Music Store Massacre, takes on the most original opening to an independent film, in quite some time, with the infamous Reverend Smith (Frank Bliss) mutilating himself, by extreme means, and executing his sister, a police officer before uttering his last words “Death to thou who hates”, before Detective Young who arrives to discover the gruesome scene. Then the film jumps to 10 years later, and a grotesque but beautifully crafted guitar found at Smith’s residence, now rests at a pawn store, and soon enough, the owner meets his maker in a dreadful manner. The same guitar now resides in the hands of a skillful but despondent death metal guitarist, who soon starts murdering some of the audience members and then states that same quote before committing suicide. This instrument eventually lands in a music store, owned by Grady (Gordon Price) and herein begins the real story. This premise sounds familiar, possess item influencing evil actions, nothing new in the horror genre, but the presentation reminds true horror fans of the grittiness of the grind-house market with the add-on of a truly an non-politically correct screenplay. However, taking into account of the pawn store and the possessed item, one recalls the television show Friday the 13th Series, which had an antique store with numerous cursed objects causing harm, no guitar – the closest music item, a music box, in episode called The Maestro.
Director, writer and actor Gordon Price, with his first time feature, brings this nasty but delicious treat for horror fans, on a low budgeted horror film, shot in a grainy at times black and white, which plays in great contrast to the bright red blood splatters which occurs simultaneously with negativity from the possessed guitar. Many horror fans known that this element, appeared before, in namely the horror classic The Tingler (1959) which starred the great Vincent Price, by creative director William Castle, and the talented writer Robb White. Gordon, no stranger to the genre, and most recently stars in Adam Ahlbrant’s Hunters (2014) with Linnea Quigley and Tina Krause, gives a respectful performance and treats the audience to incredible unruly behavior that long and sadly vanished from the landscape of the horror genre.
Reverend Smith’s influence over the guitar creating a Necronomicon, to solve society’s moral corruption by eliminating the sinners through other individuals hatred, thereby exterminating, murdering, and ending their own lives, wretched and horrendous endeavors. No one escapes both the Reverend’s and Gordon’s targets, murderers, rapists, skin peddlers, white power misfits, corrupted power hoarders, child molesters and so many more meet sinister justice. The film feels at certain points to be similar to movie Se7en (1995), where guilty individuals meet their deaths through their vile behaviors against the seven deadly sins. Gordon’s and Grady’s hands never stay clean in this film, they are bloodstained, early and often, nevertheless as the director, he brings a controlled production, with style and not just rampant blood spilling a common error in massacre films.
The script never bogs down; rather it moves along with even pace, keeping the audience engaged with the violence and in some cases a mentality to cheer on the killings. The presentation, brings about exploring the most hot topic issues in our society, concerning hatred of races and religions, the movie never shies away nor takes the safe route on the topic or person. Detective Young portrayed by Dave Meadows in his first feature film begins to discover each mass murdering has a significant connection to the devilish guitar, and his performance stays wonderfully stable during the entire film, never feeling the pressure to force the dialog or scene. While some actors struggled with confidence for their performance, and that is normal on independent films especially horror movies, the passion and dedication to the details more than makes up for this inconsistencies. Lastly, one must acknowledge that Gordon brought a solid return to 80’s style of horror films, with a metal soundtrack, understanding that genre of metal always unifies with the genre of horror and the fans, in general.
This film definitely will not appeal to everyone, yet true gore-hounds and grind-house exploitation watchers will thoroughly enjoy this creation. The film has a hidden quality especially for those connoisseurs of the VHS swap meets or those who find delights in discovering a lost tape at the bottom of a dusty old box, but not discovering just another found footage film, rather a mature aged discovery. When a film has a title that contains very powerful horror types of words such as Bloodbath, Slaughter, and Massacre, then the film should definitely have major scenes of bloodshed and many killing scenes, and each one of those fulfills the checklist, with even more tasty treats. Therefore, if one seeks a sick, twisted and fabulously demented film, then this has all the mayhem and gore to satisfy the most obsessed slasher fan.