Film review: 'The Carbine High Massacre'

By JOE BOB BRIGGS, Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas  |  June 27, 2003 at 7:00 AM
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You might have read about these guys in New Jersey who did a satirical movie about the Columbine massacre within, like, FOUR MONTHS of the event, which is faster than they got the Amy Fisher movies released.

The strange thing is, I could never find the movie. There were all these editorials in the newspaper about how disgusting it was that someone would make a movie about the subject at all, much less dramatize the actual killings, much less add HUMOR to the mix, and so Blockbuster wasn't real quick to stock that title. It's one of the few examples I've ever seen of more or less SUCCESSFUL censorship by popular consent.

The last time this happened, the victim was Andrew "Dice" Clay, who was going about his business, doing HIS show for HIS audience, and a lot of people who were NOT his fans and had never BEEN to his show pretty much wrecked his career by saying that these other people, these disgusting people, shouldn't be allowed to watch him. Same deal here.

Well, I found the movie. And if you write to me, I'll tell you where to get it. It's called "Duck!: The Carbine High Massacre," and it's told from the point of view of the two Trenchcoat Boys who went postal in the cafeteria. If I had to guess, it was put together by some friends who have spent their whole lives being called "freaks" -- punk kids, goth kids, headbangers -- and so wanted to point out a few things that might have motivated the suicidal mass murderers. Of course, that just makes it all the MORE likely to be consigned to the Dempster Dumpster of low-budget direct-to-video failures.

But what we've got here is eerie and powerful -- IF you can get through it. The acting is horrible. The soundtrack is so shaky that, when scenes take place on the playground, you can't hear the actors because the mike is too close to the bouncing basketballs. The parents of these kids are either way too young to be parents or refugees from a Weehawken improv group.

What the flick does have is outstanding gore effects (these guys must be lifetime subscribers to Fangoria magazine) and a final sequence that is gruesome, shocking, sad, frightening, bloody as hell, and -- at the moment of truth -- beautiful. It's a really bad movie that delivers in the final few moments.

You already know the plot, but the leads are played by Joey Smack and William Hellfire, as two high school misfits who like to smoke, surf the Net, buy weapons, read the works of Adolf Hitler, wear Army helmets and trenchcoats, and annoy the jocks, rich kids, and Bible-study girls. They use pretty much every obscene derogatory term in the book, but when it comes to the black guy that they hate, they call him -- oddly enough -- "that African-American." When one of them gets stomped by the cool kids at school, they briefly consider suicide, then come up with a more stylish solution.

Nineteen dead bodies. Four breasts. Multiple gunshot wounds.

Bullet through the head. Barrel-to-the-mouth. Wife-beating. Stomach-carving. Vodka-guzzling. Multiple barfing. After-school gang-pummeling. Nuclear-bomb-making. Kicking. Spitting. "Mein Kampf"-ripping. Bikini gun-modelling. Hammer to a cat's brain. Bulletproof-backpack demonstration. Amazing double-suicide. Exploding high school. Great tattooed shirtless banshee band called Today Is The Day. Gratuitous fart noises. Vending-machine Fu. SPAM Fu. Dynamite Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Kendall Ward, as the African-American who wears an "I Hate White People" shirt and despises everybody; Henry Krinkle, as the retarded kid in a wheelchair who talks about sci-fi all the time;

Misty Mundae, as the Bible girl who begs everyone to come to her prayer meetings; Marie Mazur as the sweetness-and-light folk singer whose music is so awful she deserves to die; Stephen Harris as the violent alcoholic dad who says "Not my good guns!";

William Hellfire, the bald producer/director/writer who plays the trenchcoat freak who says, "I wanna leave the planet"; and Joey Smack, the producer/director/writer who says, "I don't hate you, mom, but I'm gonna kill myself at school today."

Three stars. Joe Bob says check it out.


Joe Bob Briggs writes several columns for UPI. Contact him at or visit his Web site, Snail-mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221.

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