Twenty years ago (my, doesn’t time fly), I remember reading Fangoria and seeing a strikingly trashy full-page ad for a new slasher flick. Trumpeting something which today strikes the fear of God into us: it was the very first shot-on-video horror movie. Even back then my bullshit radar was going into overtime, and it’s no surprise that it’s taken twenty years for me to finally see BLOOD CULT. Let’s just say, I wasn’t missing much.
The plot (well, I guess you could charitably call it that) has some anonymous wacko carving up Co-ed's with a highly polished meat cleaver on a small mid-Western campus. … You wonder how you can go wrong with a premise like that? Read on my friend, read on … The first murder admittedly does score some points (partly because I had no fore-knowledge of the remaining 85 minutes) aping John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN (aurally as well as visually). With the classic POV shot, the killer stalks through a darkened sorority house towards a naked girl (who commendably keeps big, big 80’s hair in the shower – no mean feat). The unseen assassin hacks his way into the bathroom and relieves the sorority sister of her right arm (no more back combing for her!).
Next up, another Co-ed is menaced by the maniac (who rests his weary limbs in a conveniently placed rocking chair before going about his bloody business) who – in a rare spot of inventiveness – beats her up with her roommate's severed head!
Leaping into action (well, kinda) is the standard butterball sheriff. He’s getting his balls busted by the dean of the University, who doesn’t like the fact that splattered bubble permed nymphets are being splashed across campus. The Sheriff’s only clue is the strange dog-faced golden pendants left at the scene of the crime – apart from a hunch it might have something to do with Dungeons & Dragons! His portly librarian daughter (who looks like a cross between a pitbull and a watermelon, and who sports a pink puffball dress that's without a shadow of a doubt the scariest thing in this stinkfest) puts a smile on his face by unearthing an ancient text, which sheds light on a strange cult that worships dogs. Coincidentally, the local bumpkins complain about ‘poachers’ that have been making a hell of a racket in the woods and keeping them awake all night. A coincidence? As if!
I lived twenty years without BLOOD CULT in my life, and I can safely say that I could have happily lived for another twenty years without ever seeing it. It’s not so bad that it’ll take twenty years of therapy for me to forget it (well, perhaps only fifteen).
One of the biggest problems is that BLOOD CULT advertises itself as being in “the tradition of horror legends PSYCHO, HALLOWEEN, and FRIDAY the 13th”. In the tradition of those films my arse! BLOOD CULT barely qualifies as a slasher flick, it comes across as a lame cross between a plodding cop flick and occult (for want of a better word) thriller. The direction is pedestrian, and it has all the suspense of an average MURDER SHE WROTE episode. Shamefully, it doesn’t even work as a gorefest; the bodycount is minimal and the grue may be fairly plentiful, but it’s not convincing in the least (with severed heads that look like they were made by Helen Keller).
It also really doesn’t help that BLOOD CULT has perhaps the most unattractive cast in slasher movie history. The budget certainly didn’t go on the special fx, so I can only presume it went on donuts. Whoever thought that getting the participants of FAT CAMP to wobble their way through this STV monstrosity really didn’t have their priorities right at all. Oh, the horror indeed.
If I can dredge up any plus points (and I’ll be dredging, believe me) then, whilst the direction is pedestrian, it’s at least competent. Whilst BLOOD CULT rarely generates anything resembling a thrill at least the director knows to take the lens cap off. To be fair, he does manage to generate a few low rent gothic thrills towards the end, but by then it’s all too late (apart from for insomniacs like me). And, there’s a modicum of laughs to be had with the dialogue – especially when one character criticises his daughter’s apparent demonic possession by saying, “You weren’t brought up to do this kind of thing!”.
BLOOD CULT was followed by REVENGE, which, by all accounts is just as abominable. Let’s just say, I’m in no great hurry to give it a try.
female:5 / male:1
1) Female killed with meat cleaver
2) Decapitated female found
3) Female hacked with meat cleaver
4) Female found with missing fingers
5) Male hacked to death with cleaver
6) Female killed in fall