Hooray for October! This is my month where we get to revel in the weirdest movies in the name of horror.
Today’s feature actually comes courtesy of a theatrical showing of a VHS tape (I won’t mention where for fear that the showing isn’t exactly legal). Blood Salvage (1990) is what you would get if you crossed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Motel Hell and sprinkled in a heavy dose of Robin Cook’s medical thrillers (Coma).
At this point, you’re probably trying to piece those three elements together, and you may even be doing a not-terrible job of it. Blood Salvage is high-concept low-budget horror entertainment at its…well…its not the most anything, but it’s damned fine entertainment. It stars hot daddy John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Ray Walston (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Evander Holyfield (who also produced the film), Danny Nelson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and even almost has an Elvis cameo. Blood Salvage is chock full of crocodiles, body horror, Elvis sightings, idiot hillbillies, explosions, car chases and accidents (including a Winnebago!), and even a boxing match.
Jake Pruitt (Nelson) is a Jesus Freak hillbilly who runs a wrecking shop after he gets his nimrod sons to cause accidents on the back roads near his house. For some reason, Jake is fixated on paraplegic teenage beauty pageant contestant April Evans (Lori Birdsong), and conspires to kidnap her and her family on their way home. First he creepily eyes her down at the pageant, and then fucks up her family’s Winnebago to take them hostage at his wrecking yard and farm. April knows the dude’s a creep, but nobody believes her.
The whole lesson of this movie is BELIEVE WOMEN. When your daughter says that the owner of the creepy-ass wrecking yard was staring her down in a lustful way at the pageant, don’t dismiss her and venture into the house on your own. This rule should extend past horror movie logic and into the realm of reality. Here, if anybody had believed April, there wouldn’t be a horror movie to contend with.
Blood Salvage is full to the brim of weird sex-laden misogyny and sexist behaviors – Christian Hesler, who died before the movie was released, steals the show as the constantly-put-upon overtly-misogynistic “smart” son, Hiram – and after last week’s senate confirmation hearings, you may not really want to be watching this. But, the movie is much weirder than that – did I mention Elvis? – and it always sides with April in agreeing that everybody surrounding her is gross as hell. Not to mention, the final sequence is cathartic as all get out. Not as cathartic as Revenge, but there is some crowd-cheering moments in the final 10 minutes.
Anyways, Blood Salvage just seems like the right movie to kick off this particular October. It’s not a great movie; hell, I’ll even venture to say its not particularly good.I’d venture to say that Blood Salvage is too long, overplotted, and under paced. However, the acting is suprisingly strong, and ultimately, this movie delivered exactly what I needed.
Final side note: Lori Birdsong reprised her role as April Evans in last year’s Lifetime Original Movie The Stalker Club.