Aka Blood Tracks

Every horror fan will have their secret pleasures when it comes to obscure vintage B movies, the sort of flicks that the genre fan can deride devilish pleasure with when debating the merits of horror movies in online forums or over a beer at horror festivals. More commonly it�s often about which of Dario Argento�s less popular movies is your secret pleasure? Trauma. Mother of Tears, Phantom of the Opera? (oh and before you ask, the latter of the three is mine). But every horror fan also has their own pick of truly obscure niche movie that they will proudly decry love for with a passion normally reserved for the more choice �coming out� moments. For me, that movie is Mats-Helge Olsson�s BLOOD TRACKS (or as it is known here SHOCKING HEAVY METAL).

The background to the making of BLOOD TRACKS is almost as entertaining as the movie itself, back in the mid 1980�s Swedish glam metal band Easy Action where looking at various ways of enhancing their career profile in the hope of overtaking their glam counterparts Europe in the rock success stakes. After much comic debate (Swedish readers should check out Peo Thyr�n�s biography "Ett bed�rande barns bek�nnelser") the band decided the best way forward for global glam rock domination would be to make a movie. Aware of filmmaker Mats-Helge Olsson�s work (and the fact that he was able to produce movies on a budget) on such epics as �Ninja Mission� the band set about hooking up with the infamous low budget Swedish filmmaker, the only problem being that Mats-Helge was at that time incarcerated in prison for questionable fraudulent financial activities on his previous movie. Perhaps understandably the phone call made to Mats-Helge in jail with an offer of film work would have been a welcome one for the low budget auteur so on his release BLOOD TRACKS was born!

The premise of BLOOD TRACKS is so simple it could have been scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet by one of the Scooby Doo writers during a drunk night out. The film opens in the late 1940�s where an alcoholic father returns home to his family with the sole purpose of trashing their squalid home to find some more pennies for booze. After a violent struggle with his poor tormented wife, hubby ends up with a knife planted in him by her so the luckless mother grabs her kids and flees.

Cut to 40 years later and glam rock band Solid Gold (aka Swedish glam rock gods Easy Action) are out in the snowy mountain wilderness of Sweden to film the video for their hot new single Blood Tracks in the company of their film crew and a bevvy of half naked groupie rock chicks. After the first day of the shoot the band and their entourage settle in back at their desolate log cabin residence for an evening of drink and debauchery and all seems well until a nearby avalanche kicks in. Trapped in their chilly winter wonderland by no means interferes with the band or their groupies sexual antics (in fact probably just goads them on even more) but the film crew themselves keep in mind they�re in a low budget horror movie so take it in turn to visit a nearby abandoned factory (under the various guises of �recording some audio noise�, �checking the walkie talkies� or just plain old �let�s see if we can get killed�).

Of course, the family from the films prologue scenario have somehow been hiding living in the factory for the past 40 years, but as the abandoned factory is host to considerable amounts of toxic waste (and as the fact that home schooling clearly wasn�t on the agenda for the poor residing kids) they have grown into a murderous hodge podge of violent mutants that even the Hills Have Eyes clan would be loathe to invite to a family wedding.

Cue a barrage of low budget Scooby Doo sensibility splatter as the local mutants take it upon themselves to brutally murder each of the glam rock crew entourage for gatecrashing their pleasant family toxic homestead and whilst glam fans will appreciate the rock trash fun everyone viewing will be pleading for the deserved deaths for all involved (well, they play right into the whole �ok, we�re in a big abandoned warehouse so perhaps we better all split up��and welcomingly one of them does split, quite literally).

The script, acting, dialogue in BLOOD TRACKS is universally awful but that�s not the point here as no one would be watching this one for its artistic merit. BLOOD TRACKS is pure exploitation trash and in turn exploitation trash of the finest order. Embrace the awfulness of it all, there�s many scenes where the dialogue is so bad you can�t help but laugh out loud, the glam aspect of Easy Action/Solid Gold is a fun snapshot of that particular era in rock (and the track Blood Tracks is catchy as hell), there�s stacks of nudity and sufficient trashy gore to keep horror fans sated and even the appearance of Jeff Harding (Ed Winchester of The Fast Show fame) in a lead role adds unintentional comic kudos to proceedings.

BLOOD TRACKS record on the home video market since the 1980�s has been disappointing so any release now is a welcome one so thanks should be noted to the team at CMV Laservision for this solid DVD package. Although filmed in 35 mm with a 1.85 :1 ratio, attempts to source any attempts to access that master over the years has been fruitless with two varying home video editions being available in the Western and Japanese video markets. This DVD looks to have been prepared from the 1.33:1 European master that was utilised by Avatar Video back in the 1980s, here though with a stronger image than previous releases. Sure it�s not the perfect release that I�ve longed dreamed of (in original ratio from the original master) but knowing that several companies have tried to source as such with no success over a number of years then this for now will be the one for fans of the movie to go for.

The English audio is a nice clear 2 channel track with a German audio option included for native German viewers. As well as the always welcome inclusion of the films trailer the disc also includes a selection of comparison scenes between the European and Japanese versions of the movie which was a revelation for myself as a longtime fan as it clearly shows scenes that were shot twice (with different actors in very differing positions) were utilised in both release prints (adding to the confusion as to which would be the definitive version, if any does exist � something that only Mats-Helge Olsson could know I�m sure). Also included are trailers for Cameron�s Closet, Alien 2 and The Beast in the Cellar and the whole shebang comes packaged in a gorgeous digibook cover (complete with lovely painted one sheet cover).

Sure, BLOOD TRACKS (or SHOCKING HEAVY METAL as it's known here) isn�t going to be everyone�s cup of tea but if you need a break from the growingly anal world of blu-ray print fetishism and just want to crack open a beer and watch some good �ol trashy exploitation movie fun then you could do worse than this Glam Rock Meets the Hills Have Eyes gem (and a sweet package from CMV Laservision too!) Now where did I put my old glam glad rags�

Review by Alan Simpson

Released by CMV Laservision
Region 2 - PAL
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review