The Tallaght Chainsaw Massacre 2005
Directed by: Ken Johnson
Starring: Ken Johnson, Julio Mandeas, Frank Sinister
Review by Luisjo González
When it comes to rare slasher movies, I AM THE DADDY! If you disagree and think I’m a loser in terms of rarity in the slasher genre, I want you to write me a letter explaining how and post it to: I don’t give a s**t, lick my ballsack, goofy hijo de puta cabrón, Jupiter’s moon Europa. 666 Satan.
Are we ready to get started now? Ok. This movie is not to be confused with Texas chainsaw massacre, even though they’re both as famous as each other😂. In honesty, this one is in fact so rare, it barely even exists. Try typing it in Google or IMDB. With one of the biggest and most popular blogs in slasher cyberspace, I speak to a lot of directors and many genre gurus. I told one of the slasher ‘names’ that I’m positive you peeps know, about Tallaght Massacre and he said it didn’t exist. In fact, he accused me of making it all up. I can’t tell you more about him, because you’d know who he is.(He will know) I can say, many of you associate with him, whether it be interacting via his Facebook page or contacting him another way. Well, I know that he checks a Slash above, so I ask him, how do you feel now muthaf**ker? You’ve been tangoed! Haters gonna hate and all that.
Two youths are pursued through the forest by a masked, chainsaw-brandishing killer. They’re desperate to escape, but the maniac seems as smart as they are
When my mum and dad split up when I was a nipper and before I moved to London, we lived for a little while in sunny Ireland. It’s a country that I love very much and it’s one of the greatest nations on planet earth. Spain and Ireland have a long history in conjunction and during the days of the Armada, Españoles we’re looking for people who understood the weather of the British isles and hated the English to join them in an invasion. Ireland stepped up and many Spaniards settled in the country in the following years. The term ‘black Irish’ refers to dark haired Irishmen that hail from Hispanic heritage.
Are you aware that 62.3% of Hollywood actors have Irish heritage? Robert Dinero, Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Clint Eastwood, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, practically every famous actor has the gene. I had a DNA test myself, thinking it’d come back 100% latin, but I’ve actually got a tiny bit of Irish somewhere in my bloodline too. Why do I tell you all that? Well, Tallaght is a city near Dublin and this is in fact, the first Irish slasher flick ever made.
To cut directly to the chase, this is not even low budget filmmaking. This is no budget filmmaking and it’s truly a back garden project. At 35 minutes, it certainly doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, but what was truly shocking was that it actually looked somewhat professional. I was indeed flabbergasted by some of the camera placement and the scoring is really effective, sounding a lot like The 1997 PlayStation 1 game, Resident Evil. It could of course mean that they stole it from that soundtrack, but either way, it worked well.
There’s not much plot involved in the synopsis and I recall about seven lines of dialogue, but the movie is pretty fun and it packs a few surprises. There’s no gore of course, but that’s likely because the budget for this entire production was about €10. Interestingly enough, I watched this after Don’t Look In The Cellar and whilst the people in this short are indeed absolute rank amateurs, I wasn’t getting frustrated watching them as I was during the aforementioned flick.
I can’t really say much else, because it is far too short and there’s a twist that I don’t want to ruin. I understand that this might upset you because you think you’ll never be able to find it, but I did, and I recommend to keep an eye on YouTube and rare movie sites. Not a great movie, but I was entertained all the same. If I had to chose a negative, I’d say I prefer watching buxom women getting stalked, but that’s a minor and I think the whole thing worked in a very fun way. The Mrs liked it too. Why only one star you ask? Well to give it more would be criminal, but it’s not sh**t and it works for what it is.
Stage Fright 2005
Directed by: Rick Jordan
Starring: Craig Saslow, Christopher Wolfe, Clive Kennedy
Review by Luis Joaquín González
I got an email recently from one of my readers asking me to review Stage Fright. I immediately replied with the link to my write-up of Michele Soavi’s 1987 slasher spectacular. He replied only, ‘No, I’ve read that, I meant the other Stage Fright.’ So with that, I forwarded my thoughts on Colin Eggerton’s nude-fest from 1980, hoping that finally, I’d fulfilled the request. His response was almost identical, ‘No, that’s not the one I meant.’ I wrote back asking if he was referring to the stalk and slash musical from last year or the newest entry that’s currently playing in cinemas as The Gallows? His answer was something along the lines of, ‘The OTHER Stage Fright damn it.‘ This could have gone on forever, but I suddenly felt the urge to take a siesta. Of course, he was absolutely right.
There are five (or more?) Stage Frights that I know of and all of them were released at different stages of the cycle. In a way, you could use each as a marker to define the milestones of the genre’s lifespan. The first came out hot on the heels of Halloween, whilst Soavi’s hit was a rare slice of panache during the comedown of that boom. Rick Jordan’s is by far the most obscure of them all and was produced slap bang between the euphoria of Scream‘s rebirth and the period of creativity that we are currently witnessing. The fact that it’s so tough to track down a copy somewhat heightens its allure.
A crew that are desperately working on an amateur production of Hamlet, come into some luck when they secure a large theatre in order to rehearse and prepare for their show. Despite its location and classic feel, the complex was once the sight of a gruesome massacre and the reputation has lingered ever since. As soon as the group begin to practice, an unseen killer starts bumping off the cast members one by one. Who could be behind the murders?
So this one starts rather weirdly for a slasher in as much as it takes about twenty-minutes to introduce any indications that it’s even a horror film. We get to meet a group of characters who seem to argue and jest without adding any depth to their characterisations at all. There’s an English producer who is ruthless and stereotypically money hungry, a director that demands respect for past achievements that no one seems to acknowledge and an author who is infuriated at the way the others are making a mockery of Shakespeare’s work. Chuck in a couple of hot chicas and three guys that are much of a muchness and all the ingredients were there for a decent slasher romp.
A decent slasher romp is not really what we get, but after an impossibly long opening, the pace does pick up somewhat when the killings start. The group split up to begin looking for an open exit (the doors were locked by a mysterious force) and then they are picked off by the psycho in imaginative, if gore-free, ways. What I guess is slightly different about Stage Fright is that it kind of comes full-circle when the killer reveals himself and is defeated in a sword fight (?). Then another maniac turns up – a supernatural one (?) – and we start again almost from scratch! Our remaining two players are stalked by the supernatural guy (who doesn’t seem to have any mystical powers of note) until he is stopped by exactly the same method that we saw in a popular Australian slasher from five-years earlier. It almost as if they completed the movie and then bolted on some extra scenes when they realised that the running time was just over an hour. Either that or the screenwriter was overly ambitious and wanted to include a bit of everything? Who knows…
It could be said that coincidentally, this Stage Fright is a sum of parts of all of the others. The whole whodunit backstory was memorable of Eggerton’s early entry. Those supernatural ingredients could be considered similar to Stage Fright aka ‘The Gallows that’s currently playing in cinemas. There’s a lot of dialogue based around the fear of the opening day that reminded me of the musical Stage Fright, and sitting all the corpses in chairs on the stage was directly copy and pasted from Soavi’s classic. I guess I am just waffling. So to cut a over-long review short, Stage Fright is a bit of a bare bones slasher and lacks gloss, grace, style and grit. It started really badly, but picked up briefly enough during the mid-section to keep me entertained. Probably not worth the effort of hunting down, but you won’t be too disappointed if you come across it cheap…
Killer Campout 2005
Directed by: Victor Franko
Starring: Jillian Swanson, Anthony Goes, Patrick Hickey,
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
This is another total obscurity that I received in the post a few years back, but I’ve never got around to actually watching. I’ve been trying to review Camp Blood for a SLASH above since the start of the year, but I can’t locate my copy anywhere. Desperate to post a newish killer in the woods flick for y’all, I thought that I’d finally take the plunge and give this a viewing. Killer Campout is budget filmmaking at the lowest possible level, so there’s little more in terms of production value than a camcorder and an industrial sized container of corn syrup. I know that doesn’t sound like the most attractive prospect, but if I’m going to cover the entire genre, then I’ll have to sit through some of these from time to time.
