Andy, Margi and Jenny are three kids playing in the woods near Jenny's house one day. Andy horrifies the girls when he crushes a toad beneath a rock, just for fun.
This act is witnessed by inbred retard Beefteena Bullion (Alan Rowe Kelly, EAT YOUR HEART OUT), a hulking fully-grown woman dressed in babylike clothing, who the kids see coming and quickly flee from her.
When the girls are called for their dinner, Andy stays out and returns to the woods to torment Beefteena. He mocks her family, which he tells her everyone says is inbred.
Unfortunately for Andy, Beefteena's hillbilly brothers Butternut (Joshua Nelson) and Hubcap (Mike Lane) turn up, and decide to punish the boy for teasing their sister. The Bullions share a game of tug-of-war, using Andy as the rope.
Predictably, the young boy is torn in half. Fearing what their father would say if he were to find out, the Bullion siblings agree to hide Andy's body in their shed.
Later, we meet the father - Papa Elvis (Terry West) - as the family sit together for a truly warped meal. The family is completed by crazed young Sno Cakes (Susan Adriensen) and Grandma, who is banished upstairs but strikes fear into the others whenever she bangs on the floor.
During this dinner scene, we learn that Beefteena's birthday is coming in two days - she'll be 12, again - and Papa Elvis has promised something very special for it.
But before the inevitable birthday, there is plenty of time for us to watch Butternut and Hubcap bicker aimlessly, witness Papa Elvis touch up his daughter, endure an oddly unsettling scene in which the family force sherrif Brogan (Jerry Murdock) to marry Beefteena, and be privvy to a sub-plot concerning Beefteena's dreams of becoming a beauty model.
When the party comes, hosted in the shed by the demented family, with a few unwilling guests tied to their chairs, there really is no plot left to consider.
THE BLOOD SHED doesn't really have a plot at all. There's a tiny thread in there somewhere, concerning a journalist and a sheriff who are both on the trail of missing persons that they suspect have been slain by the notorious Bullion family. But even these plot points go nowhere as they're not explored.
But when you consider that this film is intended as an homage to THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and the early works of John Waters (MULTIPLE MANIACS, PINK FLAMINGOS etc), it makes more sense that the storyline isn't really required - THE BLOOD SHED exists to appal, amuse and astound. It's partially successful.
Certainly in the gore stakes it goes for Waters-esque violence with gusto. Animals are squished, children are mutilated and one unlucky victim has a testicle popped by a pair of pliers. The incest theme is one that would no doubt gain approval from Waters too, as is the inference that Butternut is a homosexual rapist - it's all in the worst possible taste.
The CHAIN SAW similarities are most apparent with the prop design - the skulls and bones that litter the outside of the Bullion's farmhouse are very impressive. And, of course, the party finale in the shed with the bound "guests" is a direct hark back to Marilyn Burns' famous dinner with the Sawyers.
What THE BLOOD SHED lacks in finesse (it's cheap and badly acted) it makes up for with verve and wit. Kelly not only has a field day playing Beefteena, but he wrote and directed this nonsense too - and you can see throughout that he's put all his effort into this. It pays off.
While THE BLOOD SHED cannot be accused of greatness, it does have a perverse entertainment value to it. Definitely one I'd watch again.
The film is presented uncut in it's original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is very good - sharp and bright with no bleeding, artefacting or grain. The cover says the transfer is 16x9 enhanced, but it is not.
The English 2.0 audio is equally adept.
Animated menus include a scene-selection menu allowing access to the main feature via 10 chapters.
Extras include an audio commentary track from Kelly (he speaks like Beefteena in real life!), Murdock, Katherine O'Sullivan (who also appears in the film) and Bart Mastronardi, who composed the effective but repetitious score. Kelly dominates the track unsurprisingly, offering a wealthy of interesting information. Aside from the usual tips and tribulations concerning no-budget filmmaking, I was also intrigued to learn that the film was originally going to be 30 minutes long, and was intended to feature as part of an anthology. It was only when everyone really liked the early footage that Kelly decided to make it into a feature-length production.
Elsewhere we get a fairly redundant 2-minute trailer and a 9-minute Behind-The-Scenes trailer, which in essence is a fast-edited montage of onset footage.
"Actor bios" are actually filmographies for several of the cast members.
Finally, it's perhaps worth mentioning that the cover is reversible. One cover is goofy, the other is gory.
Worth a look.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Heretic Films|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|