horror movie

Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 35: Fever Lake

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I’ve been back and forth about covering Fever Lake for a while now. When I started WWW, I had made the decision to strictly cover movies set in Wisconsin, and not just necessarily what was filmed there. But obviously this is something that has fallen by the wayside with movies like The Pit. All of this 1996 film was shot in Kenosha and Twin Lakes, just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Wisconsin-Illinois border. So I guess this baby is as good as any, even if I’m not entirely sure where it’s supposed to be set.

But Corey Haim is in this AND Mario Lopez. So really.

Fever Lake begins much like those “we’ll fake you out with a fake horror movie in the beginning” movies. A woman hides her son up in the attic before she gets the chop by her ax-wielding husband. But obviously the kid doesn’t care because he’s instantly spotted by his father who says to him, “We have the curse boy! Can’t escape it!” Then they share their feelings with some green glowing eyes. This was the big where I was expecting it to cut away to a bunch of kids riffing the movie in the cinema, but no luck. This is the tone of the movie I’m stuck with.

Probably at some time in the future, Corey Haim is running track. He’s approached by a girl who is there to provide exposition. They and a group of friends are meeting up after school for their camping trip. Then this rather dull conversation is followed up by a good 30 seconds of Mario Lopez and Haim just walking in the halls and literally nothing else. Apparently the directors thought it was more important that the viewers knew that our boys were going to lunch. And that is thus much more important than establishing anything else about the relationship between the two kids.

The dialogue is so bland and snooze-inducing I wish I was anywhere but watching this movie and the movie has barely clocked 10 minutes. We get to learn exciting things about our characters like what activities they like to do. Even when I tarantula shows up on their friend’s shoulder, I’m barely interested.

Anyway, the six kids start heading up to the lake for their trip. Meanwhile, Sheriff Bo Hopkins and white-man-playing-not-white-character “Clear Springs” have a discussion about the evil coming to the lake. Clear Springs tells the sheriff that he’s seen a vision about evil returning to the village. Get it, because he’s supposed to be Native American?

So before they even reach the lake, the kids experience strange going-ons before they even reach the house they’re staying at. It’s typical things like the sheriff telling the boys off and a waitress in the cafe telling the girls “you can’t go there, you know what happened.” And all of it with the atmosphere of elevator music.

The waitress from the cafe meets the girls after her shift and fills in the backstory of the house: “A few years ago, when I was like 2 or something” apparently the murder happened, which is super weird considering everything in the opening scene looked like it was set in the 50s. But in case you missed it the first five times: the locals don’t go on that side of the lake because evil.

While the kids sleep, things start to get a little possessed. Harbinger of doom at random fishing shop fills in more backstory. Apparently the killings happened at least twice, which I guess explains the weird flashback bit at the beginning. After this bit, I’m pretty certain I did fall asleep because a good few minutes are completely gone to my mind. I don’t know, but considering how lame this movie is, I’m sure we can all guess. One of the girl’s computer starts writing her story for her? Oooh spooky. Way to be helpful, evil spirit.

Oh and the waitress gets killed by a wolf, which is another stupid subplot that takes up a good part of the last half of the film.

When the lights go out at the lake house, the group reluctantly decide to play hide-and-seek. This ends up being the opportune time to make out, I guess. Poor possessed-computer girl obviously doesn’t know how to play the game because she spends most of her “seeking” time trying on dead people’s jewellery and just being creepy. But at least people finally start dying, but we don’t get to see ANY OF IT. Well, I guess we see something but it’s so lame you’d see more terrifying images in a McDonald’s ad.

There was not much redeemable about Fever Lake. It was every cliche you could want thrown in with some cringe-worthy dialogue, poor acting, just a bit racist and includes some really atrocious music. Really. But the biggest sin this movie commits? Being absolutely fucking boring.

So this begs one question: Why, Corey? Why?

