Directed by Brad F. Grinter & Steve
Written by Brad F. Grinter & Steve Hawkes
Produced by Brad F. Grinter & Steve Hawkes
Cast: Brad F. Grinter, Steve Hawkes & Heather Hughes
972/ 80 mins/Color/Dolby Digital Mono
1:33.1/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Something Weird Video DVD
In roughly 1990, lone soul Mike Vraney had the idea to set out and release lost and forgotten films to video, which would have otherwise vanished to rot away, never to see the light of day again. Teaming up with Mr. Sexploitation Dave Friedman, this all became possible -- thus forming Something Weird Video. Their release of BLOOD FREAK continues their ever growing catalog of excellent DVD releases that one would otherwise be lucky to find in a bargain bin or flea market. This is a film I first acquired in that very way, and I would have never imagined it would be released on this medium. Let's get down to it with the world's first and only Turkey-Monster-Anti-Drug-Christian-Gore film.
Herschel (Steve Hawks) a Vietnam vet buff biker with an Elvis hairdo helps out Christian good-girl Angel when her car breaks down. Angel invites him to her house where her bad-girl sister Ann is throwing a party with friends, dabbling into some drugs. Angel preaches to them a little (You know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, you shouldn't defile it), while Ann and her friend try desperately to get with Herschel, but sexual plans fail and he leaves with Angel. Shortly thereafter Angel's father offers him a job on his turkey farm.
One day while Herschel is around the house performing odd jobs, by the pool Ann teases him, calling him a coward for not smoking a joint, which of course presses his ego button and entices him to give it a try. This of course was a special dope that she obtained from her dealer which gets one hooked instantly. Naturally he becomes addicted and next thing you know, the two are an item.
Once Herschel starts working he is told by two scientists (yes scientists on a turkey farm) that he will be used for some experiments as well as helping out with work on the farm. He doesn't seem to have much problem with that and after a short while he is given a drugged turkey to gobble up, while the scientists wait to see the effects. After he scoffs it down it causes him to burst into a spastic fit. Following what seems like a day and night of having convulsions he turns into a blood thirsty biker with a hilarious papier-mâché turkey head!! Now Herschel stalks around with an insatiable thirst, which can only be satisfied by the blood of junkies.
BLOOD FREAK is an absolutely insane movie directed by both Brad Grinter and star Steve Hawkes. Hawkes, (who presently runs an animal sanctuary) took the job of Wereturkey after he was burned on over 90% of his body during the filming of TARZAN AND THE BROWN PRINCE. Hard up for cash he was forced to re-write and shoot the rest of the movie when BLOOD FREAK'S producers went bankrupt. Hawkes claims he collected a WHOPPING $140,000 for the film, which will blow your mind when you actually view the final product. The celluloid alone couldn't have come close to costing that much.
In addition to being co-director, Brad Grinter also plays the chain-smoking narrator which joins us in sections of the film, reading from a script on his desk to give us a briefing on the characters and their actions, as well as philosophical views on society. You have to see his outbreak of coughing at the end of the film to believe it. Everything about the film is side-splittingly terrible; from the choppy editing, the scenes being cut while people talk mid sentence, the unsteady camera work with for-no-reason random zoom-ins, to the emotionless acting, the sound FX consisting of recycled screams, and terrible gobble-gore FX. Not to mention the joint smoking scene towards the beginning of the film where you can actually hear Grinter call "action"!
I don't know what the filmmakers were going for with this one. Did they think it would deter people from using drugs, or maybe even scare them into the biblical world of the Lord? One thing is for sure -- this is a definite unintentional cheese Turkey-man monster flick classic. The makers at least achieved one thing -- they made an entertaining and fun film, whether they tried to or not.
Something Weird Video presents BLOOD FREAK digitally remastered in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The print is nothing fantastic, but compared to my Video Treasures LP washed out prerecord, its fantastic. The colors are much more vibrant and colorful, but still of course somewhat washed out with black flecks shooting about the picture, which is to be expected for a film like this that was left for dead until SWV got their paws on it. A very good job for what they had to work with. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Mono isn't the greatest mono track I've ever heard. There is background noise throughout the duration of the film and the dialog is hard to hear from time to time. This is due to the original film and not to the sound mix from SWV. The film doesn't suffer much from the lack of crisp sound though. With a film of this caliber it doesn't really matter much.
