I have to admit mild trepidation when I decided to make Shot on Video Month a reality. I mean, most SOV movies are POS, you know? And I’m watching a lot of films I haven’t seen before. I was taking a big chance and although I’m famous for being a big adventurer John Huston style, I was still afraid of what I’d be putting myself through.
Luckily, I made a great choice when I picked Woodchipper Massacre as a must see SOV selection. Made in 1988 for around $400, Massacre might not have a ton of blood and guts (or rather none at all), but it does have a lot of heart and a wonderful sense of humor to make it much more than simply bearable. Can we say love? Yes, I am in love with this little homemade regional effort and I’m not ashamed to say so.
Massacre is about this single parent family. There are three kids: Jon (Jon McBride who also wrote and directed): the happy go lucky teenage brother, Denise (Denise Edeal): the lovesick tween with a fancy mullet and Tom (Tom Casiello): an adorable redheaded kid with glasses. Their Dad (Perren Page, reminding a bit of a sedated Lloyd Kaufman) has to leave town on a business trip and invites Aunt Tess (Patricia McBride, Jon’s mom who must be an incredibly cool lady) to oversee things. At first she seems like a semi-senile but sweet old lady. However, once Dad splits, the shit hits the fan. Aunt Tess is a bitch! She sets about making the kids’ life hell, even telling Tom he has to give up his Rambo knife which he just got in the mail. Needless to say, it ends in a scuffle and only one is left standing… and it ain’t Aunt Tess! Mildly upset by the killing of their Aunt, these spunky kids devise a way to get rid of her and it involves the nifty woodchipper out back. After they dismember and freeze her, they feed her remains to the woodchipper and then go about their chores and lives as normal. I mean, these kids bounce back fast!
Things are looking up for this Brady-kids-on-crack brood until Cousin Kim (Kim Bailey) shows up, straight outta the pen and desperate to find his mom so she can help him with a money “issue.” Bring out the woodchipper, kids…
Jon McBride was a youngin’ when he wrote, directed and starred in Massacre. That same year he also made something called Cannibal Campout, which is on my To Watch pile, and I for one can’t wait. Massacre is far more engaging than it has any right being, considering the budget and mostly inexperienced cast. Yet, it all works. McBride has a keen talent for comedy and the kids have a great flair for delivery. There’s also a bit of technical prowess to be had and the Casio sounding score is so much fun! Plus Denise’s mullet… well… I just can’t put it into words. Oh yeah, and there’s air guitar!