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Tuesday 2 June 2020

Burl reviews Bloodmoon! (1989)

Burl here with slasher terror from Down Under! Ha ha, that’s not a knife, mate, this is a knife! I hope you’ll forgive my little reference to Crocodile Dundee, a movie I’m not sure I’ve ever seen, because the picture I’m actually discussing today is a frankenberry called Bloodmoon! And yes, as with Bloodsport, the title seems to be all one word!
The action takes place in a seaside town whose main industry seems to be snobby prep schools! There’s a boys’ school, filled to the brim with chetly rich boys, the kind who tie sweaters loosely about their necks; and a girls school, where the young ladies walk around topless sometimes, and the headmistress is a nasty but lusty lady with a unique approach to extracurricular exercises! Also included in the large, somewhat interchangeable cast is a small group of townies, among whom we find our golden-locked default hero!
He of course falls for the prettiest of the schoolgirls, and together they proceed down love’s winding path, quite oblivious to the presence of a killer targeting young lovebirds until nearly the end of the picture! The headmistress is married, you see, to the sad-eyed, heavy-jowled science teacher, and I hope I’m not giving away a confidence here, or talking out of school, ha ha, but about halfway through the movie, with a small, half-hearted, and unconvincing array of red herrings swept aside, he turns out to be the killer! Ha ha, it’s kind of his hobby, I guess: strangling students with razor wire and collecting their fingers and eyeballs as souvenirs!
You can easily forgive the cluelessness of the leads, because the movie itself seems equally unaware of the killer’s activities, at least during long stretches in which the movie seems more like a teen sex comedy, or a class war drama, or a domestic thriller! Ha ha, this isn’t really a criticism, as I didn’t mind that - indeed, I’m on record as saying I frequently enjoy the non-slasher parts of many slasher movies as much or more as the pokings that are the real raison d'etre!
Eventually our poor be-wattled maniac takes the front and center, and while his methods lack much variation - it’s the garrote or a garden variety knife-poking, or a desk-banging or two - there are a few Special Makeup Effects (or Prosthetics as the credits would have it, as in Prom Night) on view, especially once the killer gets an acid facewash at the hands of a crinkly old nun! Many of the characters introduced in the first twenty minutes are forgotten about for the rest of the picture, and so there are not nearly as many killings as one is initially prepped for! There’s a very late-80s dance scene with a live band and a lot of schoolboys in blue uniform, but that doesn’t really go anywhere either!
It could use more pep, more ketchup and more affrights, but it does have a little of each already, so that’s not bad! There’s a terrific scene, for instance, when the headmistress asks her demented husband how many people he’s killed this time, and the killer’s only answer is an anguished “I don’t know!” Alec Mills, the director, is a cinematographer by trade (he shot The Living Daylights, ha ha!), so the movie looks a little better than it might have otherwise! And the actor playing the killer has a great voice and puts in a fine performance, so it’s got that going for it as well! Altogether it’s no world beater, but I’ll give Bloodmoon one and a half angry fathers!

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