Memorial Valley Massacre (1988)

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A new campsite set to open becomes the setting for a vicious predator in this 1980’s B-horror film.

Memorial Valley Campsite is gearing up for a Memorial Day weekend opening. However, there is trouble from the beginning. The construction workers have refused to continue work on the site after a fellow worker is killed and they find a dog’s corpse. The facilities have not been completed. For campsite director George Webster, he is really mad that David Sangster, the son of the man in charge for constructing the campsite in the first place, has taken a job at the campsite.

Nevertheless, many people have arrived for the opening, including a small time biker gang, a trio of friends, and a local family in which the teenage son is quite a delinquent. When the kid illegally drives an ATV across the campgrounds, he learns there is someone at the campsite. A mysterious hermit, who has primitive instincts, kills the kid. Soon enough, the hermit begins a killing spree against any random person invading his territory. As David, George, and the survivors try to find the hermit, a dark secret could be the revelation as for the identity of the mysterious killer.

Originally titled Memorial Day, this is quite an interesting film that has a lesson in mind: don’t mess with Mother Nature. The film is about primal instincts in the sense of the film’s antagonist. The film also revolves around corporations and how they can turn a piece of possible wildlife into a new campsite but instead of protests from environmentalists, we have a killer in the midst. A synopsis described the killer as an axe-wielding maniac. The truth is that this killer, well played by John Caso (in his only film credit), doesn’t just use an axe. The primal rage in him allows him to physically decimate his victims and while he may not be the size of a monster or big guy, he is quite agile in jumping gaps and lets his instincts do the talking for him.

John Kerry ‘s George, the campsite director, is quite the arrogant bull-headed type and when the people start to get scared, he tries to calm them down until things go too far and he leads a search party of sorts comprised of the survivors. As for Mark Mears, he can be considered the true hero of the film as David. It is David doesn’t really approve of his father’s corporate ways, but is a lover of nature and even studied it in college, thus leading him to take the job. Lesa Lee is a camper who eventually becomes David’s love interest and thankfully, does the scream queen bit to a minimal.

As for the killings themselves, they are not over the top, and has very little blood. However, in terms of stunts used in horror films, there is a nice full body burn done to a character. Kudos definitely goes out to the stuntman who pulled this off. The only flaw is that the killing spree really begins in the third act of the film, which means expect a bit of a drag in the middle of the film.

Memorial Valley Massacre is not an over the top gorefest, but more of a film about corporations messing with mother nature and the primal instincts of the mysterious killer. While there is a drag in the middle of the film, this is a killer who may not be what one expects, but pulls it off quite well.

WFG RATING: B-

Motion Picture Corporation of America presents a Vortex Productions film. Director: Robert C. Hughes. Producers: Brad Krevoy and Steve Stabler. Writers: Robert C. Hughes and George Frances Skrow. Cinematography: James Mathers. Editing: Uri Katoni and Rick Mitchell.

Cast: John Kerry, Mark Mears, John Caso, Lesa Lee, Jimmy Justice, William Smith, Cameron Mitchell, Eddie D., Charles Douglass, Dan S. Fambeau, Livingston Holmes, Karen Russell, Linda Honeyman, Zig Roberts, Michael Inglese, Erin O’Leary.

 

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