blood rage | john grissmer | bruce rubin | louise lasser | mark soper | julie gordon | slasher | united states | thanksgiving | marianne kanter | james farrell | jayne bentzen | lisa randall | chad montgomery | brad leland | ted raimi | william fuller | douglas weiser
Film: Blood Rage
Director: John Grissmer
Writer: Bruce Rubin
Starring: Louise Lasser, Mark Soper and Julie Gordon
This was a film that I never heard of until I got into podcasts. I think that it jumped on radar around November due to the fact that it is centered on Thanksgiving and there aren’t a lot of movies around that holiday in the horror genre. I also have a soft for slashers as well. The synopsis is as kids, Todd (Mark Soper) is institutionalized for murder whilst his twin goes free. 10 years later, on Thanksgiving, Todd escapes and a killing spree begins in his neighborhood.
We start here back in 1973 in Jacksonville, Florida. We’re at a drive-in and we see a guy walking around. He’s played by Brad Leland and he buys a condom from Ted Raimi in the bathroom. The movie then shows us a bunch of couples as they’re making out and going farther. It then shifts to Maddy (Louise Lasser) with her boyfriend. He wants to make-out, but she’s leery being that her twin sons are sleeping in the back. They do regardless and the boys wake up. They sneak out of the car and find a hammer with a hatchet head. One of the boys, Terry kills the teen we saw earlier. He wipes blood on his brother and blames him. Todd is in a catatonic state and doesn’t defend himself.
The movie then shifts 10 years to the present. Maddy visits Todd who’s been in a mental hospital all of this time. He’s been assigned to a Dr. Berman (Marianne Kanter) who’s made a breakthrough. He’s revealed that it was Terry who did the killing. Maddy won’t hear any of it and goes hysterical. We see that Todd has a bit of a breakdown, but Dr. Berman isn’t bothered by it. She can see that he’s revealing the truth and wants to continue to help him.
Terry (Soper) is seeing Karen (Julie Gordon) and they’re playing football with his friends Artie (James Farrell), Gregg (Chad Montgomery) and some others. We get an odd scene where Andrea (Lisa Randall) shows up along with her and she hits on Terry. He seems receptive to it as well. The two of them are invited over to Maddy’s for Thanksgiving along with her boyfriend Brad (William Fuller). He has asked Maddy to marry him and this bothers Terry.
Their dinner is interrupted when Dr. Berman calls stating that Todd escaped from the hospital. This causes Maddy to go into a manic state and we see that Terry is kind of a jerk. With his brother out, he starts a rampage of killing those in the apartment complex, trying to once again blame his brother. Todd is making his way there, but the problem is that everyone thinks he’s crazy. It then becomes, will Terry get away with this again?
I don’t mind going ahead and giving what this film is about for the reason that they don’t really do much to hide it. This does create an interesting slasher film though if I’m going to be honest. We see that even from when they’re kids, there’s something off about Terry. He has the perfect person to pin his crime on as his brother doesn’t defend himself. In the grand scheme, seeing that Todd has been locked up for 10 years, I wouldn’t blame him for being mad. They do play this a bit different by having him being very passive. I don’t hate it though. I also found interesting that the same actor played both of them as adults.
An interesting character here is Maddy. From that opening scene, we see that she’s nervous by nature. She doesn’t like that her family is broken up and I don’t necessarily think that she believes that Todd did this crime. She can’t really even admit that he’s in an asylum, stating he’s away at school. I know if I committed a crime, my mother would blindly believe that it isn’t true. That’s why she cannot accept that Terry actually did it. It is a shame that even to the bitter end. She doesn’t come to terms with it.
There was an interesting tie in as well as there’s a radio playing with a televangelist. What I like here is that the verses they’re stating are coinciding with things that we see on the screen and the story he’s preaching has a correlation as well. It doesn’t go too deep there, but just a little thing I noticed.
The last thing with the story I really wanted to go over would be the setting of this apartment complex. Maddy’s boyfriend is Brad who is the manager here. I think this is interesting as it gives us a cast of characters that are kind of diverse. That allows for the victims to be different. Another premise though is the Thanksgiving angle, which really doesn’t factor that much into this movie, so it really is hard to correlate it to that holiday aside from it just being close to that date.
Going along with this, I thought this movie was fun if I’m going to be honest. I never got bored with it and I think a lot of that is the 83 minute runtime. It really just flies by to the point where I was wondering where we were going to go. I thought the ending worked for what they were building toward. There were really two different ways that I thought they could end this and the route they went didn’t bother me. I actually really love the implications of it.
To go with the pacing would be the kills and effects. I like that the primary weapon of choice here is a machete. It isn’t the most original and being that this comes later in the slasher era, they really aren’t doing anything new there. I do have to give credit though. The effects in this movie are really good. Some kills are done off screen, but what we get to see and the aftermaths worked. The cinematography was pretty solid as well.
Something that I wasn’t the highest on was the acting. Lasser I thought was fine as this mentally unstable mother that could snap at any minute, but for me, they went back to her too much. This was really the only thing that bogged the movie down to be honest. Soper has an interesting job of playing two different people. I think that he did a solid job there. The only issue I have with Terry is that they seem to be playing on that he starts to kill when he sees his mother kissing her boyfriend. I don’t think that is really fleshed out though to be honest. I think that is a missed opportunity to be honest. Gordon is fine. We get to see Randall nude. The rest of the cast was fine in rounding this out for what was needed.
The last thing I wanted to go over would be the soundtrack of the movie. I’m not going to lie, I loved it. It really has that 80’s vibe to it. I really noticed it in a good way and thought that it fit for what they needed. This would be one that I would seek out and listen to while writing actually.
Now with that said, I actually really dug this movie. Really the highlight here of this movie is the effects, which I didn’t really have any negative things to say. Next would be the soundtrack of this movie. That was something I really dug. I think there’s some interesting back-story here that isn’t always necessarily fleshed out to be honest. I never got bored with this one and I thought the acting was pretty solid for a subgenre that really isn’t built on it. I don’t really connect with the characters, but as I said, the deaths make up for that. I would rate this as an above average movie. It is one that I’d say is fun, but not a lot of substance. Really one that I’d recommend to groups while drinking as it would play well.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10