Review – Blood Freak

December 29, 2008


Once in a great while a film comes along that boggles the human skull – Blood Freak (courtesy of Turner Classic Movies last Friday) is one of those films. For those who thought Frank Miller couldn’t stage a scene to save his life – those people should watch this!

The film starts with a hip figure who dispenses wisdom to we Band of Brothers & Sisters who are brave enough to watch this – perhaps he is Nebuchanezzar, or even Solomon in his glory, dressed in a fine blue Qiana shirt as if to leave for the disco very soon.


I’d like to identify this character and actor, but the only one identified positively in the credits of the film is Steve Hawkes – in the interest of (limited) accuracy, I’m going to go with the surmise of the plot synopsis on IMDB and identify the actors as they are in the synopsis, which makes this Brad Grinter. As he reads from his prepared script in front of a oak-paneled wall and smokes his Marlboro cigarette, he dispenses wisdom to us…about how we can meet catalysts for change anywhere. We’ll see Solomon throughout the film – like Criswell in Plan 9 From Outer Space, but much more mellow.

Herschell (Steve Hawkes, who also shares producer/director credit with Grinter) is a cowboy – on a steel horse he rides –  in a color-coordinated baby blue outfit.


A good samaritan, he helps out a hottie named Angel (Heather Hughes) while she is stuck on the Florida highway.  Angel is a fundamentalist and vocal witness for Christ who explains that she has brought our Wolverine-lookalike hero to what appears to be a 70s-era drug party.  Here, right next to the fondue,  Herschell also meets his love interest, Ann (Dana Cullivan), Angel’s sister, and another hottie with a Valerie Bertinelli vibe going on*.


Ann offers him some pot, but Herschell refuses – he knows Dope is for dopes.

Ann, made moist by Herschell’s masculine manliness and anxious to keep her out of Angel’s mitts, talks to her drug dealer friend, Guy (Larry Wright), who sets her up with some sort of drug that, if he smokes six of the hits, he will become hooked.  She gets him to do so by questioning his courage, and soon, Herschell is indeed hooked.

Meanwhile, Herschell finds a job through Angel, working odd jobs at a turkey farm, where they also experiment on the hapless turkeys for “chemical caponization”, giving them drugs of some sort.  In no time, another of Herschell’s jobs is sampling the meat of the experimented-upon turkeys to make sure it’s not poisonous(!)  Herschell has a bad reaction to the chemicals in the turkey and the drugs he’s hooked on and turns into a man/turkey hybrid!


Naturally, Herschell stumbles about in the night (since he probably had problems seeing through the mask) and seeks out Ann to be the first to know about his new head.  Ann has a hilarious monologue (punctuated by random turkey noises when the editor could be bothered to put them in) about how she still loves Herschell, how she hopes the turkey head will be temporary, and how their kids would deal with having a turkey for a father.  Then Herschell turns out the bedside lamp…mercifully the editor lets the screen go black before we see any hot turkey (HA!) on brunette action… 

From there, Herschell goes on a one turkey rampage, killing drug users wherever he finds them (and some of them seem to have a little too much hands-on experience, if you know what I mean).  And when he kills them, he drinks their blood (hence the moderately good title Blood Freak, and not Herschell the Jive Turkey). Mostly offscreen of course, since the beak doesn’t work.


Ann worries about Herschell to her stoner friends – one of them opines “It’s not only his physical appearance that worries me.  It’s his head.”  Indeed, sir – it seems that all the money for makeup effects went into the creation of that head.

Then, when Ann is handed to a drug dealer as part payment (Don’t ask) he dispenses rough turkey vigilante vengeance…

At last, Herschell has had enough.  He prays to God to deliver him and he is Delivered – through his head being chopped off!  Herschell ends his existence on Earth next to another turkey being devoured…


…or is it?  A moment later we find that all the Turkey Head stuff was a drug-induced hallucination**.  Angel picks up a now-repentant Herschell, who, now clean & sober, begins his new life with Ann on a Florida boardwalk.

Solomon returns, and (if YouTube is working right) you can see that the production used every bit of film it shot…

My guess is that this was made by a well-meaning but inept team who worked at a TV news department in the 70s.  Now, I’ve not nothing personal against Christian proselytizing in film, but what staggers me is how they attempt to pitch their message – through a monster movie?  Seriously?  This is the best they could come up with?  Wouldn’t a letter to the editor in their local newspaper been just as effective – and cheaper?

And what’s up with the editing?  Herschell will carry off a woman without any noise whatsoever – although we see her struggling – and then, 30 seconds later, we’ll hear her scream: the same scream, for maybe 10 times!

And where did he get such hot looking women for the film?  Hawkes must have been one smooth talker…

*And I don’t care if that dates me – if she’s good enough for Eddie Van Halen, she’s good enough for me.

** and what a cop-out that is.  Like in Total Recall, if the foregoing in both films are hallucinations/implanted memories, why are there expository bits explaining what’s going on without the main character being present?

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