I was getting a good laugh out of Blood Shack long before I ever actually watched the movie. Perusing the horror section of the local video stores, the cover you see just to the left didn’t make too much of an impact on me. Still, I considered myself a serious horror fan and would give anything with a lurid title or cover serious consideration. Well, this consideration involved flipping over movies like this and looking for signs of potential depravity. When I turned Blood Shack over, this is what I saw:
I say this lovingly, but that looks hilariously cheap. That naked girl face planted on the floor of an empty room is also so un-cinematic that it’s almost disturbing. Almost like someone saw a dead body and took a picture of it. Of course, the picture loses its edge upon closer inspection when you realize that the knife is obviously stuck into something safely on the other side of her body. Not only that, it’s not stuck in very deep. The whole affair reeks of no effort. It seems like they thought that a naked girl would be enough to peak interest.
Turns out they were right. Blood Shack was something I wanted to know a little more about. As a kid though, my dad was always the one to take me to Video Paradise, Empire Video, or Adopt-A-Video. He was generally okay with me renting any of the more common sub genres, but he was wary of anything that looked too sleazy or sexual. I had to lobby someone else in order to get my hands on titles like I Spit on Your Grave.
I never forgot about Blood Shack though, but I also never rented it. It was perpetually on my to-do list. I got a good laugh a few years later in high school, the first time I ever met another true blue horror fan. He had the same experiences I did laughing about the back of Blood Shack in the video store, but never renting it.
It wasn’t until 2004 or so that I finally caught up with it. Shriek Show put it out with this cover:
I’ll make no bones about the quality of this cover. It stinks. I would never want to see a movie based off of this image. It did offer a Joe Bob Briggs commentary though. Joe Bob is a legendary champion of low budget movies and damn funny to boot. There is nothing I have done in my life that wouldn’t have been better with Joe Bob Briggs doing play by play. Nothing.
Now before I get into the movie, I have to warn you, it will probably make more sense if you can see what I’m talking about. All the times that I mention match up with the video you will find at the other end of this link:
So after years of anticipation, I finally sat down to watch Blood Shack. After I was done, I wasn’t even sure it was the same movie I used to gawk at in the video store. That naked girl that was either dead or sleeping next to a knife was nowhere to be found. There was, however, this guy:
He is The Chooper. He runs around with a thin wobbly sword, usually keeps his free hand extended, and growls like a little kid pretending to be a lion when he’s attacking (Joe Bob’s words, not mine). Oh, and he also dresses in what appears to be a homemade ninja costume! The best part of his costume is the fact that the tops of his black socks don’t always meet up with the bottoms of his black pants, occasionally revealing a few inches of pasty white Chooper-calf.
While the movie may have some boring stretches, the Chooper attacks are a sight to behold and are undoubtedly the highlight of the movie. He can appear out of nowhere in the blood shack, outside the blood shack, or even on top of the blood shack. Here are the highlights.
The first Chooper attack takes place at about the 7:30 mark. While the growling is first class, the lighting is too poor to make out much of what’s going on. I would suggest skipping ahead to about 31:00, when murdered girl’s friend comes to look for her. He gets to about the front door before the snarling Chooper materializes behind him and shoves him into the blood shack.
That’s all fine and good, but hold on to your hats for the next attack around 37:30. This scene involves a portly constable who’s come to investigate the previous disappearances. He plods around the blood shack for awhile before The Chooper comes thundering off of the roof.
It’s hard to find the words to do this justice. The growling here is the best in the movie. It sounds like he’s speaking in a long lost language. Also, did he laugh about the time the constable fell? But don’t let the hilarious growling distract you from the visuals here. First off, he appears to be wearing white sneakers when he’s on the roof. They turn into the normal black ones on the ground. He also hardly hesitates at all. This wasn’t a stunt that was pieced together in the editing suite. The Chooper performer was all in on this one. It does beg the question though, what was The Chooper doing on the roof in the first place? Was it all part of his plan to really surprise the next visitor to the blood shack?
Finally we get to the climax, and The Chooper does not disappoint. Lead actress Caroline Brandt returns from some rodeo and skulks around the blood shack before The Chooper comes growling and skipping around the corner. Skipping like a school girl. Joe Bob calls it a “Liberace hop” and I can’t think of a much better description. This is not a fault of the performer, I’ve tried chasing people with my arms fully extended. It’s hard to make it look cool.
The movie wraps up with the defeat of The Chooper and the big reveal as to who was under the ninja pyjamas the whole time. It’s not all that important who it was, but it should be noted that he apparently painted a villain mustache on his face.
Because it might not be obvious enough at this point, a dying character declares, “That’s not The Chooper. He’s not 150 years old.”
And so ends the last attack of the movie. Attacks that have a well deserved spot in my curious collection.
I know it sounds like I’m ragging on writer/director Ray Dennis Steckler, but I do genuinely enjoy this movie. It was the first of his that I had seen and it made me actively seek out more. This is all in good fun.
Speaking of fun, I can’t recommend the Joe Bob Briggs commentary track enough. If you want to hear a comedy track done right, you owe it to yourself to give this a listen. He is the best at what he does.