There’s no telling what will come in the mail from Vinegar Syndrome. It’s always a complete surprise to me what they will choose to send for review. For August 2021, I found 3 Blu-rays waiting patiently in my mailbox: John P. Finegan’s Girls School Screamers (1984) and a delectable little flick called Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies (1992). Directed by Joseph F. Robertson, this horror comedy has plenty of over-the-top acting, freewheeling boobs, bad accents, hair bands, funny dialogue, and unique kills. Plus, this 4k restoration Blu-ray release has some fantastic extras.
Here’s a little (unrestored) taste of what you get: a bloody nasty beheading and a sneak peek of Pat Morita saving a damsel in distress:
A devil-worshiping woman sends out her four beautiful nieces to lure men back to her place so they can be killed, ground up, and sold as meat pies.
As mentioned above, Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies was directed by the late Joseph F. Robertson (Dr. Caligari 1989). The script was co-written by Robertson and Dr. Caligari producer, Gerald Stein (as Gerald M. Steiner). And there are so many recognizable faces in this film, like Trilogy of Terror’s Karen Black as religious Southern belle Auntie Lee, along with Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes 1977, The Devil’s Rejects 2005, Weird Science 1985), Karate Kid’s Pat Morita, Grant Cramer (Killer Klowns From Outer Space 1988 – read our retro review here), Teri Weigel (Predator 2 1990), Pia Reyes (Return of the Living Dead III 1993), Ava Fabian (Welcome Home, Roxy Carmicheal 1990), and Playboy model Kristine Rose: Demonic Toys 1992). SFX artist Roy Knyrim (Tremors 1990) was in charge of special FX.
Gorgeous, trampy girls lure men to Auntie Lee’s ranch to be used in her tasty meat pies. Like Motel Hell and Sweeney Todd, Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies brings a dark comedy to cannibalism. The idea of killing people for their flesh, grinding that meat into mince and selling it to unsuspecting citizens is enough to make even the most devoted horror fan twitch, so adding jokes and scenery chewing relaxes the audience, making the idea absurd rather than taboo. There are so many great deaths in this films, too, like a button-launched, disgusting yet hysterical beheading, a lipsticked chomp to the neck, a through and through from the fangs of a giant snake, a ghastly garbage disposal trap, a splashing that ends in a boiling, a rather boring stabbing, a trip to Stonehendge 2.0, and even one initiated by sadomasochism. There’s also the off screen death of a chicken. Last but not least, there’s the stretched canvas of human skin. I don’t know where—or who—it came from, but I bet the story behind that piece of artwork is pretty fabulous.
Not only do the bodies feed Auntie Lee’s meat machine, but each one ends in some sort of personal, orgasmic reciprocations from the murderess. They all thoroughly enjoy themselves despite the fact that they hardly ever actually deliver the killing blows themselves. Just the idea of what’s going on behind that door or in that pool or by that machine is enough to get their blood pumping. The idea that Auntie Lee’s sexy acolytes want nothing more than to turn men on and then eat their flesh is so perfectly 1980s B movie cinema. You almost can’t imagine a female horror movie character acting this way without the bouncing cleavage and big, permed hair of the ’80s. Boobs, makeup, and mullets represent the basic cast lineup for that decade, and the nostalgia that comes with it is priceless, despite the fact that Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies came out in 1992.
This film is cheap and cheesy but is oh so much fun. Despite the awkward acting and implausible storyline, you can’t help but be sucked into Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies. With the actors running the gamut between scenery chewing and wooden acting—combined with the hilarious dialogue and bloody kills—this film is even more likable than it has any right to be.
Let’s talk about the music. Not only do we have “I Saw Your Mommy” by Suicidal Tendencies, but there’s also the film’s fictitious hair band that sings The Mentors‘ “Young, Fresh, Tight, Sweet Stuff” and “Hail, Hail, Hail to Drunken Women.” That’s a pretty decent lineup for a mostly unknown film. Of course, after getting two flat tires (suspicious…), the band ends up in Auntie Lee’s guestroom, and you can just imagine what happens next.
What Doesn’t Work
If you’re not a fan of caricature horror, you may not like Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies. I personally love a good, cheesy horror comedy, so this film is perfect for me, but I can see how others may not like it. The ending is quite abrupt and rather anticlimactic by horror movie standards. Yes, it ends with a death, but there’s no real showdown or anything. None of the women are on the run or escaping from some life-ending confrontation. It’s just another day in the life.
I also want to mention Pat Morita’s accent. For the main scenes that he’s in, he speaks in a rather indecipherable American accent, but every once in awhile, he drops into an excessive Texas lilt. I’m not sure of the scenes were filmed out of order, and at some point, Robertson decided to yank the accent altogether. But I do know that Sheriff Koal had more than one way of talking.
Can I just say that, if it weren’t for tire troubles, many of these people would not have ended up at Auntie Lee’s Met Pies in the first places? They would have made it out of Texas unharmed. Why is it only a flat tire that kicks off some bloody Southern shenanigans? Is this the only way to get people to stop? Even one of the nieces gets a flat. I wish the filmmakers had been a bit more creative with their car-stopping methods.
I don’t feel like the character of the horny Private Investigator Harold Ivers (David Parry: The Last Platoon 1990) looking for con on the run/murder victim Bob Evans (Stephen Quadros: Dr. Caligari) was really needed. He seems tacked on. Sure, he gets a decent death, but I think Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies would have rolled along just fine without him.
This is a great 4k restoration from Vinegar Syndrome. The finished product is clear, sharp, and bright. I didn’t notice any blurring, coloring, or snowiness. The sound and voices are spot on. Plus, there’s the plethora of extras. Some of my favorites are the interviews with actors Michael Berryman, Richard Vidan and Grant Kramer and one with in SFX artist Roy Knyrim. Plus, there’s a recipe for Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies from the one and only Homicidal Homemaker!
Get more info and the list of extras below.
This special limited edition embossed slipcover (designed by Tom Hodge of The Dude Designs) is limited to 5,000 units and is only available here at VinegarSyndrome.com!
Auntie Lee and her quartet of voluptuous “nieces” are known for making the tastiest meat pies around, all from Auntie’s top secret recipe which calls for a most unusual type of meat: human. In order to acquire the juiciest flesh, the girls employ their lusty charms; luring unsuspecting male strangers into a carnal – and deadly – trap, in which they’re chopped, quartered, and minced. Everything is going just peachy for Auntie’s little family, despite the occasional misbehavings of Larry, their “simple” helper, but when the girls lure a freaked out rock group over to have for dinner, things run the risk of getting out of control. And what about the perpetually snooping Police Chief Koal?
Taking a simple premise and turning it into an increasingly hallucinogenic nightmare, culminating in a surreal and bloody final act, Joseph F. Robertson’s (The Crawling Hand) AUNTIE LEE’S MEAT PIES heaps on gruesome kills with a healthy side of pitch black humor. Graced with a cast as strange as the film itself, among them Pat Morita (The Karate Kid), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), erotic film superstar Teri Weigel, Eurosleaze stalwart Werner Pochath (Terror Express), and starring Karen Black (Trilogy of Terror, House of 1000 Corpses) as Auntie Lee, Vinegar Syndrome is proud to bring this would be midnight movie to Blu-ray for the first time, newly restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative.
directed by: Joseph F. Robertson
starring: Karen Black, Pat Morita, Michael Berryman, Teri Weigel, Werner Pochath
1992 / 100 min / 1.85:1 / English Stereo
• Region Free Blu-ray
• Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative
• “Express with Less” – an interview with actor Michael Berryman
• “Blood in the Pool” – an interview with makeup effects artist Roy Knyrim
• “So Bad it’s Good” – an interview with actor Richard Vidan
• “Say Yes” – an interview with actor Grant Cramer
• “Recipe for Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies” – by The Homicidal Homemaker
• Reversible cover artwork
• English SDH subtitles
This 4k restoration Blu-ray release of Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies is due to be released from Vinegar Syndrome on September 28, 2021. Pre-order your copy of this cheesy, disturbing flick below!