The Long Island Cannibal Massacre Film Details
Overview: A series of horrible murders prompts a massive police investigation. Inspector James Cameron, a two-fisted roughneck with his own philosophy on handling crime, heads the investigation. A group of lepers living in the Long Island wast
Review: Long before Andreas Schnaas began walking the streets of Hamburg with a camcorder and a bucket of pig’s intestines and long before studios like Sub Rosa were releasing any kind of horror junk that they could get their hands on, Nathan Schiff was directing next to no-budgeted gore films that rapidly gained cult status. His first, ‘weasels rip my flesh’, was a throwback from the cheesy sci-fi movies from yesteryear and proved to be successful enough to give him the funds for a follow up. The resulting feature is widely regarded as the director’s best work as a gore auteur and it acts as concrete evidence of what can be achieved on the merest of budgets. A new lease of life on DVD has opened Schiff’s work to a wider audience, and interest in his back-catalogue has reached an all time high. The Long Island Cannibal Massacre is not a standard slasher film like the multitude of horror flicks from this period, but it does include many of the trappings that were prominent at that time. The film starts as it means to go on with a gruesome and audacious excuse to brighten the screen with colourful gore. A young girl that we see sunbathing in a remote field is assaulted and knocked unconscious by a masked assailant (wearing a costume extremely similar to Jason Voorhees’ in Friday the 13th Part 2, which would be released the following year). The maniac drags the girl into the bushes and ties her arms behind her back, before disappearing into the trees and leaving her struggling on the floor. He returns with a lawn mower and gives us the first gratuitous murder of the feature. Next up we meet Inspector James Cameron (played by John Smihula, who would appear in all of Schiff’s films); – a hard as nails wild card with a bitterly poetic view of crime on the streets. He soon gets involved in the mass of murders when he discovers a decapitated head on a beach whilst working undercover. When he fails to get the support that he needs from the local constabulary, Cameron quits the force and takes matters into his own hands. The vigilante soon discovers a circle of torture, slaughter and cannibalism that’s stranger than anyone could imagine. As I said earlier, this is not a typical slasher movie and it combines elements from numerous genres. But the inclusion of a masked maniac and various cinematic references to Carpenter’s Halloween mean that it has enough of the clichés to slot into the category. Instead of just having the one psychopathic killer, Schiff’s plot gives us a gruesome-twosome of malevolent psycho-slashers and even they play second-fiddle to an altogether more gruesome bogeyman. This is where LICM really separates itself from the multitude of its brethren, because its conclusion owes more to monster features such as ‘Scared to Death’ than it does ‘Black Christmas’ et al. Nathan Schiff is a gore director, and the reason anyone watches his films is simply to see as much blood spraying fun as possible – and on that note the movie doesn’t disappoint. It’s also worth noting that he does attempt to provide an engaging plot and in places the movie succeeds where more heavily financed pictures have failed. The revelation of the killer’s identity was certainly unexpected, and credit to the director for at least trying to be ambitious with his story telling. Shot on Super 8mm, the picture quality is exactly as what you would expect, with the cinematography looking jaded and somewhat murky. Fortunately, Schiff wisely decided to film all the action under the security of daylight, which means the film isn’t ruined by a lack of visual clarity. The music was lifted from various bigger budgeted horror classics and it’s an enjoyable exercise for enthusiasts to try and recognise where we’ve heard those famous themes before. Despite the director’s lack of experience, he does manage to pull off at least one decent jump-scare and the photography was creative if not visually transparent. In a feature such as this, the gore is always the most important aspect and here it ranges from the outlandish to the outstanding. As previously noted, the chainsaw murder in the closing is uncomfortably detailed and kudos to the actors, because they took some huge risks with the deadly blades so close to their anatomy. Although there’s nothing here that would have forced Tom Savini to seek another profession, the effects are decent and gratuitous enough for fans to enjoy. If you ask your friends to act in your feature film, the performances will be predictably rancid and the cast are as lacklustre as is to be expected. That’s neither here nor there however, because LICM is a gore film and everything else is just padding to give the plot an excuse to let the blood flow. So is Nathan Schiff an unsung horror hero? Not really; but if bucket loads of red corn syrup and dead animal’s internal organs are what you’re looking for then his movies will rock your world. He’s some way off being the next Lucio Fulci, but his cheapo films are fun all the same ..
Country: United States
Duration: 95 min
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Also known as: The Long Island Cannibal Massacre