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  Blood Rage The Todd Terry ProjectBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: John Grissmer
Stars: Louise Lasser, Mark Soper, Marianne Kantner, Julie Gordon, Jayne Bentzen, James Farrell, Ed French William Fuller, Bill Cakmis, Dana Drescher, Gerry Lou, Chad Montgomery, Ted Raimi, Lisa Randall, Dylan Riggs, Rebecca Thorp, Douglas Weiser
Genre: Horror, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ten years ago in Jacksonville Florida, 1974, single mother Maddy (Louise Lasser) took her twin boys to see a horror movie at the drive-in, where she was driven by her latest boyfriend (Bill Cakmis) and while they smooch the two ten-year-old brothers are supposed to be sleeping in the back. However, so lost in each other are the couple that the children are able to sneak out and start wandering around the vehicles, whereupon they find a couple making love in their car. The boys look on, fascinated, until Terry gets an axe and hacks up the man, leaving the woman to flee in terror. Yet his brother Todd is the one who gets the blame thanks to Terry's machinations...

The director of this, John Grissmer, only made one other film, around ten years before, before turning his back on showbusiness and becoming an author, but slasher fans had cause to wish he had pursued his dream to be a director when they saw what he concocted for Blood Rage, a horror that went by a few titles, including Nightmare at Shadow Woods and Slasher, imaginatively. It had actually been made in 1983, and boy did it look it, but was only picked up for cinema distribution four years later where it snuck out to very little interest, yet as the years went by it picked up a reputation, albeit a minor one, as a neglected shocker of the eighties, and something should be done.

It did eventually receive a better distribution so those interested could see what the fuss was about, and the answer to that was it was extravagantly gory within its slender means, but didn't make a whole lot of sense otherwise. This habit of slashers to pad out its scenes between killings with human interaction that to put it kindly did not suggest the filmmakers had any idea of how normal people spoke to each other, never mind behaved around each other, was nowhere more in evidence than here, where the supposed lighthearted activities between the potential victims were something akin to watching space aliens try to convey how they thought we Earth people actually carried ourselves.

Naturally this amount of not quite convincing behaviour, or not in the slightest bit convincing as it turned out to be, was the source of many a laugh for those willing to brave Blood Rage, as it was with a number of vintage horrors and presumably would be for the horrors of today when future generations look back on them. Except you couldn't imagine anyone in 1987 approaching this with the gravitas Grissmer apparently wanted it to be taken with either, which left a production that could really only be appreciated by those who had a finely tuned sense of camp rather than someone who was impressionable enough to be genuinely scared by it, which was far less likely - they wouldn't have bothered seeking it out anyway.

It was a tale of injustice when Todd spends ten years in a mental institution for Terry's crime, protesting his innocence but this falls on deaf ears until one psychiatrist (played by Marianne Kantner who in a cost cutting move was also the producer) agrees that he might have a point. Obviously growing impatient, Todd breaks out and hunts down his family which puts the wind up them and their acquaintances when they know there's a murderer on the loose, the irony being Terry was on the loose all this time anyway. This news pushes him over the edge, and he starts one of the cheeriest killing sprees ever seen in the medium, goodnaturedly hacking his way through the cast (Mark Soper played both twins), leaving skulls split open, guts skewered with his machete, and one person cut right in two, not especially expensive effects but presented with a certain enthusiasm that only made the affair more absurd. It was fairly dopey overall, but was over with in a brisk amount of time and aficionados would garner some cheap chuckles. Music by Richard Einhorn (synth, natch).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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