Blood Freak (1971)


Motorcycle riding Herschel helps a stranded motorist, Angel, on the road. She takes him to her place, only to find her sister, Anne, having some kind of drug party in the living room with all her ‘friends.’ Angel and Anne are clearly rivals and opposites in every way. Angel is the conservative bible thumper and Anne is the horney, high seductress. Herschel initially turns down Anne’s offer of drugs and booty, but eventually temptation becomes too strong and he gives in, becoming hooked on the drugs in the process.

On top of all this, Herschel is offered a job at Angel and Anne’s family turkey farm, an enterprise  that is run by their father. Some of the workers there are doing experiments on the birds and they ask Herschel if he’s willing to help them out. What could possibly go wrong?

BloodFreak2A lot, it would seem.

I’m not entirely sure exactly what genre one would categorize Blood Freak. It starts off like a pro-Christian propaganda film, before it mutates into a monster movie, and then the whole thing is smothered in an overly heavy anti-drug blanket. But it likes to jump back and forth a lot, so the whole vibe is very confusing. As is the clumsy framing device of the narrator, who himself looks to be perpetually confused, constantly looking down to read his own lines off a script, and appearing as though he himself is just coming down from a serious high and hasn’t yet figured out that he is not, in fact, Hugh Hefner.

BloodFreak3Your director, ladies and gentlemen.
BloodFreak4Shit, lost my spot…

The story is intermittently interrupted by this rambling narrator, who talks about changes and asks questions like “What is a catalyst?” He also keeps bringing up the “Fantastic order of things” and mentions words like ‘decent’ and ‘good.’ I don’t know what the ever-loving hell he’s going on about, but whatever it is, it sure as hell can’t be in any way related to this movie.

Then there’s our lead, Herschel, a big, strapping young man who looks like a steroid obsessed version of Elvis and is played by Steve Hawkes (a point the film really insists you notice by mentioning it twice in the credits). Herschel is clearly running from something, yet he still takes time out of his busy fleeing spree to help a girl on the side of the road and take up random jobs at her dad’s turkey farm. All this while also getting super high and boinking her sister. For a guy who’s hiding from something, Herschel has a surprisingly busy social life.

And what luck! The scientists at the turkey farm ask if he’ll help them with some of their experiments, which has something to do with…okay, actually I’m not really sure, but all he has to do is eat a whole turkey and I don’t know any drifter who would pass up the chance to eat a whole fowl for lunch. Plus, they’re also going to pay him in money and drugs. So *chaching* *chaching* all around, I guess.

BloodFreak5Mmmmm, mystery turkey meat. Yum.

Of course, something goes afowl (heh heh), causing poor Herschel to have a seizure. One of the scientist panics and dumps Herschel’s body in the woods cause, you know, that’s just what your mad scientists are wont to do. Of course, Herschel’s not dead, so to make matters worse when he finally wakes up he discovers somebody has tapped an ugly-ass mask to his head.

BloodFreak6Holy shit! It’s a real-life Jive Turkey! I thought they were a myth!

Yes. This movie is about drug-addled Herschel growing a giant, grotesque turkey head. And he’s still addicted to drugs. Except, as everybody knows, turkeys are also notorious blood drinkers, so now Turkerschel isn’t only addicted to drugs, but he’s also addicted to the blood of drug addicts and goes on a stuffing-infused killing spree.

BloodFreak7But don’t expect to see him actually eat any blood, cause that would mess up their nice paper mache head the cub scouts spent so much time on.

So, yes. Weird, I think, is the nicest way to describe Blood Freak. It’s not at all scary. I mean, it’s hard to be scared when Turkerschel is walking menacingly up to you and all you hear is *gobble gobble* noises. It just doesn’t work, no matter how many times the movie tries it.

No, the only really scary thing about this movie is the production values. You already know you’re in for a ride when the opening title sequence is just one long car drive. And then they get to the drug house and the real horror begins. Not because of anything to do with the drugs like the movie wants you to think, but because that’s when the actors all start their speaking rolls. Lines are stilted and often only delivered with a modicum of competence, and the dialogue is so banal and ridiculous that I have a hard time believing an adult wrote it.

Clearly nobody working on this was a professional. The cameraman seems to think that focusing on a subject is an optional job requirement, microphones are either picking up way to much or nothing at all and don’t expect to be able to tell what’s going on in the dark, because hoping for that is a lost cause. Hell, thanks to the script, hoping to be able to tell what’s going on in the light of day is oftentimes hard enough.

That all may sound harsh, but these amateurish assholes decapitated a live turkey, filmed it and made us watch, so screw them.

BloodFreak8I won’t subject you to that. Instead I’ll leave you with this image, which suggests that four people killed and ate Turkerschel. That’s much less disturbing.

So Blood Freak is a bit of a mess. I can’t tell if it’s a horror movie with a blatant pro-Christian/anit-drug message or a pro-Christian/anti-drug film with a horror angle. It feels too plodding and preachy to be a horror film, but at the same time too exploitative to really fall in the religious category. And the anti-drug message is so garbled that watching this film might actually encourage people to get high, because I can think of no other reason that anyone would be able to get through this movie. In the end, a lot of it is so incomprehensible it probably doesn’t matter. Thanks to the lighting you can’t see a lot of what’s going on anyway, and what you can see isn’t anything to write home about. The acting is horrible, the sound is terrible and every time you think the movie might be getting to a point, in comes the narrator expounding the dangers of drug addiction, all while chain smoking his way through lines he can’t even remember and looking and sounding just about as genuine as the peeling wood paneling behind him. I’m pretty sure the entire plot of Reefer Madness made more sense than this guy.

With all that against it, Blood Freak is really hard to recommend. I guess if you absolutely must watch an exploitative, pro-religion, anti-drug, poorly lit monster movie than you might find this of interest. Sure, some of you might get some enjoyment out of watching Turkerschel awkwardly *gobble gobble* around and kill people, but for the most part many of you aren’t going to find this appealing. I’m sure everyone working on it had good intentions, but unfortunately everything about the film just deflates faster than an over-cooked Thanksgiving meal.

Blood Freak is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.


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