Blood Rage (1987)

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A typical yet fun 80s slasher movie that boasts a terrific character performance from Louise Lasser. Lasser cropped up in an eclectic bunch of films in the 80s and she is always memorable in them. Here she plays a troubled mother of an even more troubled pair of twins. One of them has just escaped a mental institution after being framed for a crime the other twin committed in their youth. As was all the rage in the late 70s and 80s, Blood Rage hangs itself on a popular holiday, in this case Thanksgiving, which acts as a nice bit of background dressing for the dysfunctional family’s descent into swaying machetes and carved limbs.

While it unsurprisingly runs through the generic slasher motions, the ping-pong narrative between the two twins – one an arrogant jock of a serial killer, the other a beaten down manchild, both played by Mark Soper – as they simultaneously try to track down and avoid each other, is very entertaining. Soper looks like the type of actor who would probably play the jock victim who gets skewered mid-intercourse in the second act of any other 80s slasher flick so it’s fresh to see him as the machete-wielding psycho here. The practical effects courtesy of future Terminator 2 FX man Ed French are great and a lot to do with why the film is even being talked about nowadays.

As I said above though, the reason this film will stick with you, if it sticks at all, is because of Lasser’s performance. Between all the nutty gore sequences and scenes of late twenties actors acting badly, we cut back to Lasser’s mother character slowly crumbling. Whether it’s sat on the kitchen floor eating the sad remains of the Thanksgiving dinner or wielding a vacuum in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, she is always doing something interesting and strange. Moments like these usually have no business in a bog-standard horror flick but the fact they are here makes Blood Rage all the more commendable.

I certainly wouldn’t have come across Blood Rage if it wasn’t for Arrow Video’s new special edition. I’m at the point now where I just buy practically everything they release. Some are good, some are bad and some are an interesting mix of the two, like this film, but they’re always worth the time. I wouldn’t say go out of your way to check out Blood Rage but if you have an appetite for this period of horror filmmaking and know what to expect, it will treat you to some surprises.

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