It came from Victor D’Agostino (under the pseudonym Victor Franko) who had been working as an extra and picking up experience around the film industry since 2002. Amongst other things, he had assisted B-Movie director Jay Woelfel on the production of both Ghost Lake and Demonicus before finally getting the funds together to make his own slasher extravaganza three-years later. He hired locals and buddies to fill up the cast list and filmed it at a site that he knew extremely well.
Seven kids head off on a camping trip into some secluded woodland to smoke pot and make-out for a weekend. The forest is host to an urban legend of a monster of some kind that kills invaders of his domain. Before long, they soon discover this to be true, as a burlap sack sporting maniac begins to slash his way through them.
It would be foolish to have high expectations for a movie that cost $500 to produce, but prepare to be shocked señoras y señores, because Killer Campout is a real gem for the money that was put into it. What we have here is a tribute to Friday the 13th thaat pays homage in the best possible way and offers much more of a knowing nod than the likes of Blood Reaper managed. The killer looks splendid in a black burlap sack and traditional Killer in the Woods lumberjack get-up and he stalks with the kind of physically imposing frame that made Jason so memorable. D’Agostino didn’t have the budget to cast someone to play the maniac, so instead he performed the role himself. He really gave life to the hulking slayer, which may well have been due to his previous acting experience. A fine example of this is during the pulsating chase sequence in the closing minutes, where the final girl is pursued after she has sprained her ankle. Our bogeyman has a traditional slow-footed Michael Myers stalk, which means that her injury makes them equally paced and it generates some solid suspense. In another scene, the killer towers over the same cowering female after murdering one of her colleagues. She sits dumbfounded and in a state of shock and it’s one of those moments that makes you scream at the screen, “Get up and run for Gawd’s sake!” It was great to see the director transcending his budget in an effort to give us as thrilling a ride as possible.
The feature clocks in at fifty-four minutes, which doesn’t leave a great deal of time for character development, but the lightweight script still managed to chuck in some memorable gimmicks. These include a hilarious shoplifting skit and some wacky weed-smoking references that are delivered by a pair of rouge-ish chicks that are there to add a dose of humour. I was incredibly impressed with seventeen-year-old Jillian Swanson’s portrayal of the heroine, because with minimal dialogue and screen-time, she gave us a charming and approachable final girl. Her career blossomed for a couple of years after this and she appeared in a few other horror pictures, but she’s been missing since 2007, so I’m guessing that she’s given up on acting, which is a shame. Along with the energetic performances, I also found the gore effects to be worthy of credit, because they’ve pulled off some really effective visuals on shoelace funding. Amongst these was a gruesome impalement and an outstanding head-lopping trick that proved that with the right camera angles and a sharp mind, a lack of funding doesn’t effect what you can achieve.
Despite some crisp photography that is as radiant as anything that I’ve seen in slasher cinema, nothing can overcome the obvious amateurism of the sound mixing and editing. It looks as if scenes were completed and given musical accompaniment before everything was chopped together, so we get a whole heap of moments when two separate scores that don’t really fit are amalgamated into one set-piece. There are also times when the dialogue couldn’t be synced at the same times as the soundtrack for some unknown reason, which gives the audio an awkwardness that shows the film’s cheapness. They did make this work to their advantage in one place though, by giving the killer his own atmospheric POV that had a distinguished piece of music every time that he appeared on screen. It was a good way to make the best use of the budget restraints and its even something that they poked fun at later when the heroine grabbed a weapon during the conclusion.
I ask myself, did Victor D’Agonisto get what he could out of $500? The answer is as blatant a yes as a yes can possibly be. This is a very good entry that delivers far more thrills, Friday the 13th references and slasher fun than most of the films released recently on ten-times the expense. Whilst I admit that you need to be lenient in places, I think slasher fans will lap it up if they can find a copy.
Killer Guise: √√√
Final Girl: √√√