Not nearly as bad as it could've been, but inept even so, Hemoglobin; aka, Bleeders; or The Descendant (1997) regards a race of hideously deformed hermaphroditic dwarves descended from an incestuous royal Dutch family, the Van Daams.
After generations of inbreeding, their secretive tribe dwells in caverns beneath an island off the coast of Maine. By nature they burrow into the local graveyard for food. When deprived of their primary food source, they begin to terrorize the living.
Based rather loosely on H. P. Lovecraft's longish tale "The Lurking Fear," we are introduced to an orphan (Roy Dubois) who had been cast out from the hidden tribe as an infant because he was "normal" & good-looking.
He was raised in Europe with small knowledge of his origins. But later in his life he fell ill with the congenital desire to eat corpses drenched in formeldehyde, hence seeks out his lost heritage.
The dwarf make-up appears to have required double-amputees & is quite remarkable. Some of the actors can even act, but the script is so inconsistent & each character in turn given so little to perform, it's ultimately wasted effort on their part to be putting so much into their performances.
Rutger Hauer lent the "star power" to advertising the film, playing the island physician. But in reality he has exceedingly little to do in the story.
Even more wasted is Leni Parker (who brilliantly defined the behavior of alien Taelons on the television series Earth, Final Conflict, 1997). She somehow manages to do a bang-up job in a thankless two minute role as wide-eyed island crazy.
Bleeders or Hemoglobin is a rare case of a film within which even the worst member of the cast was way more talented than director or scriptwriter.
And yet for all its B-movie failings, the protagonist's final decision about how to live his life, & who he loves among the inbred underground population, with the ghouls themselves so effing grotesque, this has got to be regarded an underrated gem among adaptations of HPL.
Continue to more H. P. Lovecraft:
Paula Heifley's The Call of Cthulhu (2008)
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl