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Sunday, June 21, 2020

Blood Lake (1987)

The slasher marathon has me digging deep again for movies to review. Blood Lake is one of those flicks that I had been hearing about for a few years. The VHS copy was hard to locate and expensive when you did find it. This was also a shot on video production, so it had even more of a unique eighties’ vibe to it. Recently a DVD was released, and I picked it up at a convention as an impulse purchase. I suppose the big question here is did I spend my money wisely?

The story kicks off with a large man walking up and killing a gardener by stabbing him to death. Then we meet up with some teenagers headed off for a summer vacation at the lake. They arrive, talk about “scoring”, drink some beer, go water skiing, and play quarters while drinking even more beer. That is the next fifty minutes of the movie as nothing else happens. It really does feel like somebody’s vacation video and we all know how interesting those are. Eventually the killer from the first five minutes returns and starts to kill off the cast until he is stopped. That is about all we have going on with Blood Lake.

I’m not a fan. I don’t mind the awkward acting as that is a staple of low budget movies. I love the character of ‘Lil Tony, who I think steals every scene he is in and the kid can’t deliver a line to save his life. Shooting on VHS doesn’t bother me much either. I love Cannibal Camp Out and the Video Dead, so the limitations of the technology aren’t a deal breaker. Blood Lake has the same struggles that most shot on VHS movies do when it comes to night shots and lighting, but I expect that so no big deal. For me it all boils down to one huge flaw that was killing me the entire time I was watching.

If you have ever read any of my reviews of low budget (Blood Lake was made for around six thousand dollars) movies you know that I have one rule that I adhere to. You must have a script. This is the one thing that a lack of money doesn’t limit a filmmaker as you can take your time and write around your resources. This movie doesn’t have enough material to be a feature length production. Honestly you might be pushing it to cut together half an hour once the unneeded and pace killing scenes are removed. There are several examples of padding but the most obvious and familiar one to the fans of this flick, and yes, they do exist, is water skiing. We get to see each freaking character getting pulled around the lake… all six of them! This includes on younger girl who had never skied before and was taught how to do it… on camera! There is more time spent on teaching someone to water ski than there is on the killer. What the hell man!

Hey kids lets learn to water ski!
Since I mentioned the killer, we find out that he is murdering people because he didn’t get paid for the house he sold, which is the same one the kids are staying in. I guess it was easier to murder a ton of people than it was to just repossess the thing. I mean I’m not a real estate mogul but that seems wrong. Speaking of kills they are mostly back loaded into the last third of the running time and aren’t that thrilling. We get a bunch of stabbings and slashings that are mostly off-screen. There are a couple of inserts that they clearly added later that are just a bit more graphic but even accounting for their minimal budget I was disappointed.

To sum it up Blood Lake is a slasher movie that has very little slashing until the end. Lame special effects work are coupled with a killer that has no motivation and is not in the majority of the flick. Instead we get endless tutorials on water skiing and inane conversations. This isn’t a good movie. This isn’t a so bad it’s good movie. This is just a lousy movie that is miserable to try and sit thru. Unless you want to be suckered into watching someone’s late eighties vacation video while paying good money for the privilege to do so I’d pass on Blood Lake.

© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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