The movie begins with a gang rape. It's not explicit, nor is it terribly long...but as it literally opens the film, it's a propos of nothing. A woman is surrounded by a bunch of workers at a construction site while a peppy '80s synth tune plays, and it's all so sudden that by the time you've processed that yes, Nail Gun Massacre opens with a rape, it's over. It's not traumatizing for the viewer- it's probably the only instance of cinematic rape where I've claimed that- and one can only assume that it's going to provide the impetus for the titular nail-gunning to come.
And provide the impetus it does, in the very next scene! A hairy slob is yelling at his wife (who's outside hanging laundry on a line) when he's visited by someone dressed in camouflage, wearing a duct taped motorcycle helmet, and wielding a massive nail gun. Judging by the person's diminutive size and vaguely hourglass figure, it seems this is the rape victim out for a bit of pneumatic-powered revenge.
But is it revenge? Is the hairy slob one of the construction workers who raped that woman? We don't know. We never really know any of the people killed in Nail Gun Massacre- their names, how they may or may not relate to anything that already transpired in the film...it all seems completely random. Ah me, might as well just roll with it.
After the hairy slob is killed and his wife runs off into the woods with her baby, we're treated to the opening credits sequence, which surely ranks among the worst credits sequences of all time. Plain text slowly gives the names of cast and crew while the theme song...err, well, it isn't a theme song at all. There's no music, only someone's voice filtered through a vocoder, going "muaa...MUAA...MUAA...MUAA" ad nauseum. It turns out that this voice belongs to the killer. Nail Gun Massacre then quickly establishes a pattern:
- People you don't want to watch engage in sex engage in sex
- Ample bare bottoms and bare boobs are on display
- Nail Gun Killer arrives
- BANG BANG BANG goes the nail gun
- UHHNNN...NO...UHHNNN goes the victim
- Nail Gun Killer cracks wise via vocoder (eg, "Oh, don't you just hate headaches?")
- Sheriff arrives, is perplexed by the body, calls the doctor
- Doctor arrives in a Camaro, clad in a tank top, says the victim died "hours ago"
- They both suspect "Old Mrs. Bailey" of the killings
If anything, Nail Gun Massacre proves that decent slasher movies are much more than the sum of their parts. Though there's nudity, blood, and a masked killer, this is far worse than even the weakest entry in the Friday the 13th series. You've got to have a modicum of skill in at least one essential area (writing, directing, FX, acting) for the movie to work, and Nail Gun Massacre fails on all fronts.
Mind you, this doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the damn thing, because I did. I think the moment it won my heart came during a scene set in a grocery store. An elderly clerk is adding up an order (apparently without the aid of a cash register), and the actress is clearly reading her lines from a script on the counter. She fumbles over a few sentences, and when the scene is finally over...she looks directly at the camera with a look that says "Is that it?" According to imdb, the woman isn't an actress at all, but the director's grandmother, who actually worked at the store- she filled in when the actress originally cast didn't show. I loved her, and it filled me with a sort of "Aww, none of these people are professionals...they're just making a movie, how sweet!" Of course, this doesn't make the affair any better, or even worth your time. It basically endeared the awfulness to me because that's how my brain works.
As I said, it is awful. Another "highlight" occurs during one of the film's copious sex scenes, where a couple is trying to have it off in a 2-seater car. It's not working because there's no room for them to maneuver, and at one point the couple stops moving around completely...while the car still bounces up and down as if they're humping away. The shadow of the person repeatedly pushing down on the car is clearly visible on the hood. The killer soon arrives, prompting the man to ask "What are you, a cop?"- I don't know, how many law enforcement agencies wear camouflage jumpsuits, duct taped motorcycle helmets, and wield nail guns? Maybe things are different elsewhere in the country. At any rate, Ol' Naily makes short work of the couple- the man dies immediately after being shot in the elbow with a nail.
The killer drives a massive, golden/puke-colored hearse and leaves it on the road whilst off wielding the nail gun; the sheriff encounters this hearse many times in many places, but thinks nothing of it. Eventually, he and the doctor stop blaming "Old Mrs. Bailey" (whom we never meet) for the crimes...the sheriff finally begins to think that the rape victim from a few months back might have something to do with this, but the doctor remains unconvinced. After all, he spoke to her after the rape and "She never showed any signs that the rape pushed her mind into a state of killing." The state of killing is so dangerous!
Still, the men go to talk to her...there's a lengthy Camaro vs Golden/Puke Hearse "chase" sequence, and all parties end up at the gravel pit. The killer is soon revealed to be...the rape victim's brother. Yes, despite the fact that the role has been played by a woman throughout the entire film, it's actually a man under the helmet. Uh huh.
Totally. Horribly. Ridiculous. And yet, I could not bring myself to be angry with Nail Gun Massacre. I mean, I'm the one who popped it in the VCR and should have known what to expect. What I didn't expect was that the director's gramma would steal my heart!
Seriously...watch at your own risk.