• Duck! The Carbine High Massacre (Saturn’s Core) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Saturn’s Core
    Released on: September 28th, 2021.
    Director: William Hellfire, Joey Smack
    Cast: William Hellfire, Joey Smack, Misty Mundae, Lilly Tigar, Mikey Ovum
    Year: 1999
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    Duck! The Carbine High Massacre – Movie Review:

    Directed by William Hellfire and the late Joey Smack, Duck! The Carbine High Massacre was made only a few short months after the horrific events that took place at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado on April 20th, 1999. The movie opens with a disclaimer stating the following:

    "The story depicted in this motion picture is fiction and contains fictitious characters, although it is based on actual historical events. We realize that some people may find it offensive, obscene, sacrilegious and thoroughly disgusting. However, it was bound to become a motion picture eventually, or worse, a "made for TV" movie. So we decided to do it first. God Blass America."

    From here, we meet Derwin (William Hellfire) and Derick (Joey Smack), two high school students attending Carbine High. They dress in all black, often wearing long trench coats, and subscribe to Neo-Nazi ideologies. They order a top secret missile (really) online using Derick's mother's credit card and try to launch it at school when it arrives only to find out that it's defective. When they leave school grounds that day, Derwin gets beaten up by a group of school jocks, which leads to he and Derwin flunking a presentation when Derwin winds up at the injured and can't make it to class.

    With things not going well at school or at home, the pair decides to buy some weapons, carry out a mass shooting at school and then, with some help from the school janitor, kill each other in a suicide pact. The next day, the janitor sets up a propane tank as a bomb in the school cafeteria and the two boys show up, heavily armed, opening fire and killing a bunch of their follow students before carrying out their suicide pact, leading up to a bizarre satirical conclusion.

    Quite the magnet for controversy upon its initial VHS release (something that is very well-documented in the extra features on this disc), Duck! has no problems pushing the audience’s buttons, in fact it feels like it was specifically designed to do just that. Made for peanuts, the ultra-low budget picture deals in splatstick, cheap (but sometimes surprisingly effective) gore and stereotypes and the whole thing is intentionally done in pretty poor taste, but the movie makes some pretty accurate jabs at the way that the media covers events like this in equally poor taste, which is kind of the point of all of this satirical insanity. The film also attempts to explore the motivations of the two main shooters in some interesting ways as the movie moves towards its conclusion.

    At an hour and forty minutes in length, it’s a little longer than it probably needed to be and most of the acting is less than convincing (though it is admittedly amusing to see Erin Brown, back when she was still going as Misty Mundae, cast in the picture as ‘Bible Girl!’), though Hellfire and Smack both do a surprisingly good job in the lead roles.

    Duck! The Carbine High Massacre – Blu-ray Review:

    Saturn’s Core brings Duck! The Carbine High Massacre to region free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.33.1 fullframe with the feature taking up 21.3GBs of space on the 50GB disc. As this was shot on tape, you can’t realistically expect this to look like it was taken from a film or digital source. Expect some color fading and soft detail throughout. That said, compression is fine here, and the picture probably looks as good as it can, given its low budget origins and the source material available.

    The only audio option for the feature is a 16-bit LPCM 2.0, with optional subtitles provided in English only. Again, the limitations of the source are hard to ignore here but despite less than pristine audio, the dialogue is easy enough to understand and follow and the levels are properly balanced for the most part.

    Extras, and there are a lot of them, start off with a new Commentary with producer Pete Jacelone and Director William Hellfire, moderated by Mike Hunchman. They start by discussing the producer's note that precedes the film proper as well as the Bible quote that is up on screen before the opening. Hellfire notes the influence of El Topo on the picture's beginning, they cover where they shot the massacre scene, using Jacelone's house at one point in the film, the satirical aspects of the film, casting the film and working with the different actors featured in the movie, the sequence in which the different scenes of the movie were shot, shooting over ten days (which was quite long by their standards), the influence of different documentaries on the production, intentionally not playing nice with the comedy in the movie, the special effects created for the movie, the different reactions that people had to the movie, how transgressive art and entertainment can help you overcome issues, whether or not a movie like this can influence people to commit horrendous acts, the media's place in situations like those shown in the film and quite a bit more.

    Up next is a selection of deleted scenes from the original 1999 VHS release. There's just over ten minutes of material here, including some unused monologues from faculty, law enforcement, gun rights activists, clergy and others. There's also the 'chat before dying' scene which is a quick talk between the two leads, and one more that we won't spoil called 'One Last Thing.'

