by Steve Kirkham
Blu ray. Single Disc. Severin Films.
I first saw this back in the VHS days when just about anything and everything was shoved out on tape – this was one from Mountain Video (who my brother worked for at the time), a company that put out some right old schlock, so it was fun to re-familiarise myself with this drive-in staple.
It opens with some guff about druids with narration intoned by someone doing their best James Mason! Following the credits a bloodied man – called Jim Carrey – staggers into a roadside bar and collapses.
We are then introduced to our mushy main couple getting it on – she is daughter to the local pathologist and her sappy boyfriend is his assistant. Investigating the dead man from the bar they discover something odd about his blood… it is expanding rapidly. Just what is going on and what does it have to do with the local druids lead by Creton.
Before long the bodies are piling up – even poor old Buster the dog. The question is why are these druid “blood farmers” extracting the red stuff – what nefarious needs are they putting the plasma to?
With it’s arch acting, bizarre editing, gore soaked killings and general craziness this is both utter rubbish and highly entertaining. Can ever live up to that title and the misleading poster image of the girl about to have a garden fork plunged in to her? Well no, but it gives it a good try without necessarily having the skill needed to make a competent movie. Camera work has shot framing that crops heads in half or fails to focus on the subject at hand and the editing (by exploitation maven Michael Findlay) is all over the show. Despite these flaws the Blu ray encode is bright and colourful with just the odd scene cut in from poorer source material. Director Ed Adlum and the aforementioned Findlay (probably best known as a director of sex movies in the 60s), worked together again on the even more absurd Shriek of the Mutilated. Findlay’s wife Roberta apparently shot Blood Farmers (using the pseudonym Frederick Douglass).
On to the extras – there’s an interview called Nothin’ You’d Show Your Mum: Eddie Adlum’s Journey Through Exploitation, Coin-op & Rock’n’Roll which has the engaging director talking about his early days trying to get a record deal, his days at Cashback magazine where he covered pinball machines and jukeboxes and his move into being a film director plus the early days of video games. He also talks affectionately about the troubled Michael Findlay.
Harvesting the Dead is an interview actor Jack Neubeck and covers both Invasion and Shriek of the Mutilated.
Painful Memories is a short talk with Frederick Elmes about his work as assistant cameraman on Invasion. Elmes went on to be a world class cinematographer working on such films as Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986) right up to the recent The Dead Don’t Die (2019).
You also get a scratchy washed out trailer.
I haven’t listened to the commentary as yet.