Blood Cult (1985)

Directed by Christopher Lewis [Other horror films: The Ripper (1985), Revenge (1986)]

This early shot-on-video horror film is a bit of a mess. I mean, story-wise, it’s almost fine (aside from largely sucking), but with the quality of the overall film, Blood Cult doesn’t really cut it. It’s a somewhat tedious film with little to recommend, and I can think of plenty better SOV horror films to spend your time with.

In fact, this film is somewhat well-known among SOV fans as reportedly being the first shot-on-video horror film. It’s not – unless I’m deeply mistaken, I would think films such as Sledgehammer (1983), The Toxic Slime Creature (1982), and Day of the Reaper (1984) predate it. I should say, though, I’m no expert on SOV horror films, so perhaps there’s something about these earlier movies that disqualify them. Even if Blood Cult was the first, while an interesting historical note, it wouldn’t make the film any more palatable.

And it’s now I should mention that I watched this under the title Slasher. There was no cast listing, and in fact, no credits, aside from some link to an internet website, I believe. Also, the copyright date at the end was 1997. Not only this, but the copy I saw was 83 minutes, whereas IMDb lists the film as 89 minutes.

I go into that detail because while I doubt seeing an original print from 1985 would have deeply improved my enjoyment of the film, I want to be forthcoming in admitting I likely saw a marginally cut version. Slasher is just an awful retitling anyway, so I don’t know what they may have removed, but if I am able to see a better version of Blood Cult in the future, maybe I’ll appreciate it a bit more.

Charles Ellis made for an interesting lead, being an older gentleman (his character was the sheriff, and also running for Senate). He probably did as well as he could with a movie that was shot in nine days. Same with both Juli Andelman and James Vance. I didn’t love any of these performances, but with a movie like this, you’ve just got to give them credit for showing up.

The gore isn’t too bad, though. While a far cry from H.G. Lewis, there were some decent scenes in Blood Cult, such as the kill toward the beginning (following an excruciatingly slow POV sequence, to be fair) when a woman gets hacked to death with a cleaver. There’s a severed hand, a severed head, and this unlucky woman finds some severed fingers in her salad (admittedly, her screams of horror did amuse me). It’s not amazing or even necessarily impressive, but at least Blood Cult did have something to offer.

With muddled audio, though, along with less-than-stellar plot (and a somewhat horrible finale), there’s not that much here that’s worth seeing, at least not in the cut of the film I saw. What amazes me most about Blood Cult, actually, is that they managed a sequel in 1986 titled Revenge (and if IMDb can be believed, Charles Ellis actually reprised his role). Maybe that sequel fixes up some of the issues with this.

As Blood Cult, or Slasher, stands alone, though, I have to say that I didn’t have a good time with this, and found it more tedious than anything else.


Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

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