Blood Freak: A Thanksgiving Horror Film Festival of One PT1

A Thanksgiving Horror Film Festival of One

By Buttonface

For years I’ve thought to myself that I needed to do an article on Thanksgiving horror movies. Each year I would sit down and try. Each year I failed. I realized that there was a common bond with all my endeavours. One might think it was all of the family time, or maybe that it’s an American holiday and therefore had an intrinsically smaller audience which drove away investors. But it wasn’t. I decided that the issue was that each time I came up with the plan I always started with the same move, the properly panned 2009 (classic?) Thankskilling.

I do enjoy myself a campy movie, but I much prefer them campy on accident or necessity, but campy on purpose? I dunno… seems too contrived. Adding terrible humor to a terrible movie leaves too much to unpack. Was that funny on purpose? Was that terrible on purpose?… That’s one too many questions for me.

blood freak 1972 poster

So this year, I decided to skip Thankskilling entirely, which brought me to Blood Freak. Blood Freak is a very low budget flick from 1972 directed by Brad F. Grinter. Grinter’s only other claim to fame I could find was that he also directed Veronica Lake’s last movie, 1970’s Flesh Feast.

Okay, let’s just rip the Band-Aid off and say what this flick ended up being about. It’s about a guy on a motorcycle. He meets some swinging hot chicks who want him to party, but apparently this motorcycle guy is too stand up to party. Luckily, the girls call him a wuss, which threatens his manhood enough that he hits a joint. He stays in town to do drugs and gets a job at a local turkey farm (as you do), a turkey farm that is also running biological experiments on turkeys (as you also do).

That, just in case you can’t tell, is a man with a mutated turkey head.

So now our motorcycle riding square that smoked pot is hooked on drugs… not just some drugs, apparently all drugs and he’s fed some experimented on turkey which mutates him to have a monster turkey head and to start killing people and draining their blood to so he can peck it up with his turkey beak.

The title sequence had a cool drippy blood thing that brought to mind The Dunwich Horror movie made two years prior, the psychedelic style you might expect, poor camerawork and choppy audio. It’s odd that psychedelia took such a hold through the ‘60s and ‘70s when the technology couldn’t keep up with the desired visuals. Hell, just watching Fear and Loathing, when they are walking into the casino with the lounge lizards, is enough to make me have a flashback. But these ‘70s effects? No wonder why they took so many drugs in the ‘70s, enough to make any movie trippy I guess.

The moment a movie classic was cemented into the halls of holiday horror.

The sequence then cuts to a doctor talking to us that makes me think of 90% David Cronenberg movies like The Brood, and 10% the Amazing Criswell from Plan 9. Yeah yeah yeah, everything has a comparison and that’s because everything does! I’ve always known too many kids that needed to create totally unique things, but creativity isn’t pulling nothing from the ether, it’s pulling nothing from the ether and filtering it through yourself (i.e., all the shit you like to enjoy).

There was a lot of hindsight era-hopping, like the Cronenberg and Criswell introduction. I was a little surprised by the mutant science fiction aspect of this flick seeing how it came out in 1972. The ‘70s to me was the decade of the serial killer in low budget horror flicks. Was this some amalgamated hold over for the post atomic cold war era of the ‘50s and ‘60s?

The Turkey-Man bleeds his victims and drinks the blood with his beak… for reasons…

There’s that trope of ‘60s and ‘70s films of people hooking up with groups of groovie chicks and cool dudes that like to smoke pot and fuck. So, one of two things was going on back then. One, this was the cool life everybody wanted to live but didn’t, or two, there were way more groovie-chick/cool-dude pot infused fuck parties that I realized.

Another trope of ‘70s films that came up was during any sexytime the music is a mellow guitar, like a spanish guitar playing what I can only describe as almost minstrel music from the middle ages?

All in all it was tolerable, which is not a bad start for a Thanksgiving horror movie marathon.

More cogitations on 1972’s Blood Freak:

  • The main star has a sweet Bubba Ho-Tep Elvis style going on.
  • About a third of the way in we hit some turkeys, our first big thanksgiving clue.
  • There is a music montage of a man consuming experimental turkey.
  • The turkey-man was able to use a table saw. While not quite the same as Coco the Gorilla learning sign language… It is equally impressive.
  • For those who say there is no poetic justice, the turkey-man did cut off some guy’s leg and eat it.