As a huge fan of dark humor, I find that there’s a certain recipe a filmmaker needs to bake a successful horror comedy cake. First, you mix together a cup or two of unique, quirky characters, a sizable chunk of tongue-in-cheek cheese, a dash of toilet humor and a generous sprinkling of references to other horror movies (the more obscure, the better). Cut in some terrifying, out of left field moments, a double helping of gore and a good straight man. The frosting of sex can be applied liberally or not at all, depending on one’s taste for sweets. After watching Indican Pictures’ Massacre on Aisle 12, I can safely say that co-directors Jim Klock, Chad Ridgely, and William Mark McCullough know how to bake one hell of a cake.
Massacre on Aisle 12 was co-directed by Jim Klock (6:66PM 2017, Scream Queens TV series) and William Mark McCollough (Double Wide Blues 2012). The script was co-written by Chad Ridgely (6:66PM 2017) and debut screenwriter A. J. Via. Both Klock, McCullough and Ridgely also star in the film, along with Michael Buonomo (One Life to Live TV series), voice actor Doug Burch (Finding Dory 2016), Mike Capozzi (Men At Work TV series), Amber Jean (Sketchers Comedy Special 2011), debut actor Aikido Burgess and Melissa Saint-Armand (Party Crasher 2017). Klock and Ridgely also teamed up with cinematographer Darrell Martinelli (Gone Too Far 2008) to co-produce the film. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) composer Brooke deRosa arranged the score. This is special effects artist Chris Hubbart’s second time working with Klock and Ridgely – the first time was in 2013’s Acting With Sharks – and will work with them once again in 6:66PM.
The discovery of a dead body and a duffel bag full of cash in a hardware store on Christmas Eve drives a crew of screwball employees to the point of mental breakdown and murder.
The intro to Massacre on Aisle 12 has a bloody S-Mart written all over it, so right away, I knew I was in for something awesome. We then flash back 12 hours to the beginning of new guy Dave’s (Buonomo) shift at Mr. Beaver’s Hardware Store. He meets eye-rolling drug addict, Tara (Saint-Amend), and beyond disgruntled store manager, Jack (Ridgely), who explains the ins and outs of this dingy, seedy, never-ending store of rejects and discontinuations. After an awkward story about shitting in the display toilet, Jack introduces Dave to the rest of the Mr. Beavers crew – Black “Just Jack!” Jack (Burgess), the indifferent store Santa (McCullough) and his boobalicious elf, Barbie (Jean), super soldier/maintenance man, Otto (Klock), closet homosexual and owner of Mr. Beavers, Mr. Kipper (Burch), and Pharms, the Jewish pothead. When a nearby armored car robbery by the Santa Bandits results in a dead body and a duffel bag full of cash getting dropped in the laps of the hardware store employees, they all have plans for the money—if only they can survive their own ineptitude.
Most of the time, I get impatient with a horror movie that spends too long getting to “the point,” but I had no problem spending time with these hilariously offbeat characters, even before they found the cash. The one liners alone were worth the ride: from “I can take a drug test, but I’d need 30 days to study for it,” to “I’m sorry, did you say that she has a chick problem with her wah-wah?” and everything in between. People are getting high, throwing hydrochloric acid at each other, and skirting the very edge of offensiveness by bashing on religion, race, misogyny and sexual orientation. I’m not easily offended, so this stuff made me laugh. Sure, I cringed while I was laughing, but I still laughed. You can’t help but like these people, despite the fact that you sometimes want to punch them in the face.
There’s only one set of juggling boobs, which is just enough for me. Too many boobs becomes a distraction and takes away from the actual horror/humor. The kills were gory, highly inventive and splendidly created by practical means (a big plus for horror fans). There was an electrocution, a bunch of stabbings, an arrow impalement, a suffocation, a lovely drilling to the back of a head and even a death by wooden beaver. With that much money on the table, any tactic to take someone out of the running was implemented in outrageous fashion.
What Doesn’t Work
I can honestly say that I found nothing that I felt didn’t work in Massacre on Aisle 12. Some (maybe many) will be offended at the detestable, low brow humor, but like I mentioned above, it doesn’t bother me. In fact, I laughed out loud more times than I care to mention. So sue me.
Produced by Ridgely’s Full Auto Films and Code 3 Films, Massacre on Aisle 12 is an absolute blast. The film fires on all cylinders from the opening scene to the “Where are they now?” ending. The characters—especially Otto and Jack—are some of the most memorable I’ve seen in a long time. If the gore doesn’t make you cringe, the humor certainly will. If you’re not easily offended, do yourself a favor and grab Massacre on Aisle 12 on DVD or stream it on Amazon. You’ll be quoting it for days afterwards, I promise you.