VHS Cult (Blood Cult, 1985)
So, I watched the movie Blood Cult. It claims to be the first direct to video feature length film. I didn’t realize this meant “Shot on VHS in Mom’s Basement”. I mean, Charles Band could afford actual film.
The movie begins at a sorority house (read the house of someone the filmmaker is friends with) where a sort of cute co-ed is taking a shower. Because that’s what the ladies do in college. Take showers, get lathered up, wait for homicidal maniacs with meat cleavers. She hears a noise and opens her door only to find said Maniac . She slowly shuts the door, and he gently swings the meat cleaver, because we don’t want anyone getting hurt here. But he manages to splatter blood all over.
The campus the film sits on appears to be a local community college (with stock footage of a more ivy league style college). And that night a young co-ed is brutally murdered…when the maniac hit’s her over the head with a severed head from the shower girl. I have to give them credit for that. It’s almost up there with a football with a sword attached.
The Sheriff narrates the film. And he narrates a lot. I really thought he needed to shut up and do his work. People stumble through their dialog, making mistakes and just correcting themselves-like bloopers the director forgot to remove. He’s running for elected office, and is informed by one of his government higher ups that there better be no more killing. And uckily, there isn’t. The rest of the movie is all about his campaign.
Just kidding. There is another killing the very next scene.
The Sheriff apparently is not real good at this whole detective stuff, but thankfully his daughter, who works in the college library knows her way around the Occult Books section. The Sheriff asks his deputy if he has any theories…his deputy responds with “Who…ME?” The Sheriff asks if the deputy thinks maybe is is a Dungeons and Dragons thing. His Deputy likes that idea, but apparently never followed it up.
There is actually a scene where we see a house and a large brick barn…we hear a woman calling out to their barking dog telling it to get in the house. However, we do not see either the dog or the woman. We hear the dog whimper. Then the woman asked her husband(?) to check on the dog. This is when we finally see our first person in the scene…and he walks into the picture from somewhere other than the house. He calls for his wife to bring a shovel. He seems very casual that his dog is dead and headless. I guess that he has had a lot of dogs whose heads dropped off and disappeared.
The Sheriff is called out by the family, but they do not tell him about the dead dog until about ten minutes of talking. See, she totally buries the lead. One night the Sheriff goes into the woods and discovers a Blood Cult that worships dogs or something…at this point I don’t really care. His daughter was part of the cult, and then he wakes up in the hospital with no real memory of the Blood Cult.
The Doc tells the Sheriff that the autopsies revealed all the people died from multiple stab wounds…and loss of blood. Then he makes a comment about liking dogs and leaves the room. This is followed up by a fifteen minute stakeout in which the Sheriff parks his car blatantly in front of his daughter’s sorority house and looks through the windows with a pair of binoculars. Really, we should be relieved that he speeds things up by looking at his watch and reciting the time, rather than actually have to watch him sit there for six hours eating a sandwich and watching the sorority house.
He hears a crash, runs inside and finds someone in a Dog mask killing his daughter’s boyfriend…he rips the mask off to discover his daughter (whom he tells, “You weren’t brought up to do this sort of thing!!!”). Apparently the entire town is part of the Blood Cult. His daughter Tina runs away, climbs to the top of a building and has a nervous breaks down before leaping to her death.
But WAIT! Tina suddenly opens her eyes and smiles..then the credits roll.
It would be far to generous to call the acting in this film bad. There are lots of people pulling Home Alone Screams. Stiff delivery. Really stiff, Ben Affleck is animated compared to this. And shockingly, for many of these actors? This was indeed one of their only films. This and the sequel.
This movie contains dialog like “We were dealing with a serial killer. Who would most likely strike again. Probably on Campus. ” And not to mention “The medical examiner, Hans White, was being sloppy.” A guy mentions that there was another murder to the Sheriff(and then says, “But you probably already knew about that, huh?”), who simply says, “Yeah I know about it.”
The credits inform us this was filmed on Sony Beta Cam…wow…a victim of the format war. It’s also worth noting that the film thanks Coca Cola Bottlers of Tulsa, Jerry’s Camper World and “Doctor’s Hospital.” I think that says it all. That and there was (again) a sequel. Oh, and this disc has a bunch of special features. But Phantasm II hit DVD and has none. That says it all.