Archive for Slasher film

The Summer of Massacre (2011) Review

Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , , , , on February 9, 2012 by splatterpictures

I feel like this was an attempted mob hit. Like somebody sent me this in the mail in hopes I would kill myself before finishing it. Or maybe it was really Jigsaw but the package didn’t come with a tape recorder informing me that I was going to play a game.

There is a lot of great independent horror out there. The nice thing about the genre is that you can do a lot with very little. It’s a great way for new people in the industry to get their feet wet and every so often a little movie can change the shape of the horror scene. The Summer of Massacre is not that type of film.

I knew absolutely nothing about this movie going in to it. Just what was on the DVD made it seem like I was in for a pretty fun ride with an insane body count. Sure I wasn’t expecting much but anything that boasts the Guinness book of world records title for highest body count in a film couldn’t be all bad.  I hate being this wrong about something.

The Summer of Massacre is an anthology. Each story is book-ended with a little monologue by a different serial killer. These killers have banded together to becoming the ultimate killing team. I don’t know what the four separate stories have to do with them but that’s what we’re given.

I don’t know if I should take the time to discuss the individual plots of the stories because frankly I’m not sure what they are. Oh what the hell I’ll do my best.

Story number one is simply titled “Rage” a guy wakes up on his day off from a job and proclaims that he’s going for a run. All of a sudden it’s night-time and he’s jogging. He gets knocked on the head by a guy with a foam pipe and gets his face all messed up.

I’m not sure if he died and came back or was just really hurt and got up anyways but he starts killing people. I think he is trying to get revenge on the guys who robbed him but he has to kill a lot of people along the way. (Naturally).

The second story is titled “Lump”. It’s about a mentally challenged hermaphrodite invalid on her death bed, (I’m not kidding the character is acted by a man pretending to have downs-syndrome or something). She has a loving mother, a bitch of a sister who hates her and a sweet but simple brother. She is given a short time-frame to live. The mother feels it’s the perfect time to let her kids go off on some…weird trip. Anyways they try and kill their wheelchair bound sibling even though she’s going to die anyways.  She doesn’t die and this horrible growth on her head pops. Uh, she becomes a super powerful killing machine. They try to give it one of those ironic horror endings but the acting was so bad and frankly offensive that it was lost on me. The end.

The third story is titled “Son of the Boogeyman”. In this one we learn of a woman who was raped by a local maniac who wishes to father a son for the soul purpose of terrifying him The boy all grown up now, tries with all of his might to escape his psycho killer father and save the people he loves. (Actually this one wasn’t so bad plot wise)

The fourth story is called Burn and it actually slows the entire movie down. Up until this point it’s basically been a revolving door of death scenes, this one has a pretty long set up all things considered. A group of young people are at some sort of hippie woods party when it gets late and they decide to tell the story about a pair of firefighters who are killed in a massive forest fire. The men apparently came back as vengeful ghosts or zombies or something and burn people to death. Well turns out it’s not just a story.

The acting in this movie is beyond terrible. I would suspect it’s just a cast of first timers or just friends of the people who made this ungodly mess. Nobody sells anything but instead walks through all the scenes looking and acting as confused as I was.

The worst part however had to be the CGI. Holy hell is it bad. Like how bad you ask? It makes Sharktapus look like it was made by James Cameron. The box promises gore unlike you’ve ever seen but any chance these scenes had of being effective in any way has been tossed right out the window. It’s so laughably bad that I feel as if I am missing something. They –had- to know what this looked like. The practical effects weren’t so bad really and if they maybe just stuck with those it wouldn’t be as terrible. Especially in Burn and Son of the Boogeyman, it was decent but the moment they started again with the CGI it just fucking died.

I will be the first to admit I am a pretty cheap date. I am totally fine with taking certain movies for what they are and I am notoriously forgiving but not this time. When I say this I want it to sink in. This is the worst horror movie I’ve ever seen. It was so bad it took me two separate times to actually watch the entire thing. It fails across the board, in acting, writing, directing, special effects and cinematography. Slapping a Guinness world record title on your cover is a pretty handy marketing tool so consider this your warning. I watched this so hopefully you’ll never have to.

Christmas Evil (You’d Better Watch out!)

Posted in Horror Showcase, Ode to the Unsung Slasher, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2011 by splatterpictures

Time to jump into the Holiday season with a properly themed horror review. Christmas has always been a fun time of year, for horror. Everyone sort of gets off on the Macabre concept of this special time of year being ruined by killer Santas or evil snowmen. A lot of the time it’s just utterly ridiculous. Sometimes though, it can be a pretty effective and chilling tale of home invasion during a time when we would hope that kind of evil would take a holiday with everyone else. Somewhere in between the super serious and utterly ridiculous there is Christmas Evil.

