Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Night of Terror #1: 'Long Island Cannibal Massacre'

There's a scene in Long Island Cannibal Massacre in which one of the titular cannibals (actually, I guess his designation as a cannibal might be a matter of dispute but for the sake of saving space and the time of everyone reading this I'll call him a cannibal anyway) is ordered by his demonic and leprous father to "eat the girl." Instead of, I dunno, cutting off a slice of rib meat or something he just sinks his teeth into the girl's jeans. The late-night audience I saw the movie with laughed a lot at this absurdity but I thought it was a potent metaphor for the experience of watching movies with titles like Long Island Cannibal Massacre: You have to chew through a thick layer of tough denim in order to get to the treasure underneath, and sometimes that treasure is just a turkey leg covered in corn syrup and red food dye.

Exactly one year ago I started off last year's 31 Nights of Terror with a movie called Splatter Farm. Looking back on my post I profess a vague sense of guilt over the fact that I can't seem to embrace these cheap, schlocky VHS horror movies the way I see other people doing. Well, it's been a year, and by some twist of fate (and the fact that the other scary movie I watched today wasn't very good) I'm kicking things off again with another piece of trash horror, albeit of the Super-8 variety (it screened on a VHS tape though). I liked this one a little more than I liked Splatter Farm, but more importantly than that I've made peace with the fact that this is not my favorite kind of movie. Maturity has its benefits.

Anyway, back to Long Island Cannibal Massacre - the most interesting thing to me is how despite its obvious schlocky trappings it does feel like an actual movie, one with an actual script, plot, and characters. In an environment where the usual fare sometimes seem like improvised snuff films, this makes quite a bit of difference.

Also adding to the fun is that it was written, produced, and directed by a 17-year-old - my parents used to freak out about me suplexing my friends on our video camera, thank God I wasn't into horror movies then.

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