Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In short: Nail Gun Massacre (1985)

Before the prospective viewer's eyes have the possibility to even focus properly on the film, a group of construction workers (Nail Gun Massacre's stand-in for all that is depraved in the world) rapes a woman.

Some undefined space of time later, someone wearing a black motorcycle helmet and army fatigues tromps through the ever-same woods and kills men (who are supposed to be the same workers, but aren't always) and - if need be - their girlfriends with a nail gun and/or terrible serial killer smack talk.

For some reason the nail gunner really likes to kill his or her victims in the patch of woods of a certain old lady Bailey. A highly bearded cop and a jeans-obsessed doctor try to crack the complicated case before the audience falls asleep with no chance of ever waking up again.

I would have liked to begin this write-up with something like "films with the word massacre in their title never let you down", but unfortunately Nail Gun Massacre did let me down.

Not that I don't appreciate some of the film's many dubious virtues.

I approve of its nicely grainy film stock that reminds me of backwoods filmmaking perpetrated ten years before Nail Gun Massacre.

I respect director Terry Long's insistence on hiding parts of the dialogue behind traffic noises and the whirring of his camera - I suppose looping would either have been too inauthentic or costly, possibly both. Going by the dialogue I was able to parse, I don't feel the need to understand all of it, especially since the painful punning of our killer is looped and therefore all too audible.

I have also learned a few important things from the film: a) construction workers are evil b) getting a nail gun nail nailed trough one's hand is lethal c) fashion is a bitch.

All these wonderful features notwithstanding, I would recommend Nail Gun Massacre only to the hardened friend of cult cinema, the sort of person who reads the film's title and then still feels the need to watch the damn thing.

Of course, this wouldn't be the first time I gave such a warning to a film I loved, yet I can't pretend to love, like or sacrifice goats to Nail Gun Massacre. It's just too monotonous a film even for my tastes. The film consists only of pointless scenes to set-up the victims, then the kill, then the next victim set-up, possibly one even more pointless cop scene, the next kill, and so on and so forth for the full running time, which would probably be outweighed by the siren song of technical ineptitude and stupidity if the film was only 40 minutes long, instead of the nearly 90 it's padded out to. Frankly, it's slow and boring enough to test even my patience, and I'm the kind of guy who usually likes boring films.

I'm wondering if a less boring murder weapon would have saved the film. On first contact, a nail gun wielding slasher does sound intriguing, but there's a good reason why most slasher movies tend to mix up their murder methods a bit - to avoid repetition and the boredom it brings with it.



Pauline said...

a) construction workers are evil b) getting a nail gun nail nailed trough one's hand is lethal c) fashion is a bitch.

See, now I know and I don't have to sit through the movie. Thank you; this is why I keep coming back!

houseinrlyeh said...

You're welcome. This is a service-oriented blog after all.