Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Blood Cult"(1985) d/ Christopher Lewis

The first time I saw this image staring back at me from a clamshell VHS on the shelf of a mom n' pop joint ( that probably had a zeroxed sketch of me behind the counter that read "Do NOT rent to...") at a point when I was also exploring the possibilities of translating genre fare on Beta video(spoiler: it doesn't very well at all.), and seeing that someone had actually gotten their work on the shelves right next to Fulci, Argento, Romero, and the rest of my favorites had proven to be very reaffirming to me. My expectations for the flick weren't bad out of the gate, either, the giallo-esque black glove and meat cleaver on the sleeve promised me I wasn't in for a cookie cutter slasher padded out with mile upon depressing mile of dialog delivered by line-flubbing amateurs and hacked prop limbs spattered with stage blood, all shot with the ambience of a vintage Ginger Lynn DP scene. One would assume that was the case, and that night in front of the big floor model tv in the parlor, I discovered that it couldn't be farther from it.
"Alright, alright ! Maybe we could use a fine set of encyclopedias ! "
Some hacked n' slashed sorority gash has the local small town sheriff(Charles Ellis) baffled in his investigation into the mysterious black gloved fiend, who isn't the least bit opposed to ktfo meddling roommates with severed eighties bimbo heads when he feels so inclined, leaving as always, a cryptic dog's head medallion at the scene of the crime in place of heisted body parts. Luckily, the sheriff's daughter happens to sort out the card catalogues at the college library, and with a little effective Nancy Drew-age, turns up an antique book on the occult that illustrations of the medallion appear in, and may even tie the recent slayings to a coven of eighteenth century witches.
And then, the only military service that would have her was the arm-y. Sorry...
After what seems like at least ten more dialog scenes than in real estate nail biter, Glengarry Glen Ross, the Dean of the school sends the sheriff out to respond to alleged poachers making a racket and setting fires in the nearby forest disturbing the evening's peace, and he brings along his daughter's bookworm-esque boyfriend(James Vance) for reasons only he could explain, knowing full well it couldn't be the blood cult out there, sacrificing future Saved by the Bell extras in diabolical black rituals, and more importantly, the whole infernal occurrence would never end in a ludicrous twist, like so many slasher copies before and since, would it? To cut to the chase, the correct answers in this case are : "Why, yes, yes it could" and "It most certainly would". Just the way you like it!
This broad's neck has just experienced what the newsmedia would probably refer to as 'a brief moment of political unrest'...
You might also remember the director's other release the same year, as covered right here at the Wop. Despite how snore-producingly bland and un-great this one no doubt is, in comparison to later SOV genre efforts like Cannibal Campout and Wally Koz's  555, it may as well be a Leone epic. Retro videophiles and crap cinema enthusiasts alike will be able to dig more merit out of it than I have just now, I'm sure. Still, it deserves a place in genre history as a victory for independent filmmakers everywhere, turning significant home video profits that were once reserved for the studio giants alone. One wop.
He especially likes the part of the song where Glenn Danzig says, "We are 138" eight times in a row. Almost knows all the words, now.
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