Blood Rage (1987)
Film Concept Group/Film Limited Partnership
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Until about two months ago, I’m not sure if I had ever heard of the late ’80s slasher horror movie Blood Rage. I know for a fact that I had never seen it. I thought I knew of pretty much every ’80s slasher movie by this point even if I hadn’t seen them all. If I came across it on my own while browsing Amazon Video (where it is free to stream for Amazon Prime members as of this writing) I am not sure if I would have pressed ‘play’. However, I did watch a video review of it from Eric over at his MountainTop9 YouTube channel and thought it sounded interesting.
Here’s the synopsis that I totally stole from Amazon’s description:
During their childhoods, Todd is institutionalized for a murder whilst his twin goes free. 10 years later, on Thanksgiving, Todd escapes and a killing spree begins in his neighborhood.
Filmed in 1983 but not released until 1987, Blood Rage was given a limited theatrical release under the title of Nightmare at Shadow Woods. Later in 1987, the movie was re-titled Blood Rage for its VHS release. The movie apparently aired on cable television too in an edited form, again titled Nightmare at Shadow Woods,
There’s good reasons why this film went under my radar and is a fairly obscure slasher movie– it’s quirky and weird. Some of the scenes and actors are just odd. Whether intentional or because of a mish-mash of poor dialogue, editing, and acting, some scenes come across as fairly awkward. But, given the low budget nature of this trashy slasher, all of that kind of comes with the territory.
This movie does have three things going for it: a fantastic little synth score, lead actor Mark Soper, and some wonderful special effects when it comes to the gore.
Firstly, the synth score by Richard Einhorn is a true standout from ’80s horror. Einhorn is still active to this day (mostly composing for documentaries) but worked in the ’80s on more horror movies such as The Prowler, Don’t Go in the House, Eyes of a Stranger, and two episode of the Tales from the Darkside television series. It’s amazing this didn’t lead to higher profile work for Richard Einhorn but now it makes me want to check out his other works to hear what else he has done.
Mark Soper is easily the best actor in the entire movie. He pulls double duty here as twins Todd and Terry Simmons. Todd and Teddy are two totally different characters and Soper seems to have no problem portraying the swaggering, cunning & psychotic Todd and just as effortlessly assumes the role of the naive, simple & shell-shocked Terry.
Thirdly, while I’m certainly not a gore-hound, I have to give this movie kudos for the special effects in this movie. Special effects artist Ed French did a really good job here. He worked on tons of horror movies in the ’80s. For a movie that probably didn’t have much in the way of budget beyond a bag of Doritos Cool Ranch, the work put in here is most impressive.
Blood Rage was remastered and released on Blu-ray awhile back by the UK-based Arrow Video and I’m sure that’s the print being using by Amazon Video because it looks very nice and clean. If you haven’t seen this movie, and you’re a fan of cheesy and trashy ’80s horror movies, this is one you should definitely check out. It isn’t amazing, but it’s an interesting and decent use of 87 minutes for people who are into this genre of horror.