“Blood Freak” — A Turkey In More Ways Than One

Posted: May 4, 2009 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
"Blood Freak" Movie Poster

"Blood Freak" Movie Poster

Sometimes, dear reader, your friendly neighborhood TFG is truly at a loss for words. It doesn’t happen too often, mind you, and not nearly as frequently as many who know me wish it would, but when trying to describe the wigged-out WTF-ness that is the 1971 cinematic absurdity known as “Blood Freak,” I’m afraid the English language just plain fails me (or perhaps I fail it). This, you see, is an exercise in (I’m assuming) accidental cinematic bizarreness so complete—and so confounding—that mere words simply cannot convey the nature of this particularly fetid celluloid swamp.

“Blood Freak” is the “brain”child of  Brad Grinter (“Flesh Feast”) and wanna-be Johnny Weismuller Steve Hawkes, who had starred in one low-budget Tarzan flick and was destined to do one more. The two of them wrote, produced, and directed thing thing together, and each “star” in it as well, Hawkes portraying the hero of the story, Viet Nam vet-turned-freewheeling-biker Herschell, and Grinter playing the film’s chain-smoking narrator. Evidently they’re pretty proud of the fact that Hawkes is in it, too, since  “starring Steve Hawkes”  appears not once, but twice, during the opening credits.

Writer/Producer/Director Brad Grinter as the narrator

Writer/Producer/Director Brad Grinter as the narrator

Our story begins when Herschell encounters a pretty young lady named Angel having (unspecified) car troubles along the Florida turnpike. Herschell gets her car working again and she invites him over to her place for a party her swinging sister Ann is having. Why she’d invite him, though, is a mystery since Angel and Ann are polar opposites, Angel being a Bible-quoting Jesus-freak of the first order and Ann being a swinging sixties (errr—-make that seventies) “let it all hang out” -kinda chick who’s into sex, drugs, rock and roll—but mostly drugs, and the party is full of Ann’s friends, of whom Angel clearly does not approve. Anyway, invite him into this den of debauchery she does, and while Herschell makes it clear that he’s more on the Angel side of the fence as far as the sex and drugs scene is concerned, Ann takes a shine to the muscle-bound lunkhead regardless and crafts a plan to lure him into her web of vice together with the help of her drug dealer, Guy, who supplies her with some super-pot that’s sure to turn Herschell, he assures her, into a raving addict in no time.

Herschell splits the scene to attend a Bible study group with Angel, where he meets a kindly old-timer who sets him up with a job at his poultry ranch. He’s got a week to kill before the job starts and nowhere to go, though, and that’s when his troubles begin. Angel offers to put him up at her and Ann’s place, and Ann quickly dares Herschell into trying her “super-pot” by insinuating that he’s a coward if he doesn’t. Sure enough, half a joint later our guy Herschell is a raving, lunatic pot-addict and Ann has gotten him into bed.

When he starts his gig at the turkey farm, Herschell is offered a way to make a few extra bucks on the side by a couple of unscrupulous scientists who work there and are experimenting on drugging turkey meat (for reasons completely unknown). They even offer him a little grass on the side in addition to money if he’ll help them out. After his first day on the job, Herschell comes home in a medical state I have never seen before or since that can only be described, I guess, as “marijuana withdrawal,” and he completely freaks out back at the pad. After getting high, though, it’s all good again, and he’s ready for work the next day. His scientist buddies set him up with a fork, a knife, and a whole frigging turkey, and Herschell chows down. But wait! Something strange is happening! The drugged turnkey causes Herschell to go into convulsive fits, and the scientists, after finding him writhing on the ground, whisk him away to a secluded ditch and leave him for dead. But our guy Herschell isn’t dead, and soon he returns home—but he’s not the same man. Herschell’s head has been replaced by the head of a giant turkey—a giant turkey that soon finds he needs the blood of drug addicts to survive!

Herschell and Angel

Herschell and Angel

So there you have it—this film is about a giant, blood-drinking, turkey-man. Really. With a European “star” (Hawkes) who can barely utter a sentence in English. And a chain-smoking narrator who cuts into the “action” by reading from a script on his desk (in fairness, though, he’s not the only actor in this fim who appears to be reading from a script,  the two scientists are at least as bad and they even stumble over their lines, as well).

What is this movie, then? Bad monster flick? Anti-drug scare film? Christian exploitation cinema? Low-budget mishmash or bad ideas? In truth, “Blood Freak” is all that and more. A bastard offspring of Herschel Gordon Lewis (and I must say some of the blood and gore effects in this film, particularly one where a guy gets his leg sawed off, are surprisingly effective given the utter incompetence of everything else on display) and Ron Ormond,  “Blood Freak” is unlike anything else that’s ever been made—or ever will be made. And that’s probably (okay, certainly) a good thing. But it’s definitely “must-see” stuff for the seasoned aficionado of exploitation fare.

“Blood Freak” is available on DVD from the fine people at Something Weird Video. The video quality is superb (considering how rare prints of this title probably are to obtain), and while the sound quality is hit-and-miss, overall it’s certainly passable. The DVD is loaded with cool previews and several shorts that encompass the various “themes” of the main feature. Highly recommended.

Oh, and Steve Hawkes made the news for a minute in late 2004 when one of the pet tigers he keeps on his Florida compund escaped and was shot by the cops. Really.

Comments
  1. […] “What is this movie, then? Bad monster flick? Anti-drug scare film? Christian exploitation cinema? Low-budget mishmash or bad ideas? In truth, Blood Freak is all that and more. A bastard offspring of Herschel Gordon Lewis (and I must say some of the blood and gore effects in this film, particularly one where a guy gets his leg sawed off, are surprisingly effective given the utter incompetence of everything else on display) and Ron Ormond, Blood Freak is unlike anything else that’s ever been made—or ever will be made. And that’s probably (okay, certainly) a good thing. But it’s definitely “must-see” stuff for the seasoned aficionado of exploitation fare!” Trash Film Guru […]

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