“It’s just a farm house and looks pretty innocent from the road, but once you’re inside you’ll see what REALLY happens on a terror farm.”
Those words opened a radio spot for a movie that would plague my curiosity for years, an advertisement for the Inavsion of the Blood Farmers (1972). I wanted to know what the hell this movie was and would it be worth it, and honestly agonised over whether I should buy it. Even though I’m a huge fan of crappy drive in films and bottom of the barrel low budget flicks, I also hate to be let down and find that the movie is just a mediocre snore fest; it’s got to be on the top shelf or the bottom drawer! I eventually tracked down a copy recently, and while I can’t say it lived up to all of my expectations, it was most certainly what I wanted and was most certainly bottom drawer. Little plot, wooden acting, few sets, terrible editing, unintentionally funny dialog… and I loved it.
The movie’s plot is pretty paper thin and vague, but I’ll try and dissect it for you; the film opens with a half baked story about how Jesus drove the druids of Stonhenge underground and then says, of course, they are planning a comeback. The movie shifts to present day in a small rural town where the druids have set up camp in a dumpy old shack with an American flag on it. The druid’s leader Creton needs blood from the townspeople and drifters in order to ressurect their queen, who has been in hybernation in the living room on a table, in order to take over the Earth. Unfortuntely for Creton, his only help are two minions who seem to have mental retardation, one even having a limp.
After a local victim runs into a bar and “blows up” (although it appears he just smeared finger paint all over himself), the man’s blood is given to the town scientist and his daughter’s fiance and the two try and figure out why this is happening. Although the two may find out the answer, the audience isn’t really clued in and the storyline is hidden behind a lot of running around and limp action sequences. Then ending of the movie, which I will not spoil, is worth all the time you’ve spent watching this.
The two responsbile for this amazing mess were Ed Adlum and Ed Kelleher, who were also responsible for the no budget psuedo-bigfoot crap fest Shriek of the Mutilated (1974). After watching the movie you get the impression that two must have a had a few cocktails while creating it, and indeed most of the actors were reportedly given a six pack instead of payment for their services. Shot in three weekends, it had a budget of $24,000 (which is more than I figured) and it never made the money back.
Blood Farmers also has a little more significance for exploitation history: it was edited by New York’s favorite smut peddler Michael Findaly, who was famous for the infamous “Touch oh Her Flesh” (1967) as well as the overhyped Snuff (1976). Utilizing Findaly’s trademark style of safety scissor and Elmer’s glue editing, giving it that great home movie quality we love him for (sometimes even cutting off the actor’s dialog!). And the photography was done by Findlay’s wife Roberta, who was his longtime colaborator in all of his famous early sexploitation films.
Invasion of the Blood Farmers was rereleased by Retromedia in 2002 (which includes a trailer and a bio on Adlum), and is now out of print. VHS copies can still be found pretty easily, but the DVD quality, although not the best, is superior compared to the old VHS versions. If you are a fan of low budget clunkers, especially in the vein of Herchell Gordon Lewis or even Andy Milligan, you must add this to your collection. Also if you want to get drunk with your friends and laugh at a real turkey of a movie, this is for you.