Only the blood of drug addicts can satisfy the thirst of the blood freak monster!
Year of Release: 1972
Also Known As: Blood Freaks
Genre: Horror/Science Fiction
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 80 minutes (1:20)
Director: Brad F. Ginter
Steve Hawkes ... Herschell
Dana Cullivan ... Ann
Heather Grinter ... Angel
Brad F. Grinter ... Narrator (uncredited)
Lock your doors... check your windows... turn on all your lights... look under your bed... because the Blood Freak is on the loose. This horrifying, addicted monster is on the loose and has an insatiable thirst for addict's blood. To survive others must die a horrifying and slow death at the hands of the half-monster half-man mutant who stalks the night.
Blood Freak, remindin' us that an anti-drug picture works a whole lot better when you don't hafta be on 'em to understand it. I'm callin' hypocrisy on that whole deal anyway, cause there's no way LSD wasn't involved in the makin' of this film. Furniture's a dead give away, cause there's no way you'd ever look at that sofa an volunteer to sit on it unless you were trippin' like Gerald Ford on the Air Force One staircase. That thing makes you feel like you're on acid just lookin' at it. I don't wanna sound uncharitable, but it's so ugly that it'd actually class up yer property if you were to move it outta the livin' room an onto the porch.
An speakin' of the people that good taste forgot, it's Thanksgivin' time again an... man, it really don't seem like it's been a whole year since our last Thanksgivin' dinner erupted in political controversey an Sadie Bonebreak hadda go smash Cleave Furguson's head with my washin' machine lid (damn thing's spat out water ever since, cause no matter what I do I just can't seem to pound the shape of Cleave's skull out of it). Things're goin' a lot better this year, but I gotta make this quick cause everybody's at the table waitin' on me... like I give a rip about the stupid wishbone anyway, but... I just gotta tell ya what happened out at The Rural Mural yesterday before I forget the details. It's funny too, cause long as I've known 'em, the Schwartzberg Brothers've never really been much for showmanship, but they'd apparently been plannin' this big fancy $500 a plate shindig at The Rural Mural; "The Spirit of Thanksgiving Gala" they called it, which to you an me translates to "stuffy nerds from the city converge for mildly racist community theater antics an first class ass pamperin'." An actually, if they'd just stuck to that it prolly woulda gone off without a hitch, except instead of just buyin' a buncha Butterballs from the Grocery Outlet like normal human beins, Blaine (I generally deal with Blaine ever since Shankles ate all those fancy carp in Saul's little goldfish pond) approached Billy Hilliard, Tetnis, an me to round up 30 live turkeys for their assortment of wimps, dorks, an high-rise hot shots to hunt the day before Thanksgivin'. They'd even bought 10 state-of-the-art turkey traps from someplace in Germany to make it easy for us, an that part worked out fine. We'd just set up the traps out by Silas Tankersley's place an come back the next mornin' to pick up our catch; no muss, no fuss. Well, mostly, I guess we did acccidentally trap ole Neidhart (that's Silas' grumpy old billy goat), an while he did chase us for three miles on the way back to town he never could catch up to Tetnis' Dodge Dude. Oh, I forgot the other thing: Saul an Blaine hired a buncha Indians from the wait/security staff over at the Wildhorse Casino to play host an break bread with these chunkheads, an since they weren't actin' "Indian enough," Saul had 'em sit an watch five hours of F Troop reruns so they could learn to Indian right through the teachins of Frank DeKova. Do people really think that's how it is anymore? I mean, mosta the Indians I know drive Toyota Tundras an "huntum game" at the McDonald's drive-thru window... but I guess that wouldn't be very awe inspirin'. I gotta believe that with each passin' day those guys regret more'n more not scalpin' Columbus when they had the chance.
