Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Blood Frenzy (1987) Hal Freeman

Ah, now this is the good stuff. In one of those wacky japes the like of which I really hope were never actually sanctioned by the APA, a therapist takes six patients off for an intensive desert retreat, at which exactly what you expect happens. If Blood Frenzy were less entertaining I'd be pretty ill disposed towards the way it treats as normal some of the more reprehensible myths about mental health professionals and their patients, that the former are well meaning but easily deluded and somewhat nitwitted and the latter often have little more than standard social dysfunctions and readily experience cathartic breakthroughs, but since its kinda awesome as far as no budget late 80's slashers go I thought it forgiveable.

Simple fare for the most part, writer/director Hal Freeman (better known as a pornographer and centre of the vital court case of that culture) avoids the sap and psychodrama or multiplous red-herrings that one might expect from the situation. The writing is rather fun and snappy, carving out somewhat agreeable characters from clay stereotype, with a good dose of enthusiastically delivered profanity (Pussy-bumper!). Pacing is well measured for the small cast, with death and excitement portioned nicely for suspense purposes, events building to a rather fine over the top and twisted finale that would be more at home in some of the genre classics of several years previous. Although the kills don't have much in the way of variety or invention they are mean and bloody, even mustering a small measure of style and eerieness. More nudity than just the one short occasion would have been most welcome, in keeping with the generally sleazy vibe but you can't have everything. The cast make up in enthusiasm what they lack in talent with one John Clark amusing as the sort of chauvinist who would usually be merely insufferable, and its nice to see Lisa Loring, who followed this up with the crap but fun ski themed Iced the next year. There's some awkward editing and the desert setting is rarely put to all that much atmospheric effect (though this is partly down to the problem that the majority of available prints of this seem decayed), but there are one or two good shots, and while the score passed from my mind almost as soon as the credits rolled there is nice use of a nursery rhyme. So altogether a winner and well worth a watch for fans of the era and style.

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