Monday, July 11, 2011

Blood Junkie (2010)

Now That's What I Call 80s!

While I only finished the 1980s at the age of seven, I still have very fond memories of the era. Getting my first Nintendo console, my sweet neon attire, playing River Raid on Atari during daycare, and listening to Bob Seger in my mom's silver Buick, to name a few. This was also the same time that I fell in love with horror. With Sunday afternoon Creature Features and shows like USA Up All Night, it was hard to avoid the allure of satanic cults, mummies, and Jason Voorhees that seemed to be dominating my television at all hours of the day (and night). Gone are those times, but they live on in my heart. They also apparently live on in the heart of director Drew Rosas, whose first full-length feature Blood Junkie is a true ode to the flashy fashioned, mustache and mulleted, synth-pop zaniness that was the 1980s. It's pretty fucking radical, to say the least.

Laura is your everyday teenage hottie. Her parents are out of town for the weekend, leaving her in charge of babysitting her peculiar little brother. They've also left her twenty-five dollars in emergency cash, which Laura and her best friend Rachel decide to spend on a copious amount of booze for some weekend partying. After leaving the convenience store, booze in hand, the two lovely ladies run into high school graduates Craig Wilson and Teddy Bender, the coolest guys around. With their awesome mustaches, neon green tiger-striped muscle shirts and sweet gym shorts, it's no surprise that the girls are immediately smitten as Craig lays on the charm. Turns out that the guys are heading up to an abandoned camp to party all weekend and they want Laura and Rachel to join. Seeing this as an opportunity they can't pass up, Laura arranges to bring her little brother along by bribing him with five bucks not to tell their parents. Once at the camp, wild times ensue with drugs, alcohol, and sex (the classic 80s triple threat) until the discovery of an abandoned chemical plant unleashes a mysterious killer who won't stop until the party's dead.

Shot for a mere 7,000 dollars, Blood Junkie is a truly a sight to behold. While I've complained of other films attempting to exploit the grindhouse/old school style, this is one that fully utilizes it with great results. There's a true 80s sincerity throughout the entire movie, with superb wardrobe and locations that will likely bring flashbacks to those of you who grew up in the era. Only one scene in the film detracts from its 80s environment, but it's so small that it's hardly worth mentioning.

For a no-budget movie, the acting in Blood Junkie is exceptional. While the actors are purposefully adding a bit of cheese onto their lines, every character embodies their role both flawlessly and humorously. This is probably easy because the dialogue in Blood Junkie is hilarious. Filled to the brim with quotable quotes, nearly every conversation is a memorable and hysterical experience, with Craig earning first place for his classic line, "Junkies, man...Junkies."

Similar to The Taint, Blood Junkie makes its humorous horror antics even more enjoyable with a sick synth-pop score, obviously inspired by the amazing video game soundtracks of the 80s and early 90s. Each track fits perfectly over its respected scene, and while my favorite is the surprisingly moving "Station Wagon Romance", "High Five" effectively captures the hilarity and excitement during a slow-motion montage that sees Craig and Teddy ecstatically celebrating (and bordering on not-so-heterosexual territory) after the girls initially agree to camping with them.

When it comes to the negative, I only have two complaints. There's surprisingly very little gore in Blood Junkie, though the title would have you believe differently. For a film released by Troma, I was expecting to see a tad more violence than that the kills that take place only in the movie's third act. Though this is somewhat disappointing, I'm also glad that Blood Junkie didn't pull the normal Troma card and go balls-to-the-wall with fake and over-the-top gore scenes, which would've likely killed the atmosphere of the film. My only other qualm was the film's ending which softens the previous action a bit, though it does manage to relay some commentary on the desensitization of youth.

Despite these two minor complaints (and these are only my opinions, you may thoroughly enjoy them), Blood Junkie is one of the best low-budget films I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. Hilarious from beginning to end, the film truly captures the spirit of the 80s as well as the horror movies of the decade, and I cannot wait to see what Drew Rosas does next. My low-cut gym shorts are already wet with anticipation.

 4/5 Stars


  1. Looking forward to watching this. I grew up during the 80's so I'm one of those guys who says 80's horror was the best! It's always nice to see modern films go back to that generation, if done correctly. I really liked the look and feel of House of the Devil, but ultimately it kind of disappointed me. I guess I expected more, as always I suppose. Not that I didn't like it all, but just not as much as I had hoped. So definitely waiting on my copy of this and hoping it's a little throwback slice of 80's horror movie heaven.

  2. It was so outstandingly fun. It's hella cheesy in the best way possible. If you're curious about this, check out The Taint, which i have a link for in this article. That movie is another throwback with a great 8-bit sounding score. I should have an interview up with the creators soon. I'm also hoping to snag an interview with Drew Rosas who directed this film.

