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Home | Film Reviews | Extreme Cinema | Film Review: The Summer of Massacre (2011)

Film Review: The Summer of Massacre (2011)


Hold onto your barf bag. You might need it by the end of the film as you view the slicing, tearing, ripping, gashing, stabbing, impaling, beating, squishing, choking, burning, staking, cutting, hacking, dismembering, decapitating, hanging, bashing, dicing, chopping, crushing, pounding, spearing, scalping, suffocating, deaths the psychotic serial killers hand out to anyone that is in their path of vengeance.


Holy Crap! …..and by saying that I don’t mean either. This is one messed up movie. Now being in the business, it takes alot to surprise, seeing that viewing horror movies is as common as watching the news (for us horror sites). I’m gonna say this right now before we go any further in this review “Joe Castro” is the New king of Gore! Move over Herschell Gordon Lewis (respectfully) (who also seems to be a huge inspiration to this young fellow), but man, what a tidal wave of extreme gory nutbag-a-try (note: just created new word)

It doesn’t take any marketing ploy what so ever to say that this film easily houses more kills in its first 15 minutes than the entire “Friday the 13th” franchise. One of the synopsis’s mentions that the film includes 8 unstoppable killers. But you might be hard pressed to pin that idea down seeing that its just non-stop killing front to back.

This review intro might start first with simply who is “Joe Castro” and where did this madman crawl out from under? Upon research Joe has been in the special FX business for quite some time, churning out FX gags after gag for even the likes of Hershell himself. In a much earlier interview we profiled the man in one of our FX shop columns. Though with all that he’s contributed to, I think “The Summer of Massacre” might just be the pinnacle piece for him and his imaginative instinct for macabre.

The first 15 minutes opens pretty much without cause or reason. A news reporter is in mid coverage reporting on the chaos outbreak. Shortly after, the film breaks into a “psycho lullaby intro” unlike any you’ve seen.

Our first player heads out for a night time jog. Upon getting mugged and slashed ear to ear he just simply “freaks out”. Not the kind from trauma, but instant transformation into a maniacal slasher, butcher….well you name it. A girl who calls for help (to his aid) gets stabbed, choked, and head smashed in (for no reason). Our slit-faced madman now in full throttle annihilation mode continues on just simply slicing, dicing, smashing and dismembering everything in sight. Again no reason, ….just because. He does catch up to his attackers and in 3-force mode pays them back with a pure helping of hell and pain.

I was at first surprised at the title of the film. It struck me as “one of those” kind of titles thinking it should have been named something more “edgy”…like “Dismember the Planet” or “Rip my face off and eat my Innards”…well you would think? Though in this case, an over the top film displays a rather conservative title, setting you up for a shock. Title aside, the reviews on this alone should overshadow its bland packaging.

Moving on….. we encounter a he/she mongoloid named Laura. Despite living within an all-white-trash family, Laura is hated by her sister and on the brink of being medically quarantined. Laura survives a push over the cliff which turns her into a mad slasher herself. It’s more wacky dicing fun that cleverly switches the game on the underdog of the story.

What is unique to this film that even threw me for a loop (having experience as a film editor) was that the kills are so fast and so furious, you barely get a moment to see how it’s done. Though every one was this unique (and i do mean unique) way of combining really good practical effects with cgi edits and blood spray overlays. Now in review that might sound kind of quirky…well its equally quirky to experience, but a hell of a blast.

The Summer of Massacre” works thru an anthology-style chain of events. Smaller violent stories make up the structure of the whole laced together thru convict dispositions. One of my more favorite of the group features a clown-faced murdering fat-ass psycho who has long tormented his family and everyone he comes into contact with. His rampage of rage has him running on mass murder spree despite half his face being shot into a mangled mess. Again we get much of that weird editing style that mashes practical FX with edited-on pieces that by editing standard are pretty impressive. Other tricks include cutout 2D sections interwoven with depth of field overlays and 2D camera perspective trickery. Though I’m gonna credit “Steven J. Escobar” with this piece of inclusion. In another act, a fellowship camping trip turns into a mass burning per forest demons that just destroy everything in sight.

