• Invasion Of The Blood Farmers (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: February 26th, 2018.
    Directed by: Ed Adlum
    Cast: Bruce Detrick, Norman Kelley, Tanna Hunter, Jack Neubeck, Cynthia Fleming
    Year: 1972
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    Invasion Of The Blood Farmers – Movie Review:

    Directed by Ed Adlum, the man who brought us the equally wacky Shriek Of The Mutilated, 1972’s Invasion Of The Blood Farmers begins with an almost surreal prologue sequence in which some stoic and serious narration brings us up to date on those Druids that have come to Earth from somewhere… presumably out in space. See, they’re actually a cult of alien Sangroid Blood Eaters – and evidently, they’ve been pretty busy with some strange covert operations all these centuries.

    Cut to the present day where an unfortunate dude named Jim Carrey stumbles into a local watering hole somewhere in upstate New York. Shortly after the bartender yells ‘Let him in, that guy sounds like he needs a drink!’ poor Jim is keeled over gurgling blood and falling dead on the floor. The men at the bar, who are enjoying the Champagne of Beers, don’t seem too upset by this and continue to sip at their Miller High Life. However, local pathologist Dr. Roy Anderson (Norman Kelley) decides to check out poor dead Jim’s blood to see what’s up. Anderson’s daughter, Jenny (Tanna Hunter), meanwhile, makes out with his assistant, Don (Bruce Detrick), who looks dapper in his blue sweater and cream-colored pants.

    As Anderson and his pals try to figure out what happened to Jim, bodies start piling up around town – a woman is assaulted in the shower, a dog gets hung on a porch, a woman has her blood drained in one of the gurgliest sounding scenes you’ve ever sat through and many more scenes of blood farming mayhem ensue. Evidently, the leader of the Sangroids, Creeton (Paul Craig Jennings), and his creepy cronies, chief amongst them a floppy hat wearing farmer named Egon (Jack Neubeck, who sang the Eddie The Yeti song in Shriek Of The Mutilated), are out to resurrect their dead Sangroid queen Onhorrid (Cynthia Fleming)! She’s been entombed all this time in a farmhouse in a fancy glass coffin near the fireplace which doesn’t do a very good job of hiding the fact that this dead woman is clearly breathing.

    The imdb states that, according to Adlum, the cast and crew were paid with a six pack for their participation on this one, and there’s nothing here on screen to really dispute that – in fact, you have to wonder if they waited until the movie was over to cash in. Edited by Michael Findlay (who would also work with the director on the aforementioned Shriek Of The Mutilated), this movie is ninety blissful minutes of complete nonsense and gleefully stupid gore. The film rarely makes a lick of sense nor is it ever well-acted or well put together (Findlay had proven he could put together interesting looking movies with movies like Flesh Trilogy and The Ultimate Degenerate– this picture lacks all of the bizarre style those three films showed) but it’s always entertaining, particularly if you have a soft spot for regional cinematic oddities. The pacing is erratic and the cinematographic choices more than a little questionable, but the whole thing is lousy with quirky charm and enough wonky ideas to more than entertain.

    Full of bizarre and completely random cuts to reactions that aren’t there on the part of the cast and close ups that aren’t ever necessary, the movie looks as erratic as it plays – at least the filmmakers were consistent in their ineptitude. But again, there are enough kill scenes and silly, bloody set pieces in the picture that you can’t help but love it.

    Invasion Of The Blood Farmers – Blu-ray Review:

    Invasion Of The Blood Farmers arrives on a 50GB disc from Severin Films presented in 1.85.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded transfer taken from a new transfer of the film’s original negative. This isn’t a movie that is ever going to blow you away in terms of presentation quality but Severin’s disc provides a substantial improvement over past DVD editions from Retromedia, Code Red Releasing (who paired it with Silent Night, Bloody Night) and bootleg outfit Cheezy Flicks. Detail is pretty solid, all things considered, and while some light print damage remains it’s never a distraction. Shot fast and cheap by a less than experienced crew, this’ll never look all that good but it is what it is and fans of low budget exploitation pictures from the seventies will be more than happy with the way that it looks here. Colors in particular look much, much better than they have before, black levels too. Skin tones are natural looking and the reds of the clearly fake blood really pop quite nicely. The image is free of all but some minor compression artifacts and there are no noticeable issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono track is on par with the video in that there’s no hiding the film’s lo-fidelity roots. It’s about as clean as you can hope for with most of the dialogue perfectly audible (a few lines are a bit muffled sounding). The levels are properly balanced throughout. Things are a bit flat, but this is just due to the nature of the production more than anything else. Overall the audio is fine. Optional subtitles are provided in English.

    Extras start off with an excellent audio commentary featuring director Ed Adlum and actress Ortrum Tippel that’s been moderated by Kier-La Janisse, the author of House Of Psychotic Women. An interesting talk from start to finish. Janisse keeps the pair engaged, though honestly it doesn’t seem tough to do given that Adlum in particular is a great storyteller and clearly having a good time here. Still, she asks all the right questions and clearly knows what she’s talking about as the group discuss the locations, the casting, the effects work, the film’s release history and plenty more. Adlum also talks about working with the Findlays and who really served as the film’s cinematographer. Tippel doesn’t have quite as much to say but she’s still got some interesting stories about acting in the picture and about working as the costume designer behind the scenes, noting some of the work on display in the fil and providing some amusing anecdotes about how and why the sets are dressed the way that they are in the movie. The commentary that appeared on the Code Red DVD featuring Adlum and Lee Christian has not been carried over to this release.

    Up next, check out Nothing You'd Show Your Mom, an interview with Eddie Adlum that explores his ‘journey through exploitation, coin-op & rock n' roll.’ This legitimately great interview sees Adlum talking about his youth and his attempts to get a rock n’ roll band called The Castle Kings off the ground with a track called You Can Get Him Frankenstein, his fifteen-seconds of fame thanks to Atlantic Records, getting out of the band business and into the coin operated amusement business where me made good money with pinball and jukebox machines and then getting into the publishing business. Of course, along the way he made Blood Farmers and we hear plenty of anecdotes about the shoot, how it came to be, the financing behind the film and some touching stories about his relationship with Findlay. This is excellent.

    After that we spend twelve-minutes with Egon himself, actor Jack Neubeck. He looks back on this pretty fondly, talking about how he came on board, working with Adlum and Findlay, appearing in this film as well as Mutilated (noting his musical number!), how the dog attack scene that he’s involved with was done and seeing the movie for the first time a few years after it in a seedy Times Square theater.

    The four-minute Painful Memories is a quick five-minute interview with assistant cameraman Frederick Elmes, who would go on to work extensively with David Lynch on films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Wild At Heart. It’s clear from the start that he’s not proud of the film, he’s pretty dismissive of it actually, but he chocks it up to a learning experience even as he expresses confusion as to how projects like this seem to get made.

    Last but not least, the film’s original theatrical trailer is included here, along with the requisite menus and chapter selection options.

    Invasion Of The Blood Farmers – The Final Word:

    Invasion Of The Blood Farmers is a complete whack-job of a film, a mind numbingly bizarre and (unintentionally?) hilarious attempt at low budget horror moviemaking with plenty of local flavor and headscratchingly obtuse moments. As such, it’s absolutely worth seeing. Severin Films gives this screwball classic the treatment it deserves, presenting it in a very welcome high definition upgrade and some choice extras that detail the strange history of the film and those who made it.

    Click on the images below for full sized Invasion Of The Blood Farmers Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Gary Banks's Avatar
      Gary Banks -
      I sat through the Sinister Cinema version of this over the weekend. The running time was 76 minutes. I wanted to bail out on this one so a 90 minute cut would be out of the question. Of course it probably didn't help that I watched this back to back with Help Me...I'm Possessed.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Color timing is nauseatingly wretched, another nice ball drop from our friends at Severin.