  3. oh also, i meant to comment about the 80s. I was born in 83, so while most of my "growing up" was in the 90s, I still have the biggest soft spot for 80s horror. My favorite year for horror ever was 1988. Classics (and personal favorites) like Night of the Demons, Scarecrows, and Killer Klowns From Outer Space (amongst MANY more greats) were all released that year.

    They just don't make em like they used to! But that's why I love successful throwback films like this and The Taint. Where i find Rodriguez and Tarantino's "Grindhouse" was fun and entertaining, it truly failed to encapsulate the true vibe of grindhouse horror. If they wanted to be true to the style, they should have created a limited budget with which to make their films, not just spend millions of dollars and tack on some random filters.

    Though this film does use the jumpy film reel filters, I don't mind at all because this film is definitely a true 80s throwback with a lot of love for the genre and era.

    Like I said in the review, the set design and outfits are so dead on, it's utterly fascinating and overly nostalgic to watch. Plus, it's fucking hilarious.

  4. Oh, and "House of the Devil," i totally loved that one. I have it on blu ray. While it's a slow burning horror film, i loved the throwback style mixed with the eerie tension. While there weren't a ton of 80s films that used lengthy dread-filling scenes, I was very pleased with how Ti West handled the film and its pace. It's a shame his other films like "The Roost" and "Cabin Fever 2" weren't nearly as enthralling. But, I did read that "Cabin Fever 2" had a lot to do with the producers and editing that totally fucked up his vision of the film.

    But yeah, "House of the Devil" is a fave of mine these days. Plus, Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov are the shit. I loved her in classics like "Rock and Roll High School" and "Chopping Mall".

  5. I was born in '75, so I was watching earlier 80's horror at a very young age. I guess those are the films that stick with us the most. Night of the Demons is one of my all-time favorites. I even enjoyed the remake. Sexy demon dancing to Black No. 1 did it for me, not to mention the whole soundtrack. I loved it. But the original still is my fav. I'll seek out The Taint soon and comment on it. I enjoy your site here. More people need to become aware of it.

  6. I appreciate your praise for the site! I'm just a guy who used to write for other horror sites, but I didn't enjoy the direction they took them, so I made my own. I prefer focusing on indie films rather than mainstream studio horror. I'll review them, but they won't get nearly as much attention as I give to the little guy.

    Yeah, Night of the Demons is my favorite horror film of all time. I actually enjoyed the remake as well. I was wondering how they were going to handle the original dance scene with Bauhaus jamming in the background (that original scene was so goddamned creepy with Angela disappearing left and right), but Type-O definitely fit in well.

    R.I.P. Peter Steele. Even though you got a little too christian for me towards the end, your outstanding vocals and bass skills are sorely missed by many.

  7. Oh and if you have any friends that love horror as much as you do, recommend them to visit the site! I've so far received all of my visitors without any advertising whatsoever. The Orphan Killer IMDb review was the first public thing I've put on the internet. Most of my visitors have come from Google searches or Google Images. But I love having people to converse with about horror. That's the most important thing about the site to me is meeting likeminded people who share the same passion for the genre as I do. Again, thanks for all of your support!

  8. I thoroughly enjoy most of the attention being given to the "little guy." Mainstream horror isn't really my cup of tea. There are the exceptions, like Drag Me To Hell and Insidious just to name a couple, but they are not the rule (at least not mine).

    Yes, R.I.P. Peter Steele, and I do agree with the Christian thing (being the heathen Atheist that I am). But I do miss the music. Let's just be honest, Mr. Steele should have just been called Dick instead of Peter, cause (rest his body) he was exactly that. Don't want to sound like a dick myself by speaking harshly of the dead, but sometimes brutal honestly is best. At least in my head it is.

    And yes, I do have friends that love horror just as much as I. I'll do what I can by recommending. Horror is my passion, so I'll be sure to keep in touch. It's always a pleasure to meet down to earth people such as yourself to have intelligent, and humorous, conversations with about the wonderful world of horror.

  9. So I finally watched this film last night, and I must say that I rather enjoyed it. Campy, cheesy, funny as hell and 80's all the way (all the way down to the porn-like music). Great throwback horror entertainment.

    I'm not sure that I understand the ending (I mean I do, but it doesn't quite fit in with the opening from what I gathered). Perhaps another viewing will help me out some.

  10. **possible spoilers ahead** without giving anything away to other readers, watch what's playing on the television that the little boy is watching after the credits. this may help explain the ending and my theory about desensitization. this is just my interpretation, though!