There's definitely something to be said in favor of the cheezy-cheepy Bloodletting (1997). Serena Stalin (Ariauna Albright), doing that which the police have failed to do, manages to track down serial killer "Butch" Harlow (James L. Edwards). Claiming letters containing everything she knows have been left with a certain party she must contact daily or the police will be informed, she blackmails Butch into teaching her the ropes.
They are soon fast in love, but Serena's thirst for blood outpaces Butch's. Her insistence that they kill almost nightly is just a bit more than Butch is up for, plus it seems likely to get them caught.
The blackest of black comedies with a wicked heart, & well done gore sequences, Bloodletting was a thorough delight. Some of the victims were thrilling in the scream-queen category but were given funny character-bits before dying, so that it remained more lighthearted than misogynist, & the victim/side-character Boog (Scooter McCrae) is unfortunately a type I've actually met so I quite easily believed in him.
The surprise "confession" near the end was rather touching, & the scene with the baby had me up & out of my seat in shock & laughter.
For all it's no-budget veneer, Bloodletting manages to be a much better story than Oliver Stone told with a big budget for Natural Born Killers (1994). At first the acting seemed merely sub-average but the script sufficiently witty that it overcame the limitations of the actors. But after a while, the acting began to seem stylishly nurdy & only pretending to be mediocre.
I'm not even now sure the nurdy acting style was intentional or an inevitable result of average actors with a perfect-for-what-it-is script. But whether on purpose or by accident, it's a lovely wee film worthy of attention.
Also included on the Bloodletting dvd is the preliminary half-hour version I've Killed Before (1994). This is close to the same script but very condensed, with the same two lead players. Don't watch it first as it gives away the whole plot in an unsatisfactory synoptic manner that will only destroy the same little surprises as they occur in the feature. But it was fun to watch afterward, like peeping into a practice session for the feature.
Cool though Bloodletting truly is, the best & definitive ultra-cheapy "psychos in love" movie is the no-budget charmer simply & wisely titled Psychos in Love (1987).
I always come away from this film singing the Rocky Horroresque "I love you even though you're pudgy & you look like Elmer Fudd/ Cuz I'm a psycho in love I can't help myself/ Psycho in love I'm a psycho in love." It's a super themesong, so catchy & likeable that I almost wished the whole film had been a musical. I was not surprised to hear there has in fact been a musical stage adaptation.
Two serial killers out on their separate missions target one another, but as they simultaneously prepare to finalize their seductions with slaughter, they realize they've met their counterparts. The fact that they both wholy & intensely hate grapes, however, green grapes or purple grapes, with or without seeds, becomes more important than their mutual fetish for slaying.
The key performances by Carmine Capobianco & Debi Thibeault as Joe & Kate are deliciously campy. Anyone familiar with 1970s & 1980s slashers will find it even funnier for its referentiality. Some of the side-characters (scream queens & Frank Stewart as the cannibal plumber fondest of finger food) are almost as good as the leads. Some of the scenes are improvisational & very artful, though disguised as amusingly amateur.
It's a B movie that completely understands why so many people love B movies. It couldn't've been better with a budget. It has for many years been high up there in the Cult Classic Sleeper Category known only to die-hard fans of slash & horror, because mostly distributed via grey market on pirated tapes, or easier to find in Europe than in the USA.
As I write this review it's still a tough film to find, but it's bound eventually to be given a dvd with all sorts of extras, at which time it will be recognized belatedly as a classic.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl