Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Brenda Adams, Lynne Adams, Denis Akiyama, Lydie Denier, Kevin Hicks
Director: Graeme Campbell
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
A severely dysfunctional family gathers at a snow-covered, isolated mansion in the winter. There the family members - including the father, an arrogant surgeon who may have murdered his wealthy wife - expose each others' s... more »
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Gruesome brain torture, but an otherwise cheap suspense/noir
Thomas M. Sipos | Santa Monica, CA | 08/05/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The video box says "horror," but Blood Relations is more of a mildly erotic noir thriller, at least for the film's first two thirds.
Marie (Lydie Denier) is the Eurotrash femme fatale, engaged to Thomas (Kevin Hicks), a young expectant heir eager to inherit his grandfather's fortune. Granddad (everyone's favorite Martian, Ray Walston) is already dying, so all Thomas and Marie need do is kill Thomas's dad (Jan Rubes) to assure Thomas is the sole heir.
Thomas brings Marie home to meet the family: just dad and granddad. All three generations of men take a liking to Marie, who resembles Thomas's dead mother (Rubes's dead wife, Walston's dead daughter). Things get kinky. Granddad asks Marie to call him "father." Then he asks her to strip naked and kiss him. So she does. Hey, he's worth a fortune, right?
Blood Relations threads noir terrain, so there's the requisite shyster lawyer to draft the will, his faithless wife (girlfriend?), and a creepy servant. No one is to be trusted, everyone plots against everyone else, forming shifting alliances over who might inherit the dying granddad's estate. There are faked deaths, lies and betrayals, and a dead cat. Dad romances both his lawyer's wife and Marie, bedding one and telling the other that his son "is not a real man" and will inherit nothing.
Blood Relations's milieu resembles that of The Shining and Curtains. All three films feature small casts wandering within vast snowbound mansions. Yet while The Shining and Curtains are enhanced by their stark wintry milieu, Blood Relations is diminished. Shorn of padding and distractions, the former two films reveal compelling stories, gripping emotional subtexts, and strong casts; Blood Relations is left with nothing but a banal hackneyed script, performed by competent but unspectacular actors.
Despite its lavish mansion set (the only location aside from a few hospital rooms), Blood Relations feels surprisingly cheap. Just a handful of characters wandering spacious halls. It doesn't feel spooky or claustrophobic (as does The Haunting). It only feels empty and low-budget and ... cheap. Only one servant in sight.
It's not until the film's final third that the suspense/noir elements are discarded for horror. I don't want to spoil too many surprises. Just know that dad is a brain surgeon. In a horror film, that means he likes to transplant brains, whether the subject is willing or not. And serendipitously for horror fans, brain surgery is often best conducted while the subject is conscious.
Blood Relations isn't the first, nor last, film to feature consciously aware brain torture. Bloodsucking Freaks (1977) and Hannibal both come to mind. Happily, despite its tepid noir elements, when Blood Relations (finally) shifts into horror, it manages some disturbing and effective scenes. Not many, but they're there. Also some artily shot "dream" sequences.
The ending confuses. I'm not sure where all the brains went. One was cooked, one was transplanted, but what of the rest?
If you enjoy hackneyed low-budget noir, perhaps you won't mind waiting to get to the gory horror. Poor Marie. All that noir buildup, then the rules change. For while femme fatales often triumph in noir, horror is a mad scientists' genre."
I love it
Angel Fountains | 10/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't listen to them, if you like b-movies with a bite to it, I highly recommend this movie.
Lydie Denier is amazing, beautiful and a very convincing actress. It's not really graphic until the end part. There are mild sexual scenes but not to the point of an R rating."
Which One's The Brains Of This Operation?...
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 07/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BLOOD RELATIONS starts out like an erotically-charged thriller, turns into a mystery, and winds up a full-blown, manic horror fiesta! Nothing is as it seems. The story will appear to be heading in a certain direction, only to take a quick, off-kilter turn. Lydie Denier is the increasingly perplexed Marie. She slowly uncovers the family secrets that will cost her so dearly. Kevin Hicks is Marie's unpredictable fianceé, Thomas. Jan Rubes plays the overly-friendly, possibly unbalanced patriarch of this little psycho-drama. He definitely has hidden parts to his personality! BR is twisted, absurd, and in the end, utterly satisfying..."
Tale Of Buried Secrets, Sinister Schemes And A Dark Mansion
Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 07/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When a young man brings his fiancee home to the family mansion to meet the relatives, sinister happenings start to occur all around. In a plot that should be too wacky to work but somehow does, it seems everybody has deep secrets and wicked motivations, with the young couple evidently scheming to knock the man's extremely wealthy father off in order to collect a large inheritance; with the father possibly guilty in the 'accidental' death of his own wife a couple of years back and possibly having sinister plans for his son's fiancee; and with the very aged, bed-ridden grandfather seemingly having some skeletons in his closet as well. Throw into this the family doctor's apparant involvement with at least one nasty plot and his girlfriend's role in all of this, and it's hard to believe this isn't the outline for a farcical comedy. But it's not, and somehow it manages to pull it off. There's no question that there's a camp factor in here, but Blood Relations is another reminder that, occasionally, some campiness isn't all that bad. Although most of the characters are pretty villainous, they're interesting, and there's some doubt as to just how guilty some of the parties really are or how far they plan to take their ideas; nonetheless there are few traditional 'innocents' in here.
There are some definate problems with the movie that I'll address quickly; one is the sound job - during the early parts much of the movie is unintentionally hard to hear without having the volume so loud that the rest of the movie is thunderous; thankfully this is limited primarilily to two or three early scenes. And occasionally the gaps in logic go too far, and require a sizable suspension of disbelief.
Beyond those shortcomings, the movie is loaded to the max with classic horror/mystery elements. With eerie and effective lighting, a great harpsichordish musical score, ominously creaking doors, a mansion in the wilderness, hidden passages and secret corridors, and the mystery of just what unholy frights are hidden away in the basement, not to mention a considerable sexy edge (bolstered by the beautiful and frequently naked Lydie Denier in the lead female role), this is the kind of movie that will make afficionados of this type of horror (like myself) overlook a couple of gaffes. Highly recommended."