Nail Gun Massacre (1985)
By: Devon B. on June 11, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Synapse (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 1.0. 85 minutes
The Movie
Director: Terry Lofton and Bill Leslie
Starring: Rocky Patterson, Ron Quen, Beau Leland, Michelle Meyer
Screenplay: Terry Lofton
Country: USA
I first tried to watch Nail Gun Massacre when I was about 12 years old. My family had rented it for a Halloween horror fest. Given that the film opens with a gang rape, we weren't very far into the movie before my prudish mother insisted it be turned off.

As the film opens, we're very quickly introduced to The Score. This is the ne plus ultra of 80s synth. So powerful is this musical accompaniment, you will often be paying more attention to it than the dialogue. Of course, that's partially because you can't hear the dialogue though the majesty of The Score.

Anyway, after the rape, Nail Gun Massacre cuts to a hairy hick at home getting attacked by a weirdo in camouflage gear and a biker helmet with a visor covered in what looks like electrical tape. The killer is also sporting a high powered nail gun (hence the film's title). The killer makes clever quips like, after shooting someone in the forehead, 'Those are the worst headaches…the ones between the eyes. Muwahahahahaha.' Don't be fooled, it's not just the lame one-liners that set this killer apart from your other slashers, this killer actually RUNS!

After this murder, we get the opening credits, which segue into one of the most gratuitous nude scenes to be found outside the hardcore porno genre. This is a great movie! This guy is leaving his nubile, naked, non-thespian partner to cut fire wood with his friend. The two guys cutting wood also get nailed. The police force (of one, regardless of the number of murders) gets called in. For assistance, the cop gets a doctor to help. This doctor likes to wear denim jackets and grey muscle shirts because he's 'tired of white.' I'm thinking they couldn't actually afford another costume, so just included a line about the doc's bizarre wardrobe. The pair set about figuring out who's behind the murders. What follows is a mystery rivalled only by The Maltese Falcon for complexity.

Nail Gun Massacre is one of the so-bad-it's-good champions, and is an absolute rarity in that the intentional humour is also so bad it makes the move funnier. The acting…words can not be found to describe it, and if there were words, 'acting' probably wouldn't be one of 'em. The gore is mostly wobbly nails glued to people, characters ramble to themselves, the camerawork is shaky, and the script is silly and padded. The story's not complex, but many things get repeated for clarification.

There is way too much going on here to pick it all apart, but this is one of the best movies ever for a Mystery Science Theater 3000 night with your friends.
Nail Gun Massacre is presented widescreen at a 1.78:1 ratio. The film is grainy, and the image is still a little soft, but it sure looks a hell of a lot better than it used to. There are specks, and unfortunately, a few digital glitches.
The film's original mono track is what's on hand here. The sound is muddled, The Score is overbearing, and you can hear audio hiss, background noise, and the occasional camera whir. The Score still drowns out the dialogue like it always has, but that's part of the film's charm. I want the soundtrack on CD.
Extra Features
The disc includes the trailer, an outtake reel with commentary by director Terry Lofton which runs roughly 8 minutes and features more nudity (always makes for a winning DVD), and a featurette. The featurette is essentially a 25 minute interview with Lofton, but is quiet fun. He gives the 'fans' more ammo against him and his film, pointing out things critics have missed. He seems proud of his film, but remains aware of its flaws, and does finally explain why that guy is so adamant that he has to go cut firewood. There're also liner notes a la Film Threat's '50 Things We Learned From Movies' list. The list points out 20 of the most fascinating elements of the film, but does get one wrong.
The Verdict
Nail Gun Massacre is a pinnacle of 80s horror cinema. Clearly the whole thing was made by people not familiar with the filmmaking process. It is an absolute must see. They don't make 'em like this anymore. In fact, they only ever made 'em like this once, and it was enough.
Movie Score
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