Tetnis is the one who told us all this, cause he's got a sixth sense for impendin' medical calamities, an so he'd been hangin' around watchin' the proceedins an waitin' for his chance to cash in on the tragedy that was about to unfold. Incidentally, for all you people out there wantin' to know why I didn't say somethin' to Blaine beforehand - I did. When we dropped off the last load of turkeys I says: "Blaine, do these people know anything about firearm safety?", an Blaine assured me that they'd all been through a trainin' course with Aesop Marlin, an so I repeated: "Yeah I know that, that's why I'm askin' if any of these urban cowpies know what in the hell they're doin", but Blaine seemed to think everything was fine. Kinda like Custer thought everything'd be fine at the Little Big Horn, come to find out. So anyway, yesterday mornin', Saul an Blaine take these putzes out to the empty pasture behind The Rural Mural where they had this movin' van set up, pass out the shotguns, open up the roll door on the back, an out come the turkeys. Evidently they'd been cooped up in there a coupla days in the dark, so when the sun suddenly hit 'em they went apeshit an ran all over the place in a blind stupor... an then the gunfire started. They blew out every window in the van, flattened three tires, an tested out the principle behind the circular firin' squad. 22 of the 30 turkeys we'd trapped escaped completely unscathed, which accordin' to my math means that the 13 schmucks who hadda be treated for pellet shrapnel amounted to a higher casualty count for the hunters. Three of the eight turkeys struck by what I've gotta believe was sheer luck were able to get up an attack their assailants with their spurs too. Really tore the crap out of 'em from what Tetnis said, an it's fortunate he was out there with his medical kit (a Swiss Army Knife, duct tape, an a bottle of Jim Beam for anesthetic), cause the regular hospital wasn't nearly staffed to handle that many dunderheads all at once. Tetnis ended up rakin' in so much yuppy dough that he paid for our entire dinner an plans to take us out to Walleye's Topless Dancin' & Bait Shop later on, so all in all, this's prolly gonna go down as the best Thanksgivin' ever. Definitely beats havin' lead shot dug outta your hinder with a Buck knife if nothin' else.
Sadie won the wishbone thing in case anybody was wonderin'. Like that's some big surprise; she wins it every year, cause right before whoever she's pullin' against starts she twists their nipple an throws 'em so off balance that she's able to choose her angle before snappin' it. Anyway, normally I'd do some moldy old turkey of a flick for turkey day, but I thought this year I'd do somethin' a little different an do a middle-aged turkey of a flick for turkey day. But this ain't just any turkey movie, cause Blood Freak actually *stars* a guy who gets fed a buncha experimental white meat an ends up turnin' into a turkey from the neck up, so I'm pretty dang proud of myself for comin' up with this idea. An lemme tell ya, it wasn't easy pickin' just three takeaways from this flick either, I musta spent 45 minutes whittlin' 'em down to make sure I present this flick in the best possible light, so if you'll indulge me, have a looksee at these kernels of cornfed chicanery, an we'll get goin' on the movie. First, talkin' marriage an kids on the second date is horrifyin' enough that even turkey-headed drifters're likely to fly the coop. Or flee it, anyway; look, as God is my witness I thought turkeys could fly. Second, God'll cure your drug addiction if you ask nicely, but only once you've suffered the indignity of thinkin' you've transformed into Tom Turkey an gone on a Thanksgivin' murder spree. An third, an this's serious, kids: chapstick - not even once.
Somethin' else about this flick I thought I oughta mention: it flawlessly depicts the ways in which rushin' into a relationship too quickly can blow up in your face. I mean, granted, the fact that a relationship even exists in the flick is contingent on this gal slippin' 'er crush some Arkansas Polio Weed potent enough to make 'im overlook 'er Sharpied-on eyebrows an make the sign of the carmelized squawk taco with 'er, but just look at what happens; they never take the time to really get to know each other, an the next day she finds out that he's a man-turkey. Where the heck do you go from there? Technically speaking he's still the same man he was before she badgered 'im into gettin' baked with 'er, but on the other hand, it's gonna be real hard to explain to 'er parents how it'd be insensitive to serve anything from Foster Farms for Thanksgivin' on account of 'er datin' Fran Turkeyngton since he could wind up eatin' one of his relatives. I guess it ain't that bigga deal that they can no longer communicate, cause let's face it, that happens six months into most relationships anyway, but it's still gonna hack everybody off when the marriage counsilor regurgitates that tired old saw about how "the problem is that you don't communicate anymore" to explain the couple's fundamental incompatibility issues. I fear that, in the end, all couples who emerge from this mold're gonna wind up as a Dear Abby letter that eventually ends in irreparably damaged feelins an regret, with neither party able to trust future partners, ultimately leadin' lives of quiet desperation, with unbridled resentment of the opposite sex. On the plus side though, once the relationship finally dissolves you've got a lot more free time for bad movies!
