14 Days Until Halloween, 2013: BLOOD HARVEST (1987) and THE DEMONS OF LUDLOW (1983)



How about a Bill Rebane double feature…?

Okay, fine.  I’ll just watch them myself.  You don’t know what you’re missing, though.  Hell, you might not know what you missed even if you watch them.  Bill Rebane is well regarded as a technical innovator (he created the first 360 degree “wrap around” motion picture process), but almost universally reviled for his actual movies.  

When watching a Bill Rebane film, those who love the “so bad, they’re good” movies do their best.  They really make an effort, but usually find themselves concluding “this is so bad that it’s just bad”.  Good.  I hate those people.  Those are the people you see mocking the director Claudio Fragasso (and a perfectly innocent retired actress who has seen better days but still has more class than the sickening, self satisfied jerk who is interviewing her) in that documentary about TROLL 2.  Idiots.  I won’t even repeat the name of the documentary.  I don’t want to give it any more publicity than it has (…enjoy your 98% ripe rotten tomato rating, you ignorant bastards!)

Still, I have to admit that, like caviar or stinky cheese, Bill Rebane’s films are an acquired taste.  You really have to work at them.  You really have to work hard.  Rather than concluding that it’s “so bad that it’s just bad”, however, just admit to yourself that you aren’t up for it at the moment.  Realize that it’s too much for you RIGHT NOW but, if you return to it later, perhaps when you have more patience or mental energy, you might just see something you haven’t already.  Sometimes waiting for things make them more exciting.

I probably shouldn’t make Bill Rebane’s movies out to be the cinematic equivalent of Lou Reed’s “Metal Machine Music”.
There are hooks.  It’s not all just one big challenge to one’s sensibilities.  There’s stuff to hang on to…a little bit of melody in between the dissonance.

Hell, BLOOD HARVEST has Tiny Tim!  And the role was MADE for him.  He plays a scary, mentally ill, possibly retarded man who dresses up in clown clothes and make-up and runs around the countryside serenading women against their will. Helluva lot scarier than INSIDIOUS!  Like Elizabeth Taylor in IDENTIKIT aka THE DRIVER’S SEAT (now streaming on Amazon…a MUST see…), Tiny Tim is playing an exaggerated, unhinged version of his own celebrity image.  BLOOD HARVEST is no IDENTIKIT (really, if you haven’t yet seen it, just stop reading this and go rent IDENTIKIT right now…come back and watch Bill Rebane later), but it holds up.  If you’re a Bill Rebane virgin, you might consider fast forwarding to all the scenes featuring Tiny Tim, but you’ll never develop a tolerance that way!

THE DEMONS OF LUDLOW is more intrinsically defensible as filmmaking than BLOOD HARVEST.  I honestly think it’s a fine bit of low rent genius.  It has atmosphere.  I mean, it feels like atmosphere to me.  When I breathe it, it doesn’t exactly feel like air and it doesn’t smell like air, but it’s not distasteful.  It actually feels good after a little bit.  It makes you feel a little funny, a little more willing to have a good time, to go with the flow…  The special effects are cheap but awesome in their home-made creativity and the editing verges on the experimental.  It’s clearly a real labor of love and I could watch it again and again without ever feeling sleepy.  Sure, I’d be kind of in a low level consciousness, kind of a hypnotic state, but not actually asleep.  After THE GAME, which is unfortunately not on Youtube, THE DEMONS OF LUDLOW is my favorite Bill Rebane film.  Of course I haven’t yet seen INVASION FROM INNER EARTH (in which the “monsters” are smoke bombs and red lights), but I’m holding off on that one with the hopes that it will be my favorite movie EVER when I eventually see it.

Please enjoy!  (…or go rent IDENTIKIT aka THE DRIVER’S SEAT from Amazon if you find you can’t handle the awesome talents of Rebane…)


For some reason I can’t play this on my Apple TV, but it works fine on my computer…see what you can do…




This entry was posted in 1980s horror, Italohorror and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s