The 1985 “Nail Gun Massacre” is one of those wonderfully-cheesy ‘off-brand’ slasher movies. Following in the footsteps of the bloody blockbusters like “Friday the 13th”, “Prom Night”, et al, came films like “The Mutilator”, “Don’t Go in the House”, “Toolbox Murders”—yes, the list is actually endless. These off-brand slashers usually began with a concept—‘hey, that _____ would be great to kill someone with!’ It doesn’t take too much thought to figure out the Genesis of this one.
Hardly plot-driven, “Nail Gun Massacre” is just what the title implies. A small Texas town is plagued by a stream of bloody murders implemented by the titular construction tool. It has something to do with a closed-down mill, a pissed-off worker and his daughter, a clueless sheriff and a bunch of dirt-dumb victims. The scenes aren’t designed like building blocks, driving the story forward. Come on, this is an ‘80s slasher! You don’t watch these for the Shakespearian subtext. You watch it to see people killed brutally with a high-powered roofing machine! You want to see naked people reduced to bloody hunks on the ground. You want to see a maniac with an air canister strapped to his back spewing dumb jokes in a synthesized voice while doing all of the above.
At the end, provided you did the process correctly, you have a decent beer-buzz going, you and your friends are giddy with laughter, and the credits are rolling. And that should be it. Any more thought beyond that would just be silly. (First of all, it’s called “Nail Gun Massacre”. What were you expecting?)
The new Synapse release of “Nail Gun Massacre” has a gorgeous transfer and scrubbed sound that makes it look and sound brand new. It’s not as chock-full of extras as we’ve become used to. It has a couple of deleted scenes and a pleasant little featurette title “Nailed” with writer and co-director Lofton (who is an extremely nice guy in real life) and speaks fondly about his little feature. He refers to it as a “shock ‘em, little-bit-of-blood, bizarre, stupid movie.” Throughout the interview, Lofton takes playful jabs at the critics who have lambasted his movie over the years, as if to say, ‘hey, you’re taking this more seriously than we did!’
This attitude is echoed in the simply hilarious liner notes by Red Shirt Pictures president Michael Felsher. Titled “Twenty Things I Learned From Watching ‘Nail Gun Massacre’”, Felsher lovingly skewers the already skewered film with such classics as “If you are shot in the balls with a nail gun, you most likely deserved it.” So there you go. Got a case of beer and some friends coming over? Pop this in.