THE SUMMER OF MASSACRE
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 someones 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 Castros 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 Castros 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.