THE WOODCHIPPER MASSACRE (DVD)

3 Stars
Year Released: 1988
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 80 minutes
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Perhaps the scariest part of “The Woodchipper Massacre” has absolutely nothing to do with the movie itself. No, you see… this movie was written and directed by a self-described “frustrated sit-com writer”.

And what the frustrated sit-com writer has wrought is a morbid, really-really-low-budget version of “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead.” Three kids home for the weekend are being taken care of by their marginally insane Aunt Tess who dies about halfway through the movie in an accident with an official Rambo survival hunting knife. Thus, the kids are thrust headlong into a struggle for their own survival… and of course, the disposal of Aunt Tess.

You know… you’d think there’s a limit as to how many times you can hear the word “maggots” in a prayer before dinner, but “The Woodchipper Massacre” manages to prove that theory quite wrong. Surprisingly, “The Woodchipper Massacre” is actually pretty funny, and largely bloodless. For being part of the Camp Films “80s Retro Horror Collection,” there’s really not that much horror going on. In fact, about the only thing separating this from an old episode of “Family Guy” is the police knocking on the front door and calling out “Police, ma’am! Random body search!”

There may not be much in the way of horror here, but instead there’s comedy like no tomorrow, especially from the genius playing Aunt Tess. Aunt Tess can, with a straight face, describe how today’s children can “rape and pillage and kill and lie and steal.” You know, back when I was a kid in the sleepy little town I grew up in, raping and pillaging was a pretty full Saturday night. Especially if we tacked on the lying and killing! So instead, we’d just go to the movies.

But anyway, there is a whole heaping lot of fun to be had in “The Woodchipper Massacre.” Ignore for a minute the profoundly low production values–the hissing in the dialogue track, the fact that they shot with cars driving by, the fact that you often can’t hear dialogue over background noise–ignore all of that. Because the story lying underneath is surprisingly good, and often a laugh riot.

All in all, the spawn of a frustrated sit-com writer turned out to be surprisingly good. Like an episode of “Leave it to Beaver” gone horribly, horribly wrong, “The Woodchipper Massacre” was short on massacre, long on woodchipper, and packed with laughs.



Posted on April 21, 2007 in Reviews by
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