“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Heavy Metal Massacre

I’d like to end this not-as-rockin-as-I’d-hoped Slasher Search Rocks! mini-series with an extreme obscurity I never could’ve seen if not for the maniacs at Bleeding Skull! Video, who for some reason love shot-on-VHS movies. Though “never distributed properly on home video” (the director just sold it through ads in the back of heavy metal magazines), Bleeding Skull! gave HEAVY METAL MASSACRE (1989) a limited edition 250 copy, VHS only re-release in 2016.

This is the mostly-filler-about-a-killer story of an unnamed (as far as I noticed) loner who looks like he could be in Poison with his long, bleach blond, meticulously teased hair and studded bracelets and what not. He goes to one small brick wall bar where he picks up big-haired leather-jacket-wearing women. He sometimes uses the promise of cocaine, but very few words, and when he does talk it’s more of a working joe kinda voice than I expected to come out from behind that makeup.

He brings them to his place, which is one small room full of posters, but it supposedly connects to a series of industrial hallways and garages where he takes them to handcuff them up and then hit them with a sledge hammer.

Despite the overall ickiness of it it’s not very graphic at all – not much in the way of FX.

His living room has a collection of skeleton and motorcycle related posters, a couple decorative battle axes, and a swastika muscle shirt hanging on the wall from a plastic coat hanger. In a “real” movie we might take these as set decoration and character choices, but when it’s very slowly and lovingly documented repeatedly in video toaster musical montage sequences, I think it’s fair to assume that this is writer-director-star Bobbi Young showing off his personal collection. Likewise the many very long shots of him leaning against a collage wall or just posing in his outfit. It seems like it’s probly Young’s look at the time, that it takes alot of work and that he’s very proud of it. He also has a woman compliment his “strong arms” and decide she wants to “make some use of that body.” On the other hand, she calls his clothes and decorations weird and he recoils when she tries to touch his dick, so maybe it is a character and not vanity.

I’m not sure what this killer’s problem with women is. He does kill one man, though – a macho guy who calls him gay for picking up the same girl he was hitting on. Unlike the others in this review series, these victims are never, as far as we’re told, in a band. They just seem to be enthusiasts, judging from their style, and the soundtrack is pretty much wall-to-wall with some kind of hair metal or whatever. Also, this is really more of a serial killing than a massacre. So the title is somewhat misleading.

There’s a part that’s supposed to be showing the crime scene after one of his murders is discovered, and it’s just the rock ‘n roll playing over fuzzy red-tinted camcorder footage of police and firemen and stuff. I assumed this was similar to the guerrilla filmmaking in MULBERRY STREET, getting footage of the actors near some real incident going on so you can get the production value of ambulances and police cars and stuff. But it’s worse, according to “The Search For Bobbi Young,” an essay by my old friend Zack Carlson that’s included in the tape. Apparently they called 911 claiming there had been a fatal accident and then recorded the first responders looking for a body! Unethical in my opinion.

The plot summary on the box claims that “the story takes a bizarre twist,” but I didn’t notice any kind of twist at all. He kills some people and then it ends. Basically there’s a main character lady (Michele De Santis) and at the end she’s going to leave the bar with the killer, so I guess you’re supposed to think “Oh, shit, now she’s going to die too! What an ironic turn of events!” and not “Here is the beginning of the third act, where our heroine will give the villain his comeuppance.” It’s one of those abrupt endings where you think “Wait, what? That’s it?” and then “I mean, I’m glad, but…”

According to Zack’s essay and a poster included in the tape, Bobbi Young had a band called Hot Blonde with a “kickin’ debut single” called “End of the Night” backed with “Dirty Women.” But the most interesting thing about Bobbi Young is that he’s also David DeFalco, who would go on to direct CHAOS, challenge me to a wrestling match, and get Dave Bautista into movies. This was filmed in Rhode Island before he moved to L.A. and got into wrestling and bodybuilding. Here he’s slim and lanky.

There are a couple of police detective characters who wear ties, sit in one office and talk about the murders. In one scene there’s an old, chain-smoking coroner looking into a microscope. He reminded me enough of CHAOS’s notorious DVD extra in the L.A. County Coroner’s Office that I was hoping DeFalco was friends with a real coroner back in Rhode Island too. But probly not.

