• Blood Lake (AGFA/Bleeding Skull) DVD Review

    Released by: AGFA/Bleeding Skull
    Released on: April 9th, 2019.
    Director: Tim Boggs
    Cast: Doug Barry, Angela Darter, Andrea Adams, Travis Krasser, Mike Kaufman, Christie Willoughby
    Year: 1987
    Purchase From Amazon

    Blood Lake – Movie Reviews:

    Becky (Angela Darter) has a lake house. Or at least her parents do. It’s a nice place. Two levels, a weird wall decoration with an old lady’s face that spits water on you hanging in the kitchen. It’s painted yellow on the outside and much of the interior is also yellow. In 1987 it would have been the perfect spot to hang with a few friends, drink some beers, do some water skiing, smoke a little weed… AND DIE!

    That’s more or less what happens in Tim Boggs’ 1987 slasher, Blood Lake. Becky and her boyfriend Mike (producer/writer Doug Barry) get together with Bryan (Mike Kaufman) and Kim (Andrea Adams) for a little rest, relaxation and romance. They ride to their destination in a sweet Trans-Am. Along for the ride are Mike’s little brother Tony (Travis Krasser), a foul-mouthed pre-teen who wants to drink beers, call everyone buttholes, give people the finger and, if he’s lucky, get it on with fellow pre-teen Susan (Christie Willoughby). Everyone wears terrible shorts. After they arrive at the house, they party, un aware that shortly before their arrival a chubby bearded guy (a real-life wrestler credited in the film as Tiny Frazier) with one pant leg tucked into his cowboy boots sporting a shirt with stitched flowers on it has just killed someone!

    Becky wonders where the gardener is…. hmmm…. then that plot point sort of goes away as they befriend two dudes from around the bend – Dennis (Michael Darter) and Chuck (Darren Waters) – who are also into partying and waterskiing. This goes on, more or less, for the first hour of the movie. Waterskiing is a big part of Blood Lake. We also get to see the gang play a gang of quarters in real time. There are conversations that occur through the fog of pot smoke that were likely made up on the spot and go nowhere. Basically, we hang out with these guys. But then, the killer from the beginning of the film shows up again and starts stabbing people. A guy from the lake patrol shows up. He’s got a cowboy hat on and he looks official. I won’t spoil who dies first but he shows Mike the bodies and tells him that the police will be by soon to ask some questions. That never happens and our horny, hard partying teenagers find themselves in a fight for survival against a menace that they can’t even begin to understand!

    Also one of the rooms in the lake house has a spinning wheel in it!

    Blood Lake is an endurance test, to be sure, but it’s a beautiful one for a few reasons. First up, you can’t watch the film and not walk away impressed with ‘Lil’ Tony. The mouth on this kid is ridiculous. He’s always trying to get with Susan, which is just as awkward to watch in the movie as it sounds, and he’s always telling off the bigger guys in the group. All Tony wants to do is get drunk and get laid. We do at least see him drink some beer on camera – whether he actually bones Susan or not, well, that’s not quite clear. Still, he’s a character for the ages and the smirky grin on this kid’s face anytime he lets loose with a quip is just awesome. Travis Krasser, don’t be a butthole. Come out of hiding and claim your rightful place on the throne.

    And then there’s the killer. In the extras, Barry says he was played by a wrestler who passed away not too long after the movie was made. Another wrestler who passed away not too long after this movie was made was Uncle Elmer, also known as Plowboy Frazier. His real name was Stan Frazier – was Tiny Frazier, the credit for the killer in the movie, actually Stan Frazier? Compare the images below and decide for yourself.

    At any rate, the killer is great. He has a hunting knife with a compass in the handle and he moves very slowly, probably because he was not in good health. That’s sad, but what isn’t sad is the twist that the film throws at us at the end of the movie involving this character. We won’t spoil it here but you definitely won’t see it coming… because it doesn’t make a damn lick of sense! Also he has a hole in the armpit of his shirt.

    The movie might not deliver a ‘blood bath of horror’ like the cover art of the old United Home Video VHS release promised but it does deliver a soundtrack courtesy of a hair metal band called Voyager. They contribute four songs to the movie, the best of which is the scorching title track, aptly titled ‘Blood Lake,’ that wails over the end credits. The band was local to the Cedar Lake, Oklahoma area in which the picture was shot. One of the members, ‘Steven Lee’ Robertson, has a YouTube page with some of their music on it here!

    You could argue that nothing really happens in the first hour of Blood Lake, and you’d be right. You could also argue that the movie sucks for that reason, but you’d be wrong. Blood Lake is watchable not for the gore, which is bad, or the plot, which is not good, but for the very fact that it feels like a bunch of dumb teenagers hanging out doing legitimately dumb stuff. There are errors in judgement all over the place, inane conversations that don’t go anywhere and monotonous scenes of nothing happening – but it feels real. That makes it endearing in its own weird way that, when combined with the obvious enthusiasm shown by all involved, makes the film strangely loveable.

    Blood Lake – DVD Review:

    Blood Lake arrives on DVD in a transfer taken from the original 1” master and it looks about as good as you can realistically expect it to. As this was shot on tape, detail is only going to get so good but this is more than watchable. Colors are pretty decent and while the film’s analogue roots are more than obvious, the disc is well-authored so there aren’t any compression issues.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track is a different story. The audio isn’t particularly good here and dialogue can sound muffled fairly often. Still, the majority of lines are easy enough to understand and the ever-important score sounds pretty solid. There are no alternate language options or subtitles of any kind here (my one complaint about the disc – English subtitles would have been welcome!).

    Extras start off with a commentary track featuring Annie Choi and Joseph A. Ziemba from Bleeding Skull and the film’s director, Tim Boggs. It’s a fun track, there are no false pretenses here, but it’s also got a lot of good information here. Topics discussed include how Boggs came to direct the picture, killing your wife’s ex-husband on screen, working with the cast and crew, giving ‘Lil Tony’ direction on how to act like his butt is sore, quirks in the script (which Ziemba has a copy of – “do the pretzel!”) and how various parts in the script were written for specific people, locations, murder set pieces, the film’s awesome fucking score and more. As you’d expect, there’s a bit of a sense of humor to this but it never dissolves into a joke track. Other fun facts? The female lead was cast because her family owned the lake house, some of Boggs’ experiences in Hollywood (he has since gone on to an interesting career working in sound), how one of the actress’ practice scream almost got them in trouble, editing the feature on VHS and how he had to set up the shots and get ready to shoot very quickly. Definitely worth a listen if you want to know more about the history of this analogue oddity.

    Also included on the disc is a twenty-two-minute Q&A with Boggs and actor/producer Doug Barry from a 2018 Fantastic Fest screening that is moderated by Ziemba and Choi. This is also quite interesting. It starts with the moderators just interviewing Barry, who talks about how he came to meet Boggs, wanted to make a movie and then hit it off with him. Boggs shows up shortly thereafter and they answer a few interesting questions from the audience about topics like what happened to Voyager, the state of the lake at the end of the film, why the sound in the film is terrible and more. Best part? Where we’re told that the actor who played Lil’ Tony was a kid from the neighborhood that everyone knew because he used to flip off cars. Barry also mentions that the wrestler employed in the film was, at one point, ‘The Masked Menace,’ which doesn’t appear to be one of Stan Frazier’s alias’ so far as I can tell, but at least it was an excuse to research old wrestling on the internet for an hour or so while I was at work today… BUT he also mentions that he passed away from diabetes which is how Frazier died according to this tribute website.

    Outside of that, the disc also includes an early short film from Boggs entitled Ashes. It’s a bizarre but amusing little picture that is a kinda-sorta-maybe-sarcastic parable against the dangers of smoking that has an emphasis on humor more so than on the actual health risks associated with cigarettes.

    An unseen investor trailer from 1987 rounds out the extra features on the disc. Menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    Blood Lake – The Final Word:

    Blood Lake is eighty-two-minutes of low-fi, low budget, high quality hijinks! If you like your 80’s slasher films with healthy doses of waterskiing, drinking games and mouthy pre-teen kids then you owe it to yourself to check this one out. AGFA and Bleeding Skull earn full marks for rescuing this obscurity from oblivion and not only do they give it a more than respectable presentation but they’ve loaded it with extras as well. 80’s SOV horror isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve got a taste for it then jump right in – Camp Blood delivers!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      I watched this for the first time a month back and it was awful but oddly endearing and entertaining with Lil Tony being one of the greatest characters of all time.

      Buying this DVD for sure.
    1. Fundi's Avatar
      Fundi -
      I watched this one a few years back, I remember it being terrible, but then again I watched it all, so it must have entertained me lol, those 80's shot on video films, some were pretty good, some were horrible, but even the horrible ones are fun usually, I am easily entertained, I'll probably pick this one up and get some good laughs from it.
    1. Newt Cox's Avatar
      Newt Cox -
      That's Stan Tiny Frazier. Him being in the film made the newspaper in his home town. I remember hearing about the film but never finding a copy.