Posted: 07/21/2006

 

Blood Bath

(1976)

by Barry Meyer



A cheese and gore filled classic from Blood Sucking Freak Joel M. Reed.


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There are some films that seem to exist—not by design, but rather by default—solely for the amusement of the purebred fan. The average movie-goer, in their right mind, would never sit through an hour and a half of amateurish acting, student-film photography, and sets so minimal that Samuel Beckett would be bored without either demanding their money back or roll around moaning in pain. Nope. But, a horror fan would endure that—and more!

And that’s precisely why a filmmaker (uh… schlockmeister may be a more appropriate term) like Joel M. Reed (Blood Sucking Freaks) is a gore legend. His filmmaking skills are below a monkey’s, but regardless his gore cinema oddities are genre classics!

Borrowing a page from the old Amicus textbook, Reed stitches together a patchwork of anthology tales so threadbare that if you’re not a genre fan you may need needle and thread present to hold your interest. An eccentric horror film director (Harve Presnell) invites some colleagues to dinner, where they try and scare each other with spooky tales. The tales include a hit man who can’t quite get his target, a supernatural coin that delivers the holder to any destination he desires, a miserly Scrooge-like businessman who meets a jive talking Marley-type ghost, and a ruthless karate champion who must fight for his life.. But perhaps the director’s greatest tale is the one about the strange thing he has held captive in the basement of his studio.

The cast features some familiar faces, like Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond)—who must’ve owed someone a big favor, Jerry Lacy (Dark Shadows), and PJ Soles (Halloween)—but don’t blink or you’ll miss her. In fact, the only way you’ll know that PJ was in the movie is by seeing the end credits. The tomboy bad girl from Carrie only shows up in the last 4 minutes of the flick, and sure, she’s in a nightie and in bed, but the shot is from across the room and I can only assume that the actress is really PJ.

Long seen only in severely edited TV versions, BLOOD BATH has been fully restored for DVD, supervised by Mr. Reed himself.

Barry Meyer is a film critic living in New Jersey.



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