The Summer of Massacre

Dir: Joe Castro
Star: Tim A. Cooley, Nick Principe, Tchia Casselle, Lauren Boehm

Supposedly in the Guinness Book of Records for most kills in a splatter movie - 155 - this could also be a poster child for desensitization, since 153 (give or take a couple) have absolutely zero impact on the viewer. However, this is probably mostly because of the shitty CGI used to depict them; it's really a poster child showing how quantity is no substitute for quality. The anthology contains four stories and a wraparound segment, but I'm not going to bother describing them all in detail or individually, because that would probably take longer than it took them to write. They vary in tone from a couple of fairly straightforward supernatural slashers (Son of the Boogyman and Burn) through to one which seems simply intended to cause offense (Lump, with Principe played a mentally and physically disabled hermaphrodie) and another (Rampage) that racks up the body-count as quickly as a Doom game on "Nightmare!" difficulty, though with less impressive graphics.

To Castro's credit, he appears to know the effects aren't up to particularly much, and keeps them whizzing by at a rapid rate, before any of their deficiencies become too glaring. And there are some ideas for kills that, given more time... And money... Oh, plus effort... As well as technical skill... had potential. However, the script and performances are almost entirely shoddy; Brinke Stevens shows up in one section, as the hermaphrodite's Mom, and even if hardly an Oscar-worth contribution, shows exactly what a bunch of amateurs the rest of the cast are. Burn is probably the best of the segments, where the lurid CGI contributions don't detract from the narrative (such as it is) too much, and may actually enhance it. Yet this remains a clear step back for Castro, whose Terror Toons was made back in 2002, and was considerably more inventive and entertaining. The lesson here is, just because you can make a film with hundreds of CGI effects, doesn't mean you should make a film with hundreds of CGI effects.

[November 2015]

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