Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Includes Alternate Version - The Chooper
Actors: Carolyn Brandt, Ron Haydock, Jason Wayne, Laurel Spring, John Bates
Director: Ray Dennis Steckler
Genres: Action & Adventure, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
The slasher massacre of eight innocent nurses. At a remote mental hospital, a masked serial killer is brutally murdering the wealthy female patients. Who is the killer? When will he strike again? Who is next? The tension b... more »
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The horror...the horror!
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 04/11/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Ugh! That's the one word that comes to mind with Ray Dennis Steckler's "The Chooper" a.k.a. "Bloodshack." Watching this movie underscores the fact that I'm scraping the bottom of the cinematic barrel much too often these days. There's just no excuse to watch a movie as bad as this one, not with so many other great cheesy titles coming out on DVD on a weekly basis. But watch it I did, and from the looks of it I'm the only one who has. Good. That means this warning will hopefully prevent another viewer from making the same mistake I did. Here are a few other warning signs that should keep you from watching "Bloodshack":
The editorial description on this page is for the film "Slaughter Hotel," not "Bloodshack." Perhaps the writer of this blurb couldn't bring himself or herself to actually watch Steckler's film. I can say that a trailer for "Slaughter Hotel" is included on the DVD in the supplements section, so maybe the mistake is legitimate--or wishful thinking.
None other than Joe Bob Briggs contributes one of the two commentary tracks on the disc. If you're familiar with Joe Bob, you know he specializes in watching and reviewing the absolute worst atrocities committed to celluloid. Even he has his hands full with "Bloodshack." O.K., maybe this isn't a good way to convince you to pass over "Bloodshack"; the commentary is funny and worth watching. Too bad the movie isn't nearly as funny as a stand-alone project. This movie isn't "so bad it's good"; it's "so bad it'll put you in a coma."
Joe Bob mentions in his commentary that director Ray Dennis Steckler now owns a video store in Las Vegas. This factoid should convince you of the ineptness we're dealing with here. What director worth his or her salt would wind up working in a video store? Name one. See, you can't. Even Herschell Gordon Lewis went on to a successful career in direct marketing after folding the tent on a film career of truly appalling dimensions.
Still interested in watching "Bloodshack"? If so, here's a bit of plot summary. Out in the desert exists a house cursed long ago by a tribe of Indians. The spirit that supposedly inhabits the house is called the Chooper, and this spirit will kill anyone who wanders inside of the building. The caretaker of the place, Daniel (Jason Wayne), tries to warn people away from the building at every opportunity. He unfortunately fails to stop Connie (Laurel Spring), a young woman who shows up to see if the legend is true, from spending a night in the house. You can guess what happens to Connie, can't you? You'll have to guess because the nighttime photography is so bad that we can barely make out what happens to her. Anyway, a burned out film star named Carol (Carolyn Brandt) eventually shows up to take possession of the family estate, an estate that just happens to contain the Chooper haunted house. Right from the start, a shady local named Tim (Ron Haydock) starts hassling her to sell him the estate. According to Daniel, Tim's ancestor lost the land to Carol's ancestor as a result of a high stakes card game, and the family has been trying to reclaim it ever since. Uh huh. Needless to say Carol eventually has her own run in with the Chooper, an encounter that turns out to have explosive revelations we all saw coming from miles away. Not that we cared, of course, but we saw them coming.
Well, at least there's a plot. All of the above could have easily fit in a film of roughly twenty or thirty minutes in length, but not in Ray Dennis Steckler's world; he makes films with healthy running times so the fans will leave the drive in happy and satisfied with their ticket purchase. Thus he throws in minutes and minutes of mind numbing scenes involving two kids named Margie and Barbara (Linda and Laura Steckler respectively--nothing like a little nepotism in the film biz, eh Denny?) poking around the house and hassling Daniel. The two kids' shenanigans pale in comparison, however, to the endless stock footage rodeo scenes thrown in for no other reason than to pad this sucker out to an hour and a half. We even spend an inordinate amount of time with Peanuts the Pony! Egads! The acting is uninspired, the set pieces run down and cheap, the action laughable, the dialogue leaden, and the photography discordant; this is the world that is "Bloodshack." This is a world not worth living in.
Incredibly, the disc comes with a bounty of extras that take a long time to watch. Two versions of the film, an interview with Steckler and Brandt, a commentary with Steckler, the aforementioned Briggs commentary, stills, and trailers for "Slaughter Hotel" and "Nightmares Come at Night" grace the DVD. Indulging in the various supplements is far more entertaining than watching either version of the movie. Why give so much fanfare to such a mediocre movie? Apparently Ray Dennis Steckler has quite a few fans who adore some of his other movies, primarily his efforts "Rat Pfink and Boo Boo" and "The Thrill Killers." I'll bet they aren't fans of this turkey, though. "Bloodshack" is a movie that should have been allowed to languish in obscurity or tossed in a roaring fire.
Michelangelo Antonioni Meets Ed Wood
Robert I. Hedges | 12/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let me start with a brief explanation of my five star rating, which may seem problematic to many viewers. I gave the DVD five stars primarily for showing Steckler's process of making a low-budget film. Like most Steckler fans, this is not one of my favorites, but the presentation on the DVD makes up for some shortcomings in the film itself.
