Woodchipper Massacre
POPcinema // Unrated // $12.98 // January 16, 2007
Review by Scott Weinberg | posted December 27, 2006
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Graphical Version
The Movie

From the years 1983 to 1989, it was possible to get pretty much anything released on VHS. And here's the proof: Woodchipper Massacre, a horror/comedy with the mentality of a slow child, the wit of a wet dog, and the production value of a backyard barbecue. I get that the mega-low-budget and ultra-amateurish approach is meant to be diverting (or even amusing), but it's like that old joke about watching someone else's home movies: nobody wants to do it.

The plot is a lot like Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, only with less comedy and a bit more carnage. Three ultra-dorky kids are left alone with their mean, rotten aunt while Dad heads off for a business meeting. After an painfully extended series of scenes in which the aunt behaves like a truly evil old bitch, the youngest kid accidentally stabs her in the gut with a huge hunting knife.

But instead of calling the cops and explaining the whole stupid affair, the three kids (get this) decide to dismember the old woman's body, freeze the chunks, and then feed 'em into a big woodchipper in the backyard. And then a few minutes later, a scummy cousin shows up and threatens to kill the kids if they don't give him money. That guy also ends up inside the woodchipper.

Entirely bereft of scares, humor or even a good healthy dollop of gore, Woodchipper Massacre is what happens when some guy from Connecticut thinks of a potentially juicy movie title -- and then builds an entire movie around the words "woodchipper" and "massacre," using a budget of about $400 and a camera leased from Rent-a-Center. Camp value is one thing; Woodchipper Massacre is just plain old boring.

That's pretty much the whole thing in a nutshell, only I don't have the vocabulary one would need to describe how tacky, cheap and tiresome the thing actually is. At first the VHS vibe of the flick seems a little cute and kitschy, but once you've spent about 15 minutes with these kids, you'll want to throw your entire DVD player into a freakin' woodchipper.

The DVD

Audio/Video: The fuzzy full-frame transfer is everything you'd expect from a homemade movie like this: Ugly. Audio is delivered in DD 2.0.

Extras: Writer/director/star Jon McBride provides an audio commentary via phone, but it took me only about 10 minutes before I realized that, what the hell, he actually takes this movie kinda seriously. He actually seems to think it works as a dark comedy! Now that's funny. Still, McBride seems like an affable enough guy, even if I'd rather sit naked on an anthill than suffer through his movie again.

There's also an amusing 14-minute retrospective interview piece in which some of the old cast & crew members discuss the "after school" production, a 13-minute director interview (which is actually pretty solid), and a stills gallery.

Final Thoughts

After sitting through the whole of Woodchipper Massacre you'll no doubt find yourself wondering how a movie this amateurish could ever find distribution. Hint: It's the title.



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