The film is basically a slasher anthology, of several short horror stories tied (sort of) together. Since this is a “Joe Castro experience”, there’s a lot of gore, lots of decapitations and on-screen deaths.
The on-screen bodycount actually is very high, some 155 deaths, makes “The Summer of Massacre” the slasher film with most ever kills on camera.
First story (“Rampage”) centers around some muscle guy, who goes out for a run, and minutes after, he’s ambushed by some jerks, and is beaten down with a steel pipe. The next morning, he somehow is able to stand up, and the horrible thigs the ambushers did to him last night, force him to lose his mind and go on a killing spree.
Second story is more disturbing, featuring two familiar faces from the low-budget horror cinema, Brinke Stevens and Nick Principe. Principe plays a deformed, mentally sick girl, who’s sister desperately wants to get rid of her with some help of her friends. Brinke Stevens enjoys a small part as the mother.
Third story – “Son of the Boogeyman” is about a woman, which has been raped by some huge monster, a boogeyman, and years later, the son she gave birth to, is forced to save himself from that very same Boogeyman, who has come back for his son.
The last story is about gay firefighters. Yes, it’s called “Burn”, and it has a group of teens in the woods, sitting around a campfire, listening to a horrific story of two gay firefighters, who were burned alive in these woods, and yet their bodies were never recovered.
It doesn’t take long before these gay firefighters (now heavily deformed because of burns) come to hunt the teens, who have to somehow stay alive through the night.
All four stories are wrapped up by a news report, that shows three sadistic killers hiding in a warehouse full of dead bodies, and being surrounded by the police.
Prior to “The Summer of Massacre”, I’ve only seen one of Joe Castro’s movies, and that was “Hazing” – another low-budget horror film, with a deformed girl killing some unsuspecting teens. “Hazing” seemed disturbing to me at the time, yet “The Summer of Massacre” sure surpasses it.
Castro made “The Summer of Massacre” for only $750,000 according to IMDB, and many expressed their negative views towards film’s special effects, which were mostly computer generated.
In 2011, Joe Castro, speaking to FearNet, said that the computer-generated effects were mixed into the real SFX, to make the film look more like a graphic novel (a very gory one). One thing for sure – it does look unique.
While “The Summer of Massacre” is a low-budget gory film, without any real plot, with lousy acting, some really annoying music, Joe Castro managed to make this unique combination of film and graphic story work.
Having a bigger budget, Castro might have gone for the classic SFX, and the film would have had a completely different feel to it.
One thing Castro has to be given credit for – the creativity. He sure does have it, and he vividly expresses it in “The Summer of Massacre”. He saved a lot in here, being the director, writer, producer, make-up and visual effects supervisor and actor as well (guess what, he plays one of the gay firefighters!).
Try putting yourself through a test, by watching the film, until Castro decides to make “Winter of Massacre” or something similar.