Saturday, August 29, 2015
Blood Song (1982)
Pro tip. Don't ever trash Frankie Avalon's music, or he will fucking kill you!...
Paulie, a mental institution inmate who witnessed his family get murdered when he was a child, has escaped, and is on the loose, killing all he comes across the moment they show disinterest or annoyance in his music. Elsewhere, Marion 'Mare' Hauser is a crippled teenager who's been having mysterious dreams and visions concerning Paulie. She soon ends up embroiled in his business, and he hunts her down to erase her as a witness...
Blood Song is an ok little slasher film. It's by no means great, but it's rarely anything bad for the most part. Rather than being a bodycount Friday the 13th style slasher film, the movie is more plot and suspense driven, which is a good thing, although it probably could've used a bit more horror. As it stands, Mare's story, her visions aside, doesn't really start interacting with Paulie's until about halfway into the movie.
Unfortunately the psychic aspect to the film is barely there. Sure, it is the reason that Mare and Paulie end up crossing paths in the first place, but even then, it plays practically no part in the proceedings, nor does Mare ever hone her skills and use them effectively.
Mare is a decent protagonist, and by God does she try to be a proactive lead, but no-one in the movie lets her! They all assume she's crazy and seeing things, even her otherwise loving boyfriend. Thankfully she manages to be badass in the climax.
The movie is pretty decent all-round, but there are a few negatives. First of all, Paulie only knows the one tune, but despite its importance to him, and the decades he's had to hone his fluting skills, he can't play the tune for shit! Also Paulie's escape is a pretty idiotic scene, as an institution orderly just goes into his pitch black room, alone, leaving the door wide open. He even says "Is that you, Paulie?"-Who do you think it is?! No wonder the dolt gets killed!
The ending is total bullshit! The movie climaxes with a fight at the saw mill between Mare and Paulie, and she eventually triumphs. She's picked up by the police, and tells them what happened. Then, instead of a happy or deserved ending, instead we see the police fishing up the forklift, but no body-Paulie is still alive. Cut back to the hospital, and Mare is going hysterical as some orderlies who think she's crazy strap her down, drugging her. Then after they leave, Paulie, still alive and disguised as a doctor, comes into her room, laughing evilly. The End! What a load! It's depressing that Mare is probably going to die. She's been a tough and proactive protagonist, and beat the villain fair and square, killing him, so it's really frustrating to see the hospital guys treat her like a maniac, then for the villain to suddenly come in, and probably win. At least I'll give props for the movie giving its slasher killer injuries he could actually conceivably live through, but I feel that Blood Song doesn't end soon enough, and that its lead deserved better.
The print of this movie is pretty bad (and the original prints are apparently lost, so no HD re-release in this film's future), and I don't know if that's too blame for the poor sound quality, or if that was always a problem
Blood Song's score is ok, and I like the fun synth theme, although it's nothing masterful. Unfortunately either Frankie Avalon can't play the flute at all, or it was just a crap hunk of wood of an instrument. Either way, whenever his character starts playing the thing, it's almost irritating.
The violence effects in this movie are mostly pretty good, and if the quality was better, they'd probably still look convincing enough. As for the 007 gun-barrel swirlyvision moments, they look fine for what they are. A bit goofy, but tolerable.
The characters in this movie are likable enough, but don't do much. Then there's Mare's dick of a father, who you won't be able to wait to see die, and it's immensely gratifying. Though that hardly makes up for the poor writing-The dad's just a dick because. No reason. The guy has such a hate-on for his daughter that you just want to reach into the screen and make him the cripple! There are a couple of instances though where the movie decides to do something with his character, and make him think about the way he's treating his daughter...but he gets viciously murdered with an axe by Frankie Avalon before he can do anything. *sigh*
The acting is good for the most part, but some not so much. How bad, you ask? Well in the opening scene, a couple is shot to death, offscreen, and couple that with the line delivery and the low quality of the movie, and at first I thought the house's occupants were just watching some melodramatic movie or TV show!
Frankie Avalon is decent as the film's antagonist. He plays the role low key at first, and becomes more over-the-top in the climax. While he isn't amazing or revolutionary, he still turns in a nicely menacing performance, and at no point do you think 'Pffft, Frankie Avalon murdering people successfully? Pass! Too unbelievable! Go back to beach movies.'.
Blood Song isn't all that great, and while Frankie Avalon's simple performance doesn't lend the film as much novelty as it would have had he been more memorable and audience-winking, this is still a decent horror film. If you want to kill some time, then sure, watch it...