Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Igor and the Lunatics (1985)

... aka: Bloodshed

Directed by:
Thomas Doran
Brendan Faulkner
Billy Parolini

There's a good reason this doesn't make much sense: It was filmed over the course of several years by three different directors. Apparently the bulk of the film was made by Billy Parolini, who either didn't finish it or didn't make it exciting enough. Executive producers Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz had Thomas Doran and Brendan Faulkner, who are credited with "directing the horror, action and suspense sequences," added new footage at a later junction. It starts with a scene set in the 1960s, jumps to present day, zips back to the 1960s, jumps ahead to 1983 and then finally catches back up to present day once again. You got that? Flashback, flash-forward, flashback, another flashback set 20 years later, back to present day. That several of the actors look identical in present day to how they looked in the 1960s footage causes some confusion but not as much as character names changing from scene to scene. Despite the title, no one is named "Igor," though the end credits have someone listed as playing "Ygor." The cult guru is named "Paul" and his maniacal right-hand-man is named "Byron." At the very end, they specify the latter's name as being "Paul Byron." Madness! But I guess "Paul and Lunatics" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Things begin in present day with a guy named Tom Turner (Joseph Eero), who grabs a gun from the night stand and sneaks out of his home. He's left behind a note and a diary for his female friend Mary Ann Pierson (Mary Ann Schacht) to read that will explain things. Back in the early 60s, a bunch of brainwashed hippies led by Manson-like guru Paul (T.J. "Michaels" / Glenn) have relocated from a NYC tenement building to the country. Tom was reluctantly and briefly involved in the cult, but managed to get out just in time. One girl wasn't so lucky. After trying to flee, she's captured by Paul and two of his men. She calls them "impotent scum!" so they rip her top open, tie her down and then slice her in half long-ways using a table saw. The cult's days of free love, hallucinogenic drugs and murder are short-lived however after most are apprehended during a police raid. Sharon (Joan Ellen Delaney) was forced to leave her baby (fathered by Tom) behind in the woods. An Indian man named Hawk (Peter Dain) finds the baby and decides to raise it on his own.

Flash-forward to 1983, and a still stark raving mad Paul is finally being set free from prison. He's immediately picked up by Byron and Bernard, two former cult members who are still up to their old tricks. Right away, they pick up a hitchhiker, rip her top off and then slice her open with a scalpel. Byron then removes a few of her ribs then yanks out her heart while laughing maniacally. Tom returns to town after all those years to do some kind of conference and goes on the evening news to denounce the existence of cults. He bumps into Sharon, who's working as a prostitute, and asks about the baby. She tells him she'll get ahold of him later, but doesn't get the chance after Paul sneaks into her apartment and rips her head open with his bare hands. To get Tom to back off, Paul sends him an audio recording of the murder. Meanwhile, Mary Ann gets herself involved by going to a backwoods cabin the cult used to live in. When she returns to her apartment, a teenage boy has broken in. She chases him outside and he breaks his ankle, then asks her to go find his guardian, Hawk. It's Tom's long lost son.

Mary Ann's friend, who starts out being named Lucille then suddenly becomes Colette, goes out in the woods to paint and gets stabbed with an ice pick and then chopped up with a machete by Paul and his followers. Mary Ann goes to the police for help but they ignore her. She's luckily bumps into Tom and the two set out to find the teen boy and the cult. Meanwhile, the cult slash a little boy's throat, beat a guy's head in with a rock and kill a couple of cops. Things end with a clash in a barn, with Paul and Byron sneaking in and trying to make mince meat of Mary Ann, Tom, Tom's son and Hawk. Someone is hacked in the head with a machete, another is stabbed with a pitchfork and lifted off the ground and someone is shot with an arrow. Only a few manage to survive the night and there's a ridiculous twist at the very end. Too bad we never got the sequel: "Igor the Habachi Chef."

The acting is pretty bad, it's confusing and the continuity problems and editing are horrendous to put it mildly. The lengthy table saw death is repeated three different times; twice in its entirety. The only thing even remotely memorable about this one is the ridiculously over-the-top (and highly annoying) performance of Niola. I'd like the learn more about the production history of this one, though. According to the snippet below (taken from a mid-80s edition of Rick Sullivan's Gore Gazette), it was filmed in 1983 under the title Bloodshed and was released theatrically under the Igor title.

Doran and Faulkner also made SPOOKIES (1986), another troubled production which was taken from the directors, recut and had new scenes added.


Paul Awful said...

Its funny because I remember the Manson like cult leader being named Paul because that is my name but I always thought the guy with the giant switchblade was Igor. Now I have to go back and look at this mess again.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

The crazy guy with the switchblade is listed as Ygor in the end credits but is called Byron in the movie and then suddenly he's Paul Byron at the end. When I was watching, I kept wondering "Where's Igor?" He never showed up!

Paul Awful said...

Thats funny I used to watch this title a lot when I was a kid but it has been a really long time. It has to be much more painful as an adult.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Painful indeed! It does have a little curio value for me though. I hope someone stops by here eventually and can shed some light on how this production went down. I haven't been able to unearth much info on it.

Paul Awful said...

Hey so I just rewatched my old Lightnening Video VHS of this. In my version of the movie they call the guy with the blond hair Igore. Its towards the begining of the movie but its the scene where he is chained to the tree and screaming for Paul to not kill Sara. Now I wonder if this thing has been re-dubbed.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

I'm not really sure if it was re-dubbed or not. The version I watched was on the Toxie's Triple Terror DVD. Now I'm gonna have to re-watch that scene again to see if I can hear an "Igor." Either way his name really did miraculously change to Paul Byron by the time the end came around!

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