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CARNAGE ROAD

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Film Details:

Director: Massimiliano Cerchi

Year of release: 2000

Country of origin: USA

Running time: Around 70 minutes I'd say though the back of the DVD box says 90.

DVD/Blu ray: DVD only

Tagline: "The Legend of Quiltface. His murders are legendary".

Also known as: Carnage: The Legend of Quiltface and Quiltface

 

 

 

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Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre

I first became interested in this film after reading rumours that there were copies floating around with the alternative title of Quiltface.  Not having any reviews under the Q section of the site at the time (only have the one even now) I was eager to locate a copy.  Indeed my shelves at home are sorely lacking a slasher under Q as well as it’s the only letter in the alphabet missing a title.  Sadly I was never able to find a copy of this film under the Quiltface name (if such a copy even exists) but to my ultimate misfortune I did hunt down a DVD of the standard Carnage Road variant.    

 

 

Story: In order to avoid failing a photography class, student Lisa talks her boyfriend Robert into accompanying her out into the desert where she hopes to take some eye catching pictures.  Joining the pair are two fellow students from Linda’s class who seem to have a similar idea of taking snaps in the arid wilderness.  Taking a ride to the desert drop off spot in a van type taxi service they are told by the driver of the legend of Quiltface, supposedly some so sort of weird desert dweller thought to be responsible for a number of disappearances in the area.  The photography enthusiasts are quick to dismiss the tale, laughing it off as they set off into the desert.

 

Quiltface though of course turns out to very real and is none too happy to find trespassers in his territory.  

 

 

Good points: *The sandy desert type setting is the only real positive that stands out as it’s something fairly unique and different.  Only a handful of other genre films like Blood Frenzy and Mirage have featured this type of location so it does feel like a bit of a change.  As decent as it is though it doesn’t quite have the sense of isolation that you’d perhaps expect with a reasonably busy road being seen several times.  I can appreciate this is a necessary evil as the characters have to get to the desert somehow but it does make it feel as if they’re only ever a short hike away from relative safety.

 

On top of this an aging rocker type hermit has set up shop in the vicinity so this together with some old relics of machinery scattered around combine to make it feel as if they’re only ever on the very outskirts of the desert which reduces a bit of the appeal.  

 

 

*From a distance the killer looks reasonably intimidating.  They’re playing it safe with the costume as it’s a Myers type boiler suit but it works fine and the mask is at least passable.  It’s cheap and generic but is of the design that at least covers the whole head and it’s a better option than not having a mask at all.  

 

It would have been nice to have the mask come off at the very end but the killers true face is unfortunately something we never see.  

 

Another small issue with the killer is that up close he looks too skinny and with an awkward looking gait to boot he quickly looses all sense of menace.  Overall though you’ll see far worse killers where no effort has been made at all. At least they tried here.  

 

 

*One of the photography students is mildly amusing, producing a smidgen of entertainment with some of the lines he comes out with.  Playing the stereotypical dorky loser character he is way over the top and not very realistic so there is a negative side to him as well.  He can be a bit of fun though and in a film like this you have to grab your positives with both hands where you can find them.  I’d say he just about qualifies as being more a help to the proceedings than a hinderance.  

 

 

Bad Points: *Carnage Road is a film rife with problems but I’d say the main area where it all falls down is with the bare bones script which has a rushed feel to it.  The photography angle jumps out as being something that doesn’t make much sense as initially when Linda and Robert are talking alone it seems as if it’s just Linda who’s the photography student.  Not long after however this changes and it sems that Robert is part of the course as well.  On top of this the whole point of Linda wanting to go out into the desert is to take some unique pictures different from the usual but how unique could they be if not only her boyfriend but also two other student tagalongs are also taking pictures in the same place?  (The film implies that all four of them are working on gaining extras credit with the pics they take and not just Linda).  

 

Making things worse is that they barely have any camera equipment between them and seem more interested in taking pictures of each other as opposed to the scenery.

 

Adding to the woes of the script is that there is hardly any backstory to Quiltface at all.  I came out of it knowing just as little about this strangely named character as I did going in!

 

Mild spoilers:  On another sorry note they seem to be going off into subplot territory at one point with the van driver breaking down and then having to walk along the outskirts of the desert, presumably to try and thumb a ride or find a gas station.  It’s built up to seem as if he’s going to be at risk from Quiltface at this stage but then the next time we see him he’s safely back in the van which is now working again as if nothing’s happened!  

 

Mild spoiler: Equally bad regarding this character is that he has no sense of surprise or urgency about him at all at the end when picking up a visibly injured survivor.  Instead of rushing the victim to hospital he actually pulls up at the side of the road so he can get out and defecate!  You couldn’t make it up.  

 

 

*The audio quality is very shoddy throughout which makes it difficult to catch everything which is being said.  There seemed to be some minimal half-hearted effort at one point to explain a bit of Quiltface’s past when the hermit character is saying something perhaps about days they spent in the army together.  I could barely make anything out though as the audio was especially bad here.  Of course the DVD didn’t come with subtitles which so often seem to be absent when you most need them.    

 

 

*Spoiler: On topic with the old hermit character mentioned above he has a really odd looking death scene which doesn’t make any sense.  He gets pushed non-too strongly in the face which causes him to fall over.  Judging by Quiltface’s reaction when finding the hermit sprawled on the floor this push was seemingly enough to kill him.  

 

 

*Instead of a final girl we have a final boy here with the Robert character taking centre stage and my goodness is he ever annoying!  He’s a waste of space as once Quiltface reveals himself he spends almost the entire time wailing and screaming like a banshee.  Even the poor audio quality won’t save you from it!  Mild spoiler: That said he does seem to possess miraculous healing powers as he somehow recovers from a machete blow to the head.  

 

 

*There are a couple of very unrealistic shots where Quiltface is shown staring at the kids supposedly from afar but the distance isn’t great enough.  There’s nothing between him and them to prevent them from noticing him yet somehow they remain oblivious.  It’s both amateurish and unrealistic.  

 

 

Verdict: I’d heard bad things about this one going in but I thought it looked alright from the trailer so I was optimistic.  Unfortunately it wasted no time in living up to the bad reputation and was rotten all the way through.

 

The desert location is okay and at least there’s a mask but the script is so weak and lame it quickly becomes difficult to sit through.  Throw a terrible final boy into the mix along with bad audio and you’ve got all the makings of a disaster.  It’s not quite as bad as the likes of Camp Blood 4 and 5 or Return of the Boogeyman but it’s only a tiny step up.  

 

2/10  11/100

 

 

Bodycount (contains major spoilers):

1)Sammi: Hacked to death with machete while making out.  

2)Mick: Same as Sammi.  

3)Mike: Killed of camera, we just see the killer looming over him as he’s lying down.  

4)Amy: Struck in the face with machete.  

5)Linda: Killed with machete blow to the hip.  {It’s a weird death as it doesn’t seem enough to finish her off).  

6)Old man/hermit: Super odd death where the guy seems to die after being pushed in the face/torso by Robert.            

 

 

 

 

 

Review added on the 14th of September 2020.

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carnage road