Brutal Massacre: A Comedy is a mockumentary (seems like about 30% of films these days are. Heck, even I've directed one and had a bit part in another) that Fangoria Magazine describes as "A Spinal Tap for horror filmmakers.” A fair and accurate description in my estimation having now seen it.
Brutal Massacre stars An American Werewolf in London's David Naughton as Harry Penderecki, a horror movie director who, while achieving a fan following for his B-movies, has found himself on the outs with the Hollywood movie-machine. The mockumentary follows Penderecki on his quest to make his comeback film, titled "Brutal Massacre." His struggles bring to mind Terry Gilliam's disastrous experience attempting to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote back in 2000. Along the way, Penderecki and his crew face FX failures, injuries, inhospitable living conditions, lack of pay, a sewage mishap, near death experiences, death itself, disloyal actors and police arrest.
The opening moments of the film show Harry Penderecki making an appearance at a Fangoria Weekend of Horrors convention. The scene raised my warning flags and I began to worry about the quality of the movie and whether I actually wanted to sit through it. Luckily, I hung in there and gave it a shot. Even more luckily, I was rewarded with an entertaining and funny film in return for my patience.
The movie has a number of horror genre celebrities besides David Naughton either appearing as themselves or playing fictional characters. I'm not going to bother listing them. It has become an entirely over-used ploy in genre films. These days, I spend more time playing Where's Waldo with the horror icons of yesteryear in these movies that I can't get into the atmosphere of the film. However, in a comedy about horror filmmaking, these roles and cameos have some charm.
Brutal Massacre also comedy veterans Brian O'Halloran and Gerry Bednob in prominent roles as the fictional production's Production Assistant and Director of Photography, respectively. I half expected Kevin Smith to show up for a cameo after seeing those two in the movie. Both Brian and Gerry play well off of Naughton and the scenes with them interacting are some of my favorite in the movie. Ken Foree manages to earn laughs while still portraying a character I couldn't help but feel sorry for.
However, the standout comedy performance in the film is old Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen. After seeing him as the beer-swilling, potty-mouthed, lecherous, disgruntled Vietnam veteran, Krenshaw, I want to see him get more comedy roles. He looks like he was having fun making the film and in turn makes watching his performance fun as well.
Brutal Massacre is rated R, though I think it leans more toward a PG-13. It isn't something I'll be watching with my kids anytime soon, so it will remain a treat for those scant hours I have to watch my grownup movies.
Precocious Kyra moment while writing this blog entry: Kyra asked me to open up Word on our other PC so that she could write an article about Sam Patch, the early 19th century daredevil who jumped to his doom in the Genesee River Gorge in Rochester, NY. We were there last month when I was taking photos for an article I wrote about the incident for Dark Destinations. She has quite the memory.
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