This movie was made for next to nothing and features three of Ray's family members in the cast (Carolyn Brandt, the protagonist, as well as his two daughters) and basically involves Carolyn (ironically playing a washed-up movie star) inheriting an awful ranch in the middle of nowhere. (The location was good at getting that point across.) The house on the ranch is haunted by "The Chooper" who has specialized in murder and mayhem for 150 years. One method of storytelling I found annoying was the extensive narration by Carolyn, which is largely unnecessary, but does allow Ray to focus on his true love, cinematography. Much of the actual photography in the film is first rate, which isn't a surprise, as Ray is an excellent cinematographer and cameraman. The acting is generally average at best, and there is a humongous amount of padding in the film (nothing says "horror" like a rodeo). There are a couple of scares that are well done, but several scary scenes end up being more comic relief than anything.
I had seen both "the Chooper" and "Blood Shack" long ago, but the beauty of this DVD is that both versions are included, and feature the always great commentary of Joe Bob Briggs, who fills us in on some historical information as well as entertains. There are also interviews with both Ray and Carolyn which are interesting for the true Steckler fan. These features make the DVD worth the money and the explanation of the creative process in the interviews ensured a high rating from me. As an aside, the box art has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the film.
One of the most interesting revelations in the film is in Joe Bob's introduction, when he reveals that two of Ray's favorite directors are Ed Wood and Michelangelo Antonioni. I think that astute viewers will see a melding of their styles (plus some John Ford) in this film, as bizarre as that sounds. While this is not my favorite Steckler film, true fans of low budget films should check this out post haste.
Nearly so bad it's good
TrezKu13 | Norfolk, VA | 02/08/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
""Bloodshack" is another film from Ray Dennis Steckler, the Quentin Tarantino of bad film directors. (many MST3K fans may remember him as the fellow who brought us "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies") Shot on a budget of $500, it features the story of a young woman named Carol who inherits a ranch from her late uncle, and it turns out there's an old curse on the place. There's an old shack on the ranch that is possessed by an Indian spirit called "the Chooper" that kills any one who draws near the house.
The film is by no means a classic, even for the low-budget market. Much of the film is Carol moseying around the ranch while her badly dubbed voice-over rambles on and on about random things. Then there are the infamous rodeo scenes that seem like they were put in to pad the movie - and in fact, they were. And as for the Chooper...well, I'll describe him perfectly so you folks can dress up as him for Halloween. Paint white lines across your face like a football quarterback. Now, buy a dark blue sweatshirt and sweatpants set. Put the hood over your head and tighten it at the neck. Now, go buy a cheesy plastic sword, or steal one from your 10 year old. Good, now run around scream, "RARR!!" like you're imitating a dinosaur. BAM! You're the Chooper! No, folks, I'm not kidding. All scenes involving the Chooper are played for horror, but instead they only get laughs.
It really plays like an episode of "Scooby Doo" except people get killed. Carol gets bugged by this rich neighbor who wants her land and won't take no for an answer, and in the middle of the film you find out there's a great source of water under the ranch. It's so terribly obvious who the Chooper is after all this that Ray Dennis Steckler might as well have rented a Great Dane and ended the film with "I would've gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you snoopin' kids!"
The special features include the original director's cut, which was aptly named "The Chooper," and it features two commentaries. One is by Ray Dennis Steckler himself, the other by cult movie critic Joe Bob Briggs. Ray Dennis Steckler's commentary is really worthless in the long run - he'll mention one or two facts about the film, but a lot of it comes across as the ramblings of an old man. ("OK, now Carol goes down the hall. Look out! It's the Chooper! Choo! Choo! Chooper! Choo! Choo!") Admittedly, he comes across as a nice guy, the type you'd get in small talk with at the coffee shop, but that's all he has going for himself. Joe Bob Briggs, on the other hand, gives a great commentary that not only provides interesting facts about the actors and filmmakers but also is downright hilarious! He won me over during the first thirty minutes when he mentioned two things:
1) "The Chooper" is about the worst name for a horror movie - "Chooper?! That's not scary at all! It sounds like a 1950's sports car. 'Dude! I drove the Chooper out on I-5 today!'"
2) Ray Dennis Steckler's daughters, who play the kids of Carol's neighbors, are the best actors in the film. That made me laugh because that was EXACTLY what I thought watching it the first way through.
So yeah, it's a bad film. Some people hate it, some people love it because it's bad. I can safely say it's not a "my Brain is melting" bad, it's just a "ha ha this is terrible" bad. I dunno if I would actually spend MONEY on it though..."
Very bad movie. Nothing happens.
NoWireHangers | Sweden | 07/02/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very bad movie. Even if you are familiar with Ray Dennis Steckler you may get disappointed. It's about a woman, Carolyn, who inherits a ranch where there's a little shack. If you go into that shack, bad things will happen. Okay, so the people in the movie go in there and bad things happen. Sounds pretty much like your average Z grade horror movie, but this is much worse, because that's not really what the movie is about, except for a few minutes. The rest of the running time is made up of Carolyn walking around and looking at horses and things like that and nothing happens. Why would I want to waste time watching that if I want to see a horror film? It also doesn't meet the qualifications to be "so bad it's good", simply because it's so boring. Don't waste your time and money."