The movie begins with a biker who looks like Elvis Presley after a three day painkiller binge (Herschell) pullin' off the highway to help a damsel in automotive distress (Angel) who invites 'im back to 'er sister's hippy drug orgy where everybody's gettin' high on chapstick fumes, an he's apalled by all the greasy-faced cosmetic nightmares tweakin' an twerkin' well within the boundaries of his personal space. Then Angel sets up a little impromptu Bible study while Ann (Angel's sister, who's basically Barbara Eden's evil twin sister on I Dream of Jeannie) dangles all over Hershell like fuzzy dice off a rearview, only by the time the "amens" go out Herschell still prefers Angel an that makes Ann feel so cheap that she hasta go whine to this drug dealer who can't see his way to changin' out of his pajamas by 3 in the PM (Guy) an he gives 'er a coupla lids of that outer space dope Cheech Marin takes at the end of Cheech & Chong's Next Movie so she'll stop harshin' his mellow. Now Herschell's up to his ass in conspiracy, cause the followin' mornin' Ann finds an emasculates 'im into takin' a toke off 'er skank weed an teaches 'im how to do pot Lamaze til he's high enough to hunt ducks with a rake, at which point we learn that the fastest way to a man's heart is actually through his lungs. Then this old codger (Mr. Nolan) offers Herschell a job on his poultry ranch on the strength of his King Chicken hairdo, an so he hops on his chopper an waves hi to Rocky on his way in an ends up gettin' dumped on these two lab assistants who're tryin' to reverse engineer The Colonel's 11 original herbs an spices an recreate their flavor under laboratory conditions, an they want Herschell to taste test their experiments for any weird side effects. Unfortunately, come quittin' time Herschell's reefer madness has reached critical mass, an so Ann hasta get Guy to bring 'er some more of that Vietbong grass that makes you see little Asian guys tryin' to stab you with bayonets, but when Herschell finally gets his hash settled he Hulks out an squeezes Guy's neck til his eyes start bulgin' out like a Ren & Stimpy cartoon an the two of 'em're able to work out an agreement about future deliveries an Guy gettin' to keep the oxygen flowin' to his brain. Only come mornin' things really start gettin' complicated when Herschell digs into his first plate of turkey samples an ends up convulsin' an floppin' around like a beached manatee with an Evinrude wound til the lab techs find 'im an dump 'im out in the woods like a bag fulla styrofoam plates.
