Thursday, October 22, 2015

Invasion Of The Blood Farmers

Opening with a hilariously silly James Mason impersonator rambling about druids, this PG-rated regional horror (what glorious accents!) is dumb, but worth a look for fans of dumb movies. “Don’t eat before you see this show and you’ll have nothing to lose!!” read the ads for INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS, which also featured a striking photo of an overalls-clad farmer plunging a pitchfork into a screaming woman.

Nothing that occurs in the film is anywhere close to as thrilling as the ads or the delightfully lurid title, but few films could stack up to them. One-and-done director Ed Adlum, the producer and writer of SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED (you gotta hand it to the guy — he had a knack for titles), filmed BLOOD FARMERS in rural New York using local (aka amateur) performers and crew.

So, yeah, back to the druids. They’re from outer space, and they’re trying to revive their dead queen, who rests in a glass coffin (the actress is lousy at holding her breath), with a special rare blood type. Their plan seems to be to kidnap random people from a small mountain town and drain their blood in hope it’s what they’re looking for. The townspeople wonder about all the missing people, but don’t spend much time looking for them. The only clue to the disappearances lies with “old Jim Carrey,” who lurches into the local saloon one afternoon and dies, covered in his own blood.

Local pathologist Roy Anderson (Norman Kelley, who must have scored top billing on the basis of his age, not his acting ability) and his assistant Don Tucker (Bruce Detrick) study some of “old Jim Carrey’s” blood and discover the blood cells expanded at such a rapid rate that the victim basically exploded. We soon meet the flowery Creton (Paul Craig Jennings), charged with sending his hillbilly minions out to capture blood givers, and watch goofy and not very scary scenes of victims convulsing while tubes gurgle and drain them.

One may wonder how a film with so much blood and shots of gurgling, convulsing victims could get a PG rating, even during a period in which the MPAA considered horror to be kid stuff. Adlum tricked the MPAA into giving him a PG rating and then reinstated the scenes he had to cut to avoid an R. Adlum obviously shot the movie in a hurry — a drinking game involving dialogue blown or stumbled over would leave the audience trashed pretty quickly — and the practical sets, costumes and effects feel believable if not exactly attractive.

The best thing one can say about INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS is that it isn’t boring, which isn’t the worst thing one can say about a movie. The acting is wretched (I kept waiting for Tanna Hunter as Roy’s daughter and Don’s girlfriend to utter a “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”), but Adlum isn’t untalented. The plot is weird, but capable of sustaining a good film with more means than Adlum and co-writer Ed Kelleher had to work with — $28,000 and a six-day schedule, according to Adlum.

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