Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies

“A black comedy done tastefully.”

I’m not so sure about that.

How can I describe Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies without it sounding either moronic or genius? The movie is kind of both and yet neither simultaneously.

Auntie Lee (Karen Black) has the best meat pies in the country. Auntie Lee has three very pretty “nieces” who live with her. Auntie Lee has a brother (Michael Berryman) who is a little… um… slow. Auntie Lee is loved by everyone around her. Lots of men have gone missing in the area of Auntie Lee’s bakery. Could this possibly be connected to Auntie Lee?

“Satanic rituals, giant snake heads, rapist preachers and the absolute dumbest heavy metal band you will ever encounter.”

The movie also features Satanic rituals, giant snake heads, rapist preachers and the absolute dumbest heavy metal band you will ever encounter.

Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies is quite a hard film to classify as it has all the elements of horror and gore films – not to mention a cast of genre veterans – but is also clearly a comedy at heart. The film constantly straddles the line between genres and yet never seems to embrace either one. The comedy is too spread out and broad to be effective and the horror elements are too weak to be truly potent. The film almost ceases to find an identity all the while searching desperately for one. This is the major issue at hand; there is no real tone.

Directed by the late Joseph F. Robertson – producer of many a porno film and writer of The Slime People of all things – Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies is a fun movie that seems to work despite itself. Suspiciously though for a man whose main career was hardcore porn there is only one brief shot of nudity in the film.

Alongside Black and Berryman we have Pat Morita as the local town sheriff who is completely clueless but so endearing. His dunce law enforcer is played with such sincerity and earnestness you can’t help but bemoan his eventual fate. Also a Playboy centerfold is a “baby” in the movie.

“One of the greatest red-meat classics in B-movie history!”

The acting is subpar save for Berryman, Black and Morita (although Berryman and Morita easily steal the movie). Playboy Playmates Kristine Rose, Ava Fabian and Teri Weigel are the “nieces”. These girls are so out of their depth with speaking parts that any dialog scene longer than a minute looks to visibly wear on them as they desperately attempt to remember their lines.

Robertson’s direction is very workmanlike and yet oddly stylish by 1992 standards. Most of the film is very brightly lit (uncharacteristic for a horror film) and shot predominantly in medium shots. This ends up leaving you with the feeling that Robertson was unsure of how he wanted the final product to look. What is shot in “horror movie” style though comes off as cheap and wholly ineffective as a horror film.

All of that said the movie is worth seeking out on tape. Championed by Joe Bob Briggs upon release “One of the greatest red-meat classics in B-movie history!” Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies is a curious excursion into the realm of the Direct-to-Video movie. As a “not quite but kind of” horror film it remains unique among its horror film brethren of the era. The VHS tape released by Columbia Tri-Star Home Video is relatively tough to encounter in the wild, and absurdly inexpensive on ebay. This is a film you should all seek out even if it lacks a digital version.

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