Metal and horror. Horror and Metal. They go together nicely. The last 25 years of modern horror has seen its fair share of pairings. Some work and some just straight up fuckin’ suck. So, as a safety net I’ve made a point to avoid deliberate combinations that involve the 2. I’ve found too many instances that it was a huge disappointment. Having said all that, I approached After Party Massacre with a certain amount of trepidation. I shouldn’t have.
After Party Massacre is the perverse brainchild of Kristoff Bates (of Horrormerch.com and Spookygirls.com fame) and Kyle Severn (member of Incantation, as well as various metal outfits) that follows the happenings of a night gone horribly wrong for a group of Midwestern metal fans. Scarlett and her friends head out to a show where they intend on having a kick ass time-things unfortunately, change. Scarlett ends up forced a situation that will involve her being sexually assaulted. The altercation triggers a vicious memory that turns Scarlett from a victim to a vengeful monster. That vengeance, while righteous, knows no bounds. The end results is a bloodbath where no one is safe, including her friends. The new Scarlett is a ruthless killer who will NOT be stopped until her message is well understood. Axes, dildos, power saws-doesn’t matter. Anything she can get her hands on to destroy with suits her fine.
The strength of APM is one I hadn’t expected. The story itself is driven by an almost reality/documentary way. Most of the time, it feels like we’re there enjoying the party. You find yourself feeling as though the camera is literally your viewpoint, as the film’s dialogue feels like natural conversation had by longtime friends, and less of a scripted piece. This could be largely due to the fact that the filmmakers used the strengths of those they know.
Another surprising aspect of the film comes in the form of Scarlett, the film’s antihero killer. In the tradition of Ms. 45 and They Call Her One Eye, Scarlett’s vengeance tear is driven by a personal tragedy. Her breaking point is one that leads to a far bloodier result than the films that preceded it, however. The kills are quite frankly, ruthless. Bloody, vicious, gory kills leaving body parts and misery everywhere. For a film that is self-funded, it was clear that Bates and Severn were going to handle the effects with a proper amount of budget to make it effective. They succeeded greatly with this. Every single victim that Scarlett hacks her way through is done right in front of our eyes. The camera doesn’t cut away in some mysterious manner-nope, they make good and damn sure that we see throats slashed and genitals removed. Ya’ know, the way a horror film SHOULD be!!!
Now, on to the part that had me nervous from the get-go with this film: The music. I will be the first guy to admit that death metal is not my area of expertise at all. My knowledge of death metal starts and ends with Death and Entombed. I’ve always been more of classic metal and doom metal guy. The death metal thing never really grabbed my attention. That’s not to say I wasn’t familiar with it and it’s integration into horror film culture; it just never grabbed me. There is a lot more non-death metal music in the world that is terrifying and doesn’t get used in horror film that I find more appealing. If you don’t believe me, check out Delta Blues musicians like Skip James or Blind Willie Johnson or the dramatic occult based stylings of artists like Ghost and The Devil’s Blood, and you’ll find a natural eeriness that can’t be duplicated. Knowing that a member of Incantation was involved in the creation of this film and already being familiar with Horrormerch.com’s melding of both of those world’s in their business, I wasn’t at all surprised to see the soundtrack that the film has. Granted, I didn’t have the slightest clue who any of the bands were (with the exception of the aforementioned Incantation), but I wasn’t surprised by them either. So, what’s the verdict after this long-winded explanation? It worked. The use of the music worked. It’s clearly integrated into the lifestyles of the cast and crew of After Party Massacre and therefore, lends itself nicely to the story’s progression. The only aspect that didn’t work on that front was the performance footage. Often times the length at which it’s shown is too heavy handed. It did have a purpose but still could have been edited in a way that it wouldn’t have eaten up unnecessary time. Perhaps more cuts to the ensuing action would’ve made this feel more useful. However, the overall consensus still maintains; the metal and horror marriage in After Party Massacre is a useful one.
The two gentleman involved in the making of this film are not only heavily involved in horror culture, but are clearly huge fans. They made this movie with the horror lover in mind. No one was fucking around in After Party Massacre. It’s a balls out, bloody/gory, foul-mouthed beast of an indie horror film. I wouldn’t outwardly recommend this to casual horror fans, because it doesn’t feel like it was made for them. That’s not meant in a snobbish way on the part of myself or of the film’s creators. It’s moreso meant as a practical observation of what After Party Massacre is putting out into the world. They pulled no punches and made a movie THEY would want to watch. That makes it a far more enjoyable film, knowing it was made with a no bullshit attitude. Kudos to Kristoff Bates and Kyle Severn for approaching this film without fear. As they continue on with their film careers, I hope that mentality remains intact. Horror needs that unflinching approach to keep it vital.
Technical proficiency and tasteful execution of the music/film combo makes After Party Massacre a kick ass first showing from these fellas. It lures you in with the delivered promise of sex, gore, blood, and metal and then turns you on your ass with a pro-feminist slant and realistic character interaction. The official release date for the flick was October 11th and is definitely worthy of your time. After Party Massacre is a passionately made, unflinching horror film that is not afraid to push you past your comfort zone.