Ten overly obese contestants compete on a boot camp type reality show to lose the extra pounds and have a chance at winning one million dollars in prize money. With intense health-crazed coaches, a strict unconventional exercise regiment, and a low-carb diet on the menu, things couldn’t be worse for the over weight competitors until people started to disappear and end up being murdered. Shedding the weight was literately the case as one-by-one a contestant’s eviscerated remains were discovered. Now the competition’s stakes have intensified and death is lurking around every corner. And we all thought fat shaming was worst that could happen to the weight challenged…
“Camp Massacre,” “Massacre Camp,” “Summer Camp Massacre,” Klown Kamp Massacre.” No matter how you jumble up these specific words, a generic title is still a generic title and the title “Camp Massacre” puts a pre-viewing damper on a long night of film watching along with a cover splayed with a former porn starlet and Charlie Sheen ex-“goddess” Bree Olson, semi-retired wrestler Al Snow, and, well, some unknown hot brunette chick with a bloodied chainsaw who doesn’t appear to be a part of the cast. Going into “Camp Massacre” knowing that this title considers itself a horror-comedy had helped push myself into popping in the disc and pressing the play button or else this title might still be collecting cobwebs on the nightstand.
The opening scene introduces the viewers to two young and attractive women and one large, unattractive woman in a hotel room discussing plans on what they’ll do tonight on a foreign island land which is undisclosed to us – looked like Key West, honestly. One of the women pondering going out on a night on the town is Bree Olson and before you know, Olson is fully and gratuitously nude in a sensual, extended shower scene and you all know what happens if you show your skin too soon in a horror movie! This ambiguously set and gratuitously shot segment proceeds into the main title and credits that slide right into the meat of the film that seemingly almost has nothing to do with the opener. The introductory scene barely hangs on even with the finale connection, but this thin connection creates an out of place awkward sequence that stands out like a sore thumb.
Connectivity and longevity of story remembrance sums up co-directors Daniel Emery Taylor and Jim O’Rear’s experience in filmmaking. The two filmmakers also produce and star in this collaborated effort to bring comedy and horror to a Biggest Loser reality show parody and to homage their love for certain horror icons. The hot topic of obesity is currently in a state of widespread prevalence making “Camp Massacre” relevant to the world’s personal and social problems that the media hops on, but the real question is did directors Taylor and O’Rear succeed in making a good comedic and horrifying quasi-film out of movie about obesity? That conclusion is all in the eye of the beholder and all in the interpretation of the viewer.
Is “Camp Massacre” a horror film? Yes. Is “Camp Massacre” a comedy movie? Yes. Is “Camp Massacre” a good horror-comedy? On a scale from one to ten, with ten being the highest – a three. Let me explain; the killer is written as a chubby villain with a “Six Pack, Abs” red apron and a Kentucky Fried Chicken family bucket on his head for a mask. If the killer’s looks intended to be a hoot, then there was a monumental failure. The killer’s arsenal is a collection of obviously off-colored prop knives and machetes that could be considered costume jewelry or packaged costume outfit accessories for party goers. The death effects are a bag of cheap tricks which are not sold convincingly and don’t bring the blood in which “Massacre” implies. The one single element going for “Camp Massacre” being a horror film – or even within the standards of a comedy – is the amount of nudity. Bree Olson, Megan Hunt, Amy Boyatt, and even Taylor’s wife, Ami Taylor, succumb to the conventions of a campy horror film and reveal the goods for the world to bear-witness. My only question is, where was Ava Cronin’s nude scene?
As far as the comedy side of this horror-comedy, “Camp Massacre” delivers on some levels mostly hanging around on a slapstick and immaturity elements. Daniel Emery Taylor’s character Greg paired with T.J. Moreschi’s Andy couldn’t ask for a better coupling as a budding duo who compliment each other’s wits with different character personalities. Add in a self absorbed narcissist body guard (who on the DVD cover looks like a coach with a whistle and clipboard) character named Ritz played by the bulky wrestler Al Snow and you’ll get a chuckle or two out of this feature. Ritz delivers quirky quips like “everything is good on top of a Ritz” during the scenes right moment. However, much of the comedy misses the mark and also just comes off as saying a lot of “fucks” in the dialogue which becomes stale after a first twenty. Simply put, the comedy is overly clichéd, but can still give you a half-assed tickling.
I’m not overtly excited about “Camp Massacre’s” characters either. Greg, Andy, and Ritz are fine and I’m found the homosexual Jarrod and the hispanic Josue to be entertaining. The rest of the cast seemed a bit tired. Actor William S. Tolliver was either sitting or laying flat the whole movie which was probably due to his weight, but the character became old as Tolliver didn’t express much versatility for an immobile character. Darc Ness, played by Ernest Douglas Nichols, didn’t bring the Goth attitude I had hoped. The character mixed Goth and serenity blending the persona into a off-key concoction. Most of the cast have worked with Taylor and O’Rear and have become their own heavy set version of entourage. What the film needed was more Michael Myers portrayer Dick Warlock, but that’s neither here nor there.
The MVDVisual DVD dons a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer that looks decent except for a bit of posterizing after the opening credits in the darker scenes. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mix does well channeling and prioritizing the dialogue, but some production issues weigh heavy on an uneven mic placements causing slight interference from scene to scene. For disc extras, there is solely the movie’s trailer. Overall, “Camp Massacre” doesn’t deserve to be completely passed over, but I wouldn’t expect instantaneous cult status or life changing acting nor an outer-body experience in filmmaking. Instead, take “Camp Massacre” for what it’s worth; a bunch of fat guys at boot camp being stalked by a bucket head killer with Al Snow and lots of nudity. Where can you go wrong with all that?