Here at Malevolent Dark we expound on the quality of horror that released in 1985. Classics like Re-Animator, Demons and Return of the Living Dead stand out amongst other great films released in 1985. Among those great films, one stands out for another reason: Nail Gun Massacre (1985). This film shamelessly shovels whatever it can onto the screen to loosely qualify as a slasher. No apologies, no ragrets. Possibly, Director Terry Lofton manages to smother this turd with enough queso that it might just make the cut on the list of movies so bad that they are good.
Feels Like Troma, but It’s Not
Terry Lofton’s Nail Gun Massacre channels the production qualities of Troma video so well that we had to do a double take while watching the film. Produced by Futuristic Films, this film’s lack of self-reverence echoes the absurdity of The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke’em High. Quite frankly, this failure to take themselves seriously just might be what edges this film over the line that divides a wcomplete aste of time and a bit of fun.
The motorcycle helmeted antagonist leads the charge in this Troma-esq affair. Wearing camouflage and sporting a ridiculous compressed air tank, the killer cracks jokes that would make Freddy Krueger cringe. Additionally, the killer sports a weird modulated robotic voice the sounds disembodied from the physical being of the killer.
Rape is Still Not Cool
The film begins with a woman, Linda Jenkins, being gang raped at a construction site. Certainly this scene lacks the emotional impact similar scenes in films like Monster and I Spit on Your Grave (1978) this film still packs a punch in gut. Something about the raving lunacy of the attackers still shakes us up. Fortunately the scene ends quickly and its impacts don’t last long.
This opening scene forms the plot foundation for the film. Immediately, the first nail gun attack suggests a tie to the rape. The killer possesses a gender ambiguous form that suggests that the rape victim may also be the aggressor. Furthermore, most of the victims are directly related to the rapist construction workers, suggesting that Linda might be hunting down her assainlants. Terry Lofton intentionally throws out several obvious clues that make certain to make a connection between the murders and the rape.
And WOW, you just won’t believe the topsy turvy twist at the end.
What About the Gore?
One would hope that a title like Nail Gun Massacre we would be in store for a no-holds-barred gore fiesta. Sadly, this film fails to deliver that in a meaningful way. Certainly, Terry Lofton manages some uncomfortable scenes, like one involving a nail gun to the nizzles. Ok, Lofton drops a severed hand in the mix. More often than not, the gore amounts to no more than a bloodspot on the shirt. Yet the film has some gory moments. Due to budgetary constraints, much of the violence occurs during camera transitions. The only evidence of visible violence occurs when the audience sees nail-heads protruding from the skin of the victims.
At the end of the day, nail gun kills are only so interesting, but if you like them, this film tries to make up for quality with quantity.
You May Have Gathered…
Nail Gun Massacre is an abysmal affair in cinema. Of all of its deficiencies, the acting scrapes the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Throughout the film, Terry Lofton’s cast proves incapable of producing a single scene that doesn’t evoke a cringe so deep that it hurts the gut. Quite frankly, this might be sugarcoating it a bit. Every scene that features a human being chip away any cinematic integrity left in the souls of the audience.
Whitey Thomas, the music director, doesn’t offer much to assuage the the pain. However, his synth work, while barbaric and simple, provides at least some atmosphere. As for the rest of the film, it retains that classic aura of poorly placed microphones that many ultra-low-budget films of this era possess (See 3 on a Meathook (1972)).Whoever came up with the maniacally processed voice of the killer outdid themselves. It’s strangely effective from a comedy perspective and somewhat infectious.
Cinematographer and co-director Bill Leslie provides some relatively interesting walking shots of the killer on the prowl. It’s not great, but its something. More conspicuously, he should win an Oscar for the most egregious creep-shot as he indiscriminately zooms in on a bare woman’s breasts during an early sexy time scene. He continues to prominently feature this woman’s breasts for the duration of the scene. At 8:00 minutes into the film, we know everything we need to know about where Bill and Terry’s heads were at when producing this film.
Still, the film has some fairly hilarious moments. In one of the best scenes, the killer emerges from a swimming pool like Colonel James Braddock in Missing In Action (1984). As the victims body smokes while slumping over the grill we hopelessly chuckle at the ridiculous implausibility. Brilliantly, the directors conclude the film with a Starsky and Hutch style car chase between a budget model Camero and a baby-poo-yellow hearse. It builds its climax into a final showdown at the gravel mill… just like any great 80’s car chase should.
Nails in the Coffin
As we have clearly articulated, Nail Gun Massacre is not a good film by any measure. Anyone looking for challenger to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) in terms of hardware store horror will be sorely disappointed. Still, believe it or not, the film retains some redeeming qualities as a corny Saturday night popcorn movie. If there were a petition available, we’d vote for it to get a proper RiffTrax treatment. Buyer beware, but it might worth watching just for a laugh.
Nail Gun Massacre (1985) - What a Nice Piece of Shit! - Malevolent Dark
Director: Terry Lofton
Date Created: 1985-01-01 00:00