Blood Rage 1987

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I don’t know where to start, I really don’t.

Blood Rage is the kind of nonsense made by people who clearly wanted to jump on the slasher band wagon of the eighties but either over thought the whole thing or didn’t think about it enough. And then forgot to film it properly.

Obviously there have always been deep rooted family issues at the heart of any good serial killer, from Michael Myers’ murder of his sister to Jason Voorhees’ overly protective mother. These are certainly influenced by Pschyo’s crazy mother/son relationship, but for the slasher genre they are more of a back story to give the killer some motivation. Not so in Blood Rage, here it’s the main event. But twice over, because there are twins!

Things start off ten years earlier, in the seventies. Everything and everyone looks like they are from the eighties except one guy who is wearing a wig and a bandana and is either meant to be a hippy or Axel Rose, in which case he’s still from the eighties. At a rather rubbish drive in where everyone and their mother are getting down to some seriously heavy petting, we focus in on said mother who is making out with some weird creepy chap with spray on hair. She isn’t too keen (IE she is freaking out) about making out with this fellow whilst her twin boys are asleep in the back of her estate wagon. However old -spray on is mighty persistent (as in he virtually threatens her) so she just decides oh-well-what-the-hell and starts making those deep moaning sounds that people make in movies when someone merely starts kissing their neck.

However her two boys, Terry and Todd, wake up and, quite reasonably, decide they don’t want to stay in the back of a car watching their mom get molested by a bewigged weirdo. So they sneak out the back for a bit of fun. Terry’s idea of a bit of fun is to find an axe that happens to be lying about and hack a naked, horny teenager to death. Of course like all awful siblings worth their salt, he gives the axe to sweet, innocent Todd and tells everyone that he did it. Their mom doesn’t doubt Terry’s word for a second and, before you know it, we are ten years later visiting a now adult Todd in his “school”. A school he’s never allowed to leave and, judging by the state of him, is probably getting electro shock treatment from.

There are a few things you must know about Terry and Todd’s mother, played by seasoned professional Louise Lasser. The first and foremost is that she is a complete nutbag. If you were to ever meet her, the first words that would spring to mind would be “fragile”, followed by “unhinged” and then, strangely, “Shirley” and “Temple”. Because, despite being a woman of around fifty years old, she spends the entire film dressed like a six year old girl. From the curly tails to the short EdwardIan frock she looks for all the world like a Shirley Temple impressionist but with much worse teeth and a large cleavage. She might be the scariest thing in the movie. Or any movie for that matter.

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However this doesn’t seem to stop men throwing themselves at her. There’s Mr Spray-On obviously, but also the manager of the complex she lives in. He’s so mad about her that he wants to marry her. I feel both these men do not have her best interests at heart though. Whenever she is stressed or having a meltdown, usually about her twins, their immediate reaction is to try and make semi-violent love to her.

I can’t understand it myself, must be the outfit.

The worst thing is she seems to accept this as a reasonable way to deal with her problems rather than, say, getting therapy. Which is what she should do. Lots and lots of therapy.

Anyway, back to the modern times of the eighties. Poor old Todd escapes from the mental asylum and heads back home. Meanwhile Terry has been living a great life with lots of mates, a hot girlfriend and, of course, a mother who adores him. We also meet other residents of the complex including a new blonde girl who Terry is attracted to, presumably because she has the same teeth as his mother’s. There is also a single mum with a newborn baby who forgets constantly that she has a child in her desperate attempt to get a rich man. At one point she leaves the baby next to the swimming pool. She is the opposite of Terry and Todd’s mother, you cold almost say that the film is trying to say something about this, if it want for the fact that that in every other way the film makers are idiots.

So people start being killed but who is doing the killing? Is it Todd? Or is it Terry? It’s Terry. I’m not giving anything away here, we see Terry murdering everyone with a smug grin on his face. There is no mystery to this film.

To give Terry his dues he is quite inventive with his butchery. Although most of it is done with a machete he is able to split heads, cut a woman in half, chop off hands and dangle heads from a hall lamp. In fact he’s more interested in arranging his corpses out on display for his next victims to see than he is in the actual killing. He tends to do these quite quickly, and often off screen. Not that it’s not gory, as it is certainly is, it’s just the gore is a bit rudimentary. I imagine they would have a bit of difficulty showing a woman being cut in half, but showing the aftermath is easier.

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Okay while we’re here, what is going on with this woman cut in half? Firstly she is chopped up in the middle of another scene of mom on the telephone. We keep on cutting between a chat about pies and half a psychiatrist grabbing at her intestines as her legs wobble about a bit on the other side of the screen. It’s like a crap magician’s trick. Secondly, when good boy Todd finds her, he places her lower half back where it belongs like it’s going to fix her somehow. Clearly ten years in the company of doctors has not helped him in his understanding of human anatomy.

Why am I even asking why anyone’s actions don’t make sense? The behaviour of most of the characters is as unhinged as twin Terry’s. When Terry is going out to look for Todd when it is quite clear that he’s the killer, his mom tells him to put a jumper on as its cold outside. “The blue one!” She calls out after him. Mom obviously is the most demented of the characters. She drinks far too much wine and has a tendency to collapse on the floor at any given moment in a pile of her own self pity, or a pile of over acting, I couldn’t tell. Also surely a mother should be able to tell the difference between her twins if any own can. Especially as they dress differently and one of them has blow dried big hair and the other a has lanky greasy barnet. However she has no idea. When Todd finds her in a heap on the floor and gently puts her to bed she keeps calling out “Terry…. Terry” as she tries to inappropriately French kiss him. There’s even a pivotal moment at the climax of the film involving the twins identity and she still hasn’t a clue.

It’s also apparent the film makers haven’t much of a clue either. Bless them. When Karen, Terry’s very dim girlfriend, hides from him in a store cupboard she does the old classic backing into one of his previous victims number. She screams and runs out to find Terry playing with a corpse on a deck chair. BUT ITS THE SAME CORPSE. Surely it’s not possible for the same stiff to be in two places at the same time? Or maybe no one noticed on set? I don’t know what they were thinking but this is a common trait throughout the film. There is a long stretch where mom is chatting on the phone (another pie conversation, or maybe the same one) whilst sitting on a red sofa. We cut to Terry taking a break from cutting psychiatrists in half to bringing his girlfriend back to his place for a horizontal bop. On his red sofa. The same sofa that his mom is making weird phone calls on. It then cuts between them, mom making calls, Terry making out, existing in the same place at the same time but neither group being there for the others to see.

Clearly something went horribly wrong in the edit, either that or they just didn’t think it through. For example there’s a moment where Terry is running across a bridge. Well, from the front he is running across a bridge, from the side view he’s in a forest. An earlier scene has the single mother taking to Terry and his mates at the pool. Throughout the entire conversation the camera is on the woman, even when Terry is talking for a long period and the actress seems to have switched off whilst waiting to say her next line. Either they just didn’t have the coverage of the reverse angle or they were more interested in filming a woman with massive hair in a bikini. There’s loads of these continuity issues littered throughout the film and its almost admirable how much no one seems to care.

In fact the whole of Blood Rage is a gleeful mix of cod psychology and disastrous film making. Putting together a coherent story in cinematic form is never easy and whilst Blood Rage fails in many, many ways, it does succeed in being totally bonkers. Whether that was on purpose, by accident or through sheer bloody incompetence we’ll probably never know. Let’s go with the latter, and thank them for it.
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