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:
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.