Blood Shack (1971)




Do you like rodeos? Do you like voice overs? Do you like killers who skip around screaming? Do you like shirtless cowboys? Do you find 58 minute an acceptable length for a feature film? If you answered yes to any of these questions then "Blood Shack" may turn out to be your favorite film ever! Written, Directed, produced and probably catered by schlock film luminary Ray Dennis Steckler under the pseudonym Wolfgang Schmidt, "Blood Shack" is everything you'd expect form the man that brought us "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies."

"Blood Shack" is certainly not one of those films that you can accuse of false titling (I'm looking at you "Naked Lunch.") It's literally the story of a shack and the killings that take place inside it (or it's general vicinity.) Carolyn Brandt plays Carol, a city woman who inherits a 10,000 acre ranch with a rather healthy water table in the middle of the Nevada desert. The sole occupant of the ranch seems to be ranch hand Daniel, whose only purpose seems to be screaming "Don't go in the house" and not wearing a shirt. When he does cover up on top it's with a corduroy jacket made for a fifth grader. His mid-drift hangs out like he's one of the Spice Girls, and not one of the cute ones. It's by far the scariest thing in the movie. Said "shack" is apparently inhabited by or haunted by "The Chooper" an ancient Indian spirit something or other that kills anyone who spends time in the house with a sword or machete or sharp stick, it's hard to tell. But there is some fake blood thrown about while he and the victims are screaming, so I'm guessing that death is happening. Neighboring ranch owner, Tim, wants to buy Carol out of her land. She's not too amiable about the situation. They argue, they fight, they make love. They don't actually do it, but that would have at least been something to pad out the running time. it certainly would have been more enjoyable than watching a traveling rodeo for the last half of the film.

My crack research (IMDB) tells me this film was made for approximately $500 and for once I can say, I see it all up on the screen. Truthfully, as far as $500 films go, this one is pretty good. It stars the aforementioned Brandt, who was Stecklers wife at the time, and his daughters Linda and Laura, who I am assuming are still his daughters. It really is just a stylized home movie. The film does have it's charms though, Brandt wears the coolest pair of American flag bell bottoms I've ever seen. There are kids riding ponies...lots of kids riding ponies and who doesn't love ponies?

"Blood Shack," at 58 minutes with at least 10 minutes of rodeo padding, can hardly be called a feature film. However, it does exist as a twisted love letter to a bygone era of do it yourself Z level film making. Check it out if you've got some time to kill. It's certainly more worthwhile than that episode of the Kardashians you were planning on watching.

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