According to the essay (which “respectfully excised” his real name, but does confirm that he is the director of CHAOS), The Demon thinks the movie is shit and is embarrassed that he was “such a skinny fucking little glam geek back then.” And I’m not saying he needs to be embarrassed, but it’s understandable that having such a public document of a very specific and extreme phase in your youth could be hard. Still, he was willing to let them release the movie (with a very clear transfer from the 1″ master tape), so good for him. And unlike most of us he made his little movie and his band and then moved to L.A. and got muscles and became The Demon and made some comparatively professional movies and had feuds with Sage Stallone and me and Roger Ebert. I may regret saying anything nice about him if he ever ends up opening the doorway to true evil and plunging the world into eternal darkness or something, but I really do appreciate the unique path he’s followed. And even though I agree with the ex-Bobbi Young about the quality of HEAVY METAL MASSACRE, I think it’s interesting that it exists, which is more than I can say for some of the other heavy metal horrors I watched this year.

 

 



Special thanks to Joseph Ziemba and Tommy Swenson for getting me the liner notes

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at 4:05 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

15 Responses to “Heavy Metal Massacre”

  1. Wow that’s the Demon?? I’d say that is a pretty big twist!

    I haven’t seen this, and probably won’t make the effort to correct that over the course of my lifetime, but this kind of sight specific lore/trivia just elicited from me the kind of involuntary, awkward guffaw that probably could have ended my presidential campaign a decade ago.

  2. Well, to be fair, I do think having the star turn out to be Demon Dave DeFalco is in fact a bizarre twist in the story.

  3. Love Bleeding Skull…one of my favorite movie websites. I am a fan of shot on VHS (and other consumer format) junk like this.

    Being on a bunch of Facebook groups about those super z-grade movies is a rabbit hole that never ends. There really a lot of these really odd regional scum films floating around out there. Some of them show glimers of brilliance…strange and original ideas. A lot of them fall into the “so bad its good” mold. Andmony, many others, sadly…are just boring.

    Also…big fan of Demon Dave. First heard of him because of Chaos and the epic war he waged with you and others. But, tracked down a good number of his movies…and some of his DTV action entries are interesting. And I genuinly thought THE BACKLOT MURDERS was a fun and sort of fucked up slasher flick. He really seems to have forged ahead and blazed an interesting trail for himself.

    I hope we haven’t heard the last of The Demon. Haven’t heard too much from him since 2010. A quick look at his IMDB reveals he’s producing DVD extras now. Hope he gets back to writing, directing and/or acting again. We need him.

  4. Little, not HEAVY METAL MASSACRE related word of warning: If there will be an OVERLORD review, I might go on a long, pissed off rant about how Nazis and their crimes turned into cute popculture punchlines, but I try not to, because I always feel bad when I start shit on here, even if it’s justified.

    (Also feel free to enjoy that movie despite my moral disapproval. I won’t judge you for it, because bad taste or not, it does look awesome!)

  5. This review had the most shocking twist I encountered in the entire October horror season

  6. CJ- well if nothing else, that would be a pretty interesting discussion at least. I think there’s pretty valid cultural reasons that led to Nazis being mocked and made fun of for so long, but it does appear that perhaps that has led to people taking them less seriously these days, which is, uh, proving to be bad. Hitler deserves to be laughed at for sure, but did turning him into a figure of fun such that everybody giggles when Adam Sandler shoves a pineapple up his butt lead to the election of Trump? Not DIRECTLY, obviously, but jeeze, I dunno.

    I do agree that the horror of Nazi crimes have been somewhat robbed of their impact by pop culture – so often, especially in movies and video games, they’re presented as the black-suited general “bad guys” our heroes can shoot without feeling guilty about it, but little-to-no reckoning with their actual deeds. Even stuff like INGLORIOUS BASTERDS didn’t really have much of a focus on Nazi crimes (outside of the beginning segment, but even that only alluded to the reality of the attempted genocide), which I think is especially interesting since (in my opinion at least) Tarantino did a good job of highlighting the horror of slavery in DJANGO UNCHAINED within the structure of *that* goofy action-revenge flick.

