Indie director Gus Trapani might not be a name you are all familiar with, but after watching Shellmont County Massacre, I think you might want to check out some of his other work. Gus is a director that prides himself in guerrilla style filmmaking and who has a penchant for emotional and powerful storytelling side by side with graphic gore-filled violence. Trapani has a couple films under his belt including Absolute Zero and Bad Vs. Worse. Trapani has also done some short films available on YouTube including the Texas Chain Saw Massacre-inspired short Sally’s Escape From Hell. Now, after being in limbo for a year or so, Shellmont County Massacre is getting a new lease on life with Midnight Releasing.
I first heard about Shellmont County Massacre when I noticed Norwegian director Per-Ingvar Tomren posting about it on social media. I was already a big fan of Tomren’s Christmas epic, Christmas Cruelty, so I was intrigued when I heard that he was an executive producer on this film and he also designed the poster art for it. Originally titled Shellmont, this movie weaves a simple yet extremely effective tale of a serial killer in a small town and the sheriff who pursues him.
Shellmont County Massacre is one of those indie films that has something a little extra, a cut above other films in the same vein. Killer clowns are nothing new, but they did gain a lot of popularity recently, spawning a slew of films, some which were good and some not so much. The killer in Shellmont does occasionally don a clown mask, but it’s not the sole driving force behind the film. The killer randomly targets anyone in their homes residing in the town of Shellmont. The killings and gore are extreme – we see heads and faces chainsawed, teeth pulled, eyeballs gouged out and more.
As Sheriff Billy and his deputy, Donnie, pursue the cackling killer, more townsfolk are killed and emotions run high. The acting is not flawless, but for this caliber of production, there is a lot of great and powerful performances which impressed the hell out of me. The emotions invoked plus the effective storytelling make this film a pleasure to watch. Trapani has done some great and memorable work here. Shellmont County Massacre deserves recognition for being an indie film which rises above its material with high potential.