• Blood Suckers From Outer Space



    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: May 29th, 2018.
    Director: Glen Coburn
    Cast: Robert Bradeen, Big John Brigham, Glen Coburn, Laura Ellis, Thom Meyers
    Year: 1984
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    The Movie:

    Jeff Rhodes (Thom Meyers) is a newspaper photographer investigating what the first of what will turn out to be many unusual deaths in a small Texas town. His uncle Joe (Robert Bradeen) wants Jeff to put the camera down and work the family’s dairy farm, however – something Jeff isn’t interested in doing… until Joe says that his inheritance is on the line. But yeah, weird small-town murders. The cops can’t quite figure out what’s going on here, but it seems that all the deaths share the same cause – the victims are drained of all their blood!

    Elsewhere, Jeff’s older brother Ralph (Glen Coburn) and his team of scientists at Research City (they all have matching embroidered lab coats!) have ascertained that Earth has been invaded by some sort of invisible alien force, the kind that acts as a gas, enters human bodies and causes the expulsion of blood, leaving the victim a ghoulish, veiny killing machine not too unlike a zombie. Whackadoo military man General Sanders (Dennis Letts) wants to solve the problem by nuking the area, much to the dismay of the philandering creep in the oval office (some aspects of this movie remain rather prescient). Soon enough, Jeff hits it off with a cute city-slicker named Julie (Laura Ellis) and the two of them soon find themselves in a race against time to try and save the planet from the titular Blood Suckers From Outer Space!

    A microbudget cross between Redneck Zombies and Dr. Strangelove, writer/director/actor Glen Coburn’s 16mm horror/sci-fi/comedy is, if nothing else, chock full of regional flavor. Shot entirely on location in the middle of nowhere, Texas, the acting might be poor and the pacing problematic, but the movie has its own quirky charm. Clearly no one involved in the production was taking anything all that seriously, the film plays things with tongue placed firmly in cheek, but it’s an easy way to kill ninety-minutes in front of the TV.

    The movie does occasionally conjure up some semi-spooky imagery. The makeup used to turn various Texans into pasty-faced ghouls might not be on the level of Tom Savini’s work but it’s effective enough that it gets the job done. There’s some fun, cartoonish gore in the film that’s done using cheap but admirably practical effects and the locations add a lot to the film. The characters might all be one dimensional clichés played by clearly inexperienced actors (who are obviously doing their best even if their best isn’t very good!) but all in all, this is a fun watch.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Blood Suckers From Outer Space arrives on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome framed at 1.78.1 widescreen in a transfer taken from a “brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original 16mm camera negative.” The AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer is a pretty big leap above past DVD editions (there was a self-released version in 2011 and a DVD from Shriek Show before that in 2008) in terms of clarity, depth and texture. This is still a grainy bitch of a movie, but the transfer is very film-like. Color reproduction is pretty solid here, black levels are fine, and the picture is remarkably clean, showing virtually no damage worth noting. The disc is free of obvious compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction issues – it still looks like the low budget picture that it is, of course, but those who appreciate this quirky, regionally flavored schlockfest should certainly appreciate the picture quality on this release.

    There’s only one audio option for the feature and that’s an English language DTS-HD Mono track. It’s more or less problem free. Some scenes sound a little flat and a little hollow but it’ll be clear to anyone paying attention that this is due to the elements, not the disc. Otherwise, dialogue is pretty easy to understand and follow, the levels are well balanced and the film’s goofy but catchy theme song sounds surprisingly bouncy here. Optional English SDH subtitles are also included.

    There are a lot of extras on the disc, starting with an audio commentary featuring writer/director Glen Coburn, actor Thom Meyers and cinematographer Chad D. Smith. The audio quality on this is rough and there’s a bit of dead air here and there but there’s still some good information here. It’s mostly a scene specific talk, as they discuss the opening shots and the difficulty involved in getting that shot with the fog, how things had a tendency to ‘fall into place’ during the shoot, who the various bit part players are in the picture and how some of them came to be involved in the picture and how and why some of the locations that are featured in the picture were used. They talk about shooting the scene where Jeff trashes the car, how cinematography is so different now than it was when they made the film and how it’s remarkable in the first place that the movie even got finished more or less in focus!

    From there, dig into the featurettes starting with 34 Years Later which is a fifty-two-minute making of documentary. Coburn does a lot of the talking here and covers some of the same ground as he does on the commentary but there are quite a few cast and crew members involved in this who offer up memories of working on the film and the micro-budget conditions under which it was made. There’s lots of talk here about the production schedule and how that led to the continuity problems evident throughout the film, working with a cast of mostly amateurs, and how the cast and crew’s collective inexperience was both a blessing and a curse while making the film.

    Up next is Back To Bloodsucker Town, a sixteen-minute featurette where we tour many of the Texas locations used in the film and see what they look like today. It’s an interesting piece, it’s surprising how little things have changed since the picture was made, but the video quality here is rough, there’s a frame rate issue of some sort that causes some wonky ghosting. The disc also include a five-minute gag bit called Bloody Arm Rip 101 wherein a trio of indie filmmakers show how (or how not) to recreate the best gore scene from the feature.

    Outside of that we also get a pretty big still gallery comprised of over a hundred images from Glen's personal collection, menus and chapter selection. The disc also comes packaged with some keen reversible sleeve cover art.

    The Final Word:

    Blood Suckers From Outer Space is seriously goofy stuff, but it’s not without its charms. Fans of low budget monster movies and regional films should definitely get a kick out of it despite its many and obvious flaws, and Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray presents the movie in great shape with a host of extra features.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!







































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