Cream of the Crap: Nailgun Massacre
Directed by: Bill Leslie
Written by: Terri Lofton
This is intended as a primer to appreciating, enjoying and ultimately loving the worst horror movies ever made! The acting is terrible, the effects are obvious, the plots have more holes than swiss cheese. Continuity? What’s that? If you can look past all this, you can often see the desire and hard work that allowed some poor schmuck to make his own movie.
The first film in question is one of my all time favourites, Nailgun Massacre (1985). Finally seeing a DVD release, this is one of the worst, most entertaining films I have ever seen. The plot is simple. A woman is gang raped (although her pants are never removed in the scene) by a crew of construction workers. Shortly afterwards, a series of brutal murders are committed in the area. Our first view of the killer is nothing short of hilarious. A black motorcycle helmet, with black electrical tape obscuring most of the visor (because it was just tinted, not mirrored) covers the killer’s face, and presumably alters his voice into a booming, electronic parody of Darth Vader. It also seems to allow him to laugh menacingly while also speaking, a feat I have yet to master. This head gear tops off a fashionable camouflage jumpsuit and a portable (and bright yellow) hydraulic tank which powers his weapon of choice: the nail gun.
The murders are more or less directed towards the construction workers, but just about anybody is a potential victim as our killer does away with hitchhikers and drifters. Sub-plots are introduced and done away with quickly, as a group of young people venture into the woods to fix up an old house. This serves little purpose but to explain where the killer got the nail gun, although this occurs well after several murders have already been committed. Red herrings are also thrown around, seemingly at random until nearly everyone involved is a potential suspect. The investigators, an aging, overweight sheriff and a denim clad doctor seem generally aloof about the sudden rash of murder in the small town. They eventually figure out who the killer is and a thrilling chase scene ensues, involving an old brown hearse and the doctor’s sporty black doctor car.
Stuff to Watch For
The most obvious features of this film are the nail effects. Nails never seem able to actually go all the way into the flesh, always sticking out approximately an inch, just long enough to wiggle whenever the actor moves. The frequent sex scenes are another highlight, shot with all the style and emotion of really, really cheap porno. All but one of them results in death by nail gun.
The shoddy camera work and directing are rampant in this flick. Frequently, scenes begin with a noticeable delay, as though the actors are waiting for some kind of signal. Also, I have counted seven distinct instances where the reflection of the cameraman is clearly visible. The best one is immediately before the chase scene where the cameraman and director are hilariously obvious in the reflection of a car door.
The acting is appalling, but it’s Oscar caliber when compared to the local folks enlisted to fill bit parts. The old lady store clerk is obviously reading (and flubbing) her lines while doing her best not to look at the camera. An old man who discovers one of the bodies is virtually incomprehensible.
Nailgun Massacre is a classic D film, one that should be viewed by all independent film buffs. It proves that education, talent and skill are really not necessary when making a movie. They are certainly not required to make a movie entertaining.