    The disc also includes a new documentary entitled After Shock that is made up of archival footage of news broadcasts (from NBC Channel 4, Inside Weekend, Channel 12 New Jersey, Court TV) that runs for thirty-three minutes. This is pretty fascinating stuff as it shows how the media reacted to the film's release and jumped all over the controversy that surrounded the film, covering the filmmakers' arrest for bringing real firearms onto school property, thoughts from the local police and concerned parents and more. Cut into this footage is commentary from co-writer Pete Jacelone (aka Todd Russell) and William Apercino (aka William Hellfire). They talk about how they got their start in the indie film scene doing low budget gore, sex and exploitation pictures, fake snuff pictures and other projects. This leads to discussion of how they came to collaborate on Duck!, where the ideas came from, locations, the impact that the real world Columbine Massacre had on both of them and the way that the media covered it, the differences in opinion that they had on how the film should be made, the influence of extreme music and publications like Answer Me! magazine, the people that they collaborated with on the production, what it was like on set filming some particularly brutal scenes with a hesitant cast, the film's initial VHS release and dealing with the media coverage that came after the release.

    The Behind The Scenes Court TV featurette is a six-minute piece with Hellfire and Smack at CBGB where there was a screening of the film at which Court TV showed up and interviewed the two of them in the back of a van. There's quite a bit more material in here that doesn't seem to have made it to the broadcast version of the interview and it's a pretty interesting document (and we get to see Misty Mundae brag about drinking two beers!).

    The Original William Hellfire Interview 2004 featurette is just that, an archival interview that runs fifteen minutes. He talks about the impact of the real events at Columbine, how the media moved in like vultures and his thoughts on that, some of the early ideas they had for making a movie about this, intentionally making a film to evoke a strong reaction from people, creating the main set for the production, how a lot of the cast members who weren't really aware of how intense the actual massacre scene was going to be, creating the effects featured in the movie, getting arrested and quite a bit more.

    The Extended Today Is The Day live footage section is eight minutes of the band performing three songs (Spotting A Unicorn, Possession and Mayari live in a small club in Hoboken in July of 1999. This is a longer version of the live footage that we see of them used in the movie.

    In the 16mm Short Films By Joey Smack section we're treated to six of his projects - the seven minute Today More Than Ever, the four minute black and white I Get So Sick Sometimes, the ten minute Little Beauties, the eight minute black and white I Know I Died With It, the ten minute Inside The Next-door Neighbors and the six minute Sour Milk. These are super low budget and sometimes fairly plotless, but it's an interesting assortment of material. A lot of this stuff is fairly fetishy, each short containing either some sex and nudity, strong violence or both. Hellfire appears in most of them and look for Misty Mundae to show up here and there as well.

    The King Ghidoarh! Live segment is fifteen minutes of material shot at a club called Vultures in Hoboken, New Jersey in July of 1999. Its' pretty dark and the quality isn't amazing but it's a rare chance to see Hellfire, Michael Ovum and Brother Matthew perform some sludgy, experimental music live.

    The Carbine High Jukebox lets you check out fifteen tracks from the film's soundtrack - 'Instrumental,' 'Instrumental 2,' and 'Fucking Good' by Ultra Bide, 'Kill Kill Kill,' 'Angels,' 'Shorty,' 'UFO-2,' 'A Smoke Before Dying' and 'UFO-2' by Alien Pornography, 'Sleeping Sickness' by King Ghidorah!, 'Spotting A Unicorn' by Today Is The Day, 'Killing' by Croatan, 'Code Word Machine Gun' by Dynomite Cat, 'Dig It Or Walk' by Squelchers and finally, 'Grey Matter' by Nolan Gate.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are the film's original trailer from 1999, the 2004 Shriek Show trailer, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection options. There are also (at least) two easy to find Easter Eggs included on the disc. It's also worth noting that this release comes packaged with some reversible cover sleeve artwork.

    Duck! The Carbine High Massacre – The Final Word:

    Duck! The Carbine High Massacre is a deliberately provocative micro-budget picture that really does wave a middle finger at the media, and despite its many and obvious flaws, it’s a pretty fascinating exercise in bad taste that fans of underground filmmaking will no doubt appreciate. Saturn’s Core has rolled out the red carpet for the movie, presenting it looking and sounding as good as it probably can and on a disc absolutely stacked with extra features that do a great job of proving context for and historical background on the film.

    Click on the images below for full-sized Duck! The Carbine High Massacre screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Newt Cox's Avatar
      Newt Cox -
      Yea went ahead and pre ordered it. Had a rip of the VHS for years that I never watched.