12/29/08

The Grab Bag: Blood Song (1982) with Frankie Avalon


Hello all and I hope everyone had a Merry X-mas. I know I did, and I got lots of new films to review for you faithful Moonies. As we get to the end of the year and the beginning of January, it's a time for change, and here at the Lair it's no different. I just wanted to take a few moments to talk about the new features before I get into tonight's flick. 

First off, with the demands that are put on The Lightning Bug's life daily, I'll be cutting back from 6 posts a week to 5. So say goodbye to It Came From Videotape, but don't worry because I'm still going to be spotlighting VHS classics and more as they come in from The Grab Bag. Tuesdays will still be Terrifying Tuesdays, followed by B.L.O.G. Thursdays featuring more of your favorite lovely ladies. This month's Friday Feature will be It's a Jungle Out There, and I'll be looking at some Jungle Girl flicks, Cannibals, and even a new independent flick all set in the confines of "Green Hell". Saturdays brings the Dollar Deals as usual, and I've got lots more flicks for you folks to get your hands on for a buck! 

So while you'll be getting one less post a week I'm hoping I'll have more time to devote to giving you folks the quality reviews you deserve. I'll probably throw a couple extras in there now and again as I've got a few other things on my mind. So I hope everyone will join us for another great month. 

Speaking of great months! December was a great month for the Lair with out highest traffic yet, and we scored a number 2 on the Horror 100. This month keep voting for the 100, but also click through to L.A.M.B to check out some other great movie blogs and vote for the Lair. You'll find sites pertaining to all kind of flicks over there and each L.A.M.B has a little something different to offer. We also had a lot of great comments this months, and I want to welcome any new readers and encourage any lurkers out there to get in on the action and let your opinions be known. I love hearing from you and what you think about the flicks I'm talking about. 

Well business aside it's time to get into the flick. So all you cats and kittens, squares and hep cats, get ready for a beach.... hmmm, not a beach party? No Annette? He's a psycho flute playing killer? Wow, I guess I'm sure glad there was no party record theme to....

Blood Song (A.K.A Dream Slayer) (1982) starring Frankie Avalon, Donna Wilkes, Richard Jaeckel, and Dane Clark. Directed by Robert Angus and Alan J. Levi. 

Paul Foley is one messed up kid. When his dad comes home from business and catches his wife with another man, he shoots them both and then turns the gun on himself. All of this unfolds in front of Paul who serenely keeps playing the flute his dad made for him. For years Paul has been locked up in an Institution, but when they take his flute away, he kills to get it back and makes his escape. 


Meanwhile, Marion Hauser is having troubles of her own. Her father doesn't like the boy she's seeing, and he wants to keep them apart. She's not about to listen to him. Especially since she's still recovering for a drunk driving accident her Dad caused which resulted in her having to wear a leg brace. They nearly didn't save her life, but she received a blood transfusion from the only available donor, an inmate at the mental institution. 

Now Marion is having visions of a killer on the loose, and he's only getting closer. With no one to believe the waking dreams she's having, will Marion be able to escape the flute playing maniac of become another note in his deadly Blood Song!

Film Facts

--Frankie Avalon's next and final film role reunited him with his longtime co-star Annette in Back To the Beach.

--This is the only film credit for Director Robert Angus, and Director Alan J. Levi worked mostly in television both before and after this film.

--The film was produced by Lenny "Luca Brasi" Montana who also appears as a kindly fishing boat captain.

--Robert J Walsh who scored the picture would go on to write the music for Jem and the Holograms, Muppet Babies, and Leprechaun(1983).

The Bug Speaks

I'll admit it. I've seen very nearly every beach movie Frankie Avalon was ever in. I'll admit to having favorites (Beach Blanket Bingo is #1). I'll admit that I know most of the words to "Venus", and lastly I'll admit that the thought of Avalon in an early '80's shocker was what attracted me to this flick. I figured him to be a dad, a store owner, a washed up surfer, but when I discovered that Frankie was the killer, I was one happy Bug. 

The movie really amounts to not much more than a stock '80's slasher. There's a few good kills including one well executed axe to the face, but without the presence of the former teen idol, there would be little here to really like. However, I think that Avalon did a fine job playing against type. Some of his sunny disposition still shone through even while he was doing some of his more maniacal acts which made them all the more enjoyable to watch. It was a tad strange to see him constantly wrapped up in playing his flute when he wasn't killing, but I suppose that was supposed to be his hook.  Jason is unstoppable, Michael Myers comes out of no where to get you, and Paul plays a flute. I wonder why there was never a sequel. 

The other acting was hit and miss. Donna Wilkes (Jaws II) did a serviceable job as troubled teen Marion, but her scenes with her dad played by veteran B-movie actor Jaeckel (Grizzly) come off more after school special than dramatic. The only other actor worth mentioning is Dane Clark. Mr. Clark is one of those actors you recognize, but don't know from where. When I looked up his IMDB, I found that he had played a cop, FBI agent, or sheriff in numerous TV and film outings. Again showing up in blue in this film, he fills the uniform well and delivers some of the more humorous lines in the film. 

So is this flick good? Well, not really. It's shot in such a way that you can tell the direction was both inexperienced or used to TV land. The script is pure hack work and makes little to no sense (i.e. a blood transfusion give you the power to see though other people's eyes.) However for anyone who has seen Avalon in his more squeaky clean roles you may enjoy seeing him go all batshit on some folks.  Also the end chase is fairly well constructed with Marion actually bothering to fight back instead of filling the usual helpless damsel role. The end also struck me as being so similar to the end of Maniac Cop that it made me wonder. 

So anyone who loves obscure slashers, Frankie Avalon, or some good schlocky cheese is in for a treat. Anyone else steer clear. I'm giving this an average rating because I enjoyed it, and personally it's one I'll probably watch again on down the line. 

Bug Rating

No trailer sadly, instead enjoy Frankie singing his big hit "Venus"...

1 comment:

  1. the sneering (homo-phobic) snobJanuary 8, 2009 at 9:01 AM

    mr. lightning bug, this sounds like another interesting cult item, however when you mentioned "beach blanket bingo" all i could think about was marta kristen coming out of the ocean wearing a bikini, (just before she became judy robinson), she was one of the hottest chicks of all time.

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