Camp Massacre (2014)

Now that the costly process of shooting on film — not to mention developing it — is a thing of the past, technology allows anyone to make movies. But just because you can doesn’t automatically mean you should, and some of today’s DIY efforts not-so-secretly make me wish operating a DV camera required a license. Nowhere does the amateur-hour approach ring louder than in the realm of the slasher movie.

What is it about the venerable but nonvenerated horror subgenre that inspires so many would-be Wes Cravens to cry “Action”? (And why do their screenplays drop a “fuck” — or its endless variants thereof — on seemingly every page?) In hopes of finding the next Make-Out with Violence or Puppet Monster Massacre, I’ve sat through many microbudgeted horrors, none more horrible — and that’s really saying something — than Camp Massacre, originally titled as Fat Chance.

Once it gets past the prologue of former porn star Bree Olson (The Human Centipede III) getting stabbed — with a knife, pervert — in the shower for no discernible reason other than killing two birds (nudity, name value) with one stone, the film by 2013’s The Hospital co-directors Jim O’Rear and Daniel Emery Taylor (who also serves as screenwriter) gets down to business. Unfortunately, that business is fat-shaming in the name of alleged comedy, as 10 rather large men — ranging from merely obese to morbidly so — compete in a 30-day boot camp for the fictitious reality show By the Pound, with a $1 million booty at stake. As the show goes on, the competition becomes tougher — and yet easier, because of the serial killer offing the contestants.

O’Rear and Taylor consistently go for the gross-out, so hardcore fans of Troma pick-ups might find it funny. I can appreciate a good fart joke and other scatalogical set pieces when they’re well-executed, but the bottom line with Camp Massacre is that it’s an ugly mess — visually, conceptually, metaphorically — and too witless to offend. Ironically, the film could have mitigated its awfulness simply by slimming down. In an utterly baffling creative decision, Camp Massacre runs a bloated, Cimino-esque 129 minutes long! One By the Pounder pledges, “We’ll fix it in post.” They didn’t. —Rod Lott

Get it at Amazon.

Read the original review in Exploitation Retrospect: The Journal of Junk Culture & Fringe Media #53

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