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Often times there are films that try to be a lot more then an actual film and it really ends up being phenomenal or awful. It’s the films that are called mockumentaries which are fake documentaries showcasing a particular idea of life. This Is Spinal Tap is one of the best known. In recent years there have been some more excellent films such as Best In Show and A Mighty Wind, but it takes a really good director and writer to make sure the mockumentary turns out the way its intended to be. And that’s mocking a particular genre so much that it’s hilarious because it’s true. If you miss your mark, you’re not even going to get a mediocre rating, but a disastrous one. So walking the line of a fake horror film really takes a lot of work to make sure it comes out perfectly. I’ve seen a perfect horror mockumentary before, and this was not it.
Harry Penderecki is a horror director that has never quite made a good scary film. All of his productions end up being popcorn flicks or something that people will watch only because there is nothing else on television on a lonely Saturday night. He is appearing at the Fangoria Horror Festival and promoting his most recent film, Brutal Massacre. After that it’s time to follow along with a documentary crew as they record and document every single step of the way as the film goes from beginning to completion. Everyone involved with the film steps in front of the camera for the documentary crew to discuss their role in Brutal Massacre and how good it’s going to be. But as always with live television, anything and everything that can go wrong; will.
I had such high hopes for this film.
Well, where shall we start? First of all, Brutal Massacre is working so hard at being funny like mockumentaries are supposed to be, but it fails miserably with every attempt. The writing is just awful and that includes all of the lame jokes that are thrown out every five seconds. Instead of just having some funny scenes with subtle humor or big laughs; they throw out actual jokes and one-liners that bomb like Hiroshima. Half the time I actually felt awkward when watching the film because there were long pauses as if it was filmed before a live studio audience and waiting for the canned laughter. It just wasn’t funny, and never even got a small smirk from me.
There are so many different people in this film that I love including the fake director himself who is really David Naughton who starred in An American Werewolf In London. Horror icon Ken Foree from Dawn Of The Dead among many other things is there. Leatherface himself Gunnar Hansen is a crazy old war vet with a cursing problem which is awesome, but that’s about all that’s good. Even Dante “I’m not even supposed to be here today,” Hicks is in it and you never usually see him unless Kevin Smith is behind it. So much potential with so much talent, and it is completely wasted in a non-scary, non-funny, non enjoyable film that couldn’t hold a candle to a true horror mockumentary by the name of Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon.
The film is shown in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and it doesn’t look too good at all with a shadowy look over the entire film with lots of transition effects. I believe it looks this way intentionally though so that the true feel of the film could really come through.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and the little bit of sound effects and music coming through the surrounding speakers is decent enough, but most of the film is dialogue driven. There are no issues hearing it at all though.
Extended & Deleted Scenes – More so on the extended side of things rather then fully deleted scenes; there is not much here that would have helped the film at all if left in. Actually, it’s a good thing most of them were left out. Seventeen pieces of extra footage in all are included here.
Behind The Scenes Of Brutal Massacre – The cast, crew, and others join in here to discuss the film and how it was making it. What is annoying here though is that they all stay in character to discuss the movie within the movie, and not the actual DVD you purchased. Rather boring and way too long. This feature runs sixteen minutes and fifteen seconds.
Trailers – Malevolence, Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon (ironic isn’t it?), and Hatchet
Why why why couldn’t this have been even remotely decent? There is so much potential that is yet untapped in the way of making fun of the horror genre. Yes, I know I’m a horror freak that lives and dies by good scares and disturbing visuals, but there is so much ammunition in horror films that could be used to also make you laugh your ass off. The sad part is that most of it is attempted in Brutal Massacre, but it’s done in such a horrific and crappy manner that it doesn’t just miss its mark but sails clear past it by miles. Behind The Mask succeeds so much in doing a mockumentary on horror films, and it had virtually all unknown actors starring in it. The star power, from a horror fan’s standpoint, is amazing in this film and they did nothing with them. Ugh! Luckily enough, the special features are kept rather short because they are even more disappointing and furthered my disgust in this brutal attempt at making fun of my favorite genre.
It’s already written for you people from years upon years of films and research yet you can’t even get it right from that. You’d think a young Helen Keller was behind this whole thing.
Starz / Anchor Bay presents Brutal Massacre: A Comedy. Directed by: Stevan Mena. Starring: David Naughton, Brian O’Halloran, Gerry Bednob, Ellen Sandweiss, Gunnar Hansen, Vincent Butta, Ken Foree. Written by: Stevan Mena. Running time: 95 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: July 22, 2008. Available at Amazon.com