New York Centrefold Massacre 1985 Review
New York Massacre 1985
Director Louis Ferriol
Starring, Barbara Heller, Norma Sparno
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
The slasher genre has survived by sticking to its clichés. Although John Carpenter’s Halloween was not the first of its kind to be released, its humongous popularity set a benchmark that would develop the unbreakable rules of the cycle. One genre pattern that John Carpenter cannot be credited with installing is the emergence of the massacre titles that would prove to be as much of a platitude as a psycho killer in a mask. After Tobe Hooper’s seminal low budget shocker, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it became a trademark to incorporate the M word into the title for an ambitious slasher hit. Since then we have had The Mardi Gras Massacre, Nail Gun Massacre, Woodchipper Massacre, Jackhammer Massacre, Slumber Party Massacre, and Andrea Bianchi’s adeptly titled Massacre to name but a few. Nowadays if the word massacre is seen in the title of a feature, you can rest assured that you are about to witness another entry to the already overcrowded cycle.
So here we have Louis Ferriol’s attempt to jump the bandwagon with the extremely rare and woefully unoriginal New York Centrefold Massacre. Despite being harder to locate than a deck chair in the Antarctic, this short and almost unheard of offering does have its fingers in a few trivia pies. Horror fans that are knowledgeable of the category will no doubt be aware that Christopher Lewis’ Blood Cult was rewarded the unenviable feat of being the first movie produced exclusively for the home video market. However I challenge that accomplishment, because NY Centrefold Massacre began production in 1982 and was released in ’85 direct to video on the long defunct Vidimax label.
It all launches with a thoroughly bizarre sequence, which was no doubt preparation for the cumbersome plot line to follow. The credits are juxtaposed with some extreme nudity (stock footage?) and the odd flash of a mutilated corpse. The collage of shots has no cinematic cohesion, which remains a theme throughout the feature. Next up we learn that a masked psycho has been cutting his way through New York centrefold models that have been posing for a smutty photographer. Cassie Peterson is considering launching a career as a glamour model, because she wants to escape the overzealous gaze of her severe Grandmother, who has taken care of the youngster since her parents were killed in an accident. As the bodies begin to mount up around the city, can Cassie avoid confrontation with the maniacal assassin?
Judging direct to video features that have been produced on minimalistic budgets is no easy task, because artistic flair can be imprisoned due to a lack of funding. However that cannot be levelled at a feature as rancid as New York Centrefold Massacre, which struggles to impress even at the most minuscule level. Firstly the editing is inexplicably atrocious, which is unacceptable considering the fact that horror is a genre that thrives on its shock factor best contributed by an ambitious editor. The plot revolves around the mystery element of guessing who it is that’s hiding under the pillowcase mask and murdering the ‘models’. However it’s impossible to build a mystery with such a small number of suspects and the lack of any satisfactory character development derives any interest from the plot. Of course when the killer is revealed to be exactly who you thought it was all along, the film fails to redeem itself even in its conclusion.
The soundtrack is even stranger, incorporating porn ‘oh ah’ sound effects into a rancid synthesizer score, which creates a combination that leaves you embarrassed to turn up the volume in order to avoid accusations of watching porn. For a moment I thought there had been a problem with the celluloid transfer and the movie had been super imposed onto a rouge copy of Traci Lord’s early CV entries. Somewhat unfortunately however, that wasn’t the case. A strangely short running time of only 39 minutes still managed to feel like an eternity and by the time the incomprehensible conclusion arrived, I was struggling to stay awake, let alone interested.
Louis Ferriol has recently defended his attempt at a top-notch thriller by stating that he filmed some really good slasher sequences and some scenes with REAL centrefold models. Unfortunately all this footage was destroyed in a fire, so what we have left is the ‘leftovers’ of the dailies that survived the wrath of those flames. That must have been a truly intelligent and demonic blaze, to seek out and destroy only the ‘decent’ parts of this guy’s movie, what an unlucky guy Ferriol is. Mind you this kind of luck can definitely strike you when it matters most. Did I ever tell you about the time I was going to score with Laura Harring and my Oyster card ran out when I was about to go back to her place? Or when I was called up to play for the Spanish National Football team at the last World Cup, but I couldn’t find my car keys? Damn buddy, I know how you feel…
On the plus side, the script was fairly amusing and boasted some creative dialogue, which was at times a fond reminder of the hilariously un-politically correct persona of the eighties. There was also one vaguely impressive murder sequence, which made decent use of the editor’s minuscule talents. But the lack of any gore, suspense and creativity and the extreme amount of flagrant stupidity (death by hair-dryer anybody?) rendered the feature almost irredeemably pointless.
The movie was released on mail order and no one has ever seen a copy anywhere in existance, so I apologies for the lack of a cover shot. The copy I own, I found in Spain and it was sold with a white label on the tape and had no catalogue numbers or any signs of a distributor. It’s also very VERY poor quality. So much so that I couldn’t take any screenshots. My apologies for that –
Yes New York Centrefold Massacre is as rare as hell and yes it it’s a bonus addition to the collection of all slasher enthusiasts that seek out such obscurities, but it simply doesn’t warrant the time and effort needed to track it down. Gone and quite frankly well forgotten, don’t expect to see the DVD any time soon.
Killer Guise: √