Brutal Massacre (DVD)

Brutal Massacre DVD review (click for larger image)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 DVD review (click for larger image)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.

Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer


    2 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    2 1/2 out of 5

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  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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    • Beaver

      I just checked this flick and I found his funny as hell,
      and I do agree that gunner hansen is the standout in this movie

    • Blockbuster

      I’m with Magus… I didn’t particularly care for Malevolence. The one genuinely creepy moment was when the cop was reading the diary…the rest? Not so much.

    • MagusMaleficus

      Dude, I got “Malevolence” free for review purposes back when it hit DVD (writing for a shit site that shall remain nameless), and that still wasn’t enough to warm me up to the flick. It was an hour and a half of absolutely nothing–just lame characters kind of walking around. But, hey, to each his own. I’m glad somebody liked it.

      Now, as for this flick… I just don’t know. We might agree on this one. Horror comedies are usually shit (“Shaun of the Dead” being an excellent exception), but I think I might check this one out for the hell of it. Or maybe not.