Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MASSACRE your day with this Bianchi Blitz

Gorehounds and Trash Slashers... lend me your ear!  Massacre is one of the films famed for being chopped up and having a bit recomposed into Lucio Fulci's film CAT IN THE BRAIN. For years it was the one I was most curious about because it is directed by a true Sleaze Titan, a cinemaniac whose work I really look forward to watching time and time again...Andrea Bianchi! With a laundry list of celluloid sins that includes Angel of Death, Malabimba, Strip Nude For Your Killer, Maniac Killer and one of my favorite Italian zombie films-Burial Ground-this guy is European Trash Cinema Royalty.  I bow down at the mention of his name…

I expected a horror film here, given the cool promotional art and the sequence from Cat In The Brain, but what I got was something entirely different. Horror fans looking for splatter and fleshy penetration get a few glimpses of the red, but this is a sleazy bit of business where horror comes second to all that naughty behavior that comes with the Bianchi pedigree.

Massacre opens up with the sequence shown in Cat In The Brain as a prostitute gets chopped up in graphic fashion. A particularly brutal scene, I could not help but notice that the killer is wearing sunglasses and reflects his victim in a shot that looks very close to the American poster for Watch Me When I Kill! All this sequence does is let us know that a killer is on the loose and a young cop is on the case. Luckily, that cop reports to Eurotrash icon PAUL MULLER! I damn near fell out of my chair when he showed up!

The plot proper starts after the slaughter sequence is through however.  Horror fans may lean on the fast forward button a bit, but sleaze mavens will be delighted.  A bit of violence occurs almost a half hour later-and then it takes to almost the 1 hour mark for more to arrive. But along the way we get to meet the cast and crew working on a film called DIRTY BLOOD, a title I think is damn near perfect for a Bianchi film! The titles roll as our heroine walks through a fog frosted cemetery to the sound of some chanting monks (ahh...Templar Terrors perhaps?)-when she finally joins the circle of hooded figures that are doing the horrific humming things get nasty. Why? I have no clue, but she soon realizes that the skeletal hands that reach for her are not looking to comfort her heaving breast, or even to cop a feel off the same breast. THEY COME TO DEVOUR! Probably THE BREAST as Bianchi has been known to indulge in after Burial Ground. NOM NOM NOM!

After a minute of running and zombie chest bumping the camera pulls back beyond the crew and the scene is revealed as low budget Italian horror movie. One zombie even bears a nice monster mask resemblance to the magnificent creatures from the Burial Ground. What is even funnier is that the actor wearing that ridiculous rubber atrocity pulls it up and declares "This is a shitty film anyways!"

With the "horror" out of the way, we get to meet the cast and crew-a bunch of unlikable people that you can only hope Mr. Slaughter in the Shades from the first scene gets hold of quickly. The director of the film is serious about his work though, and he is arranging a séance (oh oh) to get his actors in the right frame of mind. The actors have different ideas as they grope each other’s genitals at dinner, plot lesbian seductions and mistreat each other. The lesbian angle is played in true junk cinema fashion-Bianchi jams our face in semi-sensual seduction.  Good!  This film actually taught me that I love the trash tropes such as this as much as I enjoy massive gore splats in a zombie film. When Liza (Silvia Conti), the perfectly trashy sexpot does a striptease to garner a little Sapphic security, she is interrupted by her loving husband and told to speed up her efforts you know that is classic sleaze. The opening scene is a fairly good Eurogore highlight, but this line is better. "Now you have 24 hours to get that lesbian in bed with us. Otherwise pack your bags and go to the shithouse gutter!"
Doubled up with the hot and bothered click track n' Sex Sax music of Luigi Ceccarelli....my brain swells up with joy at the thought of watching it again.

Oh wait, the horror.... so, after the funky séance that is loaded with nearly every off kilter shot Bianchi has used in the past someone starts killing the cast off! Not that we care really, but I could have gone for one more strip tease by Silvia Conti at the least. Most of the violence is off screen barring a few low rent stabbing shots, but I have to tip my hat for excessive post slaughter shots by the ever reliable Guiseppe Ferranti. At the one hour mark the psycho killer from the opening is captured, but looks entirely different... I don't get that part, but it shows that someone else is now the predator. Another Eurotrash connection this film draws for me is that the original killer is captured after attacking a prostitute and her client in the woods. He kills the man quickly of course, but the hooker goes on the run, topless of course. I would swear that this scene is replicated almost exactly in the "Polish" (yeah yeah) slasher film FANTOM KILER!  With less style somehow...

The finale is exactly what you would expect and delivers, stylishly even, the titular MASSACRE. With only Jennifer surviving the night’s mayhem she must outrun and outlast the assailant-and when she finally destroys the possessed perpetrator it proves her undoing! Ah well...she was a terrible actress and one less of those in a trash flick is not a problem!

Massacre is not a good horror film by any standard, but it definitely satisfied my love of Eurotrash and exploitation movies at every turn! A few good effects by Ferranti, the awesomely sleazy lesbian seduction story, a hysterically overplayed sequence of a particularly flamboyant actor running through a batch of female impersonations that ends with him strutting around topless as Marlene Dietrich, Maurice Poli staring at a J&B bottle and a tribute to Burial Ground make this a great 85 minutes for the right viewer. I may be in the minority but in tried and true DAMN YOU DAVEY Z fashion I liked this film plenty and have watched it several times over the years. 

Released by EC ENTERTAINMENT on DVD as part of the Lucio Fulci Presents line in 2001, this is one for the fans of skuzzy late 80s cinema to melt their mind by!  And now that we have Blu Rays to look forward to, don't you think that we can improve on THIS transfer?

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