Memorial Valley Massacrerecommended viewing

You gotta tell your Dad you love him before he’s impaled
★★★★
☆☆☆
Released: 
1988
Director: 
Robert C. Hughes
Starring: 
John Kerry, Mark Mears, William Smith, Dan S. Fambeau
The Setup: 
Campground, like all campgrounds, has some sort of killer on the loose.
Discussion: 

MMmmm, a lot of horror movies are scary, some of them are scary and fun, and still others are just fun. This is one of that last kind. Nothing here will really scare you, but the whole thing is such a blast, populated by such outrageously noxious characters, every minute seems to bring some new amusement.

First we see from the credits that we are to be treated to performances by bad movie / biker movie idol William Smith, aka The Biller, and the czar of horrid horror movies, Cameron Mitchell.

We are introduced to a bunch of people waiting to go camping in the newly-opened Memorial Valley [on Memorial DAY, no less]. Cameron Mitchell plays the owner of the valley, and he plans to line the area with condos, golf courses and a ski resort, with the valley and campgrounds as its centerpiece. Please try to name all the towns you can that are centered around campgrounds. Thank you. Mitchell is looking like William Shatner at his puffiest, spouts some junk about wanting the campground to open no matter what, and is never seen in the movie again.

Also introduced is Ranger George, who looks like the Muppet’s Sam the Eagle in human form, and Davy, Mitchell’s son, who has been given a job under George, even though George ain’t got no time to be coddling some rich young greenhorn while he’s got a campground to run. They find a dead dog in the well, which means that there will be no running water that weekend, which means there are no toilets. I was really hoping for our characters to sneak off into the scary woods to pinch some loaf every now and then, but these functions are not covered in detail.

We soon find out that the person behind all the problems yet to come is a CAVEMAN. You read that right. He goes into this storage room and looks around, then kills a dog that comes after him. So this movie is not trying to maintain mystery about its killer at all, it tells you right up front: it’s a caveman. Okay, so good.

Then Davy comes on to this attractive female single camper who is a total bitch to him, but he’s such a lunkhead you feel he deserves it. She is telling him GO AWAY and he’s like “okay, I just wanted to make sure you’re all right,” and she’s like “GO AWAY,” and he’s like “Okay, well, if you need any help…” until you, the viewer, start shouting at the screen “GET THE FUCK OUT DAVY! NO ONE WANTS YOU HERE! YES, GO AWAY NOW! NOW!”

Then the BIKERS show up. These are a group of six, including Leon, this bearded tub in tight jeans that press his little nubbin of love into plain view. The women are all showcasing puffy fluffs of hair that are clearly inspired by the cloud patterns of the American West. We will present photographic evidence to this point later. The bikers are there for a biker rally, which might usually number in the thousands, but since bikers aren’t cool anymore, well, it’s just the six of ‘em. Carry the torch, folks!

After a useless bit utterly unrelated to the rest of the movie in which a bunch of snakes cover a picnic table, we are introduced to a trio of randy trash-teens, two moron dudes and a slut, who discuss their desire to know which one of the guys the girl is going to have sex with. Now, I do not use the word slut lightly, and the girl here is the very embodiment, in her tight shirts that make every nuance of her breasts clearly apparent, tiny cut-off shorts, and merciless cock-teasing. We’ll be coming back to her, you can bet on that.

We are next introduced to this suburban couple named Rita and Chuck, who are looking for their son Walter. The trashy teens openly mock them until they huff “we don’t have to take this!” and strut off. And if all that weren’t enough, we then meet Walter, who is this pudgy, mean-spirited TOTAL FAG [and I mean that in the most loving way] who at some point has said “Fuck the world! I’m gonna do whatever I want!” He’s first seen firing up his off-road vehicle to terrorize wildlife and destroy the landscape, until Davy and George tell him that no off-road vehicles are permitted in the park and take his keys. His parents show up, and typically, Dad is all “Come on, it’s just innocent fun,” while Mom is like “You give him those keys back this instant!” They don’t, so little id-monster Walter goes into the ranger’s office and starts stealing whatever he can get his grubby paws on, including Ranger George’s prized pocketwatch. Soon Walter is riding his OTHER off-road vehicle illegally, and the caveman stalks him and snaps his neck, taking the pocketwatch. I was really bummed to see Walter offed so soon, as he really was priceless, but I guess that’s the price we pay. His parents storm off soon after.

