Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tryptophan Madness

They say if you eat a live frog every morning, nothing worse will happen to you or the frog for the rest of the day.

I saw Blood Freak at the very beginning of the year, and damned if it didn't taste like frog.

Blood Freak is a Very Special Splatter Movie. Half of it wants you to quit taking drugs and put your faith in the Lord... and the other half wants you to kick back and enjoy the mutant turkey-man bloodletting.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This guy Herschell--a big lug who looks too old for his hair--stops his motorcycle to help Angel, a pretty girl with engine trouble. Everything -- her car, his clothing -- is powder blue, so we know it's the Seventies. Herschell follows her to her pad, where her sister is having the world's tamest drug-fueled bacchanalia in her living room. Angel wants nothing to do with it, quoting some scripture about this or that. Like everything in the movie, this is all very half-hearted and obviously read from crib sheets just off camera.

Herschell just sits there like a lump. He's not going all Bibley like Angel, but he doesn't take any of Anne's drugs, either. Yet. (He should have saved us some time and went right to 'em, but he hems and haws for a few scenes.)

I should mention the Narrator. He's a chain smoker, and he appears on camera periodically like Vincent Price, gone to seed in a velor shirt. He, too, is reading from a crib sheet, pausing at unpredictable times, trying to mask it with a drag of his cigarette. Toward the end, he has a coughing fit that the director decided to keep in the final cut. He expounds on the evils of things like peer pressure and chemical dependency (thank you, Mr. Cigarette Man) and eating experimental turkey meat.

Yes. You Read That.

So Herschell, on the Straight And Narrow, gets a job with Angel's dad at his turkey farm. Then he hangs out at a backyard pool with Anne, who persuades him to have some weed. It's powerful stuff that her pusher boyfriend, Guy, gave her to hook Herschell when the big guy spurned her advances. Herschell takes a few tokes, and soon he's leading a life of debauchery with Anne, smoking up and getting it on and whoa! He's late for his job at the turkey farm!

When he gets there, he's shown around the farm, with a lot of long, slow shots of turkeys all gathered together. Then he's introduced to two turkey scientists, played by possibly the worst actors in the English-speaking world. They convince Herschell to eat their experimental turkey ("it's just government regulations that it be tested, it's no big deal, really") by offering to sweeten the pot with plenty of drugs. Turkey and drugs. They're like chocolate and peanut butter. How many of us have been led to the needle by our cravings for turkey?

So Herschell tears into a turkey for lunch, and before long is having the gobbler of all seizures. So the science-boys, like any responsible researchers, decide to dump the body where no one will find it: Somewhere else.

Naturally, Herschell wakes up with the head of a turkey and a thirst for blood. And because he still needs his fix, only junkie blood will do. After some tender moments with Anne (chicka-bawm!), he goes from place to place (I can only be vague here. The movie showed him walking over the same field a dozen times, and then suddenly he'd be somewhere else, sometimes even indoors) killing drug fiend after drug fiend. And by drug fiends, I mean somewhat attractive teenage girls, whom he hangs upside down to slit their throats and drink their blood. Somehow. With his awkward turkey beak.

Eventually, Anne meets a bad end and Herschell goes for revenge. He lumbers through a familiar field while her murderer runs for his life. Suddenly, he's behind the creep in a storage facility, and after a bit of wrangling, cuts his foot off with a power saw. Watching blud spurt from that stump is the feel-good moment of the movie, to be honest.

Then Herschell leaves the building (and crosses the field) and comes face to face with two stoners. Who, when he kneels down and begs for mercy, chop his head off. (The director opts to cut to an actual turkey decapitation for this event, as the sight of a crappy mask on the ground might be too much for the squeamish.)

Then there's a quick, unsettling shot of everyone eating turkey, and then Whoa! What a crazy drug trip! Anne and Angel's dad rescues Herschell, who never went all turkey after all. Angel, working at a helpline of some sort, picks Herschell up in her car, where she teaches him to pray. And then he overcomes his addiction and winds up embracing Anne (alive again!) at the seashore. The End.

What's the moral here? Is it that the good girl never gets the guy? Is it that some funding comes with strings that might make you shoehorn a Christian anti-drug message into your horror movie? Or is it simply the Parable of the Frog?

2009. From here on out, all movies are genius.



Sharon GR said...

We could put this front and center of the Bad Movie Festival, with Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Greg! said...

Why was I not there for this? Why? Why?

Travis said...

Turkey is of course a gateway drug, but I went more like this:
turkey, stuffing, giblet gravy, and then meth.
Of course everyone is different.

Rob S. said...

I like my turducken with a heroin/perkoset/cranberry dressing.

Howard Bagby said...

I personally don't eat turkey because I don't believe in cannibalism.