Growing up, I hated horror comedies. I couldn’t understand why anyone would try to mix humor and dread together into this strange amalgamation of emotions. As the years progressed, I ended up being introduced to a whole slew of films from this sub-genre that I actually quite enjoyed and my hatred slowly deteriorated. If done right, comedic horror films can be some of the best ones around. Read on as I discuss whether or not I still feel that way after watching Stevan Mena’s Brutal Massacre: A Comedy.
Low-budget horror director Harry Penderecki (David Naughton, An American Werewolf in London) hasn’t had a hit film in years. As a last stitch effort of becoming a success, he has embarked on his latest film venture entitled “Brutal Massacre.”
Just last night, I watched Pandemonium, a 1982 comedy that parodied horror films of the time. I absolutely hated it; I did not find it funny at all and quite frankly, was disappointed from the first minute until the very end.
Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided today would be the perfect time for trying out another movie that blends elements of both horror and comedy. Why wait to get back up on that horse, right?
Brutal Massacre: A Comedy is much more fun than last night’s viewing experience. This mockumentary takes you behind the scenes of a film shoot for horror auteur Harry Penderecki’s latest project — Brutal Massacre. Playing the seasoned filmmaker is David Naughton who most genre films will immediately recognize as David from 1981’s wolf man classic, An American Werewolf in London.
Joining Naughton in this 2007 Steven Mena-directed comedy are a myriad of other familiar faces. Showing up in various capacities throughout Brutal Massacre‘s 94 minutes are director Mick Garris, Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, The Devil’s Rejects), Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Brian O’Halloran (Clerks, Mallrats), Gerry Bednob (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Betsy Baker (The Evil Dead), and Ellen Sandweiss (The Evil Dead).
Every one of these actors, as well as the countless more that I haven’t named, did a great job with their respective roles. Whether playing the grip who once crapped in his pants on set (Foree) or eerily creepy, foul-mouthed one time owner of prospective shooting location (Hansen), everyone was a treat to watch.
The best performances in Brutal Massacre have to be credited to both David Naughton and Ellen Sandweiss, however. Naughton was fantastic as the down-on-his luck director, providing plenty of chuckles as the film rolled on. Likewise, Sandweiss does a wonderful job as Natalie, the helping hand of Naughton’s Penderecki. So good, in fact, that it makes me wonder why I haven’t ever seen her in anything other than as Cheryl from The Evil Dead, a role which she would later reprise in some episodes of the “Ash vs. Evil Dead” television series. She really does a great job here and I’d love to see more of her work as a result.
There isn’t much to dissect with a film like this. Stevan Mena has provided fans a feature film that is really just a fun time. There weren’t any real side-splitting scenes, but the lighthearted comedy displayed throughout was fun and silly and just what I wanted. There aren’t many actual horror elements here, other than seeing all of the veteran horror actors, but that is okay, too.
Brutal Massacre: A Comedy at Home
Brutal Massacre: A Comedy is available now in a Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack from Mena Films and MVD. The film is rated R and is presented in 1.85:1 Widescreen format with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. English subtitles are also available for the deaf and hard of hearing.
This new home release comes packed with a bunch of bonus material including a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the film, a gallery of posters from past LMB productions (“Lick My Balls,” Harry Penderecki’s production company), deleted scenes, audio commentary with Mena, and more!
Brutal Massacre: A Comedy is a fun time and I really do recommend it for a not-so-serious movie watching experience. You’ll get a few chuckles, see some genre favorites, and even bare witness to some scantily clad women, in true old school horror flick fashion.
Be sure to grab a copy of Brutal Massacre: A Comedy for yourself, as I give this one 4 balls-out horror films out of 5.