The Summer of Massacre (2011)


USA. 2011.


Director/Visual Effects – Joe Castro, Screenplay – (Chapters 2-4) Joe Castro, (Rampage) Written by Joe Castro & Schroeder, Producers – Joe Castro, Steven J. Escobar & Schroeder, Photography – (Chapters1-4, Intros) Steven J. Escobar & (Chapter 4) Nick Oulette, Music – Andy Garfield. Production Company – Escobar Indie Pictures/Schroeder


Rampage:- Tim A. Cooley (Chris), Samantha Dunn (Female Jogger), Daniel Aldema, Timothy Hearl & Nick Ray Angelus (Bullies). Lump:- Nick Principe (Lori Williams), Lisa M. Garcia (Kimberly Ann Williams), Brinke Stevens (Mrs Williams), John Karyus (Mikey Williams), Rene Pena (Danny), Vida Ghaffari (Nicole), Evan Owen (Jerry), Ted Aiderman (Dr Harrison). Son of the Boogieman:- Jerry Angelo (Jessie), Scott Barrows (Mr Boogens), Tschia Caselle (Mother), Kimmarie Johnson (Jessie’s Fiancee), Deanne Meske (Young Mother). Burn:- Lauren Bohem (Lisa), Felipe Winslett (Vinnie), Chris Straviski (Bradley), London Hilton (Conrad), Cleve A. Hall (Father Daniel), Justin Marchert (Carmen). The Warehouse:- Joe Manetti (Richard Khan), Bahram Khasraviani (George Vic), Dan Lovell (Dax Marlow), Jeff Stevens (News Reporter), Lauren Cipriano (Female News Reporter), Omar Alanis (Male News Reporter)


Rampage:- On his day off, Chris goes for a run but is brutally beaten by muggers. He gets up from this, his face smashed in and bloodied and his mind snapped. Staggering home, he kills every person he encounters. Lump:- Kimberly Ann Williams resents her mother forcing her to take her intellectually handicapped and wheelchair ridden sister Lori along with her on a trip to the park with her friends. Kimberly then shoves Lori’s wheelchair over a cliff. However, Lori fails to die and Kimberly forces her brother Mikey to finish the job. As they plot the cover-up, Lori proves to still be alive and gets up seeking revenge. Son of the Boogieman:- Jessie proposes to his girlfriend but reveals his troubled history. His mother was abducted by a serial killer known as Mr Boogens but eventually managed to make an escape. Mr Boogens has come after them wherever they flee, slaughtering every member of their family. Now, Mr Boogens tracks Jessie down and comes after him. Burn:- A group of people on a Christian camp tell stories around the campfire. They tell the legend of Devon Hopper and Michael Rose, two fire-fighters who were gay lovers, whose colleagues responded by setting them both alight. However, they were not killed in the fire and returned to take revenge against those responsible and their families. As the group around the campfire realise that their parents are connected to the incident, the two hulking killers come after them. The Warehouse:- Police SWAT teams gather around a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles where a group of killers are holed up with hostages. However, the killers have a surprise in store for everybody.

The Summer of Massacre comes from Joe Castro who has made a number of other horror films with the likes of Ceremony (1994), Legend of the Chupacabra (2000), Terror Toons (2002), Blood Sisters (2003), Evil Unleashed (2003), The Hazing (2003), Maniacal (2003), Jackhammer (2004), Near Death (2004), Terror Toons 2 (2007) and Terror Toons 3 (2015), as well as one non-genre film with The Young, The Gay and the Restless (2006). Most of these place a heavy emphasis on gore and splatter.

The Summer of Massacre offers up the unique concept of a slasher anthology film. While there have been anthology films before that have offered up individual slasher segments – Nightmares (1983), The Dungeonmaster (1984) – there have been none dedicated entirely to slasher tales. Most of The Summer of Massacre has been conceived around scenes of gore and splatter. The opening segment Rampage consists of nothing except this – there is a scanty pretext about the protagonist of the piece snapping after a mugging but the rest of the episode consists of some twenty minutes of scenes with people being nastily despatched – somebody having the top of their head severed with an impaled remote control, another with a skateboard, a pole rammed through a postie, a punch that knocks off someone’s face, and a climactic scene where an intruder has his mouth gagged with glue, his nose blocked and then his side cut open. The repetitiveness of these gore-heavy despatches is tedious, while the loud, pounding techno score laid over everything becomes irritating. What is worse however is that all of the gore effects are conducted digitally. This causes them to collapse into the ridiculous because the results are not in any way biologically credible most of the time and one is constantly being left aware that what you are watching is digital effects.

The second segment Lump at least seems more story driven in its rather tasteless tale about an intellectually handicapped person being left for dead and then rising up to kill those responsible. This soon segues into Castro’s usual gory despatches – logs through the head, heads being splattered after being wrapped in a plastic bag and so on. The segment does feature the only recognisable name in the entire film – Scream Queen Brinke Stevens, known in the 1980s/90s for taking her clothes off in a great many B films, who is now looking a good deal more world-worn and plays the mother of the murderous sister and handicapped person. The worst part about the segment is the makeup on the handicapped girl (Nick Principe), where no effort is made to make it look credible and is simply a guy in ill-fitting makeup and wig.

Son of the Boogieman is one of the better segments in the film. It has the germ of an idea that could actually make for an original slasher film – a man whose mother was abducted and raped by a killer where, after making an escape, they have for most of his adult life been pursued by the boogieman who has progressively eliminated every member of the family. There is something strong and primal about this as an idea that you could easily see being expanded as a full-length film. However, the segment quickly descends to more of Joe Castro’s ridiculous gore effects – including the biologically ridiculous notion of the killer coming after Jerry Angelo with his head split open and crushed.

The fourth segment Burn works passably as a backwoods slasher tale, which has the novelty of the killers being a duo of gay lovers. The segment does allow Joe Castro to vary his usual absurd splatter effects by showing people being digitally burned to death. The fifth segment is so slight – group of people holed up in a warehouse detonate a nuclear weapon – that we never even find out what is going on. Each of the other segments ends with a clip of a killer being interviewed and we realise that these are the people in the warehouse, but never why they are there. There are at least some good digital effects showing a devastated Los Angeles at the end of the film.

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