  7. I don’t wanna start the discussion now, but IMO the three generations of Nazis in popculture and as punchlines are:

    1) Holocaust survivors and ex-soldiers who tried to deal with the horrible shit they lived through.

    Which decades later lead to:
    2) An easy way to shock the squares.

    Which decades later lead to:
    3) “What’s so bad about Nazis? I kill them in Video Games every day and all those cartoon Hitlers on Adult Swim are damn funny!”

    In conclusion: I wait for the OVERLORD review. If there won’t be one, I wait for another time. Interesting and relevant topic or not, it feels weird if future readers of this websight look for a review of HEAVY METAL MASSACRE and find a discussion about popculture Nazis. (Although the killer in that movie does have a swastika shirt!)

  8. Jeez, you start one measly little genocide and everybody gets so uptight.

  9. This led me down a rabbit hole where I re-read the Demon DeFalco talkback. Jesus. Those were the days. I sort of miss the AICN shit and scrolling through the comments looking for Vern’s replies, particularly when wrassling matches were on the line.

  10. Say what you want about AICN but in its peak, the talkbacks were damn fun. Just the right mix of true assholery and “Just kidding” assholery, that is so sorely missing from the internet these days.

  11. It is interesting that at the time of WWII, and the decade’s following and even to some extent today, Nazis were often portrayed in very mainstream entertainment with all the gravitas of Elmer Fudd or as a casual avatar of evil no different from Doctor Doom or whoever. In contrast whenever Bin Laden turns up in a comedy there was always an undercurrent of “edgy” artists “going there”.

  12. It’s weird, isn’t it? You’d think the fiction made closest to the time of the actual tragedy would reflect the gravity of the situation, but the first, like, 40 years of Nazis on film was just a bunch of cartoonish henchmen getting machine-gunned off of portcullises and talking in funny accents and shit. You had rousing war adventure epics where WWII played more like a Boy’s Own adventure than the most devastating man-made event in human history, or knowingly camp schlock like THEY SAVED HITLER’s BRAIN. HOGAN’s HEROES played on network TV for decades! As far as I can tell, it’s only after SCHINDLER’S LIST that mainstream pop culture tried to deal with Nazis on any kind of serious level.

    The funny thing is, maybe treating them like ridiculous comic relief bad guys was the way to go. The world didn’t have a Nazi problem when they were portrayed as effete goosestepping caricatures who could be dispatched en masse by any square-jawed hero with a smirk and a one-liner. Maybe portraying them as the ultimate evil gives them too much power, like how real skinheads are pathetic losers but they love AMERICAN HISTORY X because it portrays them as the strong, scary monsters they see themselves as. Maybe the way you beat the beast is to laugh at its delusions of significance. To portray it as something worth fearing is to give it exactly what it wants.

    Or maybe Nazis are back because white people are simply a rash on the skin of this planet that needs to be flayed off with steel and fire. One or the other probably.

  13. I think the difference is that WWII wasn’t something that was fought in America, so of course the propanda machine (or just mom & pop) could easily tell the stories of the bufoony Krauts, who were easily defeated by “the greatest generation” and their square jawed, fearless, all-american applepie loving soldiers. Of course European popculture wasn’t really into making fun of the shit that went down in their backyards, no matter if their country was victim or perpetrator. (I’m not a film historian, but I can’t think of any European WWII satire, that came out before the 60s.)

    Of course you can’t pull that with 9/11 and the very real feeling of “Oh shit, WE were attacked in OUR country and had to watch it on live TV, instead of edited newsreels!”

    Fun fact: THE PRODUCERS didn’t premiere in Germany until 1976, because nobody knew how German audiences would react. HOGAN’S HEROES premiered here in 1992 and it’s been a huge hit and constantly on TV since then. When I told my aunt, who lived through the end of WWII and lost a brother during the bombing of her town, got angry when I told her about the show, but when she once walked into the room while I watched an episode of it, she laughed.

  14. You’re definitely onto something there, CJ. The European narrative of WWII was “Our lands and culture were decimated by the brutality of war” America’s was “Woo! We went over there and kicked ass and showed them europansies who’s boss! USA! USA!” It’s a lot easier to craft uncritical adventure stories out of the latter experience than the former.

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