We then come upon The Biller, a retired general from ‘Nam, who is a hard-drinkin’, hard-playin' man with a low raspy voice, the kind of guy who marries a stripper [and makes me all a-quiver]. Sure enough, his wife Pepper is there, her full name being Pepper Mintz. The Biller bonds with George over some Jack Daniels, and they make plans to go hunting or something.

In here somewhere we have learned that this valley is a “microecosystem,” and hasn’t been explored, like, ever. Meaning that there could be whole life forms there that don’t exist anywhere else—like cavemen, for instance. I wonder if this valley is on the other side of the mountain where Grizzly is set, as that movie featured a cavemen bear who hankered for human flesh.

So this is one of those movies where it’s total sunlight, not a cloud in the sky, and then suddenly there’s a massive thunderstorm. Everyone gathers under this large tent, until the slut decides to stage her own private wet T-shirt contest as she cavorts in the rain, making her honeydews [and their stems] quite visible. Leon the biker says “Come on babe, take it all off. We’re all friends here.” She and the two randy teens return to their camp, and soon Leon returns to his camp, moll in tow, saying “Come on baby, Daddy’s horny.”

Remember what I was saying about hairstyles based on cumulo-nimbus cloud patterns? Consider what you see to the right.

The trash-teens find a dead body, and now the whole camp is on the lookout for a bear. The next day the storm has passed and the ground is completely dry! Leon and his biker bud decide to see if they can locate Walter’s bike to salvage for scrap. PLEASE note that Leon affixes two beers to his belt for the road. They find a cave, go in, and the cavemen returns and kills the biker bud with a convenient axe. Leon runs, and finally falls into a pit of spikes, where he suffers multiple impalings.

Now he’s the deal: it turns out that 17 years ago, Ranger George’s son was lost in the woods, and he’s been trying to track him ever since. It turns out later that this is why he pushed for the campground to be open and to be Ranger there, as he will then be paid to look for his son. I wonder if it’ll turn out that the caveman IS his son? But I wouldn’t dare reveal the shocking conclusion…

Soon enough one of the dumb teen boys falls atop Leon and is also impaled. I guess you could say that they were Double Penetrated. Then they go to warn the Biller, but he ain’t letting no greenhorn boy tell him what to do, besides, he “can take a little one-on-one.” The caveman somehow knows how to sabotage their gas line so that gas pours into their trailer, which leads Pepper to ask “Do you smell gas?” seconds before we see The Biller light up. I don’t think we ever saw The Biller smoke previously in this movie. OH, but I forgot my favorite thing about that part. Prior to incinerating himself, The Biller said of the other campers “those yahoos couldn’t punch their way through a wet cracker.”

Now the slut has been left all alone, and the cavemen comes up to her and starts rubbing all over her tits. She is a little taken aback, but it seems like she’s going to just relax and take it [which may be the smartest thing to do], but he starts “squeezing too hard” and she protests and… well, I’m sorry to say she doesn’t make it.

Now I know I told you that the caveman can sabotage gas equipment, but I may not have mentioned that he can also disable cars and radios, a well as drive a bulldozer. Yes, he’s obviously been to trade school. One wonders how he learned all these things, as if he’s George’s son [and I ain’t sayin’ he is, I ain’t sayin he isn’t], he still disappeared when he was too young to learn any of that stuff. Whatever, the point is, he’s handy.

Okay fine, he’s George’s son. George insists that Davy and the chick he likes [the one telling him to go away at the beginning] leave him alone, which they do, and he goes in after his son. His son gestures for him to follow, kind of like Lassie, and he does. Then the caveman turns around and George tells him that he could be his daddy and has been looking for him, and the kid produces the pocketwatch [which he got off Walter], and at last they KNOW! They are reunited, and it feels SO good. Then Dad steps on a trap the caveman devised and, to the caveman's horror, is impaled by a tree trunk bristling with spikes! It is tragic and touching. And you know, there’s a lesson here. You gotta tell your loved ones you care, because the next second they could be impaled.

We end with a little interlude where Davy tells someone that the park is closed, and they will just let the area go back to wilderness.

I REALLY liked it! It’s so rare that movies are FUN like this anymore. There’s just something so rewarding about lining up a bunch of horribly obnoxious characters, then watching them be floridly killed one by one. It was also nice to see The Biller again, bein’ all hot and gruff. You can see him at the zenith of his macho hotness in Run, Angel, Run, and also [not so hot and stache-free] in Invasion of the Bee Girls. Anyway, if you want 90 minutes of hilarious trashy amusement with multiple deaths, you can’t do much better than Memorial Valley Massacre.

Should you watch it: 

YES! It was pure delight from start to finish.