Naked Massacre (1976)

Amidst the turmoil of civil war, an American Vietnam War veteran arrives in Ireland after being discharged from service. Things start out badly as a church he is sort of hanging out in gets blown up. Everyone knows that Vietnam War veterans are typically psychos, at least in exploitation movies. And with a title like Naked Massacre you know this isn't going to end well.

It just so happens that there is some kind of shared living arrangement with the nurses in this town. So you've got a house of young nurses just waiting to be massacred (the nurses not the house). Plus the crazy Vietnam war vet.

Now, I'm a simple man. I like when movie titles double as plot summaries. So that's a plus right away. It helps when I am trying to remember some obscure trashy movie I watched. "Which was the one where, like, there was a massacre? A massacre of naked ladies? A Naked Massacre, you might say?"

Like a lot of exploitation movies from the mid 70s Naked Massacre is gritty as hell and pulls no punches. The dialog is very natural and the performances are pretty realistic, which definitely helps create the hopeless atmosphere.

So I find it a little hard to be flippant when discussing this film. But I'll try, god help me I'll try.

On the one hand, Naked Massacre delivers the exploitation goods. The sheer amount of nudity is impressive and yes, there is quite a massacre.

On the other hand, as I watched this movie I found myself thinking, "oh, this kind of naked massacre." This is not your typical sleazy naked massacre, the kind where after watching it you want to go outside and enjoy life and get some project you've been working on for the longest time done. It's not the kind of naked massacre that would, say, make you want to go bake a cake or visit your folks or whatever. This is the kind of naked massacre where after watching the movie you sort of just want to sit in your dark room thinking about how much everything sucks and how people are so awful and wouldn't the world be better off if humans never existed and other such things.

There's no humor whatsoever, not even the kind of black humor they usually insert into movies like this to sort of lighten the mood a bit. Everything is bleak, from the pretty shocking church attack at the beginning, to the titular massacre, to the powerful ending.

There's even some kind of anti-violence message at the end where they sort of compare the random and senseless violence of the movie with the random and senseless violence of the war in Ireland.

Having said that, this is an excellent movie. Not only is it effectively brutal but you can watch it with other people and right after the movie is over and they all turn to you and look at you thinking you're some kind of pervert or psycho you can tell them, "don't you see? It's not about sleaze and misogynistic violence. It's really about how people who enjoy sleazy and violent movies are no better than the psychos who perpetrate these crimes in real life!" It helps if the people you are saying this to have a few drinks in them.


joncalibur said...

you said 'titular' !!! welcome back!

newtmonkey said...

These movies make it too easy! It's like they get their titles from the dewey decimal system. It's so scientific!