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DVD Review: The Blood Shed

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What would you get if you mated Tobe Hooper with Rob Zombie and then stole their money? Alan Rowe Kelly, of course. What? You don't know who Alan Rowe Kelly is? Well, I don't blame you; before watching The Blood Shed I'd never heard of him either.

Apparently, according to the DVD case, he is a "cult horror maven." I'm not so sure about that, but there is definitely a manic energy to this micro-budget flick that crosses Leatherface's family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Firefly clan from House of 1000 Corpses. There is no way that I could possibly call this movie good, but there is something about it that makes it worth spending some time with, even if it is difficult to discover.

When you approach the prospect of watching The Blood Shed, you have to prepare yourself for one thing above all others. You have to realize that this is a very low budget creation. It was shot on digital video and the look is distinctly different from film. Everything about the film shows that they had no money to create anything. That said,  they did a great job with what they had.

The story centers on the Bullion family, a twisted bunch of cannibalistic in-breds that live in an old house in the middle of the forest. As the movie begins, we really don't know that, nor do we have any idea what to expect. My recommendation? Don't expect much as the story really does not even begin to scratch the demented surface of the Bullion clan.

Where the movie succeeds is in the wild, wacky, and weird characterizations and in the set design. Both of these elements belie the fact that there was little money involved. No, you will never mistake this for an Oscar winner, or even a middling entry in the horror/comedy genre, but it does make for an intriguing watch.

Let's see if I can get the story straight. Early on it is implied the Bullion family is responsible for a string of child disappearances, their fates tied to the so-called blood shed of the title. However, before we can get there, we must get acquainted with the family. The first member we meet is the daughter, Beeftina (played by writer/director Alan Rowe Kelly). She… um, he… aah, whatever… is first spied skipping down the road dragging her pet roadkill, Flapjack, behind her. As she goes along her merry way she is picked on by some of the local kids. One even follows her into the woods. Now, you have to know that is going to be a mistake. This boy becomes the latest victim of the family.

In short order, we are introduced to Beeftina's brothers Hubcap and Butternut, cousin Sno Cakes, and Papa Elvis. Oh yes, there is also Gramma tucked away upstairs just waiting for the climax. We meet them and get to know all about them over dinner, especially when the suspicious sheriff shows up to investigate.

For a secondary story, Beeftina has dreams of becoming the World's Next Top Model. To that end, she heads off to a modeling agency to have some shots taken. This, of course, does not go well. This leads directly to the climactic final sequence which is just plain bizarre before the credits role.

What can I say? The movie did win me over with its bizarre indie charm. It did not make much sense, and I will not and cannot call it good. If you like low budget films, or if you have some friends and plenty of booze that needs disposing of, be my guest. You could do a lot worse as far as films on this level go.

If nothing else, watch it for the goofy characters and the surprisingly strong art direction and cinematography. It looks very good for what it is.

Audio/Video. Both are quite good. The only problem that I can really level against the disk is that the 1.78:1 widescreen is not anamorphic. There really isn't a reason for any DVD today to not be anamorphic. Outside of that, there is a lot of detail captured and the colors are very sharp. Audio is also decent, you can tell the source, but it is always crisp and clear.

Extras. Not much to speak of.

  • Theatrical Trailer. The original promo spot which does a decent job of setting up what you will see in the film. (1.75 minutes)
  • Behind the Scenes Montage. This gives a glimpse into the actors behind the family, and a lot of the effort that went into putting it together. I cannot imagine this being all that easy to do. (9.5 minutes)
  • Actor Bios. Text screens about the actors involved.
  • Commentary. The track has a number of participants, including: Alan Rowe Kelly, DP Bart Mastronardi, and actors Jerry Murdock and Catherine O'Sullivan. It is quite good and goes a long way to enhancing your ability to enjoy the movie.

Bottom line. Don't be afraid, they can't hurt you. There is only a small segment of the population that will enjoy this, and you know who you are. Interesting for what they were able to do with no money. It may be interesting to see what they do next.

Very Mildly Recommended.

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