Invasion of the Blood Farmers Review (Severin Films Blu-ray)
A bunch of hillbilly farmers are out to kill the residents of an “upstate New York” town for their cult in Invasion of the Blood Farmers, a classic in nobody’s sense of the word from writer/director Ed Adlum. Adlum’s not known for much besides this film and his other horrendous Yeti movie Shriek of the Mutilated, and yet Invasion of the Blood Farmers still has something of an enduring legacy: mostly that it’s quite bad because it was shot on a jack-shit budget that spent more money on blood than anything else. There’s also the rumor that everyone in the cast got paid with beer, which is… something at least, considering all of them now have to live with the fact that Severin Films has reissued Invasion of the Blood Farmers in all of its awful glory.
The first thing that stands out about this trainwreck is the editing, which is truly a sight to behold. Look no further than the first scene to determine whether you want to plow forward, dear viewer: random close-up shots are interspersed with wide ones at breakneck speed for absolutely no reason, many of them unintentionally destroying the flow of the scene. It’s a great lesson in what not to do in filmmaking, something even Adlum acknowledges in his interview on this disc; with the editing this bad, there was very little hope for crafting a good film, but Invasion of the Blood Farmers continues to push forward with a nonsensical plot about sucking the lifeblood of one particular individual to give to the sleeping queen of their cult before she can no longer be revived.
I’m a little harsh, though; there are some enjoyable moments including a very odd honeymoon sequence where a man completely avoids having sex with his obviously horny partner, lots of blood-pumping, and a pretty hilarious dog-killing scene where the murderer then unnecessarily returns the dead pooch to its owners for maximum savagery. Still, even at 77 minutes the film runs overly long, and pretty soon the entertainment value has worn thin since the cult itself is one of the least interesting elements of the film. It’s the fucking expanding blood I want to see more of!
I’m hesitant to recommend Invasion of the Blood Farmers though I do think people should see some of it at least once. It really is in poor taste from almost every angle, and the editing made me want to cry. Maybe that’s the point – it’s a masterclass in misery; and you know what, I want you to experience that awfulness too.
Severin Films decided to give this a Blu-ray release for some reason, and that means I’m expecting Shriek of the Mutilated announcements at any time now too (it would have made a perfect double-feature). Interestingly, Severin did not release this as part of their Intervision sister lineup, and I feel it is more suited there than their main label; but I don’t work for them, and that’s probably for the best. This Blu-ray has a new 2k scan of the original camera negative and the results are fantastic; this looks so much better than the previous Code Red DVD, with a warmer color palette, smooth grain, and much better detail. While the opening reels show a bit of damage the rest of the film is relatively clean except for a couple of burns. This has been cleaned up quite nicely and I don’t expect it to look much better than this.
Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio mono and is probably the aspect of this release that fares the worst through no fault of Severin’s. The source audio is a poor recording, and it shows up on this Blu-ray as scratchy, occasionally blown-out dialogue and music; it evens out as the film goes on, but it’s noticeable enough at first. This is obviously a budgetary and experiential issue on the part of the filmmakers, and Severin has cleaned it up as best they could. English subtitles are also included.
For special features, Ed Adlum and his wife Ortrum Trippel provide an audio commentary moderated by Kier-La Janisse, which is actually a good mix of reminiscing, explaining things happening in scenes, and Janisse keeping everyone on task with questions about the production. Adlum also gives a 20-minute interview about the film, even getting emotional about the death of his friend and editor Michael Findlay who died in a freak helicopter accident. There’s a briefer interview with Jack Neubeck discussing his work on the film as the killer Egon. Finally, a featurette with cameraman Frederick Elmes discusses shooting the film in difficult conditions including small spaces. A trailer rounds out the extras.
This is a solid release from Severin for people who really want to check out this rough low-budget picture. While most won’t truly enjoy Invasion of the Blood Farmers, it’s definitely an independent picture that sits in so-bad-it’s-good territory for the majority of its runtime.