Nostalgia Redefined - by Mario Melillo
Every day of mostly everyone’s life, the past always comes back to them in some way, shape or form. For me, as a cinephile, the nostalgia of older films reminds me of why I do what I do as well as bringing me back to many different times of my life. Movies have always helped me through the good and the bad. They were always there and I could always count on them to never disappoint me. Watching and sharing them has always brought me my favorite memories. The most memorable time in my life for film was the 1980s.
The eighties brought us great cinema as well as tons and tons of trash. It was the decade in which I learned to like “bad” movies just because they were fun (Killer Klowns from Outer Space comes to mind). To go along with the great films of this time period, I also fell in love with the endless amount of action and horror cash-ins, sequels and rip-offs the studios would put out every year almost like clockwork. I loved watching these movies. They had flaws, bad acting and loads of technical mistakes, but they had charisma and charm unmatched by most of the films put out since the nineties and beyond.
In my opinion, long gone are the glory days of these types of films. Sure, SyFy tries, as well as MANY independent filmmakers across the world, but they never come close. No one can ever get it JUST right. Or at least that’s what I thought until I saw Blood Slaughter Massacre.
In January of 2013, I ventured to Queens, New York to meet up with the film’s director, Manny Serrano, and I viewed the film.
WRITTEN BY- Manny Serrano and Louie Cortes
DIRECTED BY- Manny Serrano
STARRING- Matt W. Cody, Mike Roche, Carmella Hayslett, Charlotte Pines, Bradley Creanzo and Danielle Lenore
Before I get into my review, let me go over the general synopsis of Blood Slaughter Massacre. Sometime in the 1970s, a brutal massacre takes place in the quiet town of Havenwood, New York. Officer James Fincher barely survives the night after being stabbed by the masked maniac, known as the Ripper. Ten years pass, and a new series of murders are occurring. Fincher and his partner Cobb, now detectives, search to piece the clues together. Is the Ripper back for more blood? Will they stop him before he kills again? Sorry, I got into “trailer mode”. The premise is simple, yet wields very powerful story telling once the film gets going.
Check out the NSFW trailer below:
So now that you have the gist, let’s talk about the movie itself. Before Manny put the movie on, he talked about the process of making it and the copious amounts of detail he and Mass Grave Pictures had put into this. To me, this got me more excited since the passion and love he showed was abundantly apparent. He started the film, and the next two hours were nothing short of amazing.
Yes… I did just say TWO whole hours of film…
The movie clocks in at one hundred and seventeen minutes. Talk about bang for your buck! Even with this length, the film never lags for a second. By today’s standards, horror films are generally ninety minutes or less, which is more of a curse than a blessing. From start to finish, you are engaged in a great story filled with substantial characters, which I think is pretty hard to accomplish in today’s A.D.D. fueled media let alone an independent horror film. You feel for Detective Fincher, even though his path is that of self-destruction. You want certain players to survive until the end credits. It’s all so nostalgic and really great. I hadn’t felt this way in a long time about this type of movie.
The film has a lot of tense moments and great scenes. Many of these are broken up and well-paced, so any monotony that it could have never lasts long. The filmmakers behind it knew well enough to spread out the scares, kills and drama; I can’t applaud them enough for this. My favorite scene of the film is not a kill, not even a scare or jump. I like to call this the horror trope of “the babysitter”. It is a commonly used theme where there is obviously a babysitting teenager being stalked by a psycho most of the time. In Blood Slaughter Massacre it is similar, except a lot better. The babysitter in question, played amazingly by Charlotte Pines, has her boyfriend come over, (who looks a lot like Mortimer from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), and they begin to make out. Now normally you’d think nothing of this, but the scene was so well directed and so well acted, it actually blew my mind.
As an admitted film snob, this was such a great scene I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. Now THAT is what I call acting and filmmaking! Speaking of acting…
Another bright spot of this film is the acting. For the most part, the performances are really strong and not too over the top. But even the over the top performances are fantastic. Mike Roche, Bradley Creanzo and Patrick Devaney definitely add a lot of character to their roles in thick, goofy fashion. Danielle Lenore brings the “wooden” actress flavor to the pot as well. The movie is carried by two specific performances; Matt W. Cody as Detective James Fincher and Carmela Hayslett as Carla. Both shine brightest in the already glowing cast of Blood Slaughter Massacre. There is also a fun cameo by up and coming director Christian Grillo, so keep an eye out for it.
In all, the movie has everything I could ever want for a horror film and more. Blood and gore? Check. Vibrant characters and great story? Check. Drama and terror? Check. I don’t know about a lot of you, but I go to the movies to be entertained and to have a good time. Blood Slaughter Massacre is nothing short of an amazing work of cinema, let alone an indie horror film. It delivers on every level it has to offer, to go along with its eighties theme. The retro feel fits perfectly and I can’t wait to see more from the minds of Mass Grave Pictures. For a group that establishes a rich world in the past, they have a really bright future ahead of them.
THE GOOD- Just about everything.
THE PASSABLE- Minor sound and camera issues at times (nostalgic though).
THE AMAZING- Top-shelf nudity, gore and story.
Mario Melillo is the creator of Mario Likes Movies, he writes reviews and conducts interviews for the site, as well as co-hosting the weekly podcast. He is the owner of Seeing Red Studios.