Woodchipper Massacre (1988)

DVD Cover (Camp Motion Pictures)
Genres: Black Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy
Jon, Tom, and Denise accidentally kill their senile old Aunt while she's looking after them while their father is away on business. Not sure what to do, they decide to dispose of the body in the rented woodchipper in the backyard. But more trouble comes a-knocking when their cousin Kim, their Aunt's son, shows up unexpectedly. --TMDb
Jon McBride Jon McBride
Jon McBride Jon McBride
Denice Edeal Denice Edeal
Tom Casiello Tom Casiello
Patricia McBride Patricia McBride
Kim Bailey Kim Bailey

4.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: December 04, 2006
When a father leaves his three kids with their aunt for the weekend while he goes off on a business trip, he assumes that everything will be fine. How wrong he is, as the aunt (Patricia McBride) turns out to be one of those strict, bible-thumping ladies who rules over these kids with an iron fist. The kids - John (Jon McBride), Tom (Tom Casiello), and Denise (Denice Edeal) - put up with it for a while so as not to upset daddy dearest upon his return home, but when the aunt attempts to take away Tom's authentic Rambo hunting knife, things get a little messy. The knife accidentally winds up embedded in the old bag's stomach, and the kids - not wanting to get in trouble over this little incident - figure that nobody has to know, and they decide to get a little extra use out of the woodchipper that their dad had rented for the weekend. It's the perfect crime - until, that is, the aunt's son (Kim Bailey) shows up looking for his mom in order to get some cash off her in order to pay off the mob.

After watching Jon McBride's previous film (Cannibal Campout) and reading the description on this one, I sort of expected the same thing: lots of blood, lots of gore, and of course, some interesting kills courtesy of the woodchipper. How wrong I was, but that's not necessarily a bad thing in this case. You see, the goal of this film wasn't to create a gore-soaked horror film: no sir, the goal was to create a black comedy that would come across as a combination of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Brady Bunch. With that in mind, the movie plays out sort of like a sitcom, and there were times when I actually expected a laugh-track to cue up at any moment. Yes, the idea that drives this movie along is both silly and absurd, but there were some genuinely funny moments to be found throughout this adventure.

One thing that came as a shock to me, given the nature of the film and McBride's previous efforts, was the fact that there was minimal gore to be found. I have to believe that this decision was intentional, as he proved in Cannibal that he's perfectly capable of slinging around buckets of blood and having it all come across as perfectly realistic. This may disappoint some gorehounds who were looking forward to a "money shot" of blood and guts spewing forth from this woodchipper, but I personally felt that going that route would have actually felt out of place given the theme and tone of the film. Not that I would have minded seeing it, of course, but it really would have interrupted the flow of the movie.

According to one of the special features on the DVD, this movie was made for a grand total of only $400 (most of which went towards renting the woodchipper). That's a damned impressive feat, especially considering that it was the late eighties and all of this new-fangled computer stuff hadn't become so readily available and easy to use. The lack of a budget does show in spots, as the film was shot on a SuperVHS camcorder and featured (much like Cannibal) McBride himself along with relatively inexperienced friends and family rounding out the cast (in fact, his own mother plays the part of the aunt). These kids didn't display award-winning acting abilities by any means, but their performances were quite acceptable and they even started to grow on me after a while.

If you watch this for what it is and don't expect to see gallons of blood, you'll certainly get some entertainment out of it. I certainly did, as seeing what would have happened to Alice had she been such a bitch towards those Brady kids made for a damned entertaining eighty minutes. 8/10.
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