30 May 2024
Blood Rage (1987)
82 min.
Directed by John Grissmer.
With Louise Lasser, Mark Soper, Marianne Kanter, Julie Gordon, Ed French, Jayne Bentzen, Brad Leland, James Farrell, Chad Montgomery, Gerry Lou.
Shot in 1983 but not released theatrically until 1987, this "twin brothers, one is a psychotic killer, which one is it?" slasher is not as terrible as it could have been, thanks mostly to the unique charms of Louise Lasser, and some sassy gore effects.

Adorable twin boys Todd and Terry seem like normal tots. That is, until Todd plants an axe in the face of a patron at a local drive-in. Committed to an asylum, his brother Terry and mother Maddy (Lasser) try to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on.

Flash forward ten years. Todd and Terry (Mark Soper) are both grown young men. However, Maddy is in heavy denial that one of her sons could be a bloodthirsty killer.

To make matters worse, Todd -- undergoing psychiatric treatment in an asylum for ten years -- has begun to remember things: fragments of memories from that bloody night....details...images...that he didn't kill anyone after all...Could he have been set up by his demented brother Terry?

It's Thanksgiving night. Todd escapes from the asylum and decides to head for home in order to get some answers to his questions. Meanwhile, someone begins killing local residents in grisly fashion, starting with Maddy's poor fiance!

Could the murderer be Todd, still unhinged after all these years? Or is there some other sinister force at work here?

Blood Rage isn't great by any means. But this suburban slasher is mild fun and has a few entertaining moments. Lasser, always watchable, brings a quirky seriousness to her nervous portrayal of troubled mom Maddy.

Momentary shots of Lasser scrubbing down the post-Thanksgiving oven, or eating green beans on the kitchen floor, hearken back to the best of her stint on Norman Lear's groundbreaking Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman series -- and frankly these vignