blood harvest | bill rebane | ben benson | leszek burzynski | tiny tim | itonia salchek | dean west | slasher | united states | lori minnetti | peter krause | frank benson | william dexter | arlene dexter | jeanette belant | pete van ryan | harvey woodward | randy scott
Film: Blood Harvest
Director: Bill Rebane
Writer: Ben Benson and Leszek Burzynski
Starring: Tiny Tim, Itonia Salchek and Dean West
This is a movie that I believe it popped on to my radar recently. I decided to check it out for a couple horror movie challenges. It fulfilled the categories of needing to see a movie that involved a clown and another one from my birth year. This movie fulfilled both, of course. To get into this one, the synopsis is Jill (Itonia Salchek), visiting home from college, arrives to find her parents missing and their home vandalized. Soon, matters take a turn for the worse, when she finds herself stalked and her friends disappearing one by one.
For this movie, we get an interesting opening where Mervo (Tiny Tim) is singing a song about Gary and Jill. Coupled with this, we see someone looking out the window at bodies being taken away. We will learn this is Gary (Dean West), who is Mervo’s brother. This name might seem weird, but his name is Mervon, but as a clown he goes by The Marvelous Mervo.
As the synopsis states, Jill returns home. We get a bit of voice-over narration where it seems like she is talking to her mother. She goes into the bank to find her father to learn that he’s not there. There is a bit of an issue in this small town. Her father is working for the bank and they’ve been foreclosing on farms. We see a scene where Mervo is breaking down as the farmers are upset that they’re auctioning off a farm. It seems like a lot of farms are in jeopardy. Before heading home, Jill stops off to chat with Sarah (Lori Minnetti) who works at the local diner. It is here we learn about Jill’s fiancé and Sarah makes an odd comment about her always getting the best.
Jill is quite upset when she gets home. The house has obscene messages painted outside in red. There is a dummy hanging inside with an arrow through the chest. While she is there, a brick is thrown through the window. Her parents are nowhere to be found. Mervo shows up, which spooks Jill and Gary arrives soon after. He tries to console her. She finally goes into town to seek the aid of the Sheriff (Frank Benson). He isn’t much help, being upset about not making it to his softball game. It doesn’t make it better than when they get there, the house is fixed up like nothing ever happened.
She continues to try to reach her parents. She calls all the relatives she can think of and nothing. Jill constantly is getting Mervo and Gary just showing up at her place, which doesn’t help. There appears to be a history there with Gary. He still has feelings for her, but she is now engaged. It gets darker though. We see people tied up and hanging upside down. They get their throats slit. Mervo goes to speak with Jill’s mother who is tied up in a barn. There is also a masked man that is doing this. He starts to visit Jill at night, chloroform her and take pictures of her in the nude. Who is this masked man and why is he tormenting Jill?
That is where I’m going to leave my recap. I try to start with a positive, so the effects are where I’m going to give credit. The wounds and the blood looked good to me. What is interesting here is that the victims are being killed in this slasher film like animals. They incorporate this idea back to it being a farming community. I thought all this looked good and the cinematography for the most part was solid along with it. This is the best part.
Now as you know I’m a story guy, so I’ll dive in this. I don’t hate the set up here. We have Jill away at college and coming home to visit family and friends. When she gets there, her family is missing. She does what she can to try to find them. We also have these two brothers in Mervo and Gary who are off balance. The more we learn about their plight, the more it makes sense. From everything you see it appears that Mervo is the killer. I won’t spoil and say if he is or if was involved or not, but that is what they’re pushing. Along with this, the biggest name is Tiny Tim and they use his singing here. It can be quite creepy to be honest. We also know this is a farming community so how the people are being killed makes sense for this slasher as I said.
Where I’ll next is that I’m assuming one of the writers isn’t American or at least that English might not be their first language. They wrote as Emil Joseph instead of Leszek Burzynski. There are a lot of things happening here that just don’t make sense. Jill spends the whole day in a shirt and never getting dressed, even when she has company over. This was her first film and it feels like she agreed to nudity so they played that up as much as they can. Having Mervo and Gary just continuously coming into her house is a bit odd as well. The Sheriff doesn’t act like a real officer. I think they’re trying to play that this is a small town where nothing happens, but it still feels off. The coherence just isn’t here.
Since I’ve leaned into the characters, that’s where I’ll go next to the acting. No one is helped by the dialogue; I’ll say that first. Tiny Tim is fine as Mervo. He plays this off-balance guy who is in clown makeup for a majority just fine. Salchek is okay as our lead. West doesn’t ever fully feel like he’s all there. Minnetti and Peter Krause are fine in their roles. Benson falls into that as well being a bit out there and I’m not sure why. The acting just isn’t very good.
Now I don’t like to just beat up on movies so that is where I’m going to leave my review. This movie has some interesting elements, but the story is just lacking. Character motivations aren’t there where the screenplay as well as the acting isn’t making me believe anything. It feels like they could do good effects so they made this movie, which is fine. That along with Tiny Tim’s singing and the soundtrack worked for me as well. I can’t recommend this though as this a lesser slasher film for me. It is below average though for what it is missing.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 10