Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 04/08/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"What do you think of when you hear the words "bad movie"? For most members of the movie going public, bad cinema translates into big budget disasters like "Gigli" or "Batman and Robin." And if you listed these two films as miserable dreck barely worth mentioning without cringing, you would be correct. Big studio pictures that take a tumble are horrific to watch. But for a certain small segment of the public, these sorts of films really don't represent the worst of the worst. Sure, watching Arnie Schwarzenegger don his Mr. Freeze outfit is worth a chuckle or two, as is witnessing Affleck's attempts at a New Yawk accent, but for real kicks you have to dig much deeper. Those stalwart souls who wish to view the truly horrific need to check out movies made during the golden age of the drive-in. During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the drive-in provided audiences with spectacularly bad films, real howlers that would give anyone a nervous breakdown. "Invasion of the Blood Farmers" falls neatly into this category, a category that shelters movies like "Blood Feast" and "Manos, The Hands of Fate." Yep, "Invasion" is as bad as "Manos," if not worse. Of course, I loved this film because I simply adore bad movies made by people who haven't a clue as to how to construct a motion picture. "Invasion of the Blood Farmers" tells the story of an ancient cult of druids (!) called Sangroids disguised as farmers in the modern day. These bib overall wearing dudes--there appear to be about three or four of them total--start working their way through the residents of Jefferson Valley in order to harvest a supply of blood. They need plenty of the red stuff to carry out various cheesy rituals and to resurrect their comatose queen, a lady who spends most of the film lying around in a glass box looking anemic. Unfortunately for the blood farmers, a local scientist, his daughter, and her goofy boyfriend not so quickly catch on to the unfolding hijinks. Problems start when the daughter's dog disappears under mysterious circumstances, a local man stumbles into a bar in a terrible state, and the scientist finds some blood that reproduces itself at an amazing rate. Meanwhile, the blood farmers spend their time pumping blood out of bodies with some sort of Rube Goldberg contraption and yucking it up over their slumbering monarch. Eventually, the scientist and his assistant meet up with a professor at the local university who seems to know a lot more about the strange events in Jefferson Valley than he is willing to let on about. "Invasion of the Blood Farmers" doesn't conclude as much as it judders to a halt when the scientist, with daughter and boyfriend in tow, locks horns with the druids during the resurrection ritual at the end of the film. Just in case you get bored with the idea of a sleeping druid, some guy referred to as Creton (more like Cretin) pops up from time to time to help move the film along. This chap, who overacts with a ferocity rarely witnessed in any form of cinematic expression, is a true find for the bad film fan. He whines, he gesticulates, he commands, he violates every known rule of acting; this is a man who knows his limitations but simply doesn't care. You won't, either, after witnessing his histrionic performance. I really shouldn't pick on Creton since none of the performances in the film are worth mentioning except in tones of absolute derision. I found the guy who played the scientist especially annoying. At the end of the film, the man does something very kind for his daughter and then LAUGHS AND LAUGHS in a very disturbing manner. What is he laughing about and why is he laughing so hard? Who knows, but that scene alone provides all the shocks you'll get out of this film.Nothing works in "Invasion," absolutely nothing unless you count utter badness as a virtue. The cinematography resembles a style used in atrocity footage, and the film stock is in such bad shape that it looks like the director shot his movie in psychedelic-vision. Large chunks of the movie fade in and out amidst oceans of grain and haze, colors suddenly turn wacky, and the scenes look as though director Ed Adlum spliced them together with a chainsaw. And the special effects! Ha! What did they use for blood, a fizzy fruit drink? I'm not even going to excavate the mountain of continuity errors and just plain dumb dialogue in the film. To do so would simply take too long and require more energy than I am capable of at this point. "Invasion" will stupefy you with its dazzling array of banalities, overwhelm you with its sublime stupidity. Forget "Gigli" folks; "Invasion of the Blood Farmers" is the archetype of garbage cinema.The DVD is odd for such a bad movie. There's a big windup from Fred Olen Ray before the movie even starts. Ray's directed plenty of bad movies in his own right, so his presence here is at the least appropriate and at the most annoying. Freddie and some floozies perform a few lame sketches in an effort to get you to send in a card enclosed with the DVD. Skip past this junk to get right to the gold: "Invasion of the Blood Farmers," some stills from the film, and a boatload of schlock trailers. Only those viewers with iron constitutions and brains of lead should give this one a go. It's an atrocious film sure to upset most people's outlook on life. Would I watch it again? You bet. Cheese never tasted as good as this."
Invasion of the Schlockmeisters is more like it...
Jeffrey Leach | 12/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are good movies and there are bad movies. There are also numerous good bad movies, the ones that are amateur in presentation but made with such good intentions that they are actually enjoyable. (Plan 9 from Outer Space and Bucket of Blood are perfect examples of good bad movies.) And then there are the bad bad movies. These films are slapped together with whatever wannabe actors (i.e. friends and family) are willing to spout inane lines of dialogue in front of a camera. Shaky camera work is coupled with the use of grainy film stock that might as well have been purchased at a tag sale. Interior and exterior sets are confined to Mom's house and backyard. Special makeup effects wouldn't be possible without the neighborhood party store's Halloween section.These are the exploitation flicks, the cult films, the drive-in movies of yore. Except for unintentional humor, there is no redeeming value to this peculiar film subgenre characterized by shock value and horrible execution. Invasion of the Blood Farmers is a perfect example of the latter.Local yokels in Jefferson Valley are disappearing at an alarming rate. The chief of police is out of town, so the disappearances are of great concern. One of the town drunks stumbles into his home away from home bleeding profusely and gurgling incoherently before he finally succumbs in front of the rest of the barflies' startled eyes. When the town pathologists analyze his blood, they discover that it has been tainted by an outside agent that causes red blood cells to reproduce at an alarming rate. As evidence, a test tube that originally contained a drop of the victim's blood is now overflowing with the red stuff.The force behind the disappearances and the mysterious "plasma disorder" is a group of Druids taking up residence at a neighboring farm. Their aim is to resurrect the Queen of the Sangroids. In order to do this, they must feed her blood. Sounds easy enough, but there's a catch: the blood must be of a type that does not react to the agent that causes accelerated blood cell growth. Therefore, the Druids go about draining all the locals of their blood (with what looks like an air compressor!) and then testing it to see if they have found the right person to revive their dead queen.Invasion of the Blood Farmers is one of those movies you watch with constantly raised eyebrows. The no-budget production value and deplorable acting make a 1-900 "chat" line commercial look like high art. With a movie like this, you can't help but laugh at the ridiculousness, especially the script. For example, a character relating a story about the weird goings-on he witnessed at the Druid farm wistfully says, "If I only had a camera, I woulda had a picture." Somewhere, Ed Wood is cringing.One usually thinks of Druids as black-cloaked, gothic dudes performing rituals by holding goblets up to the full moon at Stonehenge. The Druids in this film are farmers who would look more at home in 2000 Maniacs, although there is one black-cloaked dude. He is their leader, a young guy whose hair and sideburns are highlighted with white shoe polish to make him look older. The farmer Druids work to collect blood for him to resurrect the Queen, a hilarious process in which the victim is tied down and fitted with a transfusion kit set in reverse so the blood comes out rather than going in. The sound of the dripping, draining blood is amusingly overemphasized; the process sounds like a brewing pot of coffee.Special mention needs to be made about the "multicultural" cast. The myriad of employed accents rivals those in Meryl Streep's repertoire. Although all villains are Druids, some speak with an overarticulated British accent while the farmers use the good ol' boy drawl of Jefferson Valley, USA. The town professor/pathologist puts on a slight faux Brit accent also, presumably to give him an air of respectability and importance. The funniest, however, is the sheriff's tough-guy Brooklyn accent. It's Mayberry as run by Tony Soprano. I'm still not sure whether or not this was intentional. But I don't think the filmmakers thought that hard about it - I think the New Yawk enunciations are there because that's how the actors really speak. As proof, there's a character in overalls and a cowboy hat who pronounces words like "work" and "thing" as "woik" and "ting."What's good about this movie? You mean the preceding the three paragraphs didn't prompt you to rush out and buy this movie for the sheer cheesiness of it all? Well, they should. Invasion of the Blood Farmers is a movie in the same vein as The Corpse Grinders. It's truly a drive-in movie, the type they never show on TV - and when they do, it's on some obscure channel at 4:00 a.m. And it is absolutely horrible, from the sets to the makeup to the acting...especially the acting. Ed Adlum's direction elevates Herschell Gordon Lewis to the ranks of Orson Welles. It is just this type of movie that made Mystery Science Theater 3000 a hit. Invasion of the Blood Farmers is awful, uninspiring...and fun. When you can gather a bunch of friends to sit through a movie and hurl rapid-fire witticisms at the screen, well that just makes for an entertaining night and a film that will be looked upon with nostalgia. I remember a time when Invasion was playing at a now-defunct drive-in nearby that specialized in B-movies. If my memory serves me, it shared the marquee with Motel Hell. Years later, I came across an old newspaper advertisement for that drive-in and just the names of those movies made me misty-eyed with reminiscence. Invasion of the Blood Farmers is a far worse movie than Motel Hell (which, in my eyes, falls under that "good bad movie" category). But it's worth a look at least once if only to give your overworked brain a taste of junk food.Invasion of the Blood Farmers is presented in 1.85 non-anamorphic widescreen (like it matters). To put it nicely, the transfer is below average, even though the DVD box proudly declares that the film is remastered from the original 35mm negative. I don't fault the distributor, however, as the source material was never high quality to begin with. The picture is not necessarily grainy, but soft, almost as if lensed through a filter. Colors are muted and washed out. There are some brief moments in the film where the picture is so grainy and discolored it's unwatchable, almost like a piece of filmstrip was immersed in acid or something. I call it "cinematography by Zapruder". An example is when the screen turns entirely green for about 45 seconds. Artistic expression or poor filmmaking - you make the call.The Dolby 2.0 mono sound is sub-standard, but what did you expect? Dialogue is hollow, but I have a feeling that is a characteristic of the movie's overall low budget and not the fault of the sound mixers. I might be able to forgive the disc that one fault; however, the rest of the movie sounds so awful I can't find anything positive to say. More than once, the words coming out of actor's mouths are a second or two behind their lip movements - there is no excuse for that since the actors are speaking English! Inappropriately loud swells of music occur during tense or "dramatic" scenes and only serve to drown out any audible conversation. Obnoxious theatrical thunderclaps permeate the Druid ritual scenes and are as loud as a stampede of hysterical elephants escaping the circus. Wearing horseshoes.The supplements on this disc are barely informational but all promotional. You start off with "Night Owl Theater" featuring schlock producer and host Fred Olen Ray. At first, I thought this would be a cool intro to the movie, similar to Joe Bob Brigg's Drive-In Totals. No such luck. This is purely a promo item with Fred and some out-of-work strippers hocking Retromedia products and urging viewers to send away for free stuff. Related to this is yet another product push disguised as a "supplement" that is a special offer for an Evil Toons animation cel. Night Owl bloopers are also included - I consider that to be a supplement of a supplement. As if that isn't enough, Night Owl Theater appears before the movie starts and the Evil Toons Special Offer turns up after the credits roll, ensuring that audiences don't miss the plugs.With the shameless self-promotion out of the way, fans of Invasion of the Blood Farmers can enjoy an extensive still gallery of the most memorable shots from the movie set to its score. After that, you can enjoy the original theatrical trailer. But wait...there's more! Also included are five other trailers for films released under Retromedia's Fred Olen Ray Night Owl Theater collection: Angel Eyes, Evil Spawn, Fatal Justice, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Scalps.Bad movies...you gotta love 'em. Or at least some of them. I am a true fan of the bad movie when it is done with a modicum of self-aware humor combined with the genuine efforts of a moderately competent cast and crew. Invasion of the Blood Farmers has neither. This is a bad movie and everyone involved knows it. I'm fairly certain that when filming wrapped, the parties involved knew there would be no need to prepare an Oscar night acceptance speech. Let me emphasize, though, that I have more respect for the type of movie that at least acknowledges its dreadfulness than I do for glossy, overproduced dreck that passes for a blockbuster these days (Godzilla 1998, anyone?). If first-rate horror is what you seek, buy The Exorcist. But if you just want to hunker down in front of your TV late one night and throw popcorn at the screen, Invasion of the Blood Farmers may be just what the doctor ordered."
Man What a Movie... Such Great Dialogue
M. Cole | United States | 08/13/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I really loved the Prof. Character.. The always witty banter between the Prof. and his boy assistant... Here's a good example, something like this:Boy Assistant: "I saw a sign of a struggle near the river. There was blood on the ground!"Prof: "Probably just woodchucks"Also, glad the town is in the hands of the genius chief.."
The Lawrence of Arabia of Sangroid Druid Movies!!!
Jeffrey Leach | 12/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A must for any and all fans of really really bad movies. This little known gem is actually MORE entertaining than any HG Lewis film and ranks alongside the best of Ed Wood. The "story" revolves around a bunch of "Sangroid Druids" attempting to resurrect their queen by finding a suitable "Blood Hooost". You won't be-BELIEVE! the acting/dialogue and camera work. Insane. Highlights: the doctor's facial expressions, the obviously medicated out of her mind lead actress, and the over the top acting of "Kreton". Blood Farmers is the best of the worst."