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07 November, 2009

Junkyardfilms.com’s Moldy Oldie Movie of the Month!: BLOOD FREAK

Title: BLOOD FREAK

Year of Release—Film: 1972



[Author's note...I usually review only movies that are out of print. However, as Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I couldn't let the occasion pass without reviewing Blood Freak...the one and only blood-sucking, chopper riding, Bible thumping, dope smoking, limb hacking, were-turkey monster movie!]

Herschel (Steve Hawks) plays Good Samaritan to a pretty girl, Angel (Heather Hughes) stranded by the side of a highway. She takes him home to her drug-smoking sister, Ann (Dana Cullivan) who is having a pot party. Ann offers Herschel a hit but he declines. Later Angel is having a prayer meeting in which they, along with a group of other young people, discuss right (anti-drug) and wrong (pot). Angel offers Herschel the use of her couch until he finds a job. Angel's friend owns a turkey farm and offers Herschel a job there starting next week. This gives the beautiful and seductive but not terribly bright Ann more than enough time to convince Herschell to try some of her specially enhanced pot and big, dumb Herschell finally agrees. It's not long (about ten minutes) before he's hopelessly hooked and is heating up the sheets with the more than willing Ann!

This seems like the perfect time to mention that this movie is sporadically narrated by chain-smoking co-director Brad Grinter, who spouts disconnected Biblical nonsense from a script on his desk throughout the picture. More on Brad later.

Herschell starts his new job, which isn't taking care of turkeys as he thought. Instead, he's coerced by two scientists into eating an entire turkey that has been, unknown to him, laced with a potent chemical. This amazing gastronomical feat he accomplishes without a side single serving of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce or a drink! Soon, he's feeling ill and lies down in a field to rest. When he awakens, he's a new man—one with a gigantic Paper-Mache turkey head—and a hunger for the blood of other drug-addicted teens! He kidnaps a couple of heroin-addicted teens and kills them by hanging them upside down and slicing their throats, drinking their blood as it spurts. (Except, some crewmember put the jets in the wrong places and it spurts out of their blouses instead!) A fat redneck attacks him and Herschell kills him, too. (If you listen to the female screams in this movie, you'll realize quickly that it is the same sound loop used over and over...making Grinter the inventor of the female Wilhelm Scream!)

Herschell goes back home to Ann, who's surprised to see this change in her man. Ann waxes philosophical about how difficult a relationship between a normal female and a man who's part turkey would be. "What would our children look like?", asks Ann. "Gobble-gobble-gobble,” exclaims Herschell and Ann, carried away with his reasoning and her passion, gives in to him! The next day, Ann, full of regret about causing Herschel to turn into a turkey-monster, enlists a couple of her drug-dealing friends to supply Herschell with even more drugs.

Herschell goes on a rampage, killing another heroin addict and drinking her blood. An older man witnesses this and attacks Herschell but Herschell breaks his neck. Herschell is then attacked by a fat man who stabs Herschell in the eye with an ice pick. Herschell, screaming like a baby (Honestly! In a baby's voice!), kills the fat man. Meanwhile, Ann's horny druggie friend, a real sleaze-ball, tries to convince Ann that Herschell's two-timing her. Ann, disgusted, goes to bed. The druggie friend needs more drugs but the door-to-door pusher won't give him any more until he pays for his last shipment. Druggie friend tells the pusher her can have a go at Ann in return for drugs and the pusher takes him up on it. However, during the sexual attack Ann faints with fright and he flees only to be caught by Herschell, who has witnessed all of this through a window. Herschell chases the pusher into a woodworking shop and cuts pusher leg's off with a table saw. (This is the most effective special effect in the film because Grinter used an actual amputee and added blood-filled prosthetic legs.)

Dawn breaks and an exhausted, blood-covered Herschell goes back to the turkey farm. There he falls to his knees and, in a pleading gobble-gobble voice, prays to God for help. Two drug friends of Ann's sneak up behind him with a raised machete and... The scene changes to an actual live turkey, flopping around with it's head cut off! (This is the most gruesome scene in the movie!) The next scene shows Herschell's turkey-head lying on a platter next to a roasted turkey that's being ripped apart by human hands. Was this all a drug-induced dream!?!

But, as hard as it is to believe, this mish-mash of a movie has a happy ending. Angel, who works at a drug rehab, gets Herschell help and he kicks the drugs. Angel encourages Herschell to seek out an older-but-wiser Ann. He does and they all live happily ever after. The chain-smoking Brad Grinter reads some more Biblical doggerel, then collapses onto the desk and coughs up a lung! The End!

Brad Grinter used mostly his film students as actors in this movie. With few exceptions, none ever made another movie. Steve Hawkes had a previous career starring in Italian Tarzan movies but that ended with a fire on the set that left Steve with serious burns, some of which are visible during the first love scene in Blood Freak. Heather Hughes acted in two previous Grinter films. Made with a budget that couldn't have been more than a few thousand dollars, this movie should be on a shelf moldering away, long forgotten by the outside world, there is so little to recommend it. However, it's so much fun! A true candidate for "worst movie ever made,” it has everything a bad movie lover could want! Bad acting, inept directing, terrible script, amateuristic special effects and a narrator who can barely remember (or speak) his lines! BUT WAIT! This Something Weird Video release isn't done astounding you yet! It has an added extra short titled "Brad Granter, Nudist"! It seems this middle-aged, skinny, five-pack a day, Elvis wanna-be was a nudist in his spare time! And, that my friends, is the true horror of Blood Freak! Gobble up this tasty mess on Turkey Day!

Enjoy! Or not!

MSTjunkie





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