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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Cinematic Turkey on Several Levels: 1972's Blood Freak

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge sc_24_bloodfreak.jpg

We aficionados of trashy cinema have a special place in our hearts for Florida. More bad movies have been made there than any other state, and that includes California. (I went to film school. Don't argue with me.)

Blood Freak combines all the goodness of Florida Cinema with another favorite genre of mine: the ultraviolent Christian Scare Film. (For the record, this does not include The Passion of the Christ.) It's also dimly lit, horribly acted, and the dialogue is often so muddy it sounds like the mic was pointing away from the actors -- and into a pillow.

It's usually described as "the one where the guy smokes grass and turns into a turkey monster." That's more or less true, and the anti-drug, pro-Jesus message is very much there, but the movie itself can't even decide what it's really about. In fact, judging from the editing, I'm pretty sure the whole "turkey monster" thing was added after most of the dialogue was filmed.

The film opens with a chain-smoking, script-reading narrator laying out the thesis of the movie. (Florida Turnpike shout-out!)

Herschel, the Elvis-looking protagonist -- who has a slightly Wiseauian patois -- attends a swingin' party, but does not swing.

Herschel gets a job at a turkey farm. They bond quickly.

He agrees to test a new drug being developed by the turkey farm's resident scientists, because huh?

So he turns into a turkey monster because of the pot and the experimental drugs, and the editing up to this point suggests that these people know it, but the dialogue suggests otherwise. "It's not only his physical appearance that worries me ... it's his head." O RLY?

The extremely violent and NSFW money shot, folks. Bring in the kids!

The film ends with the chain-smoking narrator having a coughing fit while lecturing us on the dangers of "ignoring the warnings" about chemicals. It's awesome.

Turns out the turkey-monster thing was all a hallucination, so fuck you, audience. Oh, and accept Jesus today!

(For a more thorough recap of Blood Freak, which is surely a thing you would want, visit The Agony Booth.)

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Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8pm.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

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