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Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 27: Billy Club

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I don’t know about you, but I’m finding looking for a new place in London to be the largest pain in my ass. Many of you dear readers probably don’t have a clue what it’s like to look for a flat in London (neither did I until about a week ago), but it’s super intense. Gearing up for this big move meant that I’ve been insanely busy with that and various other projects and, well, my job that actually pays my bills. My husband and I have been so busy we forgot to watch the World Series. We watched a few of the play-off games, but everything else seemed to have slipped past us. And believe me, we are big baseball fans here and watched Brewer lose more games than is good for the soul.

So it seems only fitting that this week’s movie is rather baseball themed. Billy Club is a film that doesn’t beat around the bush.

Billy Club is set in the small town of Two Rivers in Eastern Wisconsin in the year 1996. Bobby Spooner comes into the local bar where he runs into some former classmates like the barmaid, Alison. The movie takes no time in introducing two utterly obnoxious characters (Kyle and Danny), both of whom used to play little league ball with Bobby. The weekend the gang all meet up to play ball is “the 15th anniversary” of the gruesome deaths of a former coach and teammates. The deaths were all pinned to another one of their teammates, Billy.

Meanwhile, there is a killer on the loose. He’s a bat-wielding catcher taking out kids in an old photo one-by-one. It seems inevitable that our four main characters are up to bat at some point (yes I know, but it’s not any worse than the actual dialogue). They make matters worse for themselves by taking a trip up to a cabin in the woods, but Billy ruins everything by getting pulled over for drunken driving.

Kyle and Alison decide to go into the cemetery where the fallen teammates reside while Danny returns to the cabin alone. Kyle accidentally falls into grave that has been dug up, and he immediately blames Billy and his supposed release from the mental hospital for it. And suddenly things take an interesting turn. Kyle and Alison begin to have an argument about guilt over what happened all those years ago. Of course they’re vague on details, which makes it pretty heavy on intrigue.

Come morning, Danny is still alone and eats all of Alison’s “boomers” – mushroom laced chocolate. There really isn’t any point to this whole subplot, but it does begin to trigger some memories of guilt that he still has over neglecting to stop Billy from being bullied when they were on the team together. Local Crazy Jo arrives to harass Danny (mentally?) about how he “didn’t do anything.” It doesn’t take long until Danny becomes the next easy target.

In a flashback, the little ones are shown harassing Billy, who is tied up and sitting in a dunk tank. Each member of the team takes a turn trying to hit the ball on the target (and man do the suck), but Alison is the only one who refuses to throw. Hopefully her life is spared in the end.

Billy Club is a better movie than I probably deserve right now, but unfortunately it takes too many random turns in subplots for this to be as enjoyable as it could have been.  As we find out, Kyle has a little crush on Bobby. After trying and failing to make a move, it’s Kyle’s turn to run out into the woods alone. He falls into a murky pond that actaully feels like a throwback to Bog, which I really hope is what the creators were going for here. But it appears as though Bobby is first.

And then there’s still a half hour left of the movie. It seems strange that the “Final Girl” is, well, final so early on. But there are so many unexpected bits here at the end that I hardly want to give it away when Billy Club is well worth watching yourself.

There really is nothing better than enjoying a movie a lot more than you expected to. I would gladly recommend Billy Club to any fan of the slasher would be pleased to watch. It’s gory, fun and pretty clever minus it’s brief lapses in judgement, but I really think the writers and directors (Drew Rosas and Nick Sommer, who plays Kyle) really had fun with this. It all feels like a love letter to Friday the 13th without treading on the story’s toes.

One added bonus is that this movie has some really excellent poster artwork. Check out the movie’s website to take a peak. They really are wonderous.

Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 25: Silent Night (2012)

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Yesterday, I finally mustered the courage to watch the 2013 remake of Evil Dead. And while the movies in the original trilogy are some of my favourites, I was pleasantly surprised by it. So why not give another remake from the same time? And there’s nothing like a festive Christmas movie for the Halloween season, right? Hello, Silent Night.

I happened to stumble upon Silent Night and it’s Wisconsin location by pure accident. This weekend, I forced my husband to watch Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (which, even though he’s much more into film than I ever will be had never seen). He questioned me about Malcolm McDowell and what movies he had been in lately, so I checked out the actor’s IMDB page. When I saw Silent Night, I secretly hoped it would be a Christmas pageant movie staring McDowell as a mall Santa, but alas, this is a loose remake of the of 1984 cult classic Silent Night, Deadly Night.

Now that I’m in week 25 of this (it really does just keep going), I automatically looked at where this movie was set. It’s not a compulsion. Don’t get me wrong, I love campy, gory b-movies, but there was always something about Silent Night, Deadly Night that never quite sat right with me. It took me many years to finally sit through the entire film. And I’ve never watched any of the sequels either. But it’s Malcolm McDowell, so I had to give this a shot.

This 2012 movie begins with (of course) a “unsettling” version of the Christmas tune “Up on the House Top”. There’s a man shaving and a girl bound and gagged on a mattress, clearly in distress, but I already don’t care what happens to her because the camera then cuts to the man cutting his fingernails. This might be just a minor thing in the grand scheme of this 90-minute movie, but HOLY WOW does that fingernail clipping make my skin crawl. The man dresses in his full Santa gear before electrocuting a man to death who is covered in Christmas lights. Bonus points for colourful creativity.

Enter Deputy Aubrey Baltimore (Jaime King) who works with Sheriff McDowell Cooper. The Sheriff is requesting that Aubrey go in to work the Christmas Eve shift, despite this being her first Christmas without “John”. As with the original, there is plenty of Catholic undertones – creepy priests and the lot. Aubrey is sent to do all the crap work of the day. She first deals with a naughty Santa. But the next site she has to check out, offers something that will probably ruin her Christmas. She heads into the basement of an old house to find the fried man from earlier in the film. Oh and he just happens to be her fellow deputy.

Interspersed with the main plot are several gruesome deaths from dear old Santa. Each victim is pretty rotten: a spoiled girl, a cheating couple, a pornographer. He’s a serial killer who kills for the better of the world, right? But with the body count quickly rising, it doesn’t take too long before the police force is pulled in every direction.

Aubrey finds a Santa by the real-name of Karsson sitting alone in a pub. He tells her the legend of a man who dressed as Santa to kill his cheating wife. Karsson is their first lead, who they suspect is their “Mister Snow,” but he gets away. Aubrey and Cooper run about town chasing the wrong Santa time and time again. Neither very good at this whole police work thing. But the ending doesn’t deliver too many surprises. The last 20 or 30 minutes are mostly running around the town getting their Santas wrong or picking up on clues way too late. There are plenty of death scenes to wet your blood-appetite if that’s what you’re into. But it’s those last few minutes included that were entirely unnecessary. Maybe someone forgot to edit them in so they thought it would be a great summary?

Silent Night pretty much delivers what you’d expect. While it doesn’t have too much in common with the original other than a homicidal Santa and a few references to the first film, the movie still stands pretty well on its own. The only thing that really bothered me the entire time watching this film. It just doesn’t look like Christmas. Certainly not a Midwestern one anyway. This was even shot in Canada and they get plenty of snow. So I don’t know why this was filmed in what looked like April. But anyway, Silent Night is pretty grim, but there’s still a few things to like about this movie. For one, McDowell and King both give great performances. McDowell is clearly off his nut and having a blast with his role. And for the first half of the movie, the pacing is pretty good.

I don’t think this will replace the classic Black Christmas or even the original as anyone’s favourite festive horror movie, but it’s a pretty solid entry into that very small category.  I suppose mildly-enjoying two remakes in one week probably makes me a bad person now or something.

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Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 24: Blood Junkie

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Blood Junkie is a nostalgia-soaked movie from 2010 directed by Drew Rosas. It’s clear from right off that bat that this is a homage to the glory days of the slasher film. It even has that delicious aged-film crackle on the screen and some truly awful choices in eye-wear.

This slasher is set in “America’s Dairyland – 1989” – which can only be the most wondrous time in Wisconsin (back in the days where we Wisconsinites weren’t trying to kill off the “happy cows” from California, and we alone were sole rulers of the milk and cheese).  A lone drifter is making his way through the countryside before stopping at an abandoned factory. He’s quickly killed off by what looks like a lost miner from My Blood Valentine. After some pretty cool opening credits, we find out that this man only existed in a movie as a young boy is flipping through TV stations.

A high school girl, Laura, is left alone for the weekend with her younger brother. Their parents left them with $35 of “emergency cash” which, of course, is immediately spent on booze with her friend Rachel: “Pretty sure our current lack of booze for the weekend qualifies as a state of emergency.”

WISCONSIN!

The two friends get their underage alcohol at the local mini-mart where the meet two pretty 80’s dudes (short shorts, disgusting mustaches and all) who invite them to go with them on their camping trip. Blood Junkie shows all it’s cards early on when it comes to the inspiration. This is a straight slasher movie, and these two girls are pretty much carving their own epitaphs with the tropes they’re falling into.  It gets even worse when Laura bribes her little brother Andy to come along on the trip.

The group arrive to their site on the woods where they exchange ghost stories around the fire. One of the dudes shares a story his grandfather told him about a man who wanders the woods. He’s disfigured and chemically-altered. His body was damaged in a factory accident, and still was yet to be found. And after that fun bit, Laura immediately suggests Andy gets to sleep so that the sexy-bits can start.

In the morning, kid-brother Andy runs off into the woods to stab frogs with a stick before heading off on a hike with the girls. They come across the old factory from the beginning of the movie, which means my initial thoughts of this film being meta were stupid. But the factory creeps the glasses-twins out and they head out, leaving Rachel behind. Now I have never been forced into a horror movie before, but I do know that wandering aimlessly though an abandoned chemical factory alone is not ideal for anyone.

The boy decide to hunt Rachel down by going to the factory themselves. While they’re out, Laura is attacked by the chemical-dude. In an utterly bad-ass move by her little brother, he stabs the assailant in the back. But in a Michael Meyes-like way, he proceeds to carry on and drugs Laura. Get it? Blood junkie?? This will not be a surprise to anyone, but the ending is blissfully gory as everyone slowly gets picked off.

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Blood Junkie was obviously meant to contain as much cheese as possible. It’s now distributed by Troma, so it’s not a movie worth taking very seriously. Trying to do so only takes away the point. It’s blatantly clear that this was a laugh to make.

Sometimes the humor fell flat for me, mostly because it was a bit over-the-top, even for a movie that was clearly emulating the silliness of the movies it was pulling inspiration from. There’s a fine line between good and bad parody. Blood Junkie toes that line. There’s not too much more to say about this little movie as it pretty much follows the formula to a T. Though there is still plenty of fun to be had with this film, just don’t expect anything different or exciting once the gimmick has worn off.

Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 16: Blood Harvest

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I’ve been doing this project for sixteen weeks now, and I guess I have to remind myself what exactly it is I’m trying to do. I’ve been watching every horror movie set in Wisconsin, but there has been something that has evaded me for nearly the entirety of these past weeks. And that is the scares.

Yes. A bit of terror in a horror movie. Not exactly an insane idea, but so few of these movies have in any way horrified me other than Deranged. Most of these movies simply horrify me with how bad they are. But this week’s movie is another from Bill Rebane. It’s a 1987 film called Blood Harvest, and strangely stars Tiny Tim as a horrible clown. And if that’s not one of the most bizarre sentences you’ve ever read…

Clowns are made up of my worst nightmares. As a child, I was constantly tortured with dreams of clowns as dirty, creepy men. The film opens up on Tiny Tim singing the nursery rhyme, Jack and Jill. His scraggly falsetto is juxtaposed with the brutal murder of a man. He has been hung upside down with his throat slit – pig style. It’s a horrible combination that instantly made me regret putting this movie on.

The film then cuts to Jill, a college student returning home for the summer to visit her parents. Her father is a banker that is in charge of foreclosures, many which included several local farms. She is unable to contact either of her parents on the way back, so she heads straight to the house.

On her way home to her parents’, she sees that their house has been vandalized. As she investigates further, she finds Mervo (Tiny Tim) in full clown make-up. He’s the brother of her childhood friend Gary, and a bit off his nut (something about all the animals having to get slaughtered when their farm was repossessed). He welcomes her home by giving her flowers and sings a song in her honour. This is such an unsettling scene I had to turn on another light in the room. Tiny Tim’s presence in the film is pretty creepy, but he’s unfortunately not in it quite enough to make a really large impact.

After sending off Mervo and Gary (who constantly pop up throughout the film), Jill heads back into town where she is accidentally shot in the head. With a paintball gun. Or something. One of the men gives her a lift into town. Then there is this classic bit of dialogue:

“So how about I make it up to you on a date?”
“Sorry, but I’m engaged.”
“How about some meaningless sex?”

Do these two scenes mean anything to the movie? No. No they don’t.

Jill goes to the sheriff to explain the disappearance of her parents. Like in The Capture of Bigfoot, this man-of-the-law does not take anything seriously. At all. But he decides to go with her back to the farm any way just so we can later see him do nothing again in the future. But not before this fantastic zoom-in:

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Isn’t it, though?

In one of the most casual conversations about murder ever, Jill asks her old flame Gary about the murder of his parents. Gary casually explains that their bodies were found after hanging there for over three days. They were killed shortly after the loss of their farm. Gary has it pretty bad, but matters are only made worse by the fact that he just can’t get into Jill’s pants. And getting into Jill’s pants is pretty much the only thing that matters, according to movie.

Admittedly, films like Black Christmas and When a Stranger Calls are the scariest slasher films for me. The sort of ‘someone lurking in the house’ shit creeps me the hell out. It’s some of the most realistic fear in any movie. Poor Jill really gets the worst of it here because after the 30 minute mark or so, she’s rarely seen fully clothed, leaving her to be completely vulnerable. The more Jill gets randomly naked, the more the film verges on creepy and predatory. I mean, Wisconsin is a friendly state and all, but who the hell wants a crazy clown randomly popping into their house during the middle of the night? AND THEN LAUGHS ABOUT IT?

Tiny Tim does a good job of balancing between total creep and someone to pity. He’s pretty much the only actor that delivers a decent scene. But the other male actors’ interactions with Jill? Completely strange. There are quite a few scenes that verge on absolutely disgusting, it’s a bit difficult to watch. A lot of pervy business going on (though I can say that it obviously isn’t her bad-ass ballet moves that bring the boys to the yard, God knows what it is).

About half-way through, things just get even more weird. The strange predatory nature continues and the blood really starts flowing. It’s all things that should be difficult to watch, but is also kind of one-note after a while (that note just being utter comfortableness). The last 45-minutes are hardly worth talking about because it’s pretty much the entire climax of the movie. Plus bonus scenes for pervs.

The ending pretty much ends up how most people could guess. It’s not anything too dramatically creative. Though, without giving too much away, the culprit has a pretty hilarious smile the entire time. It’s grand. And it’s the only thing that makes the ending interesting. So at least there’s that.

The music in this film is (obviously) haunting. It ranges from the dream-like to happy-go-creepy. Tiny Tim has always been frightening. Something about the falsetto and ukulele just bring about a scene of dismay and doom. Add a bit of make-up and there’s sure to be full-on freakiness.

This was probably the least enjoyable films I’ve watched of Rebane’s so far. It certainly has atmosphere, but the sexual predatory nature of the film doesn’t sit very well with me. It takes the fun out of it a little too much and left me sitting with a bit of a stomachache. Tiny Tim is definitely a nice addition, even if he is something that has literally walked out of my nightmares.

Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 15: The Capture of Bigfoot

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Ever wish that bigfoot was real? That mankind could discover a creature that has haunted legends for hundreds of years? No? Well, too bad. This week’s movie is a 1979 number, The Capture of Bigfoot.

This was originally a Film Corp release, but was re-relased by Entertainment Troma. I think that says plenty. This is the group that released cult classics like  The Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Surf Nazis Must Die and The Toxic Avenger. If they felt like The Capture of Bigfoot fit right at home, then things certainly can’t go too well. But if you weren’t hooked on that, it is directed by Bill Rebane of The Giant Spider Invasion. Everything comes full circle, see?

The movie begins with two trappers and their dogs out in the boonies with an unseen creature they’d caught. It doesn’t take too long before they hear something in the woods that proceeds to attack them. What exactly attacks them? Why a giant fluffy white arm! Terror! Shock! Horror! One of the trappers manages to survive the strange attack, and is rescued by his trusty dog sled team who have run him back into town.

The plot is pretty confusing because everyone essentially looks the same to me (they all wear lots of plaid) and there is a lot of business going on here cast-wise:

  1. the obligatory personality-less hero of the story: forest range, led by a man named Dave
  2. the obligatory man trying to destroy everything – local big-wig, Olsen
  3. the obligatory over-the-top-for-no-reason police sheriff –  Sheriff Cooper
  4. the funky mama with her little brother (who I guess are there to prove that everyone in this movie is a human)
  5. two idiots who’s only purpose is to “hunt down” whatever attacked the trappers, we’ll call them trackers for an easy-reading edition of the blog

Owen insists he goes to the hospital to speak to the trapper, who apparently had been working for him. Before slipping into some sort of a coma, the trapper tells Owen that he was attacked by a “critter” which is a pretty big understatement. But Olsen sends out his two trackers to look for whatever is out there, thinking that there is big money to be made.

Thankfully there are two men on snowmobiles that seem to have some common sense in the transportation department. They have been sent out to look for whatever it was that attacked the trappers. It must be noted here that the music is pretty great. Kind of like the Shaft theme but for snowmobiling. That’s the 70s for you, eh? Anyway, as the two men continue their search, they find a set of bare “human” feet, only the tracks are too small to be what they are looking for. Which can only mean one thing…

TWO bigfoot monsters are roaming the forests in Wisconsin.twilight

The creature isn’t very shy and the movie doesn’t seem to be bothered with any form of build up. In other words, the bigfoot is always flashing around in the woods attacking people. The creature sort of looks like the gremlin from the iconic episode of The Twilight Zone, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” Though, there’s a significant amount of class that the gremlin has that Bigfoot just can’t seem to replicate.

After that one heck of a plot twist, Olsen is NOT happy with the news as he quickly throws one of his trackers out his window. Not advisable in a Wisconsin winter. But he puts his plans in order when he decides to set a trap with “live bate!” Word spreads via little brother, Jimmy, that the baby had ‘foot been killed by one of the trackers. Apparently there have been sightings of bigfoot before, but very rarely attacks and —

Uh. Disco scene! Yes this is completely necessary to the plot because now we know that not only do Wisconsinites like to ski, they love to dance to some funky tunes.

As quickly as that started, it’s over. And Forest Ranger Dave has decided to meet with one of the local natives, who have a story about a creature called the Arak. According to legend, this bigfoot creature led the elderly on into their next lives. Or protect them. Or something. Either way, he meets with the last member of the Arak tribe to see if he could be of any help.

After knocking Dave and…someone out cold (ha ha) and tying them to a tree, Olsen is free to set his trap and he quickly captures the “elusive” monster that he has been searching for for over 25 years. It doesn’t seem that Dave and his buddy have long sitting in the snow to freeze to death.

But the game is not over for Dave, as the two are freed by the Arak tribe who gives Dave a pretty little necklace which will help allow him to communicate with the Arak when he is wearing it (I think).

The climax of the movie is SO full of drama, SO full of action and suspense that I could hardly ruin it for you… Jokes aside, there are lots of things blowing up. So that’s pretty fun. And a happy ending for (nearly) everyone. That includes Mama Foot, which is pretty great because I’m assuming the deeper meaning of this movie was the preservation of wildlife and their special habitat. Or something.

Lloyd Kaufman, co-founder of Troma, regards The Capture of Bigfoot to be one of the worst five movies released by Troma. I have to admit, I didn’t think this was that bad as far as bad movies go. The plot is thin, yes, and it’s difficult to follow (or make sense of) but it’s still no Black Cadillac. It’s enjoyable for a good chuckle at the strange editing and the hilarious bigfoot costume. Like that bizarre theme song or whatever goes: “You’ll only find freedom the day when you die.” Er… yeah!

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Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday Pt. 14: Bloodbeat

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How did we get here?

When I first decided to do Wicked Wisconsin Wednesdays, I thought this would last a month. Lord knows how I’ve managed to find this many films to write about. But something has become very apparent here: everything has gotten a whole lot less fun lately. What I needed was to go back to the roots of WWW. Find something fun to write about like The Giant Spider Invasion or Blood Hook (which compared to some of the other movies I’ve watched is a damn masterpiece).

But it’s gotten pretty difficult to find movies. That is, until I found the motherload in a book called Regional Horror Films 1958 – 1990. This baby, written by Brian Albright, compiles many a number of movies based throughout the States. It’s just about the coolest book. Very much recommended if you’re into the idea of torturing yourself with a State-by-State marathon of strange horror movies.

I wanted strange and by god did I get strange this week with the 1983 slasher Bloodbeat. The movie follows a group of deer hunters off in the woods of rural Wisconsin. BUT THERE IS A SAMURAI GHOST!

Never did I know how much I wanted to write that summary until just then. Feels so good for everything to be so bad again. The quick jump cuts, the ‘stoic’ acting, THE SAMURAI GHOST. This is what I had been waiting for.

All-around Midwestern dude Gary has come back from deer hunting in the woods. He’s brought the animal home to gut when the son and daughter of his special lady (named Cathy) return home for Christmas. The son, Ted, brings home his girlfriend Sarah to introduce to the parents. She’s clearly not thrilled by the greeting of a hollowed out deer carcass. And what seems like only a mere 10 minutes in to their visit, Sarah and Mama Cathy don’t hit it off well. The stressed girlfriend sights things like “she knows everything that goes on inside my head,” which is pretty powerful for a first impression.

The gang all head out to bow hunt again (I guess nothing says Merry Christmas like killing together). But of course Sarah ruins the fun for everyone by shouting at the deer and running away. She finds a man that has seemingly been gored to death, but no one can place him. When Sarah is in bed, Cathy finally admits that she doesn’t like Sarah because she’s seen her somewhere before. Sarah, refusing to be out-shined in the crazy-for-no-particular-reason category, claims that she found a samurai sword in her bed and begins having visions that coincide with the picking off of several random locals.

Nothing says Christmas like a good unseen murderer.

There are plenty of scenes that follow that pretty much lead to dead-end plot points. Mostly there are just bits between killings in which Sarah goes a bit mad. The spirit then enters the abode of our protagonists. It begins to take over the house and make windows move up and down (how dare they waste heat in the winter!). Cathy takes control of the situation by making orbs of light form around her hands. I suppose she gets to do this because she says ominous things that are vaguely supernatural and she paints like a new-ager. But Cathy is light of the details even after her son says, “We’re going to DIE if you don’t tell us!” I feel like that’s just a bit dramatic, but okay.

Admittedly, there’s just a lot of sea-sounds and dark night shots for quite a while after the incident. This was probably meant to build tension but it mostly induces mild motion sickness. This is, of course, the director’s way of getting more boob-action into the movie. But just when the movie starts to lose momentum – it happens.

GLORIOUS SAMURAI GHOST!

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God I have no clue what this convoluted ending is supposed to mean, but it is GLORIOUS. The entire movie has the strangest soundtrack, but when the climax hits with “Fortuna Imperatix Mundi” it’s just too much. There is supposed to be something about WWII and bombs involved, I think? If anyone figures this out, please feel free to email me with your hypothesis.

Nothing is explained here. There are mystical powers abound and telekinetic links abound. It’s all plenty weird. It’s pretty fun to watch to boot, so why not?