THE TEXAS ROADSIDE MASSACRE (2012)
Dir. Scott Kirkpatrick 80 mins
UK Release: 15th July 2013
Reviewing a horror movie is essentially about the art contained within, but increasingly it’s also about the presentation. With companies like 88 Films, Arrow Video, and Second Sight providing lovingly restored DVDs and Blu-ray’s packed with extras, releasing a genre picture has become an event. I don’t think any other genre has such a dedicated, expectant and knowledgeable following as horror. With that commitment comes a certain level of responsibility, both with the film and how it’s sold to the baying hordes of loyal fans. We know a Troma movie is going to be a micro-budget, largely amateur affair, but throw in an intro from Uncle Lloyd as well as a DVD bursting with special features and we’re happy bunnies.
This preamble brings me to The Texas Roadside Massacre, and how sad it is that a review of a worthy hicksploitation picture has to be dominated by the shoddy work of its UK distribution company – take a bow Three Wolves Films. First up, when you re-title a film Texas Roadside Massacre from plain old Roadside Massacre, it’s often a useful thing to ensure that it’s set it Texas – this isn’t. When you get a bit handy on photoshop and knock up a cover image with a guy holding a chainsaw, why not make sure that’s actually in the film. How about a cover quote? “Every bit as shocking as the original Chainsaw Massacre… Brutal and relentless!!” says Dreadzone.com. If you have too much time on your hands why not check out Dreadzone.com, and discover for yourself the British band who play a fusion of dub, reggae, techno and folk. They’re worth a listen, and are a former favourite of John Peel no less. Sadly, they don’t review horror films, and speaking of reviews the sole contributor to Amazon that decided to review this film doesn’t really review films either. He might say its “quite simply terrifying”, but a brief look through his review history tells us he only reviews films released by Three Wolves, coincidentally always awarding them five stars.
Finally, we have the classic amateur hour howler of an inaccurate running time on the sleeve. 120 minutes it states, but in actuality someone is wayward with a decimal point as it’s really one hour and twenty minutes long. I may be getting picky, but only recently I discovered someone who has yet to see the outstanding British horror movie Resurrecting The Street Walker as the good folks at Kaleidoscope have listed the running time at near on three hours. This person just doesn’t have the time to see such a lengthy motion picture, but unbeknownst to him they’ve included all the extras into the running time too with the film clocking in at under 90 minutes.
So word limit reached and Scott Fitzpatrick’s film hasn’t even been mentioned. To correct that, let’s talk about Karen who with her friends is heading for spring break. A stop for gas however takes them into the remote mountain town of Blueridge, where Karen coincidentally believes her older sister went missing two years prior. On the recommendation of the attendant, the group decide to grab a bite to eat at Jimmy’s Rib Shack where they become a little concerned about the catatonic state of the staff that work there. After meeting one of the waitresses, Karen has the distinct feeling that it may well be April, her missing sister. Discounting this suspicion (a little too easily for credibility in my opinion), they head on their way albeit not very far at all due to a ruptured fuel line.
After a fractious meeting with the local sheriff, they manage to secure a lift to the local motel where Karen’s suspicions about that very familiar waitress begin to play on her mind. Shortly after, Karen’s boyfriend Nick bumps in to another motel resident Vince (Matthew Schiltz) who also happens to be looking for a missing relative. Is this one coincidence too many, and what secrets does this small town hold about the missing people?
Roadside Massacre is a functional yet largely standard entry into the small town / backwoods / cannibalistic hick style sub-genre. It’s well shot, but despite a decent soundtrack with some excellent metal, the mix is very overpowering which at times make some of the dialogue inaudible. Other than that though, it’s a perfectly serviceable horror movie made on a tiny budget that has the right to be treated with respect, as any piece of art should be. Three Wolves however have proven to be the epitome of disrespectful, serving to satisfy their own bottom line with an inaccurate presentation so they can ride on the coattails of Texas Chainsaw no doubt. It’s pretty shameless in my opinion. Don’t dupe us horror folk, we’re far too intelligent to fall for such bungling ploys. Support your film and it will support you.