Something Weird Video always does well in this department, by including tons of extra footage for their fans, most of it blending well with the content of the feature film. While not all excellent, there is a great variety here. First we have the 1969 "Skin-Noir Featurette" entitled THE WALLS HAVE EYES. This 28-minute black and white short stars none other than Steve Hawkes (pre-BLOOD FREAK) as Jack Owens -- "bed hopper" extraordinaire. This bizarre tale follows Jack and his drug addicted girlfriend Connie as they fall victim to a perverted motel owner who has been filming the couple's intimacy from behind the mirror of their room. The owner attempts to blackmail the young lass with this footage, but once word reaches burley man Jack Owens, he puts an end to his voyeuristic endeavors. This is a fairly boring short containing terribly scratched and jumpy footage bounded by a redundant score of noises and music from a bad acid trip. Even the nudity and whacky dialog won't keep you interested for long.
Next up is the 'Short Subjects' section, starting with the scratched and jumpy BRAD GRINTER, NUDIST. When George Bowman (Brad Grinter), a sports announcer is asked advice from his camera man (William Kerwin of BLOOD FEAST) about problems in the bedroom, he suggests a trip to a nudist camp. Reluctantly his wife agrees to go in hopes of releasing her fear of being nude, where we then get the joy of seeing both Grinter and Kerwin nude in all their glory (yikes!). This and more footage of couples participating in varied activities in the buff. Apparently Grinter (a nudist in real life) spent little money on film crews due to them wanting to visit him at the nudist colony he lived in so they could disrobe and watch women prance around nude. NARCOTICS, PIT OF DESPAIR follows John Scott a clean-cut high school kid who falls in with the wrong crowd. With little coaxing from his new found "friends" he takes his first puff of the whacky weed and before you know it he's a hardcore heroin addict. This anti-marijuana PSA is more enjoyable than the previous two shorts -- especially with the outlandish dialog from the narrator ("Forget it man, and get with the countdown. Shake this square world and blast off for kicksville"). Destined to bore you to sleep, BEGGAR AT THE GATES relates drug use with religious experiences as well as throwing in a mix of Christian propaganda, speaking in tongues, and some compulsive gospel singing. While immensely dull this extra fits in with the content of the disc. TURKEYS IN THE WILD is a short documentary that will provide you with everything you've ever wanted to know about wild turkeys. Just short of 20-minutes, it is paced smoothly and reasonably interesting. The final short in this section, is the black and white educational film, A DAY OF THANKSGIVING. The Johnson's, the all around American family have to do without turkey this Thanksgiving which brings them to realize everything they have to be thankful for. While sometimes poorly acted and stuffed with cheddar-filled dialog, it fulfills its intention by portraying a positive message for this time of year.
'Ghastly Gallery of Ghoulish Comic Cover Art with Music by The Dead Evil' is an extensive assortment of old Horror comic book cover art showcased in a slideshow format with The Dead Evil's music in the background. Since many of us will never get to personally own half of these comics it is awesome to at least get to view so many different varieties such as 'Terror Tales', 'Weird', and 'Tales from the Tomb', just to name a few.
To finish off the supplemental material is a bountiful quantity of 'Blood-Drenched Horror Trailers' starting with a couple from H.G. Lewis' BLOOD FEAST and COLOR ME BLOOD RED, then BLOODY PIT OF HORROR, THE BLOOD SPLATTERED BRIDE, THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD/I EAT YOUR SKIN, the gory Mexican film NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES, and to top it all off Brad Grinter's directorial debut' FLESH FEAST, and lastly the trailer for BLOOD FREAK.
And just when you thought you finished it all off, don't forget about the turkey eggs!! One can be found on the main title page. When highlighting the 'Fine Feathered Features' menu option press the up arrow on your remote and a turkey will become visible in the top corner of the screen under the word 'Video'. Press play and this lets you watch a drive-in commercial for a turkey giveaway. For the second go to the 'Fine Feathered Features' section and highlight the menu option for the comic book cover art. This time press the right arrow on your remote to reveal the turkey image, press play and the infamous scene from BLOOD FREAK where Grinter has a coughing fit while narrating. The final turkey egg is simple, just enter the 'Scene Selections' menu, wait a couple seconds and you can listen to a radio spot for the film.
There are bad films out there in that 'so bad its good' category but this one positively takes the cake. BLOOD FREAK is by no means for everyone. Lovers of cheese cinema or seekers of diverse and obscure cinema will definitely have a fun time with this disc. BLOOD FREAK is a film that was meant to be released by Something Weird Video, and now it is easily accessible on DVD. A DVD with extras like this is like getting a delicious Sunday dinner with all the fixin's! So what are you waiting for? Gobble this one up now!
This Film Features:
Review by Chris Mayo. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©
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