THE CHRISTMAS SEASON MASSACRE

THE CHRISTMAS SEASON MASSACRE
3 Stars
Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 74 minutes
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“The Christmas Season Massacre” is a slasher-comedy in the tradition of “Student Bodies” and “Cheerleader Camp,” in which an implacable murderer stalks his victims and kills them in a variety of grisly and hilarious ways. In “Massacre,” our killer is Tommy “One Shoe” McGroo. It seems young Tommy was really into pirates in high school. As such, he was deservedly victimized by bullies. They even went so far as to steal one of his shoes, but he was so poor he couldn’t afford another one (hence the nickname). Tommy waited until Christmas for a replacement, but all he got was a cheesy Yuletide eyepatch. This was enough to send the sad bastard over the edge and into a homicidal frenzy. Now every year at Christmas, One Shoe (Michael Hill) dons his patch and a pirate bandana and hunts down and guts his classmates.
One of the first murders takes place as the hapless victim is, naturally, sexing up his wife. One Shoe sneaks up and breaks the man’s neck, which isn’t as difficult as it sounds since the missus is handcuffed to a chair and blindfolded while the gentleman is wearing a watermelon piñata over his head (a scene my friend Justin called “the singularly most un-erotic thing I’ve ever witnessed”).
After this interlude, we learn there are only six of One Shoe’s classmates left. In a tactic that will be familiar to slasher fans everywhere, they decide to hole up together in a remote house – the better to gang up on One Shoe and take care of him once and for all. Oh yes, excellent stratagem, von Clausewitz.
The characters are a collection of teen horror stereotypes: Ernie – the ringleader (D.J. Vivona), Danny – the latently homosexual jock bully (Chris Belt), Dorcas – the nerd, (Jason Christ), Abbey – the luscious babe (Joy Payne), and Issac and Lana – the lovelorn couple (Michael and Melissa Wallace). Of course, it isn’t long before members of the group go their separate ways and are individually offed by One Shoe. Who, if anyone, will survive? Does One Shoe get his comeuppance? More importantly, is there any nudity?
The legitimately humorous comedy is quite a thing. Any movie can be unintentionally hilarious (see Boogie Nights), but a zero-budget indie horror-comedy that actually makes you laugh is almost as rare a find as a good German romantic comedy. “Massacre” gets a firm grasp on those slasher film conventions that best deserve to be skewered and runs with them: the annoyingly lovey-dovey couple, complete with guitar serenade (where’s John Blutarsky when you need him?); the gratuitous shower scene, highlighted here by radio commentary; and the killer sneaking up on his unsuspecting victim…while brandishing a running chainsaw.
The only problems here are the occasional lingering shots of One Shoe’s handiwork. Low-budget special effects are notorious for not standing up to close scrutiny, and a 15-second close up of a fake screwdriver through the head doesn’t look too impressive.
Stick around through the credits for the soon-to-be-classic song “A Pirate’s Christmas.” The outtakes are also quite good, especially one in which Jason Christ (as Dorcas) inadvertently cracks a windshield with his head.



Posted on December 14, 2005 in Reviews by
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