THE LONG ISLAND CANNIBAL MASSACRE (1983).
All hail Nathan H. Schiff! Because back in the early '80s, this ballsy director was the first of a new breed of gutter-eye goremeisters, churning out one-take, weekend-lensed swill -- from its hand-scrawled credits, to its onslaught of talent-barren non-actors. Better still, these home-brewed horrors only get better when you're drunk off your ass (since his pics induce the same type of slow-witted nausea you end up with after chugging a 12-pack of Milwaukee's Best). I first recognized Schiff's debatable talents while sitting in a pool of my own spilt beer at Rick Sullivan's long-lost Gore Gazette Film Series, and seeing this pic again, a decade-plus later, it's still difficult to describe the depths of amateurish cheese it reaches. Are you ready? It kicks off with a female sunbather attacked by a guy with a pillowcase over his head, who beats her, runs her over with a power lawnmower, and saves the 'mulch' for later. Besides Pillow-head, there's a murderous biker named Zedd (oddly enough, Peter Greene played a biker/psycho named Zedd in PULP FICTION. Coincidence? Or another Quentin T. homage?), plus a creep who collects the female body parts for his leprous, gooey-faced, cannibal pop, while sputtering to his backseat bagful of guts. Much of the movie is padded with a rogue-cop/hero, who gets suspicious after tripping across a wormy corpse and decides to take out these sickos. Nevertheless, stick with it for the hilariously ripe dialogue ("Last week I found a girl's body buried at the beach." "Big tits?"). Yeah, this certainly ain't no Clifford Odets. It's barely even Herschell Gordon Lewis, come to think of it. But Schiff blindly wades into this cinematic psychosis, with enough skanky, grue-drenched tidbits to keep degenerates giggling. Whether it's a cop getting his head hammered in, chunks of fake flesh ripped off a dead femme, or a not-so-friendly chainsaw-encounter between father and son. Sigh. They don't make 'em like they used to. And no matter how hideous they can be, I'd rather watch a dozen Nathan Schiff movies than one Richard Donner pile of steaming feces any day... While on the subject, does anybody out there know whatever happened to Schiff? I'd hate to learn that he's selling Amway products nowadays. [Editor's note (10 years after writing this review): Nathan Schiff is alive and well, plus I had the great pleasure to interview him for Fangoria when his films were released on DVD.]
© 1996 by Steven Puchalski.