Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hunter's Blood

Hunters Blood Directed By Robert C. Hughes, Starring Clu Gulager (1986).

This film is packed to the rafters with cult celebrities. We've got Bruce Glover (Crispin's pop with a scary albino eyeball), Clu Gulager (ROTLD), Sam Bottoms (Apocalypse Now), Billy Drago (Freeway, Invasion USA) and even Joey Travolta! You need a Poseidon Adventure style cast to keep a Deliverance style hixploitation afloat, right? Shelley Winters already starred in Poor Pretty Eddie, one of the best ones, so it makes sense that she'd sit this one out. Billy Bob Thornton apparently was in the background somewhere, on IMDB this is his first screen credit on a film. I didn't see him, but there's a very dark bar scene that he may have been present for. This film has a noodling guitar theme by John D'Andrea that sounds as if the composer was fucking around at the guitar store and recorded it while he was there, saving the production company a huge chunk of change in the process. 
   It begins with David Rand (Sam Bottoms, whose brother I fondly remember as a George W. Bush impersonator in "That's My Bush"). While in the middle of a filthy shower session with his girlfriend played by Kim Delaney (NYPD Blue, Body Parts), he gets interrupted by his "city slicker" buddies who are all keyed up for a hunting trip.

We've got hunting sores and boners

   Uncle Al (Ken Swofford) picks everybody up in his red Ford Bronco and they head out into hillbilly country to bag some deer. Al says really gay stuff like "I'm gonna ream your butt", and other ass-related antidotes-- he's actually my favorite character in the entire film. Joey Travolta (who I remember as the spaceman goofus with a chimp on his shoulder from Amazon Women on the Moon) plays Al, a comic relief with amateur wilderness experience. The first sign of trouble occurs once they reach a redneck bar. They all seem thrilled to chuckle at some slack jawed yokels while driving through the scary hills of Arkansas.     

I'm doing an Elizabeth Banks Wet Hot American Summer impression, now pucker up!

   Al pisses off two scary hicks with BBQ sauce smeared on their faces and overalls. They know what they're in for when they see a sign that says "No Colords (sic)" and all they have is Bud in the can. The lollipop sucking bartender floozy makes a fuss that they want beer nuts and calls them "nutlovers" and "cocksuckers".

What kind of organic ale do I have on tap, you say?

   Dave and his pals start up some shit with the rednecks and seem to be asking for trouble. Don't they know they're in a Deliverance ripoff? It's kind of funny how the first hillbillies they encounter in the bar look like a bizarro version of Dave and the boys. It gets a lot worse for them later as they venture deeper into inbred territory.

Try some of Ted Nugent's Conservative headcheese

    Once the night creeps in and the hunters gather around a campfire, it gets pretty terrifying when a group of aggressive bloodthirsty crackers show up once they fall asleep. Talk about a rude awakening! Bruce Glover cackles like a idiotic witch and Billy Drago pisses on one of the yankees. Their bearded leader is Lee de Broux, an actor I've only seen in Robocop. He's the guy who Clarence Boddicker confronts in the coke warehouse and rudely dips his fingers into his wine. 

I've dealt with shit head punks like you before in ROTLD

   Things get scary and primitive at the same time, it's funny how a lot of the men all talk about their peckers for some homoerotic reason. There's just something queer about the wilderness I guess. Clu Gulager who plays Dave's father is pretty bad ass and isn't afraid of these hicks, who all threaten to rape him and his friends. The mongoloids who are seen chopping up deer heads and offal scatter after two game wardens show up. It gets really nasty after the two cops are skinned alive by the redneck maniacs and tacked to a tree (the make-up effects by Mike Spatola, whose work included Little Monsters and Bud The Chud are pretty convincing).

I'm so cold, can I borrow some flesh?

      Everybody sort of freaks out and are convinced that they'll be next. Travolta looses his cool the most and Uncle Al slaps some sense back into him, its a tender moment that you don't usually get in an exploitation flick. Dave's dumb girlfriend even drives out to the woods to meet up with them with out his knowledge and almost gets brutally raped.

Dick Cheney strikes again

   Clu Gulager gets shot and wounded and they all panic, it gets really intense toward the last 30 minutes. Dave becomes the unhinged hero and starts slaying each hillbilly one by one. He starts by jabbing the first guy in the throat with a huge knife. One character named Purty Boy gets his face completely blasted off till its caved in! Another character named Washpot (Mickey Jones from V and Total Recall) gets deer antlers plunged into his back, OUCH! The gore quotient starts tipping the scales at the end and the revenge is pretty satisfying. The ending is kind of dicey and can be interpreted a few ways, they seem to escape, but leave on a train owned by Razorback Meats (the hick's company). That means they could've ended up in the clutches of more insane hillbillies or just escaped unharmed, thats where it ends and there was never a sequel. All in all, Hunter's Blood is an effective Hixploitation that delivers the goods!    

I'm from the Southern Hospitality commitee!

Billy Drago was born William Burrows, good thing he changed it

   The script by Emmett Watson is surprisingly well written (or maybe it's the performances that extenuated it). Watson wrote some clunkers like 9 Deaths of the Ninja and New Years Evil. I enjoyed both of those films despite the weak spots in the Sho Kosugi vehicle and the lame ass non ending in New Years Evil. This film is available from J4HI.COM on a "Hunting Humans" double feature with Bridge to Nowhere from New Zealand. 


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