Christmas Evil was released in 1980, by good old Pan American Pictures, it was written directed by Lewis Jackson, it tells the story of a lonely man (Brandon Maggart) obsessed with Christmas and the concept of Santa Claus.

The movie starts off with a family watching Santa delivering presents to their home, of course this is just the father of the family pretending. It’s a cute little holiday memory that I don’t actually know for sure happens in real life. It certainly happens a lot in movies and television though.

I remember reading about this film before I saw it and it was said that the main character experiences a traumatic event as a child regarding Santa and it grows up all twisted. Well, the trauma in question is when he comes back downstairs later and sees his father (dressed as Santa) have some PG-13 sexy time with his mother. It’s honestly a pretty weird thing to be traumatized over. He runs up stars and smashes a snow globe then proceeds to cut himself deliberately with a piece of glass. That’s pretty much it.

It cuts to him as a grown man. He isn’t married and has no kids of his own; he lives in a small house by himself and works at the Jolly Dream toy factory. He gets pushed around and talked down too by his co-workers even though he technically has a higher position than they do.

It starts off quickly letting you know that Harry isn’t quite right. He watches the children in his neighbourhood and decides who is naughty and nice, he then writes it down. In books marked rather professionally as Good Boys and Girls 1980 and Bad Boys and Girls 1980. (I really want to know how he found those books or got them made.) You can see how important he considers this “work” and how frantically he makes sure it’s up to date.

As it gets closer to Christmas Harry starts making himself a Santa Suit and getting ready for something. What I like is that he never tells anyone what he’s doing and as an audience you’re not even sure yourself. I knew I was watching a horror movie but aside from a few musical cues here and there you never get a sense that Harry really wants to do anything “wrong”.

It becomes obvious that Harry really just wants to be the Santa Claus he always wished was real. He wants children to believe and know that if they are good, good things will happen to them but, if they are bad, bad things will happen. This in itself is pretty deranged and after he starts breaking into peoples houses you wonder just how far he’s going to take it.

As a horror movie some people might find this one a little slow, but I feel it’s effective.

There are great moments where you see the intensity behind Harry’s eyes and actions the character has moments where he looks like he is just about to snap, but then gets into his Santa character and seems completely harmless. These moments work fantastically because as an audience we know that these people mocking him or being greedy on Christmas are going to get it. There is one scene where he is talking to a group of kids at a Christmas party and telling them to be good. Nothing he’s saying is bad but since you know how screwed up he is, it just made my skin crawl.

I found myself rooting for Harry, I wanted him to get revenge on his bosses who were more concerned about their pockets than children in need. Or his co-worker that was trying to just take advantage of him. Even his brother who was hard on Harry because in his opinion he was a loser. In the end I wanted him to get away with it.

The deaths aren’t that numerous but they are well done with great use of the “holiday themes” A guy getting his throat sliced open with a Christmas star is just damn good film-making if you ask me. There isn’t a huge body count and it isn’t really gory but the deaths have resonance.

There is also the matter of this being considered somewhat of a comedy. I think the moments that are funny are actually some of the more realistic aspects of it. Harry isn’t a smooth, cold calculating killer who has it all worked out. He seems like a man who has been thinking about this for awhile but this is his first outing as old Saint Nick and he’s bound to make a few mistakes. A long scene of him trying to go down the chimney is a good example. As well as struggling to kill someone not realizing how difficult it might actually be. He’s defiantly doing a lot of this on the fly. He stumbles and falls and goes the wrong way, just like any killer getting his feet wet I guess.

The parts that didn’t work for me were mostly around the end, when the parents of the neighbourhood are chasing him around. They had actual torches. Really? It’s like something out of a Universal horror, which isn’t a bad thing but kinda hard to believe modern people (in this case the modern age of 1980) would actually go and cobble together torches.  The other thing that I think could have been worked out better was the reasoning for Harry’s bizarre fascination with Christmas and his desire to –be- Santa Claus. When he goes on to blame his younger brother for never believing in Santa, it seemed way too trivial to explain his mental state. Now that I am writing this though, I do admit that it goes along well with Harry’s delusions that he would take a single incident that his brother did when he was 6 as justification for robbery, breaking and entering and murder. His own brother screams about how ridiculous it is.

The ending is also a little off-beat but overall I think it was a fine farewell to one of the more complicated characters I’ve ever seen in a horror movie.

This is regarded as one of the best Christmas horror movies ever made. That is a pretty bold statement considering how varied peoples tastes are. I think this is a very good character piece that defiantly deserves to be viewed at least once. Brandon Maggart’s acting goes a long way to help this film, that otherwise might be pretty forgettable. He gives us a character that is selfish and selfless at the same time. A character who garners a lot more sympathy than the people he is killing. I say check it out!