But much to their chagrin, Herschell comes out of his turkey coma an manages to find his way home, only in the meantime he's sprouted a gobbler head where his old one used to be, an when he finally finds Ann she has a hard time adjustin' to what this means for their relationship. Then he writes 'er a note to explain what happened an how he's worried about facin' transspecies discrimination in the workplace til eventually she starts feelin' sorry for 'im an they do the funky chicken. I'm assuming, anyway. Course, for all I know his cocka doodle dong looks like turkey waddle now, so that might be functionally impossible. But anyway, Ann decides she'd better tell somebody about this, an so she calls Angel up to come have a look at 'im, but even she knows there're limits to what Jesus can do, an so they start thinkin' about findin' a methadone clinic that specializes in poultry related illness. Unfortunately by this time Herschell's so basted from all the drugs he's cheeked an stashed in his craw that he starts murderin' hippy junkies left an right an drinkin' their blood to satisfy his avian addiction, an even though Ann still wants to pop out a coupla dozen eggs an sit on 'em til they turn into little Herschell hatchlings, she begins to accept that he's more magpie than man an decides to have her stoner friends lure 'im out into the open with a hen call an put 'im out of his misery. Meanwhile, Herschell's killin' this nosy old fat man for gawkin' at 'im while he's turkey trottin' from one drug addict to the next, only his linebacker of a wife gets P.O.'d an tries hollowin' out Herschell's rear end with a kitchen knife to make room for the Stovetop an he hasta peck her eyes out. Elsewhere, Ann's gone over to Guy's place to secure some more snow but ends up nappin' in his tastefully decorated drug den, an pretty quick Guy's supplier comes over lookin' for his cash an Guy decides to pay off his tab with Ann's groceries without consultin' 'er first. Fortunately, Herschell's out peckin' seed in the back yard, an when he realizes there's another rooster in his henhouse he goes chargin' into the house an chases the guy all over the neighborhood til they end up inside this woodworkin' shop where he plops the guy on top of a work bench an bobs one of his legs with a table saw. Unfortunately, when Ann's free-love buddies show up brandishin' a machete, Herschell can't even explain to 'em that he's a close personal friend of President Nixon, an that if he can just find a place to hide out until Thanksgivin' he's sure he can get a presidential pardon, an down comes the axe. I know this *sounds* like the end, but that sneaky Brad Grinter has a twist up his sleeve, an I ain't about to go spoilin' it, so this is gonna hafta be where I end this nonsense.
Alrighty, well, if you've ever wondered what a pro-Christian/Reefer Madness hybrid in the hands of Ed Wood woulda turned out like, have I got a treat for you (and have you ever got need of a therapist). Blood Freak is one of the all time classics of the "if you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit" subgenre, and like virtually all Something Weird releases, a review will never do it justice. Generally speaking, it's in the same vein as the flicks made by the late Herschell Gordon Lewis in the '60s (the main character is actually named after Lewis as an homage), and even though Grinter isn't half the director Lewis was (and Lewis wasn't half the director Roger Corman is, to kinda put this whole deal in perspective), the plot is even more insane than anything either Lewis or Corman ever concocted. When you get right down to it, the side-of-beef-turned-poultry isn't even the weirdest thing about this flick, oh no; the most bizarre aspect is the flick's chain-smoking narrator who sits in a wood-paneled study reading lines off his desk, poppin' in arbitrarily to deliver increasingly pedantic assessments of the events, which are inevitably followed by pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook that's supposed to make you feel like the director (who's also the narrator, incidentally) actually had some philosophical allegory in mind when he wrote this script. I'm not knockin' it, mind you, because with each interruption comes not just a greater accumulation of padding for the straw man currently under construction, but also the solidification of the notion that everything you're seeing is being presented *sincerely*. It's really an interesting reversal of the modern filmmaking technique in which run-of-the-mill cookie-cutter crapola is twisted into a bastardized contrivance intended to create something resembling an old school exploitation flick, because here you've got an exploitation flick that almost seems ashamed of the fact and because of this, shoehorns interstitial "thought of the day" rubbish to give it an aura of cultural significance. In many ways this is even funnier than just making a serious movie that bombs due to the incompetence of its creators, because this is an unforced error that keeps happening over and over again. You could make the argument that these segments were added strictly as padding, but I suspect that even without the narration the runtime would still be around 70 minutes, and for a drive-in title from the early 1970s, that wouldn't be the least bit unusual. More likely is that these little host segments were an attempt at redemption, or even a request for mercy, because at some point in the production the financial backer (probably after having seen some of the footage that'd been shot) pulled their funding, leaving Grinter and Hawkes to finish production on their own. So, ironically, I think they knew it was bad and tried to improve it with something that made it even more laughable, but fortunately, the gimmick is so ridiculous that they completely lapped the "asinine" designation and built up a little good will through sheer dumb luck.
