Slasher movies were everywhere by the late eighties scaring up huge business both theatrically & particularly on the ever-growing popularity of VHS. With an easy formula – take a bunch of good-looking teens to an isolated spot, get some of them to take their clothes off, then kill them off in sloppily gorily ways until one virgin heroine is left to be mercilessly pursued for the last 20minutes before getter the better of the killer (who of course never really dies) – for a while it seemed as if these were the only types of horror film being made. Ultimately the sheer volume of product bred audience over-familiarity with the stock scenarios & situations, so that by the mid-90s the genre was pretty much dead. Looking back on them now, it seems that while there are a couple of genuine classics (“Halloween” being the most obvious example), & a few minor treats (such as “My Bloody Valentine” or “April Fool’s Day”), the bulk of these films aren’t too well regarded save for the nostalgia factor. Nevertheless, with the sheer bulk of films around, there is always the hope that one of the less well-known titles may turn out to be a forgotten minor classic.
Sadly, “Bloodmoon” is not one of them.
The hook which makes “Bloodmoon” stand out slightly from the crowd is that it is actually an Australian attempt at making a slasher film. Which makes it something of a shame that the American model is followed so slavishly that if it wasn’t for the accents you might not even notice the difference. In fact, it doesn’t even follow the template too well, as (like many of the late 90s slasher films), it seems to want to function as a standard teen movie just as much as it does a horror film. This means that we follow a whole bunch of clichéd teens, flitting from one group to another with none of them ever really becoming central or particularly interesting, & often sidelined for huge lengths of the film as we move to another group. There are a couple of slashing scenes early on as the killer tries out his length of barbed wire, but they’re pretty routine & disappointing for not showing the gore that is the staple of the genre. It’s almost an hour in before the makers remember that they are after all supposed to be making a horror film & the pace picks up – unfortunately by this time many slasher fans will have given up on the film. It’s a shame, as once it does get going the final half-hour is pretty entertaining stuff, including a nice piece of table-top violence & a killer so shifty-looking he seems to have wondered in off a dodgy 60s Euro-sleaze flick.
The setting is an all-girls catholic school next to a wood, which frankly is about as good a choice of location for a slasher film as you can get, & the film follows through by getting it’s attractive teen cast to disrobe at any & every opportunity. Put simply, the only thing that makes the first hour of “Bloodmoon” tolerable is the quantity of eye-candy on display, which is well above average for the genre. Needless to say, if watching twenty-something females playing late teens & getting naked frequently is not your kind of thing, you’re not likely to enjoy “Bloodmoon” much.
Amongst the many teen-movie clichés roped into “Bloodmoon” are the nearby boys school for rich kids, who are bitter rivals with the poorer kids from town; the school dance with spiked punch; poor but sweet guy falling for the hot rich girl; plus of course there’s the local police who are startlingly incompetent, & the one decent cop who starts his own investigation towards the end. And a hot headmistress, who isn’t getting any at home, so spends her Sunday afternoons in bed with seniors from the boys’ school. Obviously, couples from the two schools keep meeting in the woods at night, & no one seems excessively worried when they don’t come back.
Whilst some of these obvious or silly elements do provide a certain amount of entertainment factor, the relative lack of action in the first hour, plus an almost complete absence of suspense, surprise, or actual horror means that “Bloodmoon” winds up pretty low down on the slasher list. If you’re a great fan of these types of movies, then there are far worse efforts around, & the big haircuts & frequent nudity do stave off the boredom when there’s no killing. Having said that, this really is one for slasher collectors only, & more casual fans would be better off spending their money elsewhere.
The R2/PAL UK DVD is from Momentum, & features a good strong anamorphic widescreen picture, & crisp & clear Dolby 2.0 audio. There are no extras, but given the film I’m not remotely bothered by that.