"On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a much needed tracheotomy!"

Ode to the Unsung Slasher (Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2)

Posted in Horror Showcase, Ode to the Unsung Slasher, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2011 by splatterpictures

The slasher genre is what attracted me to horror in the first place. These days, that particular sub-genre of horror has gotten some nice boosts in my mind with films Like Hatchet and the Hills Run Red, but one I especially enjoyed was Laid to Rest.


Today I’m going to tackle Chromeskull: Laid to Rest II (I wonder if this is going to start a Rambo-esque sequel where the third film will be just called Chromeskull 3 like how the Rambo franchise dropped “First blood” from their titles by the third one).


Now when I say I enjoyed Laid to Rest, let me explain that the movie is not without its flaws. I challenge anyone to find me a more inept group of victims in horror. Even the survivor girl could win the friggin’ Darwin award in more than one scene. She rips the phone cord out of the wall while they’re tracing the call!? I could go on and on about how many moments made me roll my eyes hard but there was something about it. After I finished watching that movie, I sat back and said to myself, “You know what? I like this movie.” It was just a lot of fun.” Chromeskull is badass and the kills are just great. So when I heard they were making a sequel, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.


Robert Hall is back writing and directing Laid to Rest II, which is no surprise seeing as the entire thing is his baby. Thomas Dekker is back from the first movie as the raver guy, Tommy, who picks up “The Girl” from the first one. Oddly, they couldn’t get Bobbi Sue Luther back (no real loss), so they replaced her with Allison Kyler which really just amounts to an extended cameo.  Newcomers to the movie are Brian Austin Green as Preston and Mimi Michaels as Jess. The last little bit I’ll mention on cast is they nabbed scream queen Danielle Harris for a small, but interesting role. I’ll get to that in a bit.



The biggest problem I had with the first movie was how it all fell apart for me at the very end. It just seemed really dumb. In the sequel, they actually have some amount of closure to it that left me a lot less salty about the whole thing.


The other thing I was really curious about was how they were going to bring ChromeSkull back. I mean, I’m aware it’s a slasher film and really they could do anything, but the first one seemed pretty sequel proof considering that the killer wasn’t supernatural in any way. We’re treated to a mysterious and rockin’ surgery scene where ChromeSkull is put back together. It seems that he doesn’t work alone but has a team of loyal people working around him in something that is only referred to as “the organization.”  Preston is his number two man who quickly gets to work in tying up loose ends from his boss’ last outing.


Meanwhile, the police are left trying to figure out what happened and Tommy tries to go back to his life. The bodies start to pile up pretty quickly as Preston takes over the mantle of Chromeskull while the real killer recuperates.


The new girl, Jess, is picked up at the suggestion of Chromeskull’s assistant Spann (Harris). Once Preston finally gets his hands on Tommy and brings him back to The Organization, it’s all about Tommy and Jess trying to survive while Preston and the original Chromeskull play who’s the better killer.


The real star obviously is Chromeskull himself. I think one of the things I like about him in the first film is that, while he is a masked character, he isn’t really the lumbering Mongoloid type. He is faster and slicker with more intelligence, something that is much more feasible in a modern age through the use of cellphones and even a car to get around.  While expanding on him, though, I felt I was more confused than ever. In the first movie, he was just this mysterious guy with a mask. This time we’re told that he actually has a lot of employees under him that seem to do nothing but craft his weapons and otherwise provide means to be a serial killer. How does he pay for all of it?


The kills are good with a great blend of practical and CGI effects. Lots of gore and creative blades really went a long way to making this film have some great and gruesome moments. Even though a lot of the kills are done by Preston’s character imitating the original Chromeskull, the last half hour Chrome just goes on a friggin’ rampage and kicks all kinds of ass. One scene that was just great was when he takes out three cops at once. It was all done in one shot too.


The movie isn’t without its dumb moments though. The one that really sticks out in my mind is when Preston leaves Tommy and Jess alone to go and get a tattoo before he comes back and kills them. For starters, it seemed really weird that he had a tattoo artist just there in their base of operations, but also that he would just stop and say “Okay guys… I’m going to kill you… but I really need a tattoo first.” But I’m just nitpicking really.


Fans of the first film shouldn’t be disappointed. Chromeskull: Laid to Rest II does what it should: expand the lore and the body count. Robert Hall has gone on to say that he didn’t create Chromeskull to be the new face of horror, but rather to create something that he, as a fan, would want to see. I agree that I don’t think Laid to Rest II breaks the mould by any stretch, but it does offer a bloody and satisfying good time. Check it out and, as always, thanks for reading!


I feel these blood drapes really tie the room together


Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Posted in Horror Showcase, Ode to the Unsung Slasher, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by splatterpictures

The weirdest thing in the world to me is breaking down a film. I mean don’t get me wrong, I do it all the time, but for the most part I take what I see for what I get. I never took any sort of film studies course I just kinda watch things and “notice stuff”.

