I just saw a DVD that was almost beyond belief.
It's called BLOOD FREAK, it came out in '73, and -- get this, now -- it's a fundamentalist Christian gore film. I'm not kidding, it was bankrolled and produced by church groups in an effort to scare kids away from drugs. A 'cycle-riding drifter (Steve Hawkes, a big dude who played Tarzan in some Euro movies and who has the hugest hands I've seen since Sonny Liston) changes the flat tire of a mini-skirt wearing "good girl" and is invited back to her pad for a Coke, only to fall in with the good girl's "bad" sister (she smokes weed -- and she's gorgeous) and find himself seduced into her lifestyle of dope and illicit sex.
This actually is a pretty good set-up in my view, but the Cycle Dude takes a job on a turkey farm which requires that he act as a guinea pig for the mad scientists who are trying to develop a drug that will . . . do something or other to the birds they're growing there. Between smoking pot and eating an entire turkey that's oozing a mysterious new chemical, the Dude finds himself getting a little sleepy and collapses on the farm grounds before going into convulsions. The m. scientists discover him jitterbugging like Ted Bundy in Old Sparky, and, displaying their true colors, they drag him off into the woods so they won't be connected with what they figure to be his imminent croaking.
Dude wakes up in the woods craving weed and (I kid you not) now sporting a giant turkey head in place of his own. He even gobbles when he tries to speak! But he's still got them gi-normous hands and bulging biceps and he's pretty blamed pissed off (you'd better believe it). He finds the Bad girl and rapes her (in the dark, so we don't get to see anything) before going on a rampage of locating other bad girls who seem to be congregating within a four block radius of the house, crushing their throats, hanging them upside-down, cutting their throats, and drinking their blood. This is shown with all of the gushing crimson of a Hershel Gordon Lewis gore flick (2000 THOUSAND MANIACS, THE GORE-GORE GIRLS, BLOOD FEAST, and others). In fact, Dude's name in the film is "Hershell," so maybe there's a subtle tribute being paid there?
Dude kills half a dozen folks and grabs a limping drug dealer and uses a table saw to slice off the poor guy's lower leg. This is shown without cutting away and in loving detail (it's accomplished by employing a real amuptee, of course, but it's an unexpected and surprisingly effective trick in a low budget movie from this long ago). Finally Dude is wounded by one of his victims and, weakened and tired of being able to say nothing other than "gobble-gobble," he drops to his knees, clasps his hands, and emplores the Lord to remove him from this unbearable existence. This is also the exact moment that two of the Bad Girl's hippy friends creep up behind the monster turkey doper and decapitate him with an ax. An actual scene of a live turkey having its head cut off and then flapping about in its death throes is inserted here for . . . emphasis?
After building up all of this crazed madness to its credit, BLOOD FREAK goes and ruins the denouement with one of the oldest tricks in the cinematic textbook (remember the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ?), but we're still left with a supposed Christian film designed to be shown at churches throughout the nation that is filled with explicit violence, several "bastards" and one "asshole," real live babes in minis and bikinis, unmarried people having conjugal relations, rape, dismemberments, splashing blood, and -- as far as I know -- the world's only turkey-headed, plasma-gulping, weed-sucking hero/monster/victim.
It's a baaadddd flick, but it's also amazing. Absolutely amazing.
If you're looking for something different to watch tonight, track down a copy of BLOOD FREAK. I don't think you'll be disappointed (just keep telling yourself: "it's only a movie, it's only a movie . . . it's only a movie made to be shown to unsuspecting little church kids who will swallow their own tongues in both fright and lust"). PeteLeo.