Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blood Lake (1987)

Directed by:
Tim Boggs

The VHS box promises us "a blood bath of horror!" This not only doesn't deliver on that, but it also doesn't deliver a film in the traditional sense of the word. This thing actually reminds me a lot of the videos I and a small group of friends used to shoot after school in the early 90s. We always used my grandmother's VHS camcorder, which I was only able to get my hands on under the guise of doing "school projects." We'd set the camera down on a tripod, pop a tape in, then sit around a table and ad lib our way through a "plot" we just made up as we went along. We had no idea what the word "continuity" meant, constantly talked over one another because there was no script and thought we were hilarious and cool because we cursed and talked about sex a lot. Many scenes ended with one of us saying something like "Hey, I've gotta use the bathroom!" or "Is that the phone ringing?" and then getting up and walking right past the camera so we could turn it off because there was no one else around to do it. And since we loved horror flicks, each video - regardless of what we'd been talking about earlier - ended with a killer murdering everyone with the biggest knife we could find in the kitchen or whatever gardening tools we could find at the farm we often filmed at as someone squirted ketchup all over the place.

I only mention my own dumb little childhood videos above because that's the same level of professionalism you'll find in this regional production from Oklahoma, which has the same plot, production values, acting talent and makeup fx as the videos I was making as a 10 year old. The only real differences are that we didn't have a second rate hair band ("Voyager") to do songs for us, didn't torture the world at large by getting our home movies into video stores and, when we filmed outside at night, we actually set up lights so you could at least see what was going on. Aside from that, this is virtually the same thing. At first, I was feeling nostalgic and amused by the terrible acting, awful clothes, twangy Midwest accents and just how lame the whole thing was. Unfortunately, that feeling lasted all of five minutes before boredom set in and then I just couldn't wait to be put out of my misery. There are generally two types of bad horror movies: bizarrely inept and entertaining ones that often acquire cult followings and ones that are just tedious, amateurish, forgettable, derivative and utterly boring. This falls completely into that second category.

There's not much plot here to speak of, but for the record... Two hick couples - Mike (Doug Barry) and Becky (Angela Darter) & Bryan (Mike Kaufman) and Kim (Andrea Adsms) - as well as a 'tween' couple - Mike's kid brother Tony (Travis Krassner) and Susan (Christie Willoughby) - who look to be about 10-11 years old, go to Becky's parents lakeside house for a three day weekend. While there, they sit around and talk endlessly about nothing in particular, drink beer, smoke weed, go water skiing for what feels like an eternity and play quarters for, you guessed it, what feels like an eternity. All the while, a 280 lb. "uglier than hell" psycho named Jed (Tiny Frazier), whose motive for killing is about the lamest ever conceived for one of these things, stalks around preparing to slaughter everyone. Unfortunately, it takes him about an hour to kill a few people in scenes that are too dark to even see.

Just to give you a general idea of this film's lameness I will discuss one scene in particular. A couple of neighborhood boys who've been hanging out with the main teens end up getting murdered after a night of partying. The next morning, some old guy wearing a flannel shirt, a cowboy hat and jeans (their neighbor?) knocks on the door, takes one of the guys outside and nonchalantly shows him the boys' corpses just lying around in the front yard. The guy then says in a monotone voice "I'll be up at the house if you need anything" and goes back inside. Not only do we never see any cops actually at the scene but the teens refuse to leave and, later that night, one of the couples goes outside to have sex in a boat just a few feet from where one of the bodies were found. I suppose that's really not any dumber than what you'll see in many other slasher flicks, but this one doesn't even have nudity, gore or adequate production values as compensation for the moronic writing. The editing, lighting, videography, audio recording (which is often inaudible) and everything else is absolutely terrible.

This was shot around Cedar Lake, Oklahoma, which dried up soon after this wrapped production. Taking advantage of the situation, the filmmakers then tacked-on an end scene of the killer's ghost standing around the dried-up lake bed.

Despite what some say, this film wasn't really all that rare during the 80s / 90s video craze; at least not on the East Coast. The distributor was United Home Video, who also released the shot-on- video films Blood Cult (1985), The Ripper (1985) starring Tom Savini, Revenge (1986) starring John Carradine and THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY (1988). All of those, as well as this one, were in nearly every video store I visited as a kid in the six different states I lived in growing up. Though the box says it runs 90 minutes and IMDb claims 82, the full running time is just 76 minutes. There's no DVD and I doubt it's on anyone's high list of priorities for a major release.



spookyx3 said...

no memory of this one, seen just over two years ago. kinda says it all.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Yep. Nothing memorable at all about this one.

s said...

Movie is awesome. You guys are crazy. Amazingly bad dialouge and killer soundtrack. Feelin free!!!! Feelin free!

Anonymous said...

Yeah the dam failed and all of the water ran out.. it was repaired by the army corps of engineers. It is full and thriving now.. (cedar lake)

Anonymous said...

I kinda liked it. Just watched it on VUDU. Don't try to compare it to a 50 million dollar production and take it for what it is.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Never thought I'd find any Blood Lake fans yet here we are.

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