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Blood Freak (1972)

A one-of-a-kind cheapie, which doesn't stop it being faintly dull. Steve Hawkes is a hunky biker type nice guy who is lured away from his Christian girlfriend by her looseliving sister, who gets him hooked on something smokeable (more than pot, we're told). His life gets worse when he gets a job on a turkey farm and eats a bird that has been dosed with an experimental formula. It's hard to tell whether it's due to the superdope or the genegineered bird or a combo of both, but he sprouts a turkey monster head and goes on a rampage, gorily dismembering a victim. In the end, he comes to and it's possible that the whole thing was hallucinated, or maybe not. There's a Fly-like bit after the transformation as the monster, seen only in flashcuts which don't disguise how ludicrous it looks, terrifies the heroine, who just lies there and waits for him to come back with a note explaining who he is, which she patiently reads. It has the feel of a project that begun as a sincere Christian anti-drugs picture based on a ridiculous misunderstanding of what the swinging life was like which got rewritten half way through to become an exceptionally lurid horror picture, with at least one HG Lewis-style horror scene (a leg is sawed off) and much dumb rubber-mask running-about. Director Brad Grinter appears as a narrator with a smoker's cough, though Hawkes muscles in on the producing-directing credit. The wild party stuff is the usual sitting around toking to musak stuff, while the supposed scare business features Lewisian locked-down camera and night-for-night murk so you can barely see anything.
KIM NEWMAN

First published in this form here.


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