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dog days

dog days

Friday, November 29, 2013

Blood Freak

Blood Freak
1972
Brad F. Grinter, Steve Hawkes

Blood Freak is another film, much like Night of the Lepus (also from 1972, maybe something was in the air that year), where the whole concept is so fundamentally flawed you wonder how the creators ever though it was going to work. At the same time I'm glad they did, the world needs at least one anti-drug Christian propaganda film that features gory mutilation courtesy of murderous turkey-man.

Herschell (Steve Hakwes) is a Vietnam vet who lives an aimless life cruising on his motorcycle. He helps a stranded young girl named, Angel (Heather Hughes) by taking her to her house. Angel's house is filled with no-good hippies smoking weed, and despite Herschell's initial reluctance, Angel coaxes him into trying some. He's pretty much instantly hooked, and soon is offering himself up as a guinea pig to some scientists testing food additives in turkey meat in return for more weed. Seemingly dying from a drugged turkey overdose, Herschell soon rises from the grave. Now with a monstrous turkey head, he lives only to drink the blood of hippies.

From the synopsis, you might make the mistake of thinking this is some tongue-in-cheek Troma-esque horror comedy. Let me allay those fears, this is a completely serious film that is trying to turn you off of drugs and onto religion with the help of a little sleaze and blood.There is some attempt to evoke the unnerving qualities of a bad LSD trip, or the cinematic equivalent at least. However, It would take a surrealist of David Lynch caliber to make a monster turkey headed man actually terrifying. 

I haven't mentioned the secret MVP of Blood Freak, and that is the increasingly unhinged narrator. What begins as a man droning on endlessly about nothing in particular, slowly over the course of the film becomes a chain smoking fevered mess of human being. It's here the movie tries to drive home its message about temptation and keeping to a righteous path, and it's here it appeals to the idea that a murderous were-turkey can pray for forgiveness and receive it… as long he can stop smoking that darn pot and hanging out with counter-culture weirdies.

Of course, this message gets muddled up with some discussion about the mistreatment of soldiers back from Viet Nam, and the misuse of industrial chemicals on food and recreational drugs. If your pro-Christian message film is taking the time for a lengthy scene of someone getting their leg cut off on a circular saw table, an unclear message is perhaps the least of your problems.

Blood Freak is a glorious slice of truly insane film making. It is unabashedly weird, but never self-consciously so. It's technical, and storytelling flaws are many, but it comes together into something that is far greater than the sum of its parts. Blood Freak is a bizarre misguided mishmash of monster/religion/drug films and it's wonderfully wrong on every conceivable level. It's a Psychotronic masterpiece that cannot be missed by anyone interested in cult film.

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