Blood Rage (1987) [31 Days of Gore]

Welcome to 31 Days of Gore Part III! I’m running on fumes at this point, so next year it’ll be set in space!


Movies like Blood Rage are the reason slasher fans slog through one miserable rip-off after another. Despite being made in 1983, it didn’t come out until 1987. If you saw it back then, there’s a good chance you saw a heavily censored version called Nightmare at Shadow Woods. Curiously, the title card on the new(ish) Arrow Video release calls it Slasher. Why? No clue.

Here are the goods on display:

 Cheesy opening credits montage? Check. Generic 80s music? Check. Lingering shots of passable gore effects? Check, check, check, check, aaaaaand check. You’ll see hands hacked off, heart stabbings, and a head-splitting.
Speaking of that cheesy opening: it takes place in a drive-in theater. Few things tug on my heartstrings more than scenes which take place in drive-ins. Not a very objective standard to have, but by god I just can’t help myself. Adding to the fun, a background character meets a suspicious condom dealer in the men’s room of the drive-in, played by none other than Ted Raimi. Yes, I said “condom dealer,” and he’s displaying the rubbers on his inside flap like a counterfeit Rolex peddler.

Also at the drive-in is Louise Lasser’s character, the mother of twin boys, who’s on a date. While she’s making out with her suitor, the kids sneak off and roam the grounds. One of the kids discovers a hatchet in the back of a pickup and, for reasons no more complex than simple insanity, murders a naked man in the back of a car. The psychotic child hands the makeshift weapon off to his innocent brother, who’s so paralyzed with shock he’s convinced he really did commit the murder.

Fast forward ten years later and the innocent brother has a breakthrough in his therapy: he remembers it was his brother, now gleefully living the life he should have had, who committed the murders. Realizing that his mother is living with a deranged psychopath, he escapes the mental institution… which means that the psychotic brother now has an alibi for a killing spree.

Mark Soper does a fantastic job playing the grown-up twins. No, his performance wouldn’t win an Oscar, but it’s not supposed to, either. What he does is perfect for this kind of movie: insane, but not too far over-the-top, and he makes one of the most memorable slashers I’ve ever seen. Also good here is Louise Lasser, who thankfully knows exactly what kind of movie she’s gotten herself into.

I see so many irredeemably routine slasher movies that I can’t help but jump for joy when I find one as entertaining as this.


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