’70s probably wasn’t REALLY there.”

    • bayoubabylon says:

      Oh yeah! Good call! I had an illustrated collection when I was a kid that featured a drawing of poor ol Fortunato getting sealed up, brick by brick (spoiler alert?). It haunted me for years. Looking back on it, an illustrated Poe collection for kids doesn’t seem like a great idea in the first place.

      • Let's Run Over Lionel RIchie With A Tank says:

        I think I may know just the collection… “Illustrated Classic Editions, Tales of Mystery and Terror”? Purple cover with a rendering of the House of Usher complete with zigzagging pink crack all the way down (and into?!) the ground? If I remember right, it included “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “CoA,” “The Fall of the House of Usher” and a comparatively boring rendition of “The Gold Bug”?

      • bayoubabylon says:

        Pretty sure it’s the same one. That sounds like it, anyway. The cover was blue on mine though, I think.

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