[review by JA Kerswell]
|An unfortunate 'accident' starts the heads rolling in THE SWISS MISS MASSACRE.|
THE SWISS MISS MASSACRE is a sporadically amusing, decently budgeted slasher parody from Switzerland. Miss Swiss beauty contestants are whisked off to a tropical island, where they are hunted by a masked killer. The twist here - and perhaps the reason it has been little seen outside its native country - is that the killer wears masks from famous slasher franchises such as Jason, Freddy, Michael and even The Miner from MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981). Campy and silly, the slasher elements are played just straight enough to work.
Jasmin is crowned Miss Zurich by default after the winner, Sabinska (Nomi Fernandes), is decapitated on stage in a seemingly freak accident whilst showing her specialist beauty queen skill - blowing bubbles with gum. Jasmin is at first reluctant to take Sabinska’s place, but is eventually persuaded to - although she hides a secret. Her mother was an ex-Miss Switzerland contestant but has been locked away in an asylum for the past 20 years after attacking a fellow contestant with a cake knife. Now wheelchair-bound, she still dresses like a beauty queen and doesn’t recognise her daughter. A doctor sensitively tells her: “Your mother is still a vegetable.”
|Beauty contestants head to a tropical island with a psycho killer. What could possibly go wrong?|
The pageant organiser and his wife organise the contestants to go Gopa Guapo in Tanga Atoll - a tropical luxury resort on a previously war-torn island. The other contestants are initially bitchy to Jasmin and call her “Taliban” because of a bandage she wears on her head after falling victim to a prank by her HALLOWEEN (1978) obsessed nephew. She takes refuge in the company of Serge (Patrick Rapold), the main event photographer; despite another contestant, Noemi (Ann Mayer), suspecting he had something to do with the death of her sister four years earlier.
Once on the island the contestants relax and take part in beauty shoots. However, one is found poisoned to death by tampered slimming pills. The organiser decides to hush it up in an attempt to keep the competition going. However, the poisoning wasn’t an accident and the contestants and crew soon realise that someone else is on the island - and have decided to cut the competition down to size - after more beautiful bodies hit the floor …
|The killer has many masks to choose from - most of them with copyright from major Hollywood studios!|
Presumably, some of the comedy in THE SWISS MISS MASSACRE is lost in translation. It seems that a few of the jokes are a play on the Swiss-German dialect used, which will be a mystery to English-speaking audiences. However, enough of the comedy lands to be, if not laugh-out-loud funny, then at least enjoyable. The slasher elements in the second half of the movie are sometimes also played for laughs, but, as it gets going, it has enough popcorn thrills to entertain. It also benefits from Meryl Valerie as a likeable heroine. It is sillier than most slasher parodies, but not an all-out spoof along the lines of something like SCARY MOVIE (2000). Although it comes close when one character is attacked by someone in a Mr Bean mask! There is, of course, campy fun to be had watching the girls first bitch at each other and then band together - and flee through the jungle to escape the clutches of the killer. And there’s the novelty of seeing them chased by Pinhead, Ghostface, Jason, Leatherface, Freddy et al. However, the film’s broadish strokes are uncomfortable in perhaps beyond borderline racist depictions of the native people of the island - which comes across as awkward and ill-advised.
Filmed in Thailand on a $3.2 million dollar budget, THE SWISS MISS MASSACRE got some terrible reviews. Variety called it: “A train wreck masquerading as popular entertainment, “The Swiss Miss Massacre” is an embarrassing stab at the horror-comedy genre by Switzerland‘s most successful director, Michael Steiner.” They further lamented: “… the pic gives cheesy and cheesecake a bad name.”
|Ghostface puts in a surprise cameo in Michael Steiner's THE SWISS MISS MASSACRE.|
The cast included real Swiss beauty queens such as Vinzens Nadine, who won the Miss Switzerland crown in 2002 and Jennifer Hurschler, who came third in 2010. Somewhat ironically, the Miss Switzerland pageant itself was killed off the same year as the release of the movie - but through lack of funding rather than a psycho killer.
Whilst not the second coming, THE SWISS MISS MASSACRE isn’t as bad as the reviews make out. For slasher fans, it is a breezy affair if you disengage your brain.
female: 8 / male: 3
1) Female decapitated with wire
2) Female killed with poisoned slimming pills
3) Male burns to death
4) Female gets axe blade to the head
5) Male electrocuted in bath tub
6) Female killed with Freddy gloves (off screen)
7) Female run through with spike
8) Female stabbed with knife
9) Female gets stray bullet to the head
10) Female killed with a knife
11) Male stabbed in the back with beauty pageant baton
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