So, with this in mind, I suggest we all get a good grip on this sucker's neck and see if we can't jerk its head out of its hinder to make room for the Stovetop cause, quite frankly, this bird has a "Chernobyl Farms" stink about it, and if it's got any hope of passin' it's gonna need all the side dishes it can get. The plot, once you've actually seen the entire movie, isn't as prepostrous as it sounds. It's still pretty goofy though, and relies heavily on premises that aren't what you'd call scientifically valid. Generally speaking, it's built on some very shaky ground, but on the other hand, the originality factor (insane as it might be) is pretty high, so I'm inclined to give it at least a few points in spite of itself. That said, picking out specific examples of plot problems in a movie about a man who eats genetically altered poultry and grows a turkey head doesn't make a great deal of sense to me, so let's just move along. The acting is really, *really* bad. You've got multiple instances of botched lines that're left in (likely because film was a precious commodity given the amount of money they had), people looking directly at the camera, emphasis applied to seemingly random words, and lines delivered in a William Shatner-esque manner as the actors seem to temporarily forget and suddenly remember their lines. The IMDB claims the cast was made up of acting students, and while that makes some sense, there're a few characters that seem to lack even that level of experience. Acting aside, the flick does have some fantastically dated dialog, including: "you're nothing but a dumb bastard who doesn't know where it's at anyway," and "boy, what a dumb ass you are", which, despite the pause between "dumb" and "ass", strikes me as one of the earliest uses of the insult I've seen in a film. I guess that probably doesn't help much on a technical level, but it certainly helps boost the entertainment value.
Here's who matters and why: Steve Hawkes (2056: Escape from Zombie Island, 2057: Return to Zombie Island, Tarzan and the Brown Prince, Tarzan in the Golden Grotto), Heather Grinter (Flesh Feast), Larry Wright (The Next of the Cuckoo Birds), Brad F. Grinter (Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things, Scream Baby Scream, Death Curse of Tartu).
The special effects are as bad as they come, with the turkey head having been a papier-mache appliance that simply covered the actor's head. To be fair, if you were to enter this thing in a competition involving *only* papier-mache masks, it might actually do pretty well, but this isn't 5th Grade Arts & Crafts class, and the result is one of the most laughable movie "monsters" in history. Beyond the phony turkey head, it's mostly just a lot of blood spurting from the necks of hanging victims, and said blood is extremely watery and bright in color. The most ambitious effect is definitely the scene where Herschell runs a guy's leg through a table saw, and while it's still pretty cheesy, they did at least hire an amputee to play the part for that scene so you don't have a guy trying vainly to hide the lower half of his leg behind his thigh. Do be advised that near the end of the flick they chop off a live turkey's head, although I suspect said turkey was simply killed at a processing facility and not specifically for the film. The shooting locations aren't gonna pick up much of the slack either, because they're all just a collection of residences for the most part, and not especially interesting ones at that. The "lab" is one of the most laughable attempts at a set you'll ever see (apparently they couldn't even secure an elementary school classroom like a lot of low budget Horror/Science Fiction movies do), and the early scenes filmed on the freeway are shakier than Michael J. Fox after 12 shots of double espresso. The one saving grace is the turkey farm, which looks to have been exactly what it is portrayed to be (the accessibility of which might well have factored into the plot), but the locations are uninteresting at best, and dismal at worst. The soundtrack is all over the place, and features classic '70s acid rock, extremely cheesy elevator music, and some country music that sounds like it didn't make the cut for The Dukes of Hazzard. I'll grant that the acid rock makes complete sense, and even gets piped in during scenes that're appropriate for that particular sound, and I'll even go to bat for the country stuff, since it is generally reserved for shots that take place on the turkey farm, but that stock waiting room music that plays during the pool scene just screams "no budget." There is another score that I imagine is supposed to be on the "suspenseful" side, but it seems like anytime that particular piece is playing they run a loop of the same person screaming a single scream, so you never really get to hear it. Overall, if you like bizarre movies, Blood Freak is a must. It's totally beyond redemption by any technical measure, but if that's your thing, it should prove highly enjoyable.