Brutal Massacre: A Comedy (DVD)

Brutal Massacre: A Comedy (DVD)
Gory giggles
Updated: 07-18-2008

In the tradition of This Is Spinal Tap, Incident At Loch Ness and American Zombie, Brutal Massacre: A Comedy is a spoof about filmmakers, actors, and entertainers doing what they do. In this case, the "documentary film crew" is following washed up B-movie director, Harry Penderecki (David Naughton, of An American Werewolf in London fame), as he vows to make his most popular film to date, entitled Brutal Massacre.


This direct-to-disc offering follows the faux flick from inception to casting to shooting to premiere, and captures all the craziness between. Behind the camera is eager and hopeful, though jaded, Penderecki (who previously directed such cult classics as: I'll Take The Ring Back, And The Finger Too!), his loyal first A.D. Jay (Brian O'Halleran, from Clerks), his temperamental D.P. Hanu (Gerry Bednob, The 40 Year Old Virgin), long-suffering Production Manager Natalie (Ellen Sandweiss, from the first Evil Dead), and earnest grip Carl (Ken Foree, The Devil's Rejects).


In front of the camera are your various bimbos and bad-actors with good-looks stereotypes, and on the fringes is a cast of strange characters who help advance the plot — and burial plots. For instance, Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Gunnar Hansen plays an unhinged local who allows the production to shoot on his farm, much to their later regret.


The story idea is funny, and the actors display a remarkable penchant for comic timing (even the ones who are a bit shaky, or have limited range, manage to deliver some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments). The are some great insider jokes and even better sight-gags (not to mention some admirable restraint in certain ways, considering that some of the most juicy deaths are actually left to the viewer's imagination). Horror fans, especially the die-hards who attend the conventions, buy rare indies, and collect cinema-killers' autographs, will glean even more.


Unfortunately… yes, there is a caveat… the filmmakers behind Brutal Massacre: A Comedy were not nearly brutal enough in the editing room. Deliberately awkward moments which are funny at first, are allowed to drag into eternity; dialogue scenes run on; and it takes far too long to get to the punch-line. Personally, it was all I could do to watch the whole thing till the end — and I'm sorry for that, because there is so much to like about the film, otherwise.


If you're willing to give it a shot, and you have a quick-draw on the fast-forward button of your remote, then I give Brutal Massacre: A Comedy a mild recommendation; however, if your tolerance level for off-kilter filmmaking is low, you'd best look elsewhere for your humorous horror fix.


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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson

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