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The Independent Critic

Brinke Stevens, Nick Principe, Cleve Hall, Lisa M. Garcia, Lauren Boehm, Scott Barrows, Tim A. Colley, Felip Winslett
Joe Castro
Joe Castro (Chaps. 1-4), Schroeder (Chap. 1)
Equiv. to "R"
98 Mins.
Vicious Circle Films (DVD)

 "The Summer of Massacre" Review 
There is something to be said for accomplishing one's goals.

Take, for instance, Joe Castro's The Summer of Massacre. The film has no discernible plot, virtually no concern with that silly little thing called character development and doesn't seem to be too incredibly concerned with something as trivial as quality acting.

The Summer of Massacre is about the gore. Period. That's it. Nothing else. The film has included in its advertising its claim to fame that it contains within its 98-minute the highest body count of any cinematic effort ever (I'm assuming this doesn't include mass war scenes, but is speaking of individual "horror" type scenes).  Supposedly, this is a verified world record according to those fine folks at Guinness.

The Summer of Massacre isn't so much a complete, coherent story as it is an anthology of several distinct stories tied together by an abundance of relentless, graphic and, for the most part, vengeful killings.

If killing ain't your thing, then The Summer of Massacre ain't your film.

If acting is your think, then The Summer of Massacre ain't your film.

The truth is that the vast majority of The Summer of Massacre is bloody awful. So, why the C+?

An actual recommendation?


The secret, I suppose, is in realizing that Castro intends this film to be an "experience." In fact, "A Joe Castro Experience" is right on the DVD and the film is incredibly experimental in style, photography, structure and even within its violence. If you hate violence, you'll ate this film...but, fans of independent horror and fans of outrageous and radical experimental cinema will likely find something to at least admire here.

This may not have been my cup of tea, but I have a feeling that Castro came incredibly near to the film he actually wanted to put together. It's just not a film for everyone. But, if everything I've said so far has piqued your interested then the film is probably for you.

Yes you.

Castro is the guy who gave us the "Terror Toons" series. He's also managed to build his cast with some genre vets including Brinke Stevens (Slumber Party Massacre), Nick Principe (Laid to Rest) and Cleve Hall (Nightmare) along with an abundance of folks in their first feature film (for the most part it shows). This film picked up an "Award of Merit" for Experimental Film from the Accolade Competition, and had quite the successful run in horror fests before being picked up by the horror distrib arm of Breaking Glass Pictures called Vicious Circle Films.

Revenge does seem to be a key factor in multiple story threads. For example, we start off with a man's vicious beating that leads to an even more vicious and relentless cycle of revenge. Then, we have a paraplegic girl who goes whup ass on the sister who tried to kill her by pushing her wheelchair off a cliff.

Then, it gets just plain insane.

But, again, this is a horror film that is intended to be a hardcore, relentless slasher flick. One gets the feeling that Joe Castro wasn't sitting around his actors going "Okay. Now, one more time with feeling." I more picture that he was sitting around going "Can you plunge that meat cleaver in just a couple more inches to the right?"


The Summer of Massacre just came out on DVD and Blu-Ray this past week and is available for your at home cinematic consumer. For more information, visit the Breaking Glass Pictures website. The DVD packaging includes an abundance of extras that will add to your delight.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic