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Askew Review 15

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(Camp Motion Pictures ) 1988. Black Comedy. 90 Minutes. Not Rated. Some implied violence, a smattering of blood and tongue firmly inserted in cheek. Dad has a business trip and has to leave the three kids, Jon, Denice and Tom alone with his sister. Their dreaded aunt is a harpy in disguise and disapproves of everything that the kids do. Whether itís Jon having a date that weekend or little Tom getting his official Rambo survival knife in the mail. Itís the knife that proves her undoing, though as she attempts to take it away from Tom and in the scuffle, gets stabbed for her trouble. The kids panic and instead of reporting the accident to the local authorities decide to throw their aunt in the woodchipper dad has rented for the weekend. Of course they freeze her first so that she goes through the chipper a little easier. They figure they can tell dad that she had a call and had to leave early. The perfect crime and the perfect end to a horrid old woman. Then her no good, shiftless son shows upÖ
  Jon McBride made Woodchipper Massacre for 400 dollars. Thatís what it cost for the rental of the woodchipper. The acting is all pretty local theater type and you can tell this was shot with the video camera of the day.  Thatís the first strike. The second strike is that this came on the tails of his ultra gore epic, Cannibal Campout. These two films are like night and day. Where Cannibal Campout was dark, bloody and creepy; Woodchipper Massacre is sort of The Brady Bunch gone horribly awry. With these two strikes against it youíd think that I hated this flick. Actually, it works for me. The black comedy is always funny if done right and these people manage to deadpan their way through this one right to the end. Add to that some great extras like interviews with the cast and a lengthy interview with Jon McBride and you get a true feeling for what micro budget film making was like in itís infancy. This was the time of the mom and pop video store, hungry for product and this one sold like hot cakes. Sure, a lot of people were probably disappointed when it turned out to be a bloodless affair and everyone kept their clothes on, but it still manages to capture the time that it was made. As long as you go into this thing knowing what to expect, Woodchipper Massacre is a pretty good flick on a Friday night with beer and popcorn. -Douglas A. Waltz



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