Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Memorial Valley Massacre (1989)

You know what movie series I've never covered? Sleepaway Camp. Yes, the series in which the first film ends on of one of horror's greatest plot twists and...it's never really mentioned in the sequels. Weird, yes? No, instead the sequels focus on the antagonist repeatedly murdering camp counselors like she's anxious to top Jason Voorhees' record or something. It's one of those classic 1980s slasher franchises that has somehow managed to keep going over the years.

The results run from okay to varying degrees of atrociousness.

Now, you might be wondering why I'm talking about Sleepaway Camp when the title of this review seems to have nothing to do with sleeping away or camping. The reason is because today's film is one of many films that has alternate titles that end up inserting it into a series it has literally nothing in common with. Memorial Valley Massacre has a habit of popping up under the titles of valley of Death, Memorial Day, and...give me a second to sigh loudly here...Son of Sleepaway Camp.

Judging from the cover though, Son of Eegah would've been a much more believable name.
Learning this information, I am lead to believe this may be the very reason this film was sent into me as a request. And let me tell you, if the movie doesn't end with a plot twist involving the killer having a vagina, I will be sorely disappointed. But yeah, it should fairly obvious that this film has little to do with Sleepaway Camp beyond that alternate title and the fact that it actually uses the opening theme of Sleepaway Camp, complete with the actual sound of the campers in the original film, showing that this is literally sound pulled directly from the first Sleepaway Camp. It has to be one of the strangest and most surreal things I have ever seen in regards to an alternate title showing up on one of these films.

Almost as surreal as the idea of a camp having a son.
Our story concerns a group of campers eager for fun and various shenanigans in Memorial Valley, which is dumb because clearly that place isn't safe to party in. Jeremiah Worth is there! That means the Swiss Family Robinson are stranded somewhere in this valley and you heartless bastards are only thinking of having fun! I jest, of course, as the Swiss Family Robinson are too busy hanging out in much better productions. But I was serious about one thing, that is Cameron Mitchell, the man who played Jeremiah Worth. I'd say he was slumming it here but a quick look at his filmography showed that he did quite a bit of slumming in the 1980s and 1990s. It's really quite sad.

Sadder still is that one such film from his filmography is actually yet another request that I must sit through. Yay.
Anywho, Mitchell's here playing a rich guy who wants to build stores all across the valley, but things aren't going great for him. One of the construction workers he employed has managed to catch a bad case of being dead, which isn't too good on the PR front. Even worse though is the dead dog that is found in a well, because we all know people care more when a dog is killed. It could be worse though. Imagine if the well led to a small tunnel full of hairless Egyptian cats that had spent the last thousand or so years inbreeding and feeding on one another. That's would be truly horrifying.

When I can't amuse you, I simply try to amuse myself instead.
Because of all the workers quitting and the deaths they decide that the best course of action is to go ahead and let all of these people get their camp on. I'm sure that won't end badly. To prove to us all just how safe it is, Mitchell decides to show how confident he is...by vacating the film immediately, leaving his "son" as proxy. Everyone is gonna die horribly, aren't they? And hey, why keep us in suspense about who the killer is, right? When has that ever been something people liked? Let's just go ahead and show him off before we even hit the ten minute mark. My first thought regarding our killer?

Who did Lewis Skolnick knock up in Memorial Valley?
Our two characters who are the closest thing this film is getting to heroes, Mitchell's son and the older ranger, also don't seem like they'll be very helpful to one another because the older gentleman is being a bit cagey. It's almost like he's got some horrible secret. Sonny boy is getting along with one of the ladies though and there is a gang of bikers, so maybe the Son of Revenge of the Nerds won't actually kill too many people after all. And maybe I'm actually filthy rich and only writing these things because I am a masochist who secretly enjoys subjecting himself to terrible movies.

In this movie, bikers may as well be scared teenage girls on Halloween night with how capable they actually will be.
But this brings me to another thing worth noting, which is that for a lot of people going camping they are curiously devoid of any actual children who might enjoy the experience. I guess no self respecting parent wanted to subject their offspring to a movie where the killer looks like he could be stopped by yelling at him really loudly so as to startle him. But he's not afraid of snakes, it seems, as there are whole mess of them all over the food there. Either he did that or we're to think that snakes travel in very large packs and operate under the Yogi Bear methodology of hunting for food.