When you watch enough of anything you find all kinds of trends, whether it’s in a television series, or a certain author’s work. It’s especially noticeable when you start looking at entire genres of film.

I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to horror, people have parodied it, mocked it, paid homage, and downright insulted it. A lot of times people feel they are being clever but dumb it down a lot(Like Wes Craven’s scream series) Other times it’s just a quick buck piggy banking on stuff that’s already popular (Scary movie series). I really never had much time for those types of films. I always thought that Scream was just lame. Although, with four movies behind it, maybe I’m the one with the problem.

This brings me to our latest and greatest Splatterpictures; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. The flick dropped in 2006 and was directed by Scott Glosserman. It was written by him aswell and distributed through Anchor Bay (I swear they should put me on their pay role with how often I seem to be talking about them).

The movie is shot like a documentary in a world (I did the epic movie guy voice thing in my head) where the slashers of film are real. They set this up pretty well, referencing Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street.

The film crew is apparently following around a new slasher wanting to make a name for himself; Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel). How they got the idea to do this isn’t really clear and neither is what they think this will all lead to. They go through Leslie’s set up to his “big night” the start of his Legacy. He tells them his story of how he is supposedly the returned spirit of a boy killed by the townspeople. He takes them to his “house” where this will all go down and proceeds to walk them through his “plan”. Honestly what follows is probably the most dead on and hilarious break down of a horror movie I’ve ever seen. It pays homage to horror in a way that is really fun to watch. They talk about everything. The selection of their victims and why, sure Scream did that but think of Scream like cole’s notes compared to Behind the Mask.

A lot of things they mentioned had great moments of “oh yeah I noticed that” Like why they always let some couple have sex before killing them. Why they hide the bodies until the last moment. How about why the phones never work, or the lights go out? Or maybe why weapons always seem to break or killers never seem to stay dead? One moment in particular had me laughing is when Leslie is discussing how much cardio he has to do to give the illusion that he is walking, while everyone else is running away.

There is also a beauty to his plan, and it also shows a more subtle side of the killer that nobody really gets to see. There are moments where Leslie’s true nature peeks through in bursts of anger or when he goes on long obsessive rants about the legacy he is trying to create with his “survivor girl” and how everything he does is for her I really felt like I was sitting through a film class when they start getting into the phallic imagery of a killers weapon and what it means for said survivor girl to use it against the killer.

This movie is first and foremost a comedy and it’s a pretty damn good one. The nice thing is that while I always felt movies like scream were poking fun at horror for the general audience; Behind the Mask seems to have been made for true fans. In the same sort of way that the Comic Series Hack/Slash is for horror fans in that it doesn’t take you through all the obvious references. Sure they talk about the big killers that we are all familiar with but it also goes deeper making direct references or illusions to lesser known horror films or obscure uses of minor things from major films.

During the early parts of the movie, the film crew join Leslie as he visits an old friend and mentor who was a masked killer aswell (now retired). He talks about how “In the old days” it was all about getting in, killing everybody and getting out without anybody ever knowing. That is pretty much the entire plot of Black Christmas (arguably the first slasher film). There are a lot of subtle sight gags, like the “Stay awake” pills from Nightmare, or the Red Rabbit Inn from Halloween.

They also have some great Cameos by Kane Hodder as a guy living in the Elm Street House (he played Jason in Friday the 13th). Of course, the big Cameo is Robert Englund as Doctor Halloran who Leslie refers to as his “Ahab” basically a person who has made it his personal goal to track down and stop his evil. In other words a character type made famous in Halloween with Doctor Lumis.

By far the most amazing Cameo is by Zelda Rubenstein (she played the famous role of the medium in Poltergeist) she delivers her usual creepy speech to perfection.

You’d think that after people start dying the film crew would grow a conscious and try to Stop Leslie’s plan and want to save the teenagers and they do, but it becomes obvious that this was all accounted for. It has a great ending with all the clichés and overall I highly recommend checking this out.

My one complaint is kind of a big one though. I don’t know if it was the DVD that I had and another version exist but there was nothing in the way of gore. The deaths aren’t all that great, some are pretty good but they all cut away before anything is shown, or even worse they happen off camera with just audio. Now, why would they go to all the trouble of carefully crafting references, getting horror icons for cameos and making this movie if they weren’t going to put some gore in it? I have no idea. Like I said maybe it was just the version I had and there is a directors cut out there somewhere.

It’s made even worse by the fact that a lot of casual viewers probably wouldn’t be half as entertained as I was with all the references and jokes. So that leaves more serious fans with a great slasher movie but without a lot of good or memorable kills.