Starring Jon McBride, Kim Bailey, Tom Casiello, Denice Edeal, Patricia McBride, Perren Page, Robert C. Moseley Jr.
Directed by Jon McBride
Distributed by Alternative Cinema, LLC
Continuing in their line of “Retro 80’s” horror movies, Camp Motion Pictures returns with another Jon McBride opus, Woodchipper Massacre. This movie was the follow-up movie by the ultra-low-budget film maker to his cult hit Cannibal Campout. However, this movie lacked a great deal of what made his first hit popular.
The storyline in this movie is pretty simple. A group of kids are left at home with an overbearing aunt who makes their lives hell for a day. Her accidental death pulls the kids together in what may be the single stroke of brilliance in the whole movie, when they decide to dispose of the body through a conveniently rented woodchipper. In fact, the movie is sorely misnamed, as there is no real “massacre” of any kind. Only two people die in the whole movie, and only one dies as a result of being fed into the woodchipper. The movie should have been named “The Bitch Got What She Deserved.”
Unlike his last movie, McBride left every ounce of gore out of this feature, preferring instead to leave any gore implied. How anyone can create a movie called “Woodchipper Massacre” and leave almost all traces of blood out may be one of the great unanswerable mysteries of the 1980’s. However, because this movie was already pre-sold to the distributers, it went out to the video stores anyway, leading to great disappointment from the distributers and from renters.
The acting in this movie is, according to McBride, intentionally bad. With all the actors shouting their wooden dialogue at the camera, this movie is best viewed with the volume way down. Of course, with many of the bad one-liners in the dialogue, that might be best anyway. Also, although the story was inspired by a real person who put his girlfriend through a woodchipper (and was only caught because he returned the machine cleaner than when he rented it), the story is as unbelievable as can possibly be.
The best part of this DVD is the “Special Features” section. Beginning with an interview with director and star Jon McBride (wearing the same costume from the movie, no less), the viewer is given a glimpse into what amateur film-making was like twenty years ago. Between the interview and the feature commentary, viewers get a real sense that, while McBride may not be the next Scorsese, he was passionate about his movies, low budget or not. The same cannot be said, however, for at least one of his cast members, who referred to his experience as “hey…I’ve got a camera, let’s shoot a movie.” That member aside, the other cast members look back on their experiences with the director fondly. Perhaps the most surprising revelation to come out of the cast interviews is that the young glasses-wearing lead, Tom Casiello, stayed in show business and wound up winning an Emmy award for his writing talents in soap operas.
People expecting to see a movie of the same caliber of Cannibal Campout will be sorely disappointed with this movie. However, those looking for something that looks like it was shot in someone’s backyard after school (which it was), this movie showcases the determination of the director and his cast. That being said, had this movie not been pre-sold to the distributers, I doubt it would have ever seen a video shop shelf.
Interviews with the cast
Video Bob Jon McBride interview
Camp Trailer Vault