This is clearly the most efficient method to surviving in the wild.
Then my favourite stereotype rears its head as we're introduced to the fat asshole, who our lead attempts to tell not to go traveling on his three-wheeler, as it's not allowed and could possibly be hazardous to the other campers. He responds by being a complete shithead and riding off into the woods where we get a perfect opportunity to see his head cleaved from his shoulders. But no, why have something fun happen? Instead our caveman killer holds a vine or something across some trees? I guess it's a vine, it's hard to tell with the quality of the copy I'm watching. It's could be a giant turd noodle for all I know. Anyway, fat-ass runs into and gets knocked off his redneck steed and has his neck snapped. This is our first big kill? Really?

If he starts fucking the body, I am done.
If that weren't enough, this movie ends up crossing that line from slasher movie with tits and ass to "hey, let's just show some fucking porn because Brian hasn't done a porn review in a while". Wonderful. Let's try and speed this up. There's a bear that everyone thinks killed people, because bears are known for snapping the necks of fat assholes. This means everyone is now on the lookout for a killer bear and not the actual killer, the Son of Skolnick. This turns out to be bad for the big bikers from earlier as they run afoul of him and, despite being bigger and more menacing, manage to all get themselves killed, possibly as a result of one of them taking a skull from his cave. Wait, is this movie trying to go for a Friday the 13th Part 2 thing where Teenage Caveman here is worshiping the head of his mother?

I guess Felissa Rose wasn't interested in putting on a bunch of make-up so she could play a head in a cave.

The dead bikers end up letting everyone in on the big secret that the bear actually wasn't the killer. What a big shock, bears don't knock people off of three-wheelers to snap their neck, put lots of snakes on food, or toss dead dogs into wells. Nope, just skull-worshiping wildmen who live in caves and stare at people awkwardly from shadows. The actual twist comes in that the killer may actually be the son of the older ranger guy, which I guess means he's been the Sleepaway Camp all along?

"That's right, I am the Sleepaway Camp. The children are inside of me."
From here the Son of Ranger Dipshit kills some more people, including rigging an RV to explode. And, because it really is a sad repeating cycle for me now, he then goes and tries to rape a girl before snapping her back like a pretzel rod. Even when I'm watching one of the shittiest slasher movies of the 1980s, there's still a damn rape scene. If you're anything like me, you may be wondering how a guy who has lived for countless years in a cave managed to rig an RV to explode earlier. Well, don't worry, because the movie will help you forget that as he outdoes it when he drives a fucking bulldozer. This movie hasn't jumped the shark, it killed the shark and shat on it.

Don't worry though, the killer used that shit to style his hair, so it didn't go to waste.
Sleepaway Dad tries to reason with his son, managing to get the guy to seemingly recall his real name (which is Steve). But there are no happy reunions here as his old man trips one of the traps he had set up and gets a bunch a wooden spikes through his belly. That's really going to make father-son bonding time difficult. This right here is essentially how this movie ends too, as the hero essentially gives up trying to find the guy who killed numerous innocent people (and one enormous asshole) and he recommends to the cops that they not even bother trying to find this wanted murderer. Because it's not like he'll kill again, right? We exit on a shot of the killer standing on a hill, pretty easily seen by anyone who bothers to look up.

To be fair though, this is so blurry it might actually be the Fouke monster trying to find its way back to Boggy Creek.
Memorial Valley Massacre was really a pretty boring slasher movie and the idea of a wildman killer really could have been pulled off much better with an actor who might actually approach being scary looking. As it stands, I may actually be more imposing that the antagonist of this film, which is sad because I am notorious lover of cuddling and butterflies make me happy. This movie tried to pull of an idea of someone living in the wilderness and stalking innocent bystanders, but made the mistake of simply not trying hard enough. Jason Voorhees called and he said your movie sucks. Well, actually he just breathed heavily into the phone for five or so minutes, but if he could talk I'm sure he would've said that.

"Don't bring that weak sauce to my woods!"
This movie isn't very entertaining, sadly, and I really think you'd be better off watching other films that tapped into a similar idea, like the Friday the 13th films or Don't Go Into the Woods. Even Without Warning was a better "being stalked in the woods" movie. Actually...wasn't Cameron Mitchell in that movie too? Holy shit, he was! Weird. but yeah, take a pass on this one unless you're really that curious to see what it looks like when the bare minimum of effort is applied to this bollocks. I'm sure there are worse films of this type, but I haven't gotten there yet. Give it time, I'm sure I will, because I really am a bit of a masochist. So, until I learn the facet6s of better hair-care via combing fecal matter into my locks, I'll be here wishing this bottle of water was something that might knock me out for a few hours. Later days, bleeders.

I still think he looks like a rejected MOTU character, I swear. All hail Shittor, the smelliest of Skeletor's minions!

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