Auntie Lee's Meat Pies Poster

Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies (1992) Review – Dark Bridges

Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies was one of three retro titles screening at this year’s Dark Bridges, the other two were Flesh for Frankenstein and Killer Klowns from Outer Space. I’d seen this many years before and remembered being distinctly unimpressed by it. But Mandy, who made the trip with me this year, wanted to see it so I gave it a reevaluation.

Auntie Lee (Karen Black, House of 1000 Corpses, Return of the Roller Blade Seven) has built a thriving business selling meat pies handmade by herself and her nieces Fawn (Kristine Rose, 11 Days, 11 Nights 2, Demonic Toys), Coral (Teri Weigel, Savage Beach, Lesbian Babysitters Volume 5), Sky (Pia Reyes, Return of the Living Dead III, Alien Abduction: Intimate Secrets), and Magnolia (Ava Fabian, Capital Punishment, Erotic Confessions) and her handyman Larry (Michael Berryman, New York Ninja, The Mad Hatter).

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The secret to Auntie Lee’s meat pies is in the ingredients, and those ingredients include the many men who have disappeared while passing through the town of Penance, frequently last seen in the company of one of the nieces. They’ve managed to keep suspicion off themselves, but then one of the girls brings home Bob Evans (Stephen Quadros, The Lost Platoon, Demon Wind) their luck changes, and not for the better.

His wealthy father has hired a private investigator Harold Ivars (David Parry, Beverly Hills Cop III, Dr. Caligari) to find him, and the trail turns cold once he gets to Penance. He leans on Chief Koal (Pat Morita, The Karate Kid, American Ninja 5) who reluctantly starts poking around and asking questions as well.

Director Joseph F. Robertson was best known for his work, frequently under the name Adelle Robbins, on porn flicks such as Debbie Does Dallas III: The Final Chapter and Both Ends Burning. He also co-wrote the script with Gerald Stein whose only other credit of any kind is as a producer on the 1989 version of Dr. Caligari. It’s too bad he wasn’t that film’s writer because Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies could have used some more of its batshit insanity.

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While the film’s first hour does have a few good moments, such as decapitation via a booby trapped pantry or a scene that foreshadows House of 1000 Corpses where the girls get a victim by shooting out his tire, most of the time it just plods along. Much of the humour is supposed to come from the slow witted Larry ranting to himself or a near endless stream of tired innuendo from the nieces.

Similarly, for a film full of centerfolds the first hour of Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies doesn’t provide anything in the way of nudity. We do get plenty of scenes of them bending over in low cut shirts and scenes of the wind catching their short skirts, but it’s all very tame teasing for an “R” rated film.

It’s not until the final act when they manage to catch a band, Doc (Louie Bonanno, Cool as Ice, Slammer Girls), John (Lex Lang, Akira, Doom Patrol), Phil (Grant Cramer, New Year’s Evil, Willy’s Wonderland), and Craig (Cort McCown, Deep Blood, One Man Force) on their way to a gig that Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies finally picks up. From the introduction of the fully grown Baby (Petra Verkaik, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, Pyrates) complete with giant playpen and walker. The other niece’s rooms feature the likes of a miniature Stonehenge and a giant snake sculpture complete with working jaws.

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The acting is a very mixed bag. As expected, Black, Morita, and Berryman all deliver solid performances. Those who only know Morita as Mr. Miyagi may get a chuckle out of seeing him as the obnoxious, chain smoking, and corrupt sheriff. Unfortunately, the ladies playing the nieces aren’t actresses and it shows. Teri Weigel did go on to a career in film, but that was in porn which calls for an entirely different skill set than was needed here.

While I did like it better the second time around, I can’t really say that Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies is a good film. The first hour is mostly generic double entendres and teasing. That’s not what we want from something trying to sell itself as an “R” rated Sweeny Todd with a cast full of centerfolds. The last act delivers, but you may find your finger hitting fast forward to help get it there.

Vinegar Syndrome has restored Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies with a 4K scan from an original 35mm negative and released it on Blu-ray. It’s also available to stream on Tubi. And if that didn’t satisfy your hunger, FilmTagger can suggest some other titles to sink your teeth into.

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