Reviews

Heavy Metal Massacre (1989)

Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.

Bobbi Young, your life is calling. And it has very good news.

The first ten minutes of Heavy Metal Massacre consists of a credit sequence. Only, you can count the credits on one hand. What this means is that writer/director/producer/star Bobbi Young aka David DeFalco utilizes this standard film component for something else. Namely, to show us his apartment. And to show us how cool he looks when he stares into the camera, clad in full Faster Pussycat regalia, amidst a wash of disorderly thrash metal, black-light tiger posters, ceramic skull busts, and Radio Shack video effects. This is oblivious, misanthropic trash in its purest form. And it is magnificent.

While most SOV features attempt to establish some sort of narrative veneer, Bobbi said: “Fuck all that. I just wanna make a horror movie with me in it.” So that’s what he did. Now, the term “movie” means many different things to many different people. In the case of Mr. Young, this term was stretched-out and violated until it resembled a stoned, solarized assemblage of random incidents. Admittedly, Heavy Metal Massacre does have a plot. It’s a lot like 555, in that someone (Bobbi) is assaulting and killing women while two foul-mouthed, hard-ass cops track him down. But that means nothing to us. The plot is not the focus. The focus is Bobbi. His hangouts. And his fascination with documenting unequivocal awkwardness in the presence of naked women.

On a fundamental level, this film is nothing more than songs playing while people do things. But we need that. That’s the whole foundation; imagine The Melvins in a sloppy kiss with S.O.D. while gargantuan hair convenes at a gross suburban bar and/or the world’s most depressing apartment. It’s unbelievable. But it’s also what makes Heavy Metal Massacre watchable. These moments of indifference allow us to breathe, to reconvene, and get ready for whatever ridiculous shit flies out of Bobbi Young’s studded wristband next. And believe me, that thing is filled to the brim with ridiculous shit. Do you own a pair of neon pink checkerboard underwear? Bobbi does.

Nothing in Heavy Metal Massacre is predetermined. It can’t be. The film is far too hilarious, far too erratic, for that. From guileless lines delivered in thick Providence, RI accents (“C’mon. I don’t DO peeing.”) to close-ups so extreme that we can’t tell what’s happening (unless it’s the one of Bobbi’s crotch while he puts on a pair of leather pants), Heavy Metal is where you want it to be. Yet, maddening 80s vector graphics and indefinite sexuality aren’t the only elements that score.

Towards the end of the film, Bobbi refuses yet another chance to get laid and ties up yet another girl in his warehouse apartment. He binds her to a chair and covers her with a sheet. Then, in a slo-mo coup borrowed from Sledgehammer, Bobz charges the girl and slugs her with a sledgehammer. The sequence feels like it lasts for three days. It startled me. This was the only moment in Heavy Metal Massacre that didn’t encourage laughs or unconsciousness. On the contrary, it was a gritty mood refashioning which rarely occurs in the SOV gutters. Granted, there were also Corvettes and a chainsaw kill and a girl barfing on a corpse. But none of that was unsettling.

At 80 minutes, I thought, “I’m getting bored. Bobbi could probably wrap this up. But how? There’s no end in sight.” Three minutes later, the film ended. Just ended. No conclusion. No justification. Right when I needed it to stop. Handled like a pro.

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