Ed. note- You couldn’t make me review EASTER BUNNY, KILL! KILL! if you threatened to tear my fingernails off. So in honor of the risen Christ, here’s a flick from the bottom of the holiday barrel. Enjoy.- P. F.
I’m pretty sure that writer/ director Robert C. Hughes started his prewriting process by scratching holidays off a list. “Now which holiday hasn’t been used in a horror flick yet? Halloween? *scratch* Christmas? *scratch* Valentine’s Day? *scratch* St. Patrick’s Day? *scratch* Oh wait, I know! New Year’s… Evil. Goddammit! *scratch scratch scratch* Well, there’s Arbor Day… Canadian Flag Day… oh boy. I better go with Memorial Day.” Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but if the start of the, ahem, creative process went anything like this, it was the most thought put into the absolutely ludicrous project that would become MEMORIAL VALLEY MASSACRE.
I usually start off every review’s second paragraph with a summary of the early parts of the plot, but I don’t want to. Here’s a list I made of our film’s heroes instead. I hope you like it:
* A fifth rate version of the mayor from JAWS who wants to open his Memorial Valley
camp site on… Memorial Day.
* His idealistic, post hippie son who decides to take up his dad’s offer for a job not in
some cushy office, but in… Memorial Valley.
* The big boss’ hard working site director, a gruff everyman who clashes with the
idealistic, post hippie son, with whom he eventually creates a mutual respect.
* The retarded Black camp handyman, just because the writer wanted not one, but two minorities in one handyman.
* The cute blonde who lets the idealistic son bang her pretty quickly.
And last but not least
* A bear, just because this takes place in the woods.
This unlikely band of heroes is out to save the most absurd combination of campers ever to assemble. In honor of Hughes, here’s a list of them:
* The nerd bikers who would get beat up by a high school art class
* The female teen and the two friends/ enemies, both of whom want to bang her
* The retired war general who has a bimbo wife and a collection of old college football
games in his camper
* The couple that complains about snakes in the park
And last but not least,
* The semi-retarded brat in his 20s who wants to steal dirt bikes and ride in the
wilderness, as his equally annoying parents enable him.
And that kid is one of the most underrated embodiments of the Law of Annoying Characters’ Pleasing Deaths ever committed to film. I can’t remember wanting a whiny brat to die any greater this side of Franklin from the first TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
And boy is his death silly. Extremely satisfying, but silly. As are most of the deaths in this flick. Because the killer in this flick is outright comedy. In my review of NEW YEAR’S EVIL, I referred to 1980s cartoon Inspector Gadget. I’ll trump that “I love the 80s” here, as this guy is the retarded second cousin of Thundarr the Barbarian.
I kept waiting for Ookla the Mok to pull up on some mutant horse thing and give our killer a hand. Seriously, with the recent death of the WWF legend the Ultimate Warrior, I wanted this guy to invest in a set of arm tassels.
And just wait until when you find out how the barbarian is related to the park. Oh wait, they telegraph this thing so far in advance you’ll figure it out three days before you watch the flick for the first time.
It’s clear to me no thought went into any of this. The characters are thin, the heroes are oddballs, the plot is near non-existent, the kills are tame and the killer is from the same lineage as Captain Caveman. This film came out in 1989, so far down the line that the slim pickings left the writer/ director clutching at straws to come up with even a half decent holiday. The saddest part is that MEMORIAL VALLEY MASSACRE falls just shy of qualifying as an In Its Own Universe flick, so it’s not even much fun. Just check out MEGA SHARK vs. GIANT OCTOPUS instead.
In the annals of holiday killer flicks, MEMORIAL VALLEY MASSACRE stands as the absolute nadir of the bunch that I’ve seen. I’m sure some small niche was clamoring for a sequel… but they’ll likely never get Hughes’ CANADIAN FLAG DAY SLAUGHTER. Believe me, we’re all better off.