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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, February 10, 2023

Blood Stalkers (1976)

I needed to get back to watching some regional drive-in flicks, so I plucked Blood Stalkers off of my to watch pile. Two couples are driving to an isolated cabin in the Everglades. Mike has just inherited it from his mother and has some fond childhood memories of fishing trips there. His wife, Kim, really isn’t thrilled by the idea and complains about the long drive and being in the middle of nowhere. They have also brought their friends Jeri and Daniel with them. Sure enough when they stop for directions the local gas station attendant tries to warn them off. He lets them know that it is “blood stalker” territory now and no one goes up there. In typical horror movie fashion, he is ignored and off they go.

After a few wrong turns they finally arrive at the cabin and settle in. Though something or someone is watching them from the woods. After some jump scares Mike and Kim go skinny dipping. It is here that we see a figure creeping up on them… a very hairy one. Holy Shit is this a Bigfoot movie? When they return to the cabin it isn’t long before something is smashing thru the windows and grabbing at them. Mike grabs his trusty .22 derringer and starts to fire away at it. What self-respecting Bigfoot is going to be scared off by that? Well, it will make sense later.

More attacks happen, Mike goes for help, no one will help him, and eventually he returns to find everyone dead. Spoilers: But we find out after the bodies are located that it isn’t actually Bigfoot but some local poachers who killed everyone to protect their operation. Yep, it turns out this was a killer redneck movie. Mike grabs some weapons and spends the last ten minutes getting some revenge for his dead friends and his lady.

This is an interesting movie. There are big pacing issues with lots of nature footage being used to pad things out. Also, there are sequences like the drive to the cabin, the small talk once they arrive, and Mike running from house to house for help that feel like additional padding. The abrupt switch from the creature attack to Mike going on a revenge spree also felt a bit like they didn’t know how to end the movie and threw something together. Basically, the story and writing leave a bit to be desired. But there is a sweet spot after the attack at the cabin beings that is fun. And the look of the Bigfoot suit is cheesy enough that it fits with a movie like Blood Stalkers. So while it is flawed the pacing and story didn’t totally spoil the fun.    

As a regional filmmaking fan/nerd it was fun to see some connections to a couple of my favorite seventies’ flicks. Our lead, Mike, is played by Jerry Albert who also had a small part in William Grefe’s Mako: The Jaws of Death. That itself isn’t a surprise since Robert W. Morgan, who directed Blood Stalkers, wrote the screenplay for that movie. Morgan himself was a well known Bigfoot expert who appeared in The Mysterious Monsters. This makes him doing the switcheroo from Bigfoot to rednecks even more disappointing.

In the end this technically isn’t a good movie. There are some serious issues with the story and pacing. But it does scratch a certain cheesy itch that I get once in a while so I can’t totally dislike it. That said I won’t be in any hurry to revisit the movie anytime soon. I also worry that it might not play that well to someone without my predilections for bad drive-in flicks. You have been warned.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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