Konnichiwa! Ni Hao! Dia Duit! Straight Outta Kanto here to put you off your dinner with the 2009 stomach churning Thai horror Meat Grinder.
On the surface Tiwa Moeithaisong‘s splatter fest may appear to be nothing more than a gratuitous, exploitative ‘torture porn.’ However, Meat Grinder isn’t so much a roller coaster ride through a poverty ridden, politically tumultuous and misogynistic landscape but a trundling runaway ride down some cobble stones on the back of a wonky-wheeled noodle cart. Providing not only 102 minutes of gore, tension and shocks, Meat Grinder boldly addresses issues such as child abuse, mental health, the rights and roles of women in Thailand and, of course, cannibalism.
Lowly noodle vendor Buss (played by the feisty Mai Charoenpura) is a harassed working mother dealing with domestic drama galore. Buss’s good-for-nothing gambling husband has run off with the babysitter (what a cliché!) leaving her to deal with not only a sullen, ailing child but regular threatening visits from the local loan sharks/landlord.
If only there was some way poor old Buss could make enough money to pay back her husband’s debts and also pay back… her husband…
Oh, wait. She does! How convenient. Mrs. Lovett, take a seat. Buss has got cannibalistic gourmet covered.
Despite multiple nominations at the Thailand National Film Association Awards, Meat Grinder was originally ground down by the Thai censors. The censors were, bizarrely, under pressure from assorted noodle bodies in Thailand to have Meat Grinder change its original title of Kuai-tiao Nuea Khon ‘Human Flesh Noodles’ to Chueat Kon Chim ‘Slice Before Tasting.’
Delicately blending ‘slice’-of-life drama with a chilling and emotive piano sound scape, harrowing black and white flash-backs and top tier make up FX, Meat Grinder is an arty yet accessible cinematic experience. Occasionally indulging in overly drawn out scenes with superfluous story lines added later in the movie, Meat Grinder won’t suit everyone’s palette. As an addition to Asian culinary cinema, this is definitely more Dumplings than Tampopo and as far as extremity horror goes, it makes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.
Don’t just take my word for it, sit down, grab your chopsticks and… dig in.
Straight Outta Kanto is the nerdy nom de plume of international horror-shock musician, illustrator and radio personality Venus de Vilo.
Straight Outta Kanto is a podcast and review blog dedicated to bringing it’s audience the warped and weirdest in nerd culture, nightmare fuel and 90s/00s nostalgia.
Champion of the Shurikon 2018 Pokémon League competition, certified VGC Dragon Gym Leader and CEO of Pokémon Fan Club Ireland, Straight Outta Kanto is an unapologetic otaku and psychotic J-Horror fanatic.