• Woodchipper Massacer, The



    Released on: 01/16/2007
    Released by: Camp Motion Pictures
    Director: Jon McBride

    Cast: Jon McBride, Kim Bailey, Tom Casiello, Denice Edeal
    Year: 1988

    The Movie:

    Jon McBride’s Cannibal Campout was a cheap, shoddily made genre movie that showed some promise for the director and which succeeded primarily thanks to the obvious enthusiasm of all involved in the project and some wanton gore effects. John McBride’s Woodchipper Massacre was also a cheap, shoddily made genre movie that showed very little of anything even remotely interesting. Interestingly enough, both movies were made the same year and with some of the same people – odd then that one would work so much better than the other.

    The movie tells the story of a trio of teens who are left alone with their aunt while their father is off dealing some business matters. Unfortunately, the aunt is a cantankerous old woman who treats the kids like crap and seems to get a kick out of making their lives miserable. This goes on for some time until finally, one of the kids has enough to puts a knife into auntie’s stomach and sends her to the great beyond.

    Rather than call the cops or try to make her death look like an accident, the kids decide to chop her into smaller pieces and freeze her, and then toss those frozen chunks into the woodchipper outside. Shortly after this, the aunt’s son shows up at the house demanding money from the kids. They don’t want to oblige him and before you know it, he’s in the woodchipper too. Can anything stop these murdering kids from killing again? By the time this question is raised, it’s unlikely anyone will care.

    Cannibal Campout had a quirky charm that made it worth watching, but sadly none of that has spilled over to Woodchipper Massacre which is just poorly made on every conceivable level. The acting is horrible, though to the credit of those involved they do the best that anyone probably could with the dialogue they’re given. The cinematography is flat, dull and uninteresting which makes it hard to appreciate the few decent locations that the filmmakers were able to utilize for a couple of key scenes. The worst part of the film, however, is the humor. It’s as if the filmmakers wanted to make a comedy but couldn’t get far enough away from the horror genre to really make that happen. There are moments in the movie that will leave you wondering whether you were meant to laugh or meant to cower and ultimately you wind up doing neither. This time around, McBride doesn’t even have the good sense to really hide the movie’s flaws with cheap gore effects either. With a title like Woodchipper Massacre you’d expect there to be, well, a massacre but really that isn’t the case and aside from one or two scenes that toy with the idea of on screen carnage, the film is grue-free. Gore probably couldn’t have saved this turkey, we all know that it can’t really save a bad film, but at least it might have given parts of it some impact.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The 1.33.1 fullscreen transfer presents this shot on video bad boy in its original aspect ratio and it looks about as good as a two decade old low budget cheapie has any right to look. The picture is soft, as is the cast with most ‘camcorder’ productions of the era, and everything is a bit on the fuzzy side but it’s perfectly watchable. Not a reference quality disc by any stretch but it’s doubtful it looked any better in 1988 than it does on this DVD.

    The audio is on par with the video, in terms of quality, in that it’s far from perfect but it’s acceptable enough when you take into account the low budget nature of the production. Dialogue is always clear and the score and effects don’t sound half bad. Don’t expect any alternate language dubs, subtitles or surround mixes here, all we get is the plain vanilla mono track, but it does the trick even if it’s rather unremarkable.

    Writer/director Jon McBride provides a decent full length commentary track that details the production in as much depth as you’d hope for, maybe even a little more than that. He comes across as a genuinely nice and sincere man who had a good time working on the picture as he talks about some of the low budget trickery that they used to finish the movie as well as casting and location shooting. This discussion won’t likely change your opinion of the movie, but if you’re an established fan of the film you’ll want to give it a chance. It’s interesting to hear how he sees the movie as a black comedy more than an attempt at a horror movie.

    Two featurettes have also been included on this release, the first of which is a reasonably interesting look back on the movie by way of some interviews with the various cast members who fill out the production. The second is an on camera interview with McBride, who elaborates a bit more on the history of the movie. Both are well done and interesting enough to watch but, like the commentary track, they can’t save the movie.

    Rounding out the extra features are a still gallery, some nifty animated menus, and chapter stops. Inside the keepcase is an insert booklet featuring

    The Final Word:

    A horrible film in every sense of the word, The Woodchipper Massacre is for 80s shot on video enthusiasts only, and even then you’ve got to be a real glutton for punishment to get much out of this turd. To Camp Motion Pictures’ credit, they’ve done a decent job with the material and the extra features, but the movie is a chore to sit through.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      I really like the Camp Motion Pictures releases. They're pretty fun, even if the movie is terrible.
      This movie was pretty awful, but I didn't hate it as much as Beauty Queen Butcher.