Directed by: Christopher Lewis
Written by: Stuart Rosenthal
Starring: Juli Andelman, Charles Ellis and James Vance
Reviewed by: Josh G.
So what’s new with me? Oh, you know. Just watching some infamous shot-on-video dreck made in the mid 80s, sporting box art that wraps up a film which, when watched, does not do the handyman of said artwork justice whatsoever. Yeah, and I forgot to mention that the film covered up by such a deceiver managed to bore me more than any horror flick I have seen in possibly over a year. The kind of film I chose to watch because of it being known as the first made for video market slasher, even though we all know that there were plenty before it. And maybe it was just poor research on the advertiser’s behalf that I gained such an interest in seeking out the promising film that only got worse as the minutes rolled by, yet I still kept trucking because I am just that naive to believe in its possibilities - no matter how slim. The usual.
I’d rather not go into detail, so here are the bare facts. A sorority girl is killed in her bathroom by a killer with a meat cleaver, and is later decapitated. Her friend is then killed by being beaten to death with her head. A sheriff swings by to investigate, only to find weird gold amulets left on the bodies of the victims, or at least what’s left of them. Parts of them have been taken (Pieces memoir?). He learns through his daughter’s handy dandy research that the coins are related to an old ritualistic ‘blood cult’ that would sacrifice for good fortune and put together the parts of people to do whatever they do best. More murders happen and somebody drugs the sheriff. He spends a night outdoors only to stumble upon the cult before passing out. Waking up in a hospital, he tries to convince those close to him that they are in danger before returning to cop duty where he stakes out the college campus one last time. Will he catch the killer? Who the fuck cares?
I hate this film. I really do. I can enjoy a good shot-on-video film. Boardinghouse was a blast. Houseboat Horror would have been wicked if ten minutes were cut. Gee. Even The Ripper is forgivable for all of that crazy gore and mad Tom Savini conclusion. But this just takes boredom to a whole new level. What pisses me off the most is how fine it started out. The opening house sets were great - all lit up perfectly to give off a suburban horror mood, creeping in through the shower curtains at the ‘totally 80s’ sorority girl, all while silent but deadly meat cleaver masochist sneaks on in to cut her into bits. A severed hand falls to the tub floor. Cheap, but fun. From here onward the acting just takes a dive, and makes room for some of the ugliest people I have ever seen in a horror film. You can only scream so long before we start to realize that your ‘acting’ career starts and ends with Blood Cult.
The sheriff talks with a doctor for a few minutes, talks to an investigator, to a farm lady for God knows how long before talking many times with his boring and unattractive daughter Tina. Would you believe she has a hideous boyfriend to match? So while the story is unfolding I find myself not caring at all, daydreaming of perhaps another film. Perhaps just life in general. I wanted to be anywhere but watching Blood Cult, and if you think about it, that is the number one thing a film should NOT do. Make me laugh at outrageous effects. Add in some ridiculous dialogue. Slapstick flying milk cartons. I do not mind in the least, because even with the scenes of legs being chopped up and dismembered fingers being discovered in restaurant salad, the scenes are too slow. Too drawn out. There are some horror flicks that are drab, which make the scenes with blood and gore the only thing to look forward to. If you do not look forward to these scenes, and everything else is a mess, what is there left? The actor playing the lead sheriff at least tries to act decent, so I will say that the cast is not a total flop.
The thing that made me angry the most about Blood Cult is the ending, where you expect loose ends to the story to tie together. What about those people around the campfire? The cult group. What happens to them? Well keep on guessing because we never see the ‘blood cult’ for more than one scene, and that isn’t at the closing. I get the feeling that the makers were trying to surprise us with the killer identity, but through the whole time you’re watching Blood Cult, you never feel like you are taking anything in. The woman who plays Tina eventually comes out of her acting shell at the end with a nice inner conflict performance, but once that ends, the film ends. ‘That’s it? What about the cult? Who is the sole leader behind all of this murdering? Why choose the college sororities? Where is the money I paid for this?’. For some reason, VCI released a DVD of this with a commentary, interviews, trailers and a photo gallery. The film looks about as good as an SOV flick from the 80s can. Though it certainly doesn’t deserve it. I think about the blood and body parts that I have seen, and it is not all that much to compensate for when you have just endured the cure for sleeplessness. Trash it!
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