For readers, this movie is extreme for extreme sake. The film has already been documented as having broke the record for most kills on screen…the Guinness record and rightfully so, does so with passion. It’s truly nutty to watch and is the perfect visual feast for gore hounds worldwide. Should you whip this out during Christmas family time?…..um, not advised. It’s strangely underground, but masterfully executed. I have to lump this into a cult film category instantly out of the box for its rapid fire approach. As a culture and genre, its surely a ride to see how the next project tops the last. Joe has succeeded across the board, now grab your barf bag and close your blinds, It certainly is a “Summer of massacre”

If Hell had a movie night, “The Summer of Massacre” would be the star attraction.

The Summer of Massacre (2011)

One comment

  1. This movie seems to be a dividing one, with people either loving it or hating it. I, for one, was not a fan at all. Here is my review:

    The Summer of Massacre immediately caught my attention upon learning that it was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest body count ever recorded in a film. It’s a great gimmick to get genre fans interested in a film that they likely would have never bothered with otherwise. Unfortunately, the world record is the only thing the movie has going for it.

    The film is an anthology with eight killers in five different stories. Within the 98 minute run time, there is a body count of 155. (Other films technically have higher body counts, but these are all on-screen deaths.) For a record breaker, I was expecting something a bit more impressive. The kills employ a variety of instruments, but none of them are particularly memorable due to the poor effects. They are almost entirely computer generated, with cartoonish animation that looks like something out of Play Station 2 game. Writer/director Joe Castro (Tiny Toons) is a protege of Herschell Gordon Lewis, but there is no way the Godfather of Gore would approve of this. The film should appear with an asterisk next to its name in the record book.

    The first “chapter” is fittingly titled Rampage. A young man, Chris (Tim A. Colley), is out for a run when he is jumped and beat with a steel pipe. It seems like he will be the first victim, but when his body is found, he spurts back to life and goes on a plotless killing spree. Naturally, with this many deaths, there is virtually no character development and the acting is poor, but it hardly matters since most characters are only on screen for a few seconds before being demolished.

    The second chapter is lovingly referred to as Lump. Laurie (Laid to Rest’s Nick Principe in a role that some may consider offensive) is a deformed, mentally challenged paraplegic on experimental steroids in an effort to treat her spina bifida. She is on the brink of death, but her bitch of a sister, Kimberly Ann (Lisa M. Garcia), decides to speed up the process. While out in the woods with a group of friends, Kimberly pushes the Laurie’s wheelchair off a cliff. The only problem is that Laurie won’t die. In fact, she can walk now, and she wants revenge. Brinke Stevens (The Slumber Party Massacre) cameos as the girls’ mother.

    Son of the Boogeyman is the third chapter. In the past, a woman (Deanna Meske) went to investigate the local boogeyman, Mr. Boogens (Scott Barrows), only to be raped by the monstrous man. We learn all of this through a flashback as the byproduct of the rape, her son Jesse (Jerry G. Angelo), relays the horrific tale to his girlfriend on their first anniversary. After years of searching, the boogeyman returns to kill his now-full grown son.

    The last chapter is called Burn. A group of friends decide to stay up late at a youth ministry camping retreat. Gathered around the campfire, one of them tells the local legend of Devon Hopper (J.T. Seaton) and Michael Rose (Joe Castro), a pair of gay firemen who were burned to death by their fellow firefighters. They later returned to kill of those who wronged them. Everyone seems to have a connection to crime, meaning that any of them could be the next victim.

    The final scene is a brief one in which a trio of sadistic murderers are holed up in a Los Angeles warehouse while surrounded by police. This is something of a wrap-around story, as news coverage of the event opens and closes the film. Between each story is purported FBI tapes of various killers speaking candidly about their crimes. They are intended to be chilling, I presume, but the trite pieces are void of all emotion.

    As much as I tried to block it from my mind, I must mention the annoying score. There is music running in the background of the entire movie, regardless of whether or not the scene would play better with natural sound. Even when music could enhance a segment, the generic score seems out of place. Also noteworthy is the homo-eroticism. The film features full-frontal nudity from multiple men, while none of the females shed an clothing – including an awkward scene in which a fully-clothed woman has sex with a nude man.

    Castro seems to have bit off more than he could chew, having served as writer, director, producer, actor, makeup and visual effects. While I question the amount of effort that went into some of those aspects (he seems to use the term “experimental” as an excuse for having no story and bad effects), I have no doubt that an abundance of time was spent in post-production to accomplish all of the death scenes. But the movie needs a lot more than that to save it. It’s an admirable attempt and it’s nice that they got their small place in history with the world record, but otherwise The Summer of Massacre is just another bad movie.


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