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Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Summer of Massacre (2012) Horror Slasher

The Summer of Massacre (2012)  When starting this film the first impression was that it was a student film, some aspiring computer effects artist experimenting with After Effects and trying different ways to layer and record the carnage that is on screen. It is really a poor film and one has to wonder if this film was done on a home computer in Joe Castro's spare time. There is no story structure in the wrap around that can be seen in the opening. As the film progresses and the wrap around is filled out and a theme comes through about serial killers who have escaped and are killing together in an LA warehouse, but the first visit is bizarre torture images police and bullets. Flashes of horrors in a semi animated layering of imagery which evokes feeling but does not really get one into a story. Then as I watched the film which is four stories one wrap around and three other stand alone it occurred that maybe this was an artistic surrealist take on the slasher anthology. An artistic collage that is designed to evoke emotion and leave the viewer to fill in the details of meaning. Where the computer effects were so equally bad and distributed through the film it makes you question that it was designed to be bad. Countered with some very effective practical effects you can see that there is some skill on the film. So to see such amateur computer graphic made it hard to believe that those cartoonish parts were anything but for some artistic purpose.  To sully out what was going on meant a second viewing with the director commentary turned on. Unfortunately that experience confirmed that there was no greater artistic merit to this film. The writers Joe Castro and the single named Schroeder and executive producer Steven J. Escobar really just wanted blood and guts. Castro learning the after Effects tool just did the best he could.
The first chapter after the opening is entitled "Rampage"and is the most puzzling of the set. A young muscular man, Chris (Tim A. Cooley) is assaulted while out jogging. Beaten and mutilated something goes wrong in his brain from the trauma which makes him get up and start killing. No explanations not plot about who or why just this beating turned him into a killing machine and we are subjected to at least a dozen kills each highlighted by some unique and poorly executed digital effects. Castro says in the commentary that he has always wanted to do a story that was just killing. Although there needs to be a reason to start he just wanted everything in the frame to be carnage. It is an interesting experience watching this film with the commentary on. The makers of this film really love what they have done. They believe the digital work to be good and laugh and congratulate Castro on it sincerely. You feel the love and enthusiasm come through as they discuss each kill and how they make it happen. It is a real counterpoint to the viewing experience of ridiculous kills and horribly unrealistic cartoon effects. It  goes to show that there is a wide gap between an the ideas and the journey of film making and the experiencing of the final project from the outside. Viewing this film it is hard to believe that there is an audience for it, and from the six IMDB reviews one could say there may not be. Of course such a small sampling should not make or break this film. It's 2.4 of 10 rating probably does not even phase the makers of the film. So you have to ask yourself, if you were part of creating something, really loved the process and the final product, how would you deal with it if it was panned when you presented it to the world? 
  The second chapter "Lump" is a complete tale about a hermaphrodite cripple Lori (Nick Principe) whose place in the family is despised by most of the members. A mother, Mrs Williams (Brinke Stevens) so tired of the constant care of the dying child that she hatches a plan to rid herself of the burden. Even though there is a new steroid treatment in effect she asks her daughter Beverley Ann (Lisa M. Garcia) to take the wheelchair bound sibling and dispose of her. She and her brother and a couple friends take Lori to a nearby park. When pushing her off a cliff  does not kill her there is a shift in the film as the steroid treatment changes the handicapped pariah into a being capable of seeking revenge. This is a very complete story probably the most coherent of the four.
Chapter three "Son of the Boogyman" is the story of Jesse (Jerry Angelo) who is telling the story of his Father the infamous murderer rapist the Boogyman (Scott Barrows) to his fiancee (Kimmarie Johnson) only to  find out during the telling that the killer is free and looking for him and his Mother (Tchia Casselle). What fallows is a superhuman or supernatural encounter with the hulking killer that can only end in death and destruction.
Chapter four "Burn" is a campfire tale come to life as firefighter lovers die together fighting a forest fire in the park the campers are holding there retreat. Sent to die by other firefighters in a hate crime that is hard to imaging the two are fused together from the heat and the curse created by their deaths has them wandering the woods looking for descendents and connected people to the crime so they can exact their revenge. Lisa (Lauren Boehm), Vinnie (Felipe Winslett), and Carmen (Justin Marchert) are the unfortunate campers who get to live out the curse.
The wrap around "The Warehouse" we cut too throughout the film as interviews with serial killers from prison, talking about the wonders of the kill and how much they love it. By coming back to this, filling in the pieces of who they are it changes the tone of the film. They, Richard Khan (Joe Manetti), George Vic (Bahram Khosraviani) and Dax (Dan Lovell) are the carnage creators in the beginning of the film and their outcome finishes the movie. Its a shame because their story is the least interesting and throws a pall over what are some inventive anthology entries. They are the least interesting but are the most built up. Who really cares what a serial killer is thinking or that they are destructing for the sake of destruction. Its boring and predicable as is the ending to their story with the obligatory naked female and no matter how beautiful her body it can not save this kind of story.
 In the end I would say that the story Lump is the best of the set and although it speaks to the nature of bullying and how the lesser of humankind are often the most harmed. Still even though some of the stories are decent ideas the execution of the digital effects takes the viewer out every single time. Its a shame because there is so much of those effects you really do not go a minute or two without them interrupting the flow of the film. So there is no recommendation for this film but maybe I will look at another Joe Castro experience, one before he discovered the magic of after effects.

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