Blu-ray Review: Memorial Valley Massacre | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, October 29th, 2020  

Memorial Valley Massacre

Studio: Vinegar Syndrome

Oct 15, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


After remaining untouched by mankind for millennia, the virgin forests of Memorial Valley are being converted into a campground by a slimy developer. His son, David, volunteers for an assistant park ranger job starting on the Memorial Day opening weekend, hoping to protect the land from vandals and litterers. Suspicions that the land may be cursed begin to prove true, as guests are gruesomely murdered by an unknown assailant dressed in rags and furs and living somewhere in the unmapped forest. Meanwhile, torrential rains block off guests from leaving and help from arriving. Will anyone survive until Memorial Day?

Surprisingly tame for an ‘80s slasher, Memorial Valley Massacre (1989) feels like a more innocent throwback to earlier creature features – think, Eegah! – than its nastier VHS-era brethren. Save for plentiful blood and gore and a bit of tastefully-shot lovemaking, this could have come from AIP in the 1960s – dare we say, the film almost feels wholesome, with its acrobatic, caveman-like boogeyman and pasted-on environmental message. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, for sure; the kills are over-the-top, and almost everyone who bites it has it coming. In a field filled with heavy, dread-inducing, graphic horror, it’s always nice to have something breezy and cheesy, best enjoyed with snacks, and friends on hand to help point out logic and continuity errors.

Tune in for the always-reliable, sandpaper-voiced character actor William Smith (Platoon Leader, Red Dawn) and a cameo by the ever-prolific Cameron Mitchell (Toolbox Murders), who appears to have popped by the set for afternoon of shooting and a quick paycheck.

For something that seems made purely to fill space on video store rental shelves, the low-budget Memorial Valley Massacre – original title: Memorial Day – looks surprisingly great on Blu-ray, as it was shot almost entirely out-of-doors in a National Forest. Extras include a long interview with director Robert C. Hughes, who talks about the movie’s development and many obstacles, and lead actor John Kerry, who clearly approaches every role he takes, no matter how goofy the film, with deep thought and earnestness.




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