Movie Review: Nail Gun Massacre

Posted: October 28, 2014 in Reviews
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Nail Gun

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Reviewed by: Pontifex Aureus

Originally titled “The Texas Nail Gun Massacre”, Terry Lofton’s seminal cheese-fest, Nail Gun Massacre, featured the tagline “Cheaper than a Chainsaw” in a sly (no wait—ham-fisted) homage to the 1974 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If by “Cheaper than a Chainsaw” they meant the entire cost of production, then yeah. Firmly within so-bad-it’s-good territory, Nail Gun Massacre is actually quite watchable; in fact, if Nail Gun was in on its own joke, this bad horror movie could actually pass for a good comedy. But despite Nail Gun Massacre’s numerous crimes against cinema (bad acting, bad FX, total lack of atmosphere), perhaps its greatest failure is in its fundamental inability to tell a coherent story. It really says something about a movie when being formulaic would be an improvement.

In the town of Seagoville, Texas, a crew of construction workers gang-rape a young woman and soon thereafter, local construction workers are being murdered by a crazed killer with a nailgun. Wondering who the killer is yet? Have you figured it out? Anyway, a local sheriff and doctor begin investigating the series of nail-related murders and bumble around without ever meeting the killer until the lame final confrontation.

Nail Gun Killer Doctor and Sheriff

If that synopsis is vague and unsatisfying, well, so is the movie—a symptom of the lobotomy-style storytelling. This is an even more fatal flaw than simple bad writing; writing can be bad and still be coherent, but if the storytelling itself is bad, if it has no logical progression, no structure, no clear sense of direction or purpose, then you’re left with pointless nonsense.

For example, experienced horror-viewers will know that in slasher flicks, you have your cast of kill fodder; usually a group of teenaged friends introduced at the beginning of the movie. Not so in Nail Gun Massacre; instead we are introduced to the cast of characters in sporadic bursts, two or three at a time, throughout the movie, and most of these characters do not meet, interact, or have scarcely any relation to each other at all. The plot structure of this movie is like a blob of ice cream melting in the sun—messy and all over the place.

Nail Hand Nailed Prayer

In addition to that, Nail Gun Massacre also features all the usual problems that bad movies have. Bad acting? How about a guy that falls over dead onto a BBQ grill, starts tipping over, pushes himself back up, and then looks at the camera? Bad FX? How about wobbly nails and a non-firing nail gun? Bad writing? Here’s a direct quote: “Do you remember when you could sit outside and not worry about the mosquitoes and the killers?” Even the soundtrack is bad; it is literally someone yelling WAAAHH and MUAHAHA into a synthesizer so persistently that you’ll find yourself daydreaming about what death is like.

Roadside Nailer Nail Face

And the ending? Jeeesus…there’s simply not enough room to go into that in a single review, so I’ve added an addendum at the end; look there for a more in-depth discussion of one of the stupidest endings in all of horrordom. Still, despite repeatedly spitting in the face of all that is good and decent in film, Nail Gun Massacre is a fun movie to watch, if only to laugh at how much of a train-wreck it is. But I can’t recommend this movie for the same reason I can’t recommend huffing spray paint—it’s bad for you and it’ll make you stupid; but, meh…it’s kinda fun.

*     *     *

Addendum:

Let’s get this spoiler out of the way right now: the killer is Linda, the girl that gets raped at the beginning. Oh my God! Bet you didn’t see that coming! Especially since the killer’s fairly snug jumpsuit reveals to us early-on that the killer is obviously a woman. Although, there is actually some controversy about the killer’s identity, and understandably so, because the storytelling is so horrendously poor and the movie is so war-crime-ingly directed that you may very well not notice who the killer is.

Many people, after having seen Nail Gun Massacre, believe that the character Bubba is the killer because early in the movie, he very unsubtly states that he’ll be seeing the victims “…sooner than [they] think.” Plus, at the end of the movie, the killer dies, is unmasked, and is revealed to be Bubba. Okay…that’s a strong case for the “Bubba is the killer” theory, but hear me out.

Number one: since the whole movie takes place in broad daylight, we can very clearly see that the killer is female, judging by the curvaceous hips and the fact that the killer is way shorter than Bubba. Number two: At one point the killer states: “You guys played with me; now it’s my turn to play with you” and “…nobody came when I screamed”. Number 3: After Bubba’s death, when the doctor declares that it’s all over, the sheriff utters the unbelievably corny line: “Is it? Is it over?” Number four: as the doctor and Linda walk off into the sunset, Linda’s right arm falls to her side, revealing that she is holding the killer’s motorcycle helmet, and we hear a dramatic DUUUNN from the soundtrack as this happens.

Okay, so those are some good reasons for thinking that Linda was the killer, but if that’s the case, then WHY DOES BUBBA SAY HE’LL SEE THOSE VICTIMS SOONER THAN THEY THINK?! Why would Bubba EVER see the victims AT ALL if Linda was the one doing the killing? Was Bubba also killing? If so, nothing happens in the movie that would suggest this other than him wearing the costume at the end—but then that could be explained by saying that Bubba was merely taking the rap for his sister. My guess is that the character Bubba was a clumsy attempt at inserting a red herring into the storyline, but it is done so poorly that it defies all sense and logic. Secondly, we need more than a dramatic DUUUNN to highlight the fact that the killer is Linda; what should be a cool Basic-Instinct-style surprise ending is instead so lazy and ambiguous that many people don’t even notice it. Or maybe I’m just imagining things and Bubba really was the killer; in any case, the ending should not be this difficult to figure out!

So there you have it: one of the most colossally incompetent and nonsensical endings to a horror movie ever. Whether you believe that Bubba was the killer or Linda was, the ending still leaves you with logical loose-ends so flagrant that you’ll rage against the audacity of the mind that created Nail Gun Massacre.

Comments
  1. I loved this film it had killer and had that total 80’s theme and bloody goodness that we as 8o’s horror fans loved. How can I not love this film I’ve even dressed up as this killer for Halloween and have fan film about it.

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