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The writer of TERROR TOONS and effects wizard Joe Castro presents five stories of blood, guts and mayhem, following eight different killers and totaling over 150 kills and setting a Guinness World Record in the process.
As the winner of more than 20 independent film awards and a supposed spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the "Highest Body Count in a Slasher Film", THE SUMMER OF MASSACRE came at me with some praise and prestige attached to it. The screener disc labels the film as "a Joe Castro experience". Truth be told, I had never seen any of the TERROR TOONS entries nor knew much of writer/director Joe Castro, so I flew in blind to this one. Upon retrospect, I wish that I flew past this one.
I'm not going to sugarcoat this one, folks. When the film advertises a bodycount like this and gore out the wazoo, you know something's up. The 'stories' (if you can call them that) and writing are the equivalent of Mad Libs: all ridiculously lame setups for the supposed feature attractions. Really, the first story has a guy being mugged and having his eye gouged out and given a Glasgow Smile. What's his response? Why, going on a rampage, killing everyone that gets in his way, whether they're there to help you or not. Screw whatever semblance of reality may be if it were anyone else in this situation, there's that bodycount to rack up. The kicker of the stories is the final one, which has three serial killers working in Los Angeles. When the LAPD show up, the trio set off a nuclear bomb and blow everything to kingdom come. The time for this one: five minutes. The sound you here is the collective "Why?" from everyone reading this right now.
As for the special effects, I will admit that some of the makeup is rather well done for an indie affair. However, a great deal of the gore effects are so blatantly covered in CGI that it cheapens everything, altogether. It's sort of in the Troma style of things, but it's still not entertaining. Neither is the acting, for that matter. I know that this is an indie film and despite the presence of "big names" like Nick Principe from the LAID TO REST series, it's still amateur hour at it's worst.
If you're into this sort of mindless mayhem without any sort of story or logical plot/acting, then more power to you for watching this one. Some of the effects are quite the feat and do look appropriately gory. Then again, when you have a film that advertises an outrageous kill count like THE SUMMER OF MASSACRE does, you know that what you're essentially going to be seeing is an effects reel for someone looking to get the attention of someone in Hollywood. Who that would be, I don't know.
Video: It's a screener disc, so no go.
There's nothing on the screener disc, but the retail version which hits DVD and Blu-Ray on January 10th includes commentary by Joe Castro, a behind-the-scenes director's diary, an interview with Brinke Stevens, cast audition tapes, and a short film by Joe Castro entitled "Childhood of Massacre".
Like my New Year's Party, there's really nothing for anyone for THE SUMMER OF MASSACRE. I guess that if you're a fan of Joe Castro's previous stuff or are a sucker for gore without stuff like story, acting or plot, you may have more fun that what I had going on. Or if you just wanted to gross out your friends/family. But afterwards, don't be surprised afterwards if they disown you.