Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hunter's Blood (1986)

Directed by:
Robert C. Hughes

Medical student David (the late Sam Bottoms) and his tough father Mason (Clu Gulager), along with Mason’s wealthy friend Al (Ken Swofford), Al’s lawyer brother Ralph (Mayf Nutter) and Ralph’s wimpy lawyer friend Marty (Joey Travolta) all decide to get together for an outdoors hunting adventure deep in the Arkansas forest on a patch of land Al has recently purchased. Before you can say “Squeal Piggy,” the guys find themselves having various run-ins with stereotyped rednecks; first some bullies in a bar (which has a sign posted out front that reads “No Colords”) and secondly some violent, inbred poachers who have been slaughtering all the deer in the area and selling them to a local processing plant called Razorback Meat Company.

After setting up camp, some park rangers stop by to warn the guys to leave since many a hunter has disappeared there in the past. They don’t and after a booze-soaked, weed-smoking night of partying, the guys wake up to four laughing hilljacks spitting and pissing on them. The guys manage to get the upper hand and chase the hicks off before they can rob them. The next day there’s a second run-in and things start getting violent. David’s girlfriend Melanie (Kim Delaney) also stops by to join in on the action. Gory highlights include a face blown off with a shotgun, a would-be rapist impaled with deer antlers and a hick getting shot off a moving train.

Nothing too surprising happens in this routine backwoods survivalist flick, which was obviously influenced, right down to the male rape paranoia, by DELIVERANCE. It takes about an hour before any bloodshed occurs, the film seriously lacks tension, the male bonding scenes are hokey, the performances are uneven and the “good guys” aren’t really all that likable. In fact, they’re basically arrogant and snide yuppie types that are impossible to get 100 percent behind. Some action and gore (most during the last half hour) keep it watchable, as do a well-selected gallery of colorful character actors cast as the rednecks. Included are Lee de Broux, Bruce Glover (who’s hilarious in his over-the-top role, weirdly shouting lines like “We gonna get ya!”), Billy Drago and Charles Cyphers (best known as the sheriff from HALLOWEEN). There’s even an early appearance from Billy Bob Thornton (making his screen debut), who can be seen being thrown from the back of a pick-up truck.


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