Let me first of all get this out of the way. I am a huge fan of Joe Castro's previous work. Everything from 'Terror Toons' to 'The Jackhammer Massacre" and back again. When I first heard about Joe Castro working on 'The Summer of Massacre', I assumed it was to be a remake of an absolutely godawful British film called 'The Summer of the Massacre', which begins with bad spelling and punctuation in the prologue, has actors that can barely be called as such, and the supposed gore is non-existent. Couple that with a killer who is blatantly a rip-off of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Leatherface, and you have a movie that really doesn't deserve a remake.
Luckily, Joe decided to create his own 'Experience' (the film works so much better this way, as it is something that does test the nerve of splatter fans) and what we have is even in the Guinness Book of Records for having the highest body count of any single movie, which is one hundred and fifty-five on-screen kills. Joe also pushes the envelope with digital effects, which more often than not work incredibly well, but more on that later.
The film is a horrific experience, and if you aren't a fan of indiscriminate violence, revenge or experimental cinema, you won't find much to like here. What Joe does is push the very boundaries of on-screen violence far beyond anything you have ever seen before. The film is incredibly experimental in it's camera work. violence, special FX and even it's structure. This is something incredibly different for low budget cinema, and it is great to see directors out there willing to push their boundaries to achieve their goals.The outcome is insane to say the least. Murder after murder, not a minute goes by without someone meeting a grisly end. This movie delivers the carnage like no other.
Now, lets get to the digital FX that so many reviewers seem to complain about. Some of the digital FX are fantastic, but others are noticeable and don't work as well, simply because as Joe was making the film, he was learning how to create digital FX, and some of the FX were made before he had learned everything he needed to know. I guarantee you though, the early FX take nothing away from the film whatsoever, and it would be silly of anyone to dismiss this experimental experience because of this small thing.. It remains a brutal, misanthropic and deviant piece of cinema that manages to push the mind into a darkness very rarely created by horror cinema. An ability to overlook small things (that really won't ruin your enjoyment of the film if you did pay attention to them) will make you realise just how ambitious and brutal this film really is.
Every story contained within 'The Summer of Massacre will have something all horror fans will love. The first story tells the tale of a man who is beaten and killed, who just so happens to come back and murder indiscriminately. The second story is about a disabled girl who is killed by her prettier sister, and comes back for revenge. The third story contains what is probably the most frightening zombie since the days of the Lucio Fulci and Gianetto De Rossi, and the fourth story is homage to the slasher movies of old. The wrap-around story tells the tale of three killers and their final hours. Joe's love for horror really seeps from every scene, and it impossible not to see the passion in this blood spattered experience.
So much more than a movie, this is experimental art that pushes the boundaries of on-screen violence way past the point of no return, and I for one salute Joe Castro for doing something different, and something that every horror fan can enjoy if they are willing to experience the horror show Joe has given us without passing a fickle judgement on what lies before them.