Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Gerry Bednob, Ken Foree, Gunnar Hansen, David Naughton, Ellen Sandweiss, Brian O’Halloran
Directed by Stevan Mena
Distributed by Anchor Bay Home Entertainment
Director Stevan Mena proved that he has what it takes to deliver the scares with his 2004 slasher opus Malevolence. It pretty much gave us blood-hungry faithful a lot to like, and just like that Mena was on the proverbial horror map. No young director wants to get pigeon-holed so instead of following up his first flick with another trip to the terror filled boneyard, he decided to do something a little different. Behold his horror-comedy Brutal Massacre. Can a badass horror director make us giggle? We’ll find out after a brief synopsis.
Harry Penderecki (Naughton) is a genre director who exists in infamy for delivering low-budget fare like Fish Who Ate Flesh and Sasquatch at the Mall. After his last few flicks flop, Harry decides to have one more go at it with his latest can’t-miss flim, Brutal Massacre. Basically what we have here with this movie is a making-of that movie. Confused? That’s okay. It’s a comedy, remember? The old This is Spinal Tap approach is employed to the tenth power, but this mockumentary falls just short of achieving what it set out to do.
Brutal Massacre has a great genre cast (surprisingly, Gunnar is the stand-out) and a truly competent director in Mena at the helm, so what went awry? The script mainly. It’s just not very funny, or at least it’s not as funny as those participating found it to be. While the movie does have its moments, most of the humor comes off as ultra-rehearsed and is overly set up. Comedy relies a great deal on expert timing and spontaneity. Brutal Massacre plays more like a group of old friends who got together to goof around. To make matters worse, other than a slew of familiar faces, there’s not much meat for the genre fan to sink their teeth into. There’s barely any gore — supposedly real or decidedly fake — and the film’s only horror elements are confined strictly to what scenes Penderecki and company are shooting for their movie. I don’t know if I’d call this a missed opportunity or not. An experiment that did not yield the desired results maybe? I just don’t know, man. In any event, on to the extras!
In terms of special features we get a sixteen-minute making-of and seventeen deleted scenes that clock in at about twenty-one minutes combined. One of those scenes titled “Roommates” and starring Gerry Bednob and Ken Foree offer this package’s most genuine laughs. If you’re going to rent or buy this, make it your business to watch this part. I was chuckling about it long after it was over.
No matter how you slice it, this just all feels like a bit of a misfire. While it’s great to see Mena stretch his legs down other avenues, and more power to him for doing so, I really can’t wait for him to return to straight horror — something I know he can do with the best of them.
2 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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