Okay guys. Be sure to buckle up because
I've got a doozy for you today, Ray Dennis Steckler
's 1971 (even
though the title card says 1980) horror rodeo Blood Shack
“There is a legend about this valley.
A tale carried across the winds of time. A legend strange and
sinister. The legend of The Chooper.”
This movie. Whoa. Just. Whoa. I don't even know where to start,
so I guess the beginning is as good a place as any. Blood Shack opens
with a car that looks like it drove right out of a twenties gangster
film pulling up to an old ranch. The girl insists she's gonna stay in
the haunted shack, so her two friends fuck off and leave her there.
The trusty caretaker Daniel (Jason Wayne) then comes over to give her
the whole “The Chooper's gonna get you” spiel.
She takes no notice and stays the
night, overstepping that line between brave and stupid. She promptly
gets offed by a screaming assailant awkwardly brandishing a sword. At
least, I think so, it was very dark. It actually reminded me of my first
grainy VHS viewing of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre where the night
scenes were pretty much unintelligible. I guess that's why every
other Chooper attack happens in daylight.
Seriously, could someone teach him how to use that?
Contrary to that little gem above
though, Blood Shack is mostly just a combination of footage from a
rodeo and two little girls playing around on set. Although, I do have
to admit there is something adorable about watching a five-year-old
relay exposition in child speak. I can't imagine it would have made
any more sense coming from an adult. And oh my God, the narration.
There are films that use this device as a crutch; and then there's
Blood Shack. Steckler even found the need to narrate scenes that were
completely unnecessary. For instance;
“Peanuts. That's what they named the
pony. She was just about the prettiest thing you ever saw. If ever
you wanted to see two happy kids this was it. Sugarplum, their
adopted puppy, seemed to like their new friend. Margie took to riding
Peanuts almost immediately. These kids really know how to enjoy life
in the–” WHAT THE FUCK AM I WATCHING RIGHT NOW?!
Narration even ends the piece.
“So-and-so's dead. I don't know what
I'm going to do. I think I'll just worry about it tomorrow. If
tomorrow ever comes.” THE END
This came as a surprise to me because
it hadn't even reached the hour mark by this point. I was, of course,
grateful in that it was like the last day of school when your teacher
let you out early, but what the fuck?
After viewing this, I turned to Imdb and it offered so much clarity. Blood Shack was apparently shot
on short ends
, which explains the
string of one take wonders that involve cowboy hats
getting blown off actor's while delivering dialogue and floundering fisticuffs. Oh, and
they only had two lights. That explains the darkness of the first
|Not this movie's first rodeo.|
Perhaps the craziest thing about Blood
Shack was that to sell it to drive-ins, Steckler had to add fifteen
more minutes of rodeo footage to it. That works out to like, a third
of the movie! Fuuuuuck me.
My crusty VHS wasn't helping, but this
movie just looks like an antique. Apart from every car in the picture
looking way older than when they shot this, even the score seems
vintage. Most of it feels like it was plucked from one of those 16mm
PSA's I used to watch in grade school, “Timmy, make sure you look
both ways before you cross the street!”
So in closing, I can't really say this
is even a movie in any real sense, but I also can't deny that I was
entertained/fascinated. If only all bad movies were less than sixty