BLOOD RAGE (aka NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS)
Director: John Grissmer
Writer: Bruce Rubin
Starring: Mark Soper, Louise Lasser, Marianne Kanter
1983 | United States | R | 83 mins
Absolutely no holiday is safe for teens, adults, and even children when it comes to holiday-themed slashers. From Black Christmas to Halloween to New Year's Evil to Bloody Birthday, if it's a special day you better run and hide! With nearly every holiday under the sun done to death in the slasher genre a few still remain open season. Of these few safe days people are unaware that Thanksgiving has in fact been tackled! And no, it wasn't Eli Roth with his faux trailer Thanksgiving (which is still in the works to become an actual feature), but with a little known and underrated slasher known as Blood Rage, or under its alternate title Nightmare at Shadow Woods.
1974. At a drive-in two twin brothers sneak out of the back of their single mother's car. One of the twins finds an axe and proceeds to murder a man who's making out with a girl in a nearby car and blames it on the other twin. Cut to ten years later, it's Thanksgiving and the Clemens family are sitting down to dinner when they hear the news that Todd (Mark Soper) has escaped from the psychiatric clinic and may be headed back home for the holiday. Now Terry (also Mark Soper), the twin who actually committed the murder, will do whatever it takes to keep his family and the rest of the tenants at the Shadow Woods apartment complex from finding out Todd is actually innocent.
Blood Rage is a completely overlooked horror film. Fast paced, fun, and filled to the brim with some inventive blood and gore, this Thanksgiving slasher should be mandatory viewing on the holiday. Mark Soper is terrific in the dual role of the twins. As Terry he's cocky, smart, and evilly hilarious spouting such lines as "It's not cranberry sauce!" and in one scene he even continues toking on a joint from a victim he just impaled with a machete. As Todd, he's timid, shy, and clearly not a killer. Bruce Rubin's script and characters are all fun and well thought out and John Grissmer keeps the direction lean and focused on the laughs and kills without overusing the stuffing. One of the highlights is Richard Einhorn's synth-rock score. It's so catchy, bouncy, and 80's it deserves it's own release on vinyl that any fan would spin over and over, but sadly it's nowhere to be found on any audible format. The theme song alone should become as recognizable as Carpenter's Halloween theme, at least as far as holiday slashers are concerned. Will someone please release this score? Pretty please!
A quintessential 80's slasher through and through, Blood Rage is a blast! But keep an eye out as there are two versions of the film, and one is quite cut and butchered when it comes to the onscreen kills. Released on bargain bin DVD as Nightmare at Shadow Woods, under this title it's the cut version which is missing a full two minutes of carnage. So if you want the uncut version featuring all the flowing 'cranberry sauce' and a few additional scenes you'll have to seek out the Prism VHS under the Blood Rage title. Blood Rage never lets up and keeps entertaining while providing both laughs and screams, and also ensures us once again that the holidays, even Thanksgiving, just aren't safe! And remember, it's not cranberry sauce!
All contents copyright 2010 Tyler Baptist