Turkey in the Hemp – Blood Freak
by : Dean Vanderkolk
How many times has this happened to you? You’re sitting at home channel surfing when you think to yourself “Man, there’s nothing on television these days. If only I could find a nice pro-Christian anti- drug propaganda gore film about a man who turns into a bloodthirsty turkey monster.” If so, my friends, then Blood Freak is the film for you!
Released in 1972, Blood Freak is the story of Herschel, who is played by ex-Tarzan actor Steve Hawkes. You may never have heard of the man, but the filmmakers were very proud to land him for the role, as indicated by the credits which announce him twice within a few minutes of screen time.
Herschel is a Vietnam veteran who, judging by his hairstyle, longs to be the next Elvis Presley. In emulation of The King, he spends his time smoking pot at various parties, accompanied by his girlfriend who tries to teach the assembled burnouts about the joys of Christ by reading passages from her Bible. Since there’s not a lot of cash in dope smoking, Herschel takes a job at a nearby turkey farm. But this is no ordinary turkey farm. The owners are creating chemically altered turkey meat, and they need a human subject to consume it in order to gain FDA approval. Guess what Herschel’s job duties are going to include?
Trouble is, the super turkey meat reacts badly with the ganja, and Herschel soon finds himself transforming into a half-man, half-turkey monster, complete with a papier-mâché head. Old Herschel has a case of the munchies that Doritos can’t possibly satisfy, and he embarks on a murder spree that leaves the countryside in terror. For a turkey man, he’s very resourceful, dispatching his victims via strangulation, throat slittings and, in one particularly hilarious case, with a buzz saw. Just when all seems hopeless for our hero, he awakens to find it was all a horrible dream.
Naturally, a story this complex may leave the viewer somewhat confused, and the filmmakers are prepared for this eventuality. From time to time, a narrator appears on screen to tie things all together; or rather he tries to, when he isn’t busy chain smoking himself into an on camera coughing fit while reading his lines from the script left in plain sight on his desk.
As you may expect, the film is complete with bad lighting, camerawork, direction and sound. In an attempt to save money, all of the murders appear to have been shot without sound, and the same scream has been dubbed in for every single victim. The monster also tries to communicate his plight to others, although this is somewhat undermined by his inability to speak in anything other than a dubbed-in turkey’s gobble.
Given the pro-Christian sentiment of the film, one might be surprised at the amount of gore present on screen. While the effects are executed in an extremely amateurish manner (when one victim has her throat cut, the blood sprays merrily from her shirt instead of her throat), they are plentiful. The film even manages to throw in a bit of brief, though mild, nudity.
All in all, despite its flaws, Blood Freak has to be viewed as the greatest killer were-turkey movie in existence today, and will serve as a perfect flick to pop in on Thanksgiving Day while waiting for the L-Tryptophan to take effect. At least, it will be until Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving is completed.
Dean Vanderkolk is a freelance writer based out of Detroit, Michigan, so he obviously knows scary. When not dodging gunfire, he works as the head writer for Wolfman Mac's Chiller Drive-In, seen nationally on the Retro Television Network. He is currently scripting a feature film, an original short horror comedy and is developing an original web series, all of which will begin production in 2011. Mr. Vanderkolk is currently seeking representation. If you are interested in working with Dean - please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org