Duck! The Carbine High Massacre (1999)

Made just four months after the tragedy at Columbine High School, Duck! The Carbine High Massacre was made by William Helfire, who was on painkillers due to cancer pain, and Joey Smack on consumer-grade VHS cameras, a broadcast Super VHS camcorder, a standard handheld RCA and another unidentified camcorder for $3,000.

Hellfire said, “Like I don’t remember most of Duck!, I don’t remember…I shot all these films in a semi-subconscious, drugged-out, zombified state. I had no remorse nor regard for anything.”

Derwin (Hellfire) and Derick (Smack) are the not-so-disguised movie versions of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the real killers. These guys are trying to buy missiles with credit cards and get an idea to blow up the school from what may be an alien janitor.

Erin Brown — also known as Misty Mundae — explained why this movie was filmed by saying, “When those two kids snapped at Columbine High everyone in the Factory — Factory 2000 is the studio of sorts that Hellfire and Smack ran — was walking on clouds, excited, asking ourselves “Is this the shape of things to come? Is the machine finally breaking down to the point where our youth is beginning to exterminate each other at puberty?” We felt before it could be made into some All-American “family values” propaganda TV movie mini-series, we would produce it from the killers’ perspective and, of course, add the Factory’s manifesto into their logic. Everyone involved had found high school a tortuous and stifling environment so it wasn’t very difficult to imagine why the incident occurred. Then to see it replayed on the news again and again made the incident a prime target. The final outcome is a wonderful gut-splitting social satire.”

The scene where her Bible girl character is killed was so divisive that the cast and crew threatened to walk, thinking that the film had gone too far.

Speaking of going too far, Smack and William Hellfire were arrested for carrying real weapons on the grounds of an elementary school months after the shooting as the police ordered a copy of the film online. According to Hellfire, “The FBI was involved and discouraged any action noting it was only a movie’ but the local Ringwood police really wanted to get on TV. They were laughing and telling me not to worry that I was gonna be famous’ Judge laughed it out of court. We made the news for like two weeks straight. Nancy Grace made nasty faces at us. Fox News called us copy cat killers.”

For two guys who mainly made fetish-oriented horror movies for W.A.V.E Productions, this movie has a really heavy weight at the end as the two killers take one another out to escape this world. Now, I think this is a horribly made movie that is packed with too much filler and the aims of being edgy just to be edgy, yet there are also valid points made that high school doesn’t work and actually causes these events or at least doesn’t help the souls who short circuit and take out people.

You can be angry that this movie exists or you can be mad that 24 days into 2023, when I’m writng this, there have already been 36 mass shootings and not a single one, no hopes and prayers, have done anything to push people to come up with a solution or halt the raging erection that so many Americans have for owning guns.

Also: If exploitation cinema offends you, isn’t it doing it’s job?

You can get the Saturn’s Core blu ray of this movie from Vinegar Syndrome. You can also download it from the Internet Archive.

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