…The latest endeavor from local horrorist Bobby Keller. Here’s the set up: greedy boss, disgruntled employee, murder on the putting green.
Mini Golf Massacre is a HUGE improvement over Keller’s last film, Deatherman. At 32 minutes, the piece doesn’t really drag. The speaking scenes all use multiple cuts and angles (some effective, others, not so much). The writing is tighter, the actors flow somewhat.
Unlike Deatherman, where the entire film used dirty wides to show all of the action, Keller uses a healthy selection of cut aways, camera tracking, and reverse zooms. For example, the introduction shot starts tight on Mr. Puttz juggling golf balls, pulls to the sale counter. Approximately ten minutes in, the style breaks during a filter-heavy drinking scene. It’s aesthetically reminiscent of a troma scene, or an early music video.
Like Deatherman, the death scenes carry the piece. Keller uses some absurd and inventive murder methods, including death-by-batting-cage-pitch-machine, a severed hand in a golf hole, and a decapitated head rolling down the course waterfall. The characters are not really developed. Instead, we get caricature snippets: the greedy boss, the disgruntled employee, the broski barkeep.
Keller’s influences are obvious in this film: Troma, with over-the-top death scenes and the high pitched cartoonic main character and early slashers using the killers’ perspective during death scenes, a la Black Christmas or Dario Argento’s Opera.
The film has some technical issues. The audio levels fluctuate widely between shots. There’s loud outdoor wind one second, no sound the next. Noise often overpowers the dialogue. The backgrounds are brighter than the actors with lots of blown-out whites. Exposure control? Everything is in focus most of the time, there’s minimal depth of field. It’s not easy on the eyes or ears.
We’re not sure whether this is intentional, but the film raises an interesting moral question. When attacked by the killer, one of the girls takes a chainsaw and chops up the masked marauder. The murderer’s murders justify the hasty counter-kill. Social commentary on stand-your-ground-laws? The film has dystopian threads through Mr. Puttz’ character. The barkeep sounds an alarm when Puttz phones in a burger order. Everyone scrambles as though he owns the town. The desolate establishing shots of the golf park present it like prison rather than family fun center. Social commentary on wage slavery?
Mini Golf Massacre is more comedy than horror. If you take it lightly, with a few beers and friends (or people who worked on the production), it’s an enjoyable watch. If you’re looking for a serious horror film… It’s probably not for you. The structure and necessary pieces are there, but it lacks polish.