You know what I love? Really cheesy horror films, extremely dark comedy and tons of gore. Enter the Bunnyman Massacre: watching the trailer got me giddy over the prospect of seeing the entire film. Clearly inspired my one of my very favorite films, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I was absolutely convinced that I was about to watch my new favorite movie when I popped this DVD in. They even duplicate the camera flash/noise/gruesome photo gimmick!
Written and directed by Carl Lindbergh, Bunnyman Massacre has the tagline, "Monsters Are Real"; this is in reference to the urban legend of the Bunny Man who terrorized Virginia and the surrounding area in 1970. There are many variations, but most involve a man wearing a rabbit costume who attacks people with an axe. I don't know about you, but this sounds like movie gold to me.
The movie opens with Bunnyman boarding a school bus with a chainsaw and killing everyone on the bus. The sight of children jumping out of the back window of the bus as blood flies over the music of a chainsaw is giggle inducing. No, I do not endorse killing anyone, especially children, but this got me laughing and I was stone sober. Bunnyman then moves on to a group of campers. While we get the gratuitous boobie shot, Bunnyman pulls a gal out of her tent and then proceeds to bludgeon her up against a giant rock. Again, I begin laughing with joy. At this point, I am delirious over what the next 80 minutes are going to bring.
Well, here's the thing; I'm only 50% sure that I wasn't supposed to be viewing this as a horror comedy. My mistake.
I should also mention that this is a sequel. Unfortunately, I have not yet seen the previous film, but I will certainly be rectifying that. Bunnyman has a friend named Joe (David Scott) who is more than happy to encourage his murderous tendencies, even turning it into a business venture by selling the victims as beef jerky in his local store. This is a wonderful, humorous touch. When asked why some of the bags of jerky have a gold star on them, this jolts Joe into a fond memory that is, simply, priceless. (Still not understanding how this is not a horror comedy.)
O.K., cue the disposable female characters. After all, Bunnyman and Joe need some fresh meat to taunt, chase and dispose of. The thing that I just couldn't wrap my brain around was the way that all of the female characters were so willing to sacrifice someone else in order to save themselves. This was beyond trying to save yourself; this was a whole new level of mean girl behavior. When three women are tied up and one of them manages to escape, she looks at the other two and says, "f*ck you"! One of the ladies, who chooses to remain tied to the wood beam that has just been broken, replies with her own "f*ck you!" What the what is going on? Where did these women come from and why do they hate each other so much? That might have been a more interesting story to watch. These bitches are brutal.
Because none of the characters in the film are remotely likable, I really couldn't care less if they died. Frankly, I was just hoping that it would happen soon and that it would be bloody. The movie is definitely bloody. Blood, blood, blood everywhere! It's fantastic, however, like much of this movie, it comes with it's caveats. Sure, Bunnyman chainsaws a girl, but you can clearly see that the chainsaw is merely in the general area of her head and neck and a blood bag has been rigged. Almost all of the kills are sight gags of this level.
With numerous nods to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this movie just can't seem to get out of it's own way and deliver the goods. One minute, it plays as a horror comedy and then the next, it is trying to be seriously savage. Make up your mind, Bunnyman Massacre. Oh, and all future scream queens, I implore you to read an interview with Marilyn Burns here. You can't just dilly dally while trying to escape a man in a bunny suit with a chainsaw! Bitch, you need to run as if your life depends on it. You know, like in a horror movie? Just like Ms. Burns, you need to give your director a ten or your audience just won't care if you're about to die.
What started off exciting and funny, quickly turned boring and generic. If dude wasn't wearing a bunny suit, you would barely be able to distinguish this from any other backwoods, redneck, chainsaw, cannibal, woman hating movie. The longer Bunnyman Massacre couldn't seem to decide if it was a dark comedy or not, the more apathetic I became. I really, really wanted to love this movie and a part of me loves what it could be, but it just begins to drag on and you just want everyone to die so they can just shut up already.
So, here is the big question; would I recommend this movie? Yes, for the overall story and intention. A resounding "No!" if you need to invest in your characters and want to root for them.