Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reel Bad Cinema: God's Bloody Acre (1975) review


Wayne Crawford (David), William Kerwin (Monroe), Jennifer Stock (Leslie), Daniel Schweitzer (Ezra), Sam Moree (Benny), Robert Rosano (Robert Rizzo), Suzanne Robinson (Carol Rizzo)

Directed by Harry Kerwin

The Short Version: GOD'S BLOODY ACRE is a hopelessly obscure oddity from the generally entertaining hixploitation genre. It desperately wants to be as offensive and tasteless as its $20,000 budget will allow by tossing every ingredient into this shit stew such as misogyny, racism and rape. When it's not making you erupt in laughter or boring the hell out of you, there're a few moments of creativity that show the admittedly green filmmakers wanted to do something "special" with the material. The finished product is assuredly "special", but more the short bus variety than anything noteworthy. In the end, this BLOODY ACRE is a piece of putrid property whose value will only go up for bad cinema buffs.

A backwoods father and his two redneck sons don't take kindly to construction workers bulldozing their land to make way for a new camping ground. After one of the workers is killed, the horny hillbilly trio turn their sights towards a handful of campers vacationing nearby.

This iredeemably stupid example of hixploitation cinema was unable to even recoup its $20,000 budget before being swallowed up in an obscurity earthquake. That's not to say it doesn't have a minuscule level of unintentionally brain dead charm, but fans of backwoods exploitation and rape revenge movies will most likely be looking at their watches in between fits of giggle spasms. If it weren't for a 'Movie Macabre' level of absurdity, this flick would be a featured presentation on 'The Dis List' column here at CAC. Instead, it finds a home nestled snuggly within the confines of the 'So Bad, It's Painfully Funny' section.

This Florida lensed no budgeter tries desperately to be rude, crude and socially unacceptable and fails monumentally. There's a few moments that do elicit a minor degree of offensiveness, but everything is so sloppily put together these few moments are only mildly diverting. GOD'S BLOODY ACRE is one of many examples of a group of friends getting together to make a movie during a time when any sort of cinematic trite could garner some kind of theatrical distribution. These days, this same sort of mishmash looks a lot more glossier, but no less idiotic and manages to get nationwide airings on the SyFy Channel.

The soundtrack is a mixed bag of 'road movie' type country western tunes, Bread style ballads and woefully inappropriate DeWolfe library tracks that will very easily awaken fans of both Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) and Shaw Brothers kung fu movies. Kung fu fans will have a field day recalling the dump truck filled array of cues haphazardly assembled here and heard elsewhere in films such as BRAVE ARCHER (1977), INVINCIBLE SHAOLIN (1978), KILLER CONSTABLE (1980) and FLAG OF IRON (1980). The film is also padded with a lot of cross country local flavor and a handful of interesting segues that offer up background on some of the characters. However, the overpowering ineptitude is too smart for whatever intricacies the filmmakers can muster.

It should be clarified, though, that the makers of BLOODY ACRE--their first feature--had a script that contained fragments of making a statement on societal issues scattered around its 87 minute running time. During the 1970s environmental concerns were a hot topic and numerous movies exploited those concerns. The filmmakers tried that here, but these bits gets hopelessly lost among numerous scenes that either want to expand on its characters or simply offend the viewer.

The film flirts with racial indifference in a mind-boggling moment wherein one of the characters--an expletive spewing Archie Bunker type--remarks about "three niggers in a rolls royce", to which his wife replies, "They're not niggers. They're black. If they have it, they probably worked hard to get it". This triggers her husband to fire back with "Bullshit!" In what ends up as a veritable slap in the face, this stereotype is reinforced when the three black men harass David (now hitchhiking after his motorbike breaks down) by beating him up and stealing his wallet! This bit of irony is as truly offensive as the movie gets.

The character of Leslie is the poster girl for battered women in cinema. She leaves her neolithically abusive boyfriend whose pinnacle of vocal enlightenment is his utterance of the word "bitch". After being slapped around and insulted, she takes off on the road where more humiliation awaits. It seems everywhere she goes she suffers further degradation by any number of cretins who immediately start grabbing "things" on her well developed and defined body. She then meets up with David and after tending to his wounds, indulges in some sexual frolicking in a nearby pond in what amounts to an excuse to get her naked. The filmmakers try valiantly to outrage the viewer and end up inadvertently "spoofing" the subject matter instead.

The sequence that starts the three stooges murder spree is a true 'D' movie rib tickler. After the sight of seeing a tree come down, the rednecks are sent into a mental tailspin. They decide to take their frustration out on a lone construction worker trucking along on his bulldozer. The trio proceed to hurl rocks at both the man and his machine. In a moment that can only be described as a major league brain fart on the part of the construction worker, the man heads for the safety of the undercarriage of the bulldozer just below the big blade while the retarded hick of the bunch jumps around and screams in the drivers seat. The blade comes down and gives the half baked illusion of cutting the man in half. His lower half is clearly visible half buried in the dirt. This entire sequence is far funnier than most comedies and we're asked to take the sight of three rednecks hurling rocks at a bulldozer seriously while this exciting library music familiar to kung fu film lovers blares in the background.

"Maybe we can knock off early today?"

One of the biggest laughs is derived from the afro'ed Sam Moree--the mentally challenged hillbilly--attempting to jump aboard the 'dozer, beating the hell out of it in the process and nearly killing himself when he slips and falls nearly breaking his neck on the top portion of the machines blade. Much to the filmmakers good nature, they leave this slip up in. Hell, the whole movie is one big bad take. What's even funnier is the way the mutilated discovery is treated by the dead man's co-workers. They seem more concerned with getting off early!

The one scene that seems to get the most attention is the rape scene towards the end. This sequence attempts to corral the controversial subtext inherent in the Susan George rape scene from the light years better STRAW DOGS from 1971. Here, whatever tastelessness the makers were gunning for is tepid at best. Some might find this moment unpleasant, but it comes off as bewilderingly misplaced amidst the laughable nature of the film. The music doesn't fit and besides the sexual frustration felt by Suzanne Robinson's character, it's difficult to fathom her suddenly indulging in the stinky mountain man love that's furiously pumping away at her. After taking out Monroe (William Kerwin, the lead in both BLOOD FEAST and TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! plays the hick patriarch here) with a shotgun, the inbred's bedspread takes off on foot and ends up on the receiving end of the least graphic throat slashing of all time.

He's either napping or at the premiere of GOD'S BLOODY ACRE.

In its defense, there's some things that will be mildly attractive to only the most ardent trash specialist. There's a good amount of Southern Fried local yokels, nudity, sex, and some ridiculous violence including a right well done foot chase/brawl during the closing moments. Sadly, outside of the hilarious bulldozer murder sequence early in the film, not much happens till the last twenty minutes. In the late 1980s TransWorld Entertainment released the film on VHS in an attractive package that made the film look better than it really is.

The makers of GOD'S BLOODY ACRE do try hard, but unfortunately, they come up short. They had better success producing the nasty DEATH WISH styled GETTING EVEN (1976) aka TOMCATS (which is also on this disc) and the likes of VALLEY GIRL (1983) and NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984). With a title and premise that promises some sleaze appeal, BLOODY ACRE fails to impress. This is one plot of land most will want to rent instead of buy.

This review is representative of the Code Red DVD. The amazon link is below.

God's Bloody Acre / Tomcats
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