“That’s not cranberry sauce!”
It’s Thanksgiving season again, which means it’s time to watch Thanksgiving horror movies… right? Well, unfortunately for us horror fans, there are only a few watchable movies that include the holiday, such as the Thankskilling movies and of course, Eli Roth’s faux Thanksgiving trailer in Grindhouse.
But that’s not all.
Thanks to the wonderful Arrow Video, we have the best Thanksgiving horror movie in beautiful 2K, Blood Rage, which was released a couple years back.
Filmed in 1983, but not released until 1987, Blood Rage revolves around twin brothers, Todd and Terry. As kids, Terry murders a teen at a drive-in and Todd takes the blame. Ten years later, Todd escapes and murders start happening again.
Blood Rage is a wonderful movie, filled with over the top insanity, great Thanksgiving scenes, strange performances, and amazing gore. I could call it a “so bad its good” movie, but it goes beyond that for me. What I enjoy about the movie is while they’re trying to cash in on the slasher craze, the movie also brings in new ideas and an over the top tone that makes the movie feel a bit fresher than your standard Halloween ripoff. While we wait for Eli Roth to make Thanksgiving, I highly recommend Blood Rage for a Thanksgiving watch if you haven’t already.
Mind you, Blood Rage isn’t exactly in your face that it’s a Thanksgiving movie (certainly not as much as Trick ‘r Treat is for Halloween, for example), but you have to appreciate what we’ve got. For instance, every once in a while, the murderer will see blood and say, “It’s not cranberry sauce.” It’s a hilarious line that reminds that yes, this is indeed a Thanksgiving slasher.
As per usual, the movie does have the cliched characters that come with many cheap slasher movies, including the final girl, goofy idiots, a frat type jock, and the promiscuous young woman. But this movie also has some fairly strange, but entertaining performances from Louise Lasser and Mark Soper. Now, they aren’t exactly well-acted performances, but they allow for much more colorful characters than you usually found in ’80s slasher movies.
Louise Lasser, who plays the mother of the twins, gets a lot of focus in the movie. Lasser brings an over-the-top seriousness to the movie that somewhat fits in perfectly with the insanity. I wouldn’t really say its a bad performance, but I also wouldn’t say it was good. The way she portrays Maddy on the brink of a nervous breakdown after learning that Todd has escaped the mental institution is entertaining to watch. She spends a lot of the movie cleaning, drinking wine, sleeping, worrying, and calling a phone operator so she can reach her fiancé. One scene has Maddy sitting on the kitchen floor, grabbing handfuls of Thanksgiving leftovers and shoving them in her mouth. It’s all very weird and surreal. And you can’t help but love it.
Mark Soper’s dual performance as both Todd and Terry can be awkward at times, but Soper does do a great job separating the twin’s personalities and portraying two completely different characters. He has weird moments, such as putting lots of unnecessary emphasis on lines like, “You play tennis?”, and giving shoddy delivery on important lines such as, “He’s got to be stopped!” His performance is truly based on whether or not he’s trying at any given moment. But Soper looks like he’s having a great time, and that’s what counts for a movie such as this.
The best thing Blood Rage has to offer is unquestionably the phenomenal gore and realistic looking effects. Ed French, who also plays Bill in the film, did a great job with the kills. 90% of the deaths were impressively creative and had more to them than being simple wounds. I have to admit, I was shocked to see how realistic it all looked. They almost feel out of place in the movie, because the effects artists are the only ones who gave their 100% to the project – but I suppose that’s often the case when it comes to slashers, huh?
Blood Rage is not perfect, or even very well made, but I can’t help but love the movie. I can’t even call it a guilty pleasure. The movie is so remarkably insane that I can’t help but feel it deserves a much bigger following.
Currently, Blood Rage is available on Amazon Prime and Shudder, and you can also buy the Arrow Blu-Ray, which includes some great interviews from some of the cast, including Louise Lasser, Mark Soper, Ed French, and even Ted Raimi, who makes a small cameo in the opening.