It’s a bummer that the days of video stores are long behind us. Yes, there are still some stores like Movie Madness in Portland, Oregon, but not all places are fortunate to have a local video store. And while the quality of home viewing is much improved — Blu-ray looks a ton better than VHS — but it’s a lot harder for us to discover films in the same way that we used to. On the bright side, there are many boutique labels out there providing high-quality releases of some of our favorite video store treasures. Vinegar Syndrome is the amongst the leaders in doing so and they’re latest release of Blood Suckers from Outer Space is sure to pull up back in the aisles of your favorite childhood video store.
I actually had never seen Blood Suckers from Out Space growing up but it’s a movie I very much remember and always wanted to see. I would see it at my local video store all the time, Vide Update, but I never got around to actually renting it. Not sure why. My parents never cared what I watched and we were always getting during horror titles, but we never quite made it to this one. I’m pointing this out just so it’s clear that I have no nostalgic attachment to this film, other than it being something that I wanted to see.
If you go into this expecting some sort of alien creatures that come from outer space and suck the blood of humans, you’re not going to get that here. And I’ll be honest, I sort of expected something like that, although I should know better. Movies of this era rarely delivered on what they advertised. In this case, a mist, that is presumably from outer space, hits a small Texas town and turns the townsfolk into zombies, or at least zombie-like creatures. Once people turn they have a craving to suck the blood from all living things. They understand it’s weird, but it’s not so bad.
Jeff (Thom Meyes), a college-aged kid struggling with trying to determine if he should follow his dreams of being a journalist or give it all up and work on his uncle’s dairy farm gets stuck in the middle of this mess. With the assistance of a beautiful passerby named Julie (Laura Ellis), Jeff attempts to save the day.
Blood Suckers from Outer Space feels very much like a Troma movie. It checks all the required Troma boxes — low budget, goofy rather than funny, charming but flawed. In fact, this feels so much like something from the Troma brand that I’m positive had I seen this when I was younger I would have misremembered it to be a Troma film. This is all just a really roundabout way of saying if you like Troma movies, you’ll love this.
Personally, I really enjoyed this and am glad that I finally got to see it. It’s a silly zombie movie that spoofs 50’s drive-in fare. Not all the jokes land, and they work really hard to make them land, but the ones that do are worth it. My favorite aspect of the film is the casual nature of the zombies. There’s something so funny about a zombie knowing they’ve been turned into a zombie and knowing that it’s a bad thing but just saying, “eh, it’s an un-living.”
It actually has a lot in common with Return of the Living Dead, which would be released a year later. The basic plot outlines are identical, but ROTLD does a better job filling in the details.
What I would have liked to see more of is limbs getting chopped off. There’s a great scene in this movie where a zombie gets his arm chopped off and he’s very upset about it. Blood squirts everywhere and it’s just that awesome low budget gore fun. I wish there were more of that, but I understand that for budget purposes they probably weren’t able to do anymore. Oh well, what you do get is fun.
Also worth noting is the film’s amazing theme song that plays over the opening credits. If there’s one thing films are lacking these days it’s theme songs. Bring back the theme songs!
The Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray release of Blood Suckers from Outer Space looks amazing. It’s a brand-new 2K restoration from the original 16mm camera elements. Despite the low budget, the film has a great cinematic look to it and the new Blu-ray highlights that. The colors are very bright and detailed, particularly on the zombie effects. The look for the zombies is created using different shades of blue makeup and it’s a cheap but effective way to turn your average human into a bloodsucker and it all looks pristine on this new release.
For the bonus content VS has included an audio commentary track with director Glen Coburn, star Meyes and DP Chad D. Smith. There’s also documentary on the making of the film called 34 Years Later. Coburn gathers a bunch of interviews with the cast and crew and you get a good sense of what the production was like. This actually makes the film all the more impressive because you really get a good grasp on what little they were working with. Also included is Back to Blood Sucker Town, a short feature that takes the cast back to Enloe, Texas to visit the locations used in the film. This provides some interesting commentary on why the town was selected for the shoot and what it was like filming there. And rounding out the bonus content is a short tutorial that teaches you how the awesome blood arm rip scene was completed and a still photo gallery.
There’s a reason Blood Suckers from Outer Space has a strong cult following. It’s a charming, low budget genre spoof made with a lot of heart by a crew that clearly loved what they were doing. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
Blood Suckers from Outer Space will be available on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome on May 29, 2018. You can pre-order your copy now from VinegarSyndrome.com and if you do so before 11:59 PM EST on 5/28/2018 you can take advantage of Vinegar Syndrome’s Half Way to Black Friday Sale (all VS titles are part of the sale).