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The Summer of the Massacre
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The Summer of the Massacre (2005)

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Plot Summary:
"Based on the supposed true life story, The Summer of the Massacre tells the tale of four teens traveling back from College for Summer. When the gang takes a short cut across the English countryside they stumble upon a small town called Black Wood. They soon encounter legendary serial killer Ed Craven, who is known as Hammer Head by the locals. When Hammer Head learns that the teens are in the area he goes on a murderous rampage which includes killing, eating and hunting humans. His weapon of choice is a hammer. The group soon finds out that some legends do exist but will anyone be left alive to tell the tale?"

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 19 August 2005 My Rating: out of 5


Bryn Hammond's ambitious slasher movie may owe a lot to the success of classic genre fare such as TCM and countless other backwoods movies, but he is unashamedly proud of it, and it shows.

The premise sees a group of students run out of petrol on their way home at the end of term, only to encounter a deranged backwoods killer who goes by the name of Hammer Head.

Whilst watching this, I realized that I was having lots of fun with it, as it is a competently executed (for the most part) little movie, that has ensured every genre cliché is present and correct. It never tries to be original, it merely hopes to entertain fans of 70's and 80's horror movies, and that it certainly does.

The cast, who are comprised mainly of young unknown actors, manages to make the audience feel as though we are along for the ride with them as opposed to watching them, which creates a strange vibe, as they appear to be natural even though they all have their off moments.

The aspects which stood out for me were the ambitious make-up effects which were all practical and generally well realized, along with the sense of bravado present from all concerned. Any director who asks his villain to throw an actual pregnant woman around the woods by her hair, whilst prodding her and throttling her means business. In one scene which genuinely had me concerned for the actress's well-being, he even goes so far as to give her a massive bear hug, crushing her stomach in the process.

Making the most of every available location, the film benefits from some nice little set pieces which include an abandoned garage, a burnt out car and a rickety old shack in the woods.

The film would have perhaps benefited from a little more work on the sound (a common problem with low budget films) and I personally would have made a few different choices in terms of shot composition, but it is definitely the work of a horror fan of the 80's.

I haven't seen a British movie like this in a while as it harkens back to the era of Slaughter High and Funny Man. The Summer of the Massacre is a fun film to watch as it has all the things you used to laugh at in it, such as dumb character moves, but it also sees every character attempt to fight back.

If you're looking for a fun little movie that doesn't venture too far off the path of backwoods slasher flicks and massacre pics, you'll probably have a good time with this.

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