January 11, 2012
I'm gonna be up front with you all from the start here. This is the kind of movie that makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with the horror genre.
Allegedly having the highest body count in film history - the film's advertisements claim that Guinness backs this up - The Summer of Massacre is one of the messiest films I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I don't use the word messy due to the film's gore, I use the term messy because it's one of the most poorly made films I've ever seen.
Littered with awful CGI gore - think Birdemic meets one of those Arcade shooters from the mid '90s - and at times lacking a plot entirely, this "Joe Castro Experience" was surely designed with the most hardcore of horror fans in mind. But I simply can not fathom how anyone who - oh, I don't know, has ever seen another movie - would be able to see just how bad The Summer of Massacre is.
Summer of Massacre also claims to be the first ever anthology/slasher film (I'm not enough of a slasher authority to dispute that point, so congrats to the filmmakers for creating a sub-subgenre), which means we're supposed to get five different gory stories. Like messy, I suppose I should clarify my use of the term "story" here. For example, the first segment of the film doesn't really seem to have a plot at all. In it, a naked man wakes up, puts on some shorts, goes running, gets beat down, then runs around enraged killing someone every 12 seconds while a truly terrible pulsating demo-button-on-a-kids-keyboard type musical score hammers home how EXTREME the sequence is. But the thing is - it's NOT EXTREME AT ALL. It has no point, it's horribly put together, and the effects are so bad that even the gore hounds will be disappointed. The sequence ends with the killer saying something that might have been an explanation for what went on, but the sequence - and the actor - are so unintelligible that I don't think it's possible to make sense out of the gibberish that was spoken.
The film's second full segment features the star of the proceedings, '80s scream queen Brinke Stevens, who gives a brief performance as the mother of a deformed invalid whose good-looking sister tries to kill her. This sequence is a bit more competent than the first, but is still riddled with the same distracting and amateur computer effects and plenty of awful dialogue, punctuated by a random sexual revelation that comes of as immature and silly.
By this point in the film - which makes 97 minutes as tedious as possible - I was pretty far gone from the ability to think of this film as anything but a disaster. Surprisingly, the final two segments were a bit less off-putting, but still suffered the same problems as the rest of the film, primarily via bad acting, awful effects, and poor direction. The final twenty minutes amp up the violence again, but I've already told you the problem with that - it's all awful digital crap that would make a Geocities website from 1998 proud. There are some practical effects too, but they're just as overblown and ridiculous as the CGI gore too. Oh, and the CGI doesn't stop at the gore - there are times when entire shots have clearly been digitally rendered - which makes the film seem even that much more impotent
I guess I could say that The Summer of Massacre improves as it goes on, but the fact that it goes from "potentially the most inept movie of all-time" to "really terrible and horribly made" is no reason to ever come near watching this film. It's the kind of movie that makes me wonder if horror fans and filmmakers really are as sick as the media/researchers/stuck-up tools who whine about the genre's existence are on to something. Is there really an audience for a film that looks and sounds and acts like this? In the name of horror, in the name of filmmaking, and in the name of good old fashioned common sense - I sure as hell hope not.
Against my best judgment, I'm gonna post the film's official website and a link to the trailer here - since the kind folks at Breaking Glass Pictures were nice enough to send along a screener of this one - but I really can't recommend The Summer of Massacre for any reason to anyone. This is not the kind of horror movie I want to see, and I don't believe it's the kind of movie you'll want to see either. I highly doubt I'll see a worse movie in 2012.