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Brutal Massacre: A Comedy (DVD Review)

13 Jul, 2008 By: Matt Miller

Brutal Massacre

Street 7/22/08
Anchor Bay
$26.97 DVD
Rate ‘R' for language, sexuality/nudity and some violent images.
Stars David Naughton, Brian O'Halloran, Gerry Bednob, Gunnar Hansen, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, Ken Foree, Vincent Butta.

From This Is Spinal Tap to Borat, a well-made mockumentary can become a cult classic overnight, while serving as an outlet for independent filmmakers to poke fun at areas of society that deserve ridicule. One of the latest offerings in this increasingly popular genre is Stevan Mena's fresh, witty Brutal Massacre: A Comedy.

Focusing on the trials and tribulations of making an independent horror film on a shoestring budget, Brutal Massacre follows washed-up director Harry Penderecki's (Naughton) last stab at making a comeback with his latest slasher flick of the same name. Trying to regain some credibility with studios and fans after a series of ‘B'-movie bombs such as Bowel Movement, Harry knows that his new film will either resurrect or end his career — if he doesn't go insane trying to get it finished.

Reporter Bert Campbell (Butta) documents the entire production, from Harry trying to secure financing from eccentric investors, to his mostly unsuccessful attempts at directing a pretentious cast and a blundering crew. Luckily, Harry's experience allows him to struggle through the production even when he loses a crew member in an on-set accident and when his lead actor quits before the film is finished. In the end, Harry's fate will lie in the hands of persnickety studio execs and the fans.

Following his 2004 debut horror film Malevolence, writer-director Mena shows his comedic side with Brutal Massacre, for which he picked up the best director award from the 2007 Long Island International Film Expo.

With an ensemble cast featuring a diverse mix of actors such as Naughton, in his best performance since An American Werewolf in London, and the always hilarious sidekick O'Halloran (Clerks), plus horror icon Hansen (the original Leatherface) as a crazed Vietnam vet, the film's intelligent mix of humor and horror puts it in a league of its own — above films such as Scary Movie.

The film is being released in select markets at the beginning of July, just before the DVD hits store shelves, which should give it a well-deserved summer boost. Die-hard horror fans also will appreciate the film's incorporation of Fangoria, which is currently offering a contest that is prominently displayed on its Web site to win a copy of the DVD.

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