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Blood Freak

All right, let's not tiptoe about here. You clicked on a link that said "Blood Freak," probably on purpose. There's no way that anyone above the age of three could be so inexperienced regarding the art of film creation so as to expect anything resembling quality entertainment from a film with such a title. This is going to be a hatchet job, plain and simple. I'm referring to the review, by the way; there is no hatchet in Blood Freak, though there is a bandsaw and a machete.

Other than "bad," I'm at a loss as to explain precisely what genre of film this precious little gem purports to belong to. It ultimately ends up as a splatter film, though for the first hour or so it seems little more than a Christian anti-drug propaganda film with terrible sound and direction. It later turns into a monster film with terrible sound and direction, but before that (slight) catharsis, we must endure a pulse-stoppingly turgid mess of banal dialogue, acting that makes Keanu Reeves look like a true luminary, and some rambling and nearly incomprehensible narration delivered by the director, who reads his script off the table he sits at, chain-smokes, and coughs like a man who's swallowed a smog factory as he preaches about the ill-advisedness of putting foreign substances into one's body. I expect that the irony was completely lost on him.

Our...hero? Protagonist? Guy? Whatever, who's named Herschell and looks like a cross between Elvis (big version) and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, enters the film on a motorcycle filmed from atop a creaky tilt-a-whirl that's having its own private earthquake. He stops to help a woman with some kind of car trouble, and ends up being introduced to her sister and her no-good dope-smoking hippie friends. This is where the trouble begins, though I don't mean for Herschell, even though that's true as well. I mean for the audience, because this is where people in the movie start talking, and that introduces great heaping mounds of no good. The dialogue is way ridiculous, as the most boring collection of stoners ever to imbibe of the killer weed start trying to ply Herschell with requests to get stoned and swing. That's "not his thing," because he "doesn't know where it's at," and while the "bad" sister tries to get him to loosen up and party, the "good" sister spouts Bible verses to anyone who will or won't listen in an effort to get all these no-count dope fiends through the pearly gates. No matter where you turn your ears, there's some laconic mumbling coming out of some very bored mouth expounding upon the virtues of either drugs or religion; the one thing this film seems to be very clear on is that you apparently must be addicted to something. Eventually, this impressionable youth of at least thirty-five years of age gives in to pressuring from the bad sister, who is at least marginally more attractive and interesting than her Bible-thumping sibling, and takes a hit of that special strain of the wacky weed found only in crappy movies, i.e. the kind that turns you into a gibbering crackhead after one joint. From here on, Herschell's life takes a turn for the worse. Our own lives take a slight turn for the better, since the film is now closer to being over than it was beforehand.

Herschell proceeds to take a job as a human guinea pig at a turkey farm, testing their new chemically-enhanced turkey meat on himself. After eating an entire turkey (Jesus goddamn Christ!) dosed with some unspecified turkey enhancing...I don't know, shit-he experiences an unexpected side effect as a result of its interaction with the devil weed he's toking on the side, and after a fit of convulsions that leave him twitching on the ground, he awakes to find himself transformed into a horrible turkey-headed monster. A really horrible one, one which looks like a guy wearing a cheap bird mask that looks so damned bad, the first time we see it in close-up, it appears in shots which average about a second in length, as if the editor was trying to avert unintended laughter from the audience. The attempt fails, however, because this first scene involves the turkey man gobbling at the stoner sister, who speculates, with complete seriousness, what their children might look like if they ever got married.

Unfortunately for Herschell the turkey-headed freak, he's still an addict, so he must turn to feeding on the blood of other drug users in order to survive. A plethora of questions might present themselves here, such as why he can't just keep on smoking, or when exactly turkeys became known for their predation, but instead, I find myself wondering about the screaming. It's a pretty damn pathetic horror flick when one ends up criticizing the quality of the screaming found within it, and yet, here we are. The first time the Blood Freak takes a victim, an onlooker spots him in the act of draining her blood and proceeds to scream about twelve times or so. By this, what I actually mean is that she screamed once, and it was looped in eleven more times. It goes on long enough for it to turn hilarious, then just annoying, and then back to hilarious again before finally ending. Later, when he attacks the evil drug pusher and slices off his leg with a bandsaw, the man emits a long series of screams which are in fact not the same recording over and over, but which sound so similar it's as if he was trying to sound like the human scream sampling machine. It's a, well, interesting choice. Almost as interesting a choice as having the demise of the Blood Freak be depicted by the decapitation of a real, live turkey, so the whole audience can see for themselves just how much the filmmakers failed to make their monster look anything whatsoever like a turkey at all.

In the end, it turns out to have been all a bad dream. What do you expect after getting that much L-Tryptophan in your system? The lesson here: don't eat a whole fucking turkey if you don't want to sleep for a week afterwards.

This film hails from a long-gone era, one when a film, any film, took a lot more effort to make and was more expensive than it would be at present due to the necessity of shooting on actual film stock. It surprises no one when a real turkey (Holy Shit! Check out the amazing pun!) comes out in the shot-on-video market nowadays, but thinking that somebody wanted to make this film badly enough to put up with actually bothering to is damn near shocking. On the other hand, it doesn't look like they went to too much bother. The cameraman was apparently given the general guideline "focus: optional," the actors learned their lines just well enough to drunkenly stumble through them with the precision of a badly-programmed Intellivision voice module, and what portion of the budget wasn't spent on buying the same palsy-inducing ganja that Herschell smoked and giving it to the cameramen was likely given over to buying enormous vats of custard and dead cats to sink the boom mikes into. As an aside, it's almost miraculous that none of these ever seems to dip into shot, as the space left above the actors' heads is often sufficiently expansive enough to comfortably fit an entire aircraft carrier within, just in case one should chance to fly through the scene. If there were any takes made for this flick that were actually deemed too bad to be used, they've probably been shot into the sun out of a desperate need to protect mankind from the dangers of hysterically laughing out their entire digestive tracts.

Blood Freak is one of those films which sounds like it would be so bad that it's good, and yet it's mostly just plain bad, so bad it makes your finger hover over the fast-forward button throughout. Normally I'd be tempted to say that I didn't know what the director was smoking when he made this film, but I do, as he's smoking it every time he appears on screen (which is way too often), and it doesn't provide him with any excuses. This film is too plodding to be horror, too smutty to be religious, and probably would do more to encourage drug use than the opposite by providing such amazingly stupid reasons to abstain. It's almost worth the ride for that awful screaming scene, and the bizarre art-film-by-'tards bit of the Blood Freak's head on the table as hands reach into shot and rend a baked turkey asunder, but as fascinating as train wrecks can be, I tend to prefer mine to crash with a little more haste.

-review by Matt Murray

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