Thursday, January 14, 2016
If there is anything that left me kicking myself after finally getting a Blu-Ray player (outside of "why didn't I get this sooner?"), it was the fact that it isn't all region. That's primarily because I wanted to own Blu-Ray's from the British label Arrow Video, who have essentially become the Criterion Collection for cult movie enthusiasts in that country. Thankfully, they now have a U.S. wing, and one of the titles in that wing I have acquired is the 1980's slasher "Blood Rage".
Opening in the 70's, the film deals with twin brothers in Todd and Terry. As kids, one of them went "eh, fuck it", killed a dude and framed it on his brother. Cut to the present (well, 1984-though it ended up being released in 87), and Todd (Mark Soper) has escaped prison. Here's the thing though-Todd didn't do it. In the process, Terry decided once again go "eh, fuck it" and begins to kill people in violent fashion. Also, this takes place on Thanksgiving, so you could say this beat Eli Roth and "Grindhouse" to the punch.
I once mentioned how a lot of the slasher movies to come after "Hatchet" (as well as that movie) tended to fail in regards to capturing the spirit and vibe of the 80's slasher movie. That's because "Blood Rage" is exactly the kind of movie those movies want to be, but never manage to accomplish. It has some choice kills and gore, a killer 80's synthesizer score, absolutely wonky performances (more on that in a bit) and so much more, all without needing to constantly wink at the audience the way "Hatchet" does (though there are a few instances of pitch black humor on display). I don't think it can be called "good" in the traditional sense, but as far as cinematic trash is concerned, this thing is a God damn masterpiece.
I mentioned wonky performances, and that's because there is a doozy of one from Louise Lasser. Yes, the star of "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" and the Woody Allen films "Bananas" and "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask" plays the boys mother, and oh my God, is her performance over the top-to the point that you realize that she herself is most likely insane. She even talks on the phone whilst sitting on the kitchen floor, eating Thanksgiving leftovers as the fridge is open. It is the kind of thing you have to see to believe.
I'm glad that this movie exists, and even more glad that Arrow gave this the kind of transfer and release that studios such as Criterion give to more respectable motion pictures. This sucker is a must for fans of 80's slasher movies (or slasher movies in general), and the kind of thing that makes me glad I write on this blog.
Director John Grissmer previously directed the horror drama "Scalpel" in 1977, and co-wrote the offbeat 70's horror movie "The House That Cried Murder". Meanwhile, writer Bruce Rubin previously wrote the sex comedy "Zapped". His only other writing credit outside of this was an episode of the 90's animated series "Recess".