Blood Freak- A true turkey of a movie


Photo courtesy of Will Schneider.

For this review, I feel like I should add a bit of an explanation for all of the strange things in this review. It was originally supposed to be released this March, but during its making, Harper was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which stalled its release. As such, it became a sort of a lost review, complete, but not finished. Because of this, there are a few outdated references, especially during the introduction. However, due to it being the time to give thanks, I thought I would give you a little present for the occasion. It also fits Thanksgiving quite well for another reason, that will soon become very apparent….

A lot of times when you look at things from an era past, you start to wonder how they even came into existence in the first place. Here we have something that tries to wedge itself into a place it has no business being in, completely misunderstands its target audience, is handled incompetently, and to top it all off, has a blood-sucking turkey as its main draw. No, I am not talking about the Bloomberg Campaign, I’m talking about Blood Freak, a 1972 movie that, huge coincidence, also shares the characteristics I just mentioned, but is far more enjoyable.

The plot of this movie concerns a Vietnam veteran named Herschell who, after smoking a single blunt for ten seconds, becomes a violent, giggling drug addict. In addition to this, after taking a job at a turkey farm, he makes a little extra money by eating chemically treated turkey, transforming him into a monster who is driven to drink the blood of drug addicts.

A drug-addicted vampire actually sounds like a good monster for an exploitation movie like this, but it falls apart at the seams when you get a look at its design. That’s because the “monster” of this movie is just a guy with a paper mâché turkey head. Even worse, the turkey-man gobbles as it drinks blood and stabs people. It’s as utterly ridiculous as it sounds, and let’s face it, a turkey monster for a movie as cheesy as this should not go unnoticed.

While the monster is the funniest and most famous part of the movie, the rest of the movie also.  falls under the so-bad-it’s-good strata. There’s classic stuff like awkward acting, stupid plot, and directing that borders on incomprehensible. Shots end up either dragging on or being cut short, the sound is spotty at best, and sometimes the music just comes in for one second before disappearing. The movie feels like it was directed, shot, and edited by a bottle of gin, which, given that this is an anti-drug movie, is fitting.

Speaking of which, probably the most insane thing about this movie (aside from the drug induced were-turkey) is the fact that this violent exploitation gore film doubles as an anti-drug PSA film. Not only that but one that preaches Christianity, too. While Christian anti-drug films aren’t that unusual, you never see that stuff in a horror movie, let alone a gory, violent drive-in film like this. It’s completely serious too- at points in the movie, it’s interrupted by the movie’s director, Brad Grinter, preaching about god and drugs. This last intermission is especially funny, as while he is talking, he is coughing up a storm from the cigarette he has been smoking throughout the movie. The irony is astounding, and it nearly left me speechless the first time I saw it. It’s awe-inspiring in its ineptitude.

Blood Freak, objectively, does nothing right. At the same time, however, it’s a lot of fun. The awkward acting, dialogue, and direction, the bloody violence, and the bizarre distinction to preach to the audience make this movie something to behold. It’s a perfect storm of stupid, which makes it extremely fun to watch. Even if you don’t find it funny in its incompetency, even the most humorless among you will probably watch in sheer amazement at the fact that this movie was even made. I mean, the idea that a horror movie with a turkey-based monster is silly in and of itself, but combined with everything else makes it prime B-movie night fodder.

Blood Freak has been released on DVD and VHS a few times now and is available for streaming on Amazon if you want to watch this nonsense. It’s perfect if you want to watch something that is utterly illogical and nonsensical, but thinks The Dragon Lives Again is too kid-friendly.