Sunday, September 30, 2007

"The Chooper/Blood Shack"(1971)

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Ray Dennis Steckler,of "Rat Pfink a Boo Boo" and "The Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies" fame,directed this poop-a-thon under his favorite moniker Wolfgang Schmidt(filmgoers must've mistaken this snoozer as a forgotten piece of torture propaganda from the interment camps at the time)in 1971 somewhere in a remote southwestern dust bowl.If his position as one of the most inept filmmakers of all time was ever in question,one mere viewing of this boring celluloid turd will do the trick for ANYONE.I'm pretty sure Steckler had a lot of footage of his then wife,Carolyn Brandt,his two dirty kids,and a banal local rodeo lying around when he was struck with a z-grade epiphany...why not piece together a horror movie around it?Brilliant.It seems there's this 150 year old dilapidated shack in the middle of nowhere that Carolyn Brandt(showing her acting chops playing...herself) happens to have dibs on,probably one of the fringe benefits of her previous appearances in late '60s no-budget nudie flicks,apparently a lucrative piece of dusty real estate cursed by indians and lusted after by local property buyer,"Tim Foster".He never quite purveys why he wants the blood shack,he just knows he wants it and it becomes painfully obvious he'll do ANYTHING to get it before too long...Luckily for Ms. Brandt who spends the entire film talking to herself in echo-laden voice over,"Daniel" is in her employment as caretaker of the sanguinary shed,and from the looks of his wardrobe,which usually consists of a filthy pair of jeans and shirt that's three sizes too small(when he's not shirtless,which is even more terrifying),she's not paying the poor guy very much.Daniel doesn't do much save for barking at curious thrill-seekers who get too close to the shack,"The Chooper'll git ya!",and shooing the two dirty kids from playing with broken furniture outside.Before too long a skeevy looking blonde shows up,abandoning her boyfriend,ignoring Daniel's barking,and deciding to spend the night on a ratty mattress inside the blood shack after stripping down to her bra and panties,oblivious to the rash she may get from touching anything in the one room hovel.The Chooper gets her.
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One of the scarier moments outside the "Blood Shack".
The Chooper,a vengeful Indian god,is dressed entirely in black,wielding a Civil War sword,and hopping out in front of his victims,giving a blood-curdling "AAAAAAHHHHHHH!" before stabbing them with the sword repeatedly,and looking like one of those novelty birds that dip their beaks into a glass of water so popular in the seventies, while removing them from their miserable lives.
Dirty Dan discovers the bodies in the morning and quickly burys them so Ms. Brandt can take the two little dirt merchants to the local rodeo,where they meet "Peanuts the Pony"(even the horse looks a little embarrassed to be seen in this picture) for a good chunk of the film's running time.In fact,she takes them TWICE.
Mercifully,around the sixty-five minute mark,Daniel is attacked by the Chooper outside the Blood Shack,as he jumps down from the roof(!) and goosesteps/limps screaming after the terrified caretaker in circles around the shack,mortally injuring him before Carolyn shows up to brain him with a shovel, can't be...Tim Foster.He's been killing people all along to scare Brandt into selling the property to him,and he'd have succeeded if it wasn't for Stecklers two filthy meddling kids...yeah,it DOES kinda play like a bad Scooby Doo episode minus the Great Dane and the Mystery Machine.As Daniel dies in Brandt's arms he mentions that Tim isn't the Chooper,he's not 150 years old.(And we had him pegged as an illiterate,dirty piece of dust bowl trash.Boy did he make us eat our words,eh?)And that the Chooper WAS out there and he WOULD git you.B.W. note:The Chooper wasn't actually out there,and we were spared from ever enduring a sequel,thankfully.I also doubt I'd even recommend this film to my worst enemies,knowing they'd die a horribly slow and painful death via boredom from a singular viewing,but if you like the crappiest scare fare,you might actually get some laughs out of it.But don't say I didn't warn you.The Chooper WILL bore you,and Ah know it!
Zero B.W.'s

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