An American Vidiot Presents: “Well, if it was banned from two midwestern campuses…”
Shot on video films (or SOV for short) was moderately popular in the mid to late 80s, but not necessarily because the movies were any good. They could be made for next to nothing and put on the shelves for tons of people to rent. Awesome cover art helped sell the movie. Often, the photos on the back of the box would be shot in quality video to hide the super low budget aspect. Although it wasn’t many people’s favorite sub genre back in the 80s, SOV has become beloved by many horror fans today. Blood Cult claims to be the first SOV movie, although this is somewhat debatable. It’s definitely at least one of the first, and certainly one of the most popular.
Blood Cult was released by United Home Video in 1985. It was directed by Christopher Lewis and starred Juli Andelman, Charles Ellis, and James Vance. The story centers around a campus that has been experiencing gruesome murders. Each time the murderer strikes, he takes a body part of his victim and leaves a gold amulet near the body. When the sheriff of the town gets involved in the grisly murders, pressures mount as the murders continue with no apparent motive. He ties the amulet to an ancient cult of witches that takes the body parts for blood sacrifices. The sheriff finds out that the reality is way more horrifying then he could ever imagine…in fact it might just scare you to death!
This movie has classic cover art. I absolutely adore this cover and even displayed it on top of my shelf because it looks so awesome. Who wouldn’t appreciate a hand wielding a meat cleaver with the title written in a classic bloody font? But please don’t be fooled with the writing on top that says “In the tradition of horror legends like Psycho, Halloween, and Friday the 13th.” False advertising! This movie does not compare to any of those movies.
THE BRUTAL TRUTH:
I really don’t know where to start with the movie. I mean I loved it, and there is no doubt that this is a shot on video classic (more accurately, a CULT classic). This movie is so entertaining from beginning to end. It really surprised me. Don’t get me wrong…it’s terrible, but in such a good way. I had to revisit this film for this review because it’s surprisingly really hard to explain.
It’s not just that the premise is so strange, which it is, it’s just hard to describe what makes it such a fun watch.I don’t want to go into too much detail regarding the plot to avoid ruining it for anyone. But trust me, if you love shot on video movies, you will love this movie. For me personally, I love these kind of SOV movies. From Splatter Farm to 555, I just think they are so entertaining. Another amazing thing about this movie is the gore. Although insanely cheesy, it’s very bloody.
The director of Blood Cult has also done two other SOV horror movies. He did The Ripper, which stars the one and only Tom Savini (the movie he regrets the most in his career). He also did a movie called Revenge, which is the sequel to Blood Cult. I have yet to see either of these movies, but they are definitely on my future watch list.
THE BARE ESSENTIALS:
Blood cult may be awful and not very easy on the eyes, but it carries so much charm and is a blast to watch. If you are a collector of VHS or a fan of shot on video movies, than you must own and watch this movie.