16 April 2012

Nail Gun Massacre

United States – 1985
Director – Bill Leslie and Terry Lofton
Magnum Entertainment, 1987, VHS
Run Time – 1 hour, 30 minutes

I’m still pleasantly surprised by the tenacity of physical media formats. Of course, the physical ownership aspect of consumerism will be hard to kill, but if you asked me a couple of years ago I never would have believed that some crazy ass would still be putting out quality DVD releases of just plain obscure, wonderfully shitty movies like Mardi Gras Massacre. I personally never thought that one would see the light of day again. Apparently there is a large enough community of bad-taste aficionados like myself to make it worth Code Red’s while. I’m not complaining mind you. There is a little bit of selfish desire to be the lone holder of some secret esoteric knowledge, but in the main I would rather people get a chance to see these flicks.

A perfect example is this film, the Texas masterpiece known as Nail Gun Massacre. I first saw this beauty almost 15 years ago on a second generation bootleg tape. It’s a very special thing, among my favorite horror films of all time and I finally, finally picked up the Synapse DVD release of this re-found-classic. Nail Gun Massacre’s detractors may be many, but there’s no accounting for taste. There are a host of no-budget shibboleth’s in this film, all of which I find profoundly endearing. In the tradition of Zombie, I will present a laundry list of reasons that Nail Gun Massacre is a video classic.

What's this getup Doc, ya'll a foreigner?
  • I talk a lot of shit about Canada here on LVA, but in my real life, the one in which I interact with physical objects and three dimensional space, I am actually fine with Canada and biased against Texas. Long story, silly geographic/political reasons. Nevertheless, Texas somehow managed to push out some of the finest low budget video-era exploitation cinema. (I’m adding the label “Texas” right now so you can see what I mean.)

  • Rape revenge films have a long history which doesn’t seem to want to stop. Lucky McKee’s recent film The Woman being a fine example of the perennial appeal of brutalized women and “justified” retaliatory violence. Nail Gun Massacre gets the rape over quickly and without unnecessary graphicness. Then it moves instantly right on to the revenge which, despite the obvious anatomical proportions of the killer in a number of scenes is not the rape victim.

  • See if I use you in one of my movies again!
  • I get the connection between construction workers and sex, so all the killing of framers/carpenters and copulating couples makes sense. Nevertheless, for some unknown reason the killer goes on to murder a number of random women, leaving the question of motive still ambiguous enough for a possible sequel. (Please?)

  • The nail gun makes a wet-fart sound and the actor gives it a little jerk to make it look like its firing.

  • I’m sure we’ve all seen enough action films to be familiar with, and probably tired of the corny one-liner. Still, you haven’t heard them like this; there are so many in Nail Gun Massacre that they’re fucking paragraphs.

  • From a purely base, heterosexist point of view, the irony of anatomy is too good to be true. In the first sex scene the woman has small breasts and the guy groping her has huge meaty ogre-hands, while in a later scene a very well-endowed woman is paired up with a skinny, weasely little freak. I’m sorry, but I just think that’s funny.

  • "The Mekong in '68 man, that was bad, but this..."
  • And finally, the murders themselves are so grisly, so ghastly, so godawfully gory, that even the local doctor (who wears a Canadian Tuxedo the entire film) says “I haven't seen anything this brutal since 'Nam.” And that about sums up Nail Gun Massacre too. It’s kinda like what you’ve seen before only more extreme, more shocking and more exhilarating than any of it. Sure, you might say “bad,” (and apparently someone un-ironically did, director Lofton was compelled to repeatedly defend the film in the DVD special features) but we’ve all known since the 80’s that “bad” is a relative term. Nail Gun Massacre is easily one of the baddest. 
Dang, that's bad!


Justin S. Davis said...

Did you know they're going to re-release Nail Gun Massacre on VHS? It's part of a special promotion for the upcoming Texas Frightmare Weekend show.

Here's a news blurb from Dread Central:


Alex Jowski said...

I love a LOT of bad horror movies - but Nail Gun Massacre is nearly intolerable. Great write up!

The Goodkind said...

Thanks Alex, I noticed that you said 'nearly,' rather than completely. So it's still tolerable? I agree!