Severin releases one of the wildest “bad movies” of all time on Blu-ray
Those who – like me – have cited Ed Adlum’s SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED as the worst indie American horror movie of the 1970s, obviously never saw his 1972 go-for-broke earlier craptastic creeper INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS. I’d missed it, though had certainly heard many scream its perverse praises for years and now, thanks to Severin Films, we have a new remastered Blu-ray release packed (as the label always does) with wild special features so that hardcore fans and newly minted audience members (like me) can lock their bloodshot glazballs upon it. Naturally, one has to have a healthy streak of masochism in order to fully appreciate the film’s downmarket charms but those bold enough to endure its 77 torturous minutes will be – for better or worse – transformed for life.
Filmed in woodsy upstate New York by Adlum and his co-conspirators, Roberta and Michael Findlay (SNUFF and the aforementioned SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED), INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS was actually partially shot by future ERASERHEAD DP Frederick Elmes. And while there’s little trace of the future David Lynch collaborator’s singular visual style, the picture absolutely feels like it exists in ERASERHEAD’s bent universe. Nothing in this film makes much sense, either visually, aurally or narratively, with cross-eye-level framing, slipshod special effects and “acting” that is alternately listless and ludicrous. In it, a dopey bush-league student and a effeminate mad scientist stumble upon some sort of bubbly blood that they think is very important because it fills up their beakers magically. Said voodoo gore was drawn from the wounds of a local loser named Jim Carrey (ha!) who bled out all over the local bar. Poor old Jim had escaped the clutches of the titular Blood Farmers, a gang of hayseed Druids lorded over by a poncy cult leader who needs the blood of the innocent to revive his Queen, who lies comatose in a pretty nifty glass coffin. After his daughter’s dog is killed and eaten by one of the giggling Druid henchmen (a riotous scene where a fluffy canine is replaced by literal fluff), the scientist and his youthful protege find a rusty old key and set-off to solve the problem of the super-blood and unlock the mysteries of the Blood Farmers.
With us so far? You don’t have to follow the plot (such as it is) to groove on this wonderfully wretched piece of cinematic refuse, loaded as it is with PG-level, dollar store gore and jaw-dropping sequences, like that bizarre hilltop climax where the “Queen” is dispatched by what looks like a high-five while a fake dummy Druid with cookie-monster eyes burns in close-up but is conspicuously absent in the wide shot. At least SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED had a nifty twist, where the Santa-suit Sasquatch turned out to be the front-man for a cannibal cult. INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS has nothing like this and just sort of flops around, gasping for life until the poodle-laugh grand finale. I’m not even sure what else to say about this charming clunker save for those of you out there who get-off on the lowliest of inept genre stuff will love the Hell out of it.
But even if you DON’T love the movie, you’ll fall in love with the extras, best of which is a killer commentary by the charming Adlum and female lead Ortrum Tippel, moderated by the brilliant Kier-La Janisse. Elmes pipes in for a great interview as does actor Jack Neubeck (a feature shot by Arizona-based film enthusiast Monte Yazzie) and there’s also a fantastic new feature on erstwhile rocker and magazine publisher Adlum’s wild life.
INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS. Yes, it’s as bad as you’ve heard. And yes, that’s an endorsement.