God bless Ray Dennis Steckler, that's all I have to say. Among the countless directors who have come and gone inside and outside the Hollywood system, Steckler has always been a guerrilla maverick of accidental genius; in interviews, you see him unpretentiously share a wealth of cinematic knowledge, and even cite instances in his own work where he is directly quoting from some of the greats (he has name-dropped John Huston and Michelangelo Antonioni). Watching Steckler's films, you can see that borrowed inspiration turned into a mutation of B-movie brilliance. Granted, I wasn't always appreciative of the man's work (my first look: MST3K's lampooning of "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies"), but have since really warmed up to his obscure filmography.
"Blood Shack" is a masterpiece of shlock. Out in the desert someplace, washed-up starlet Carol Brandt (played by none other than Carolyn Brandt!) has just inherited a significant amount of land, on which rests a dilapidated house ("A historical monument that's been there 150 years!") where bad things always seem to be happening. You see, the place is haunted by 'The Chooper' ("Blood Shack"'s alternate title), a purportedly supernatural being culled from Native American folklore. Also on the premises are two little girls (Steckler's daughters, Laura and Linda) who, in one adorably hilarious scene, give their own interpretation of the Chooper legend; Daniel (Jason Wayne), the amusing, low-intellect hick groundskeeper; and Tim Foster (Ron Haydock, of "Rat Pfink a Boo Boo"), a rival rancher who is hell-bent on buying Carol's property. Also on hand are some less-than-wise youngsters and bit players who run afoul of the Chooper, an assassin in black Ninja pajamas and Chuck Taylors.
At a scant 55 minutes, the plot has no room to be convoluted, but somehow is anyway (what are we to make of the scene where Daniel is "talking" to the Chooper in relation to the denouement?), though most viewers won't care. "Blood Shack" shows off the usual Steckler conventions: gritty location shooting that inspires a real sense of desolation and isolation (not unlike how he made Skid Row a real den of squalor in "Hollywood Strangler"); Zapruder-like cinematography (most regularly exhibited in scenes at a rodeo); and an unshakable sense of silliness that lightens a potentially sinister tone (even when blood is spilled, the film retains an innocent feel). As a bonus, Brandt's voice-over narration (intended to convey all the details the budget couldn't convey visually, methinks) is humorously air-headed, as most of her sentiments are less-than-profound filler. Ditto the repetitive dialog of Haydock ("You're gonna sell! You're gonna sell!") and Wayne ("I told ya to get away from that house! The Chooper'll get ya!"); the lack of an actual script is just another one of "Blood Shack"'s endearing charms.
I don't know that there's a way to summarize my overall feelings on "Blood Shack" that would do the film proper justice--I always find myself in awe of this $500 wonder. Perhaps I'll let Carol Brandt sum things up: "I think I'll worry about it tomorrow...if tomorrow ever comes."
Loading video, please wait...
A young woman inherits a ranch that is supposedly haunted by a murderous beast called "The Chooper."
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
December 15, 2022 at 02:44 AM