Sub Rosa Studios (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 69 minutes
Director: Jeremy Wallace Starring: DJ Vivona, Jason Christ, Michael Hill, Chris Belt, Joy Payne, William Clifton, Eric Stanze Screenplay: Jeremy Wallace, Eric Stanze
Music: Ven Rivoli Tagline: Twas the night before Christmas…and everyone's DEAD. Country: USA
A quote from Burnout Central on the front cover of The Christmas Season Massacre reads "Warning! Not to be seen sober!" I think there's an extra word at the end there.
The Christmas Season Massacre opens with what I thought was an ode to H.G. Lewis: a drawn out, cheap gut pulling sequence. The film segues to I Spit On Your Corpse, I Piss On Your Grave's Eric Stanze (who seems to be connected to many Sub Rosa films) with a woman he's trying to impress. Stanze tells her the story of his former classmate Tommy "Oneshoe" McGroo, a young boy who was constantly picked on. At one point, McGroo had one of his shoes stolen by bullies, but his parents couldn't afford to buy him another one. The missing footwear just gives his classmates one more reason to tease him, plus his sock is getting really dirty, so McGroo gets the idea to ask Santa for a replacement shoe. When "Santa" actually gives McGroo an eye patch, McGroo snaps and kills his parents, then begins offing his classmates annually at Christmas time. The handful of surviving classmates assemble so they're together if McGroo comes for them. In theory, anyway, as they often wander off alone.
The Christmas Season Massacre does have a few good gags, like the particular make of McGroo's eye patch and a well done pirate flag joke in an early scene, but it also has a LOT of padding. When all the classmates get together, they fuck around, and end up playing Trivial Pursuit. While I suppose watching them is slightly less boring than actually playing the game, it's still padding. There're also quite a few dumb jokes, bad libs, and low rent gore, so the film just gets boring. Part of the boredom factor may be that director/co-writer Jeremy Wallace thought things were funny that just weren't. In his commentary track, he explains that the early gut pulling scene was meant to be funny because it goes on too long, but you've already read what I thought it was. The movie may not be great, but it does have a bit of gratuitous nudity, which did a little to brighten up the dreary proceedings.
I enjoy having "Christmas movies" I can foist on unsuspecting relatives, but the holiday setting here is completely irrelevant. Change a few lines of dialogue and slightly refashion one prop, and the whole thing could be taking place at any holiday, or indeed any day at all. Given the summer climate, The Fourth of July would've made much more sense if Wallace really wanted to use a holiday.
Roughly 12 minutes of outtakes and credits pad the run time out to 69 minutes. Most of the outtakes aren't that good, but there is an amusing bit involving a windscreen.
The film is presented at 1.33:1. It's shot on video, but at least it's higher end video. There's still video grain and some glitches.
Audio is a two-channel track. The dialogue is mostly decipherable, but sometimes lost in the score. Speaking of the score, it's not too bad. Overall the audio is completely adequate considering the non-existent budget of the movie.
The DVD has two commentary tracks. The first is by Wallace, who is talkative, but the track is a bit straight forward for my tastes, and how much will anyone really care about information on a movie like this if a track's not entertaining? He also repeats himself a bit, and gets things wrong. Like, basic things, such as saying the second appearance of McGroo is the first. He does explain a weird, ADRed scene, which helped my comprehension of it, and once he warms up, he does get better at keeping the track engaging. The second track features stars Jason Christ, Chris Belt, and Julie Farrar. Really, this isn't a movie worthy of two tracks. While a few odd things are said, nothing is revealed that makes the track worth listening to. Both commentaries give a further "you had to be there" feel to the overall film, making it seem even more like a movie that would only entertain those involved.
Also included is a short (38 minutes) film called Frank Wang: The Vengeance. It's a low budget pastiche on kung fu flicks, with out of synch dubbing and low rent fights. The credits are really long, and the whole thing's pretty crap. Just watch Kentucky Fried Movie, or even a badly dubbed kung fu flick.
Smaller extras include some short notes on Sub Rosa, a seven-minute behind the scenes feature (I could only find one despite the sleeve saying there were two), song outtakes from the film, and a trailer. There're also trailers for a few other Sub Rosa films: I Spit On Your Corpse, I Piss On Your Grave, Insaniac, and The Undertow.
Not enough trailers? Well, there're also some as eggs. Pretty much press left on any trailer on the menu, and you'll highlight an acronym for another film. Press enter and you'll get to see the trailer. Left on Insaniac will lead you to the trailer for Savage Harvest. Left on I Spit On Your Corpse… will lead you to the trailer for Ice From The Sun. Left on The Christmas Season Massacre will lead you to the trailer for Scrapbook.
Okay, trailers aren't much of an egg (except maybe on the Grindhouse Cannibal Holocaust disc), but there're more eggs for you Easter hunters. Press down on "Chapter" on the main menu to highlight "DVD." Press enter for credits and thank yous. Press left on "Songs By Mike" in the extras menu to highlight "hfp1." Press enter to see Hotel Faux Pas' video clip for "I Lost My Innocence To The Industrial Age." Press left on "Sub Rosa Studios" in the extras menu to highlight "hfp2." Press enter to see Hotel Faux Pas' video clip for "Put Your Feet In The Wedding Cake." Hotel Faux Pas reminded me of The Mountain Goats in the first clip, and a Disneyfied Pansy Division in the latter.
Aside from maybe three funny moments (most in the beginning) and a shower scene (which isn't even photographed that well), there isn't a lot happening here. As a holiday movie it's virtually worthless, and as a comedy/slasher it's not much better.
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