Monday, September 8, 2008
Blood Rage (1987)
Ever joke about having an evil twin?
Terry and Todd are twin brothers. While camping out in the backseat of their parents station wagon during a drive-in movie, little Terry sneaks off and hacks some guy to death with a hatchet. He does it just for the hell of it, apparently. Then he hands the bloody hatchet to a bewildered Todd and smears some blood on his face so he looks like he did it. Todd gets blamed, goes catatonic, and is shipped off to a mental institution. Fourteen years later he escapes.
Terry is a very likeable villain. His flat acting, insincere demeanor reminded me of Eddie Haskel from Leave It To Beaver. Christian Bale may have studied this film before his performance in American Psycho. The beauty of his character is that his motives for killing are never explained. He just enjoys killing people, and when his twin Todd escapes from the mental institution he sees it as another great opportunity to murder all his friends and family and blame Todd.
Blood Rage is a great 80s slasher film with extremely gory kills and lots of feel-good teen horror schlock. All the ingredients are present, such as pre-marital sex, drugs, and ridiculous dialog. I laughed out loud a few times. The new wave synth-pop score was a nice touch. I’m humming the stupid thing right now. “Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nneeeeeeeooooooww…”
Watch for Ted Raimi selling condoms in the men’s room near the start of the film. I don’t how he wound up a part of this film, but it’s him alright. Pretty random.
The pacing is perfect. It opens with a kill scene, fifteen minutes later there is another one, five minutes later another, and all of this happens by the 23 minute mark. By that point the killer takes his machete and goes on a stalk and slash mission in the woods, eliminating all that may oppose him later on in the night. One lady gets chopped into three pieces, another guy get his hand chopped off and we see it still twitching and clutching his half full can of Old Style Beer. I didn’t know they sold that brand in Florida.
Terry stops by the bathroom to clean up afterward, and we see him standing in front of the mirror looking at his blood soaked shirt.
“It ain’t cranberry sauce!” he says to himself. A little Thanksgiving humor, I guess.
Do not confuse this film with another movie called “Bloodrage” (all one word). That film was made in 1979 by Joe Zito, director of Maniac (1980. Its alternate title is Never Pick Up A Stranger, a far more suitable one since the plot involves a hitchhiking killer.
Blood Rage (1987) was made sometime in 1983, released theatrically, and a little later on home video. The uncut version came out first on VHS from Prism. Then in 1987 some asshole cut out all the gore scenes, re-edited it, and retitled it Nightmare At Shadow Woods, and put it out in theaters and home video AGAIN. Such a thing is unheard of these days, but it happened all the time back in the day. That chopped up version is out on DVD, but the old Prism VHS version is totally M.I.A. There are some tapes for sale on Amazon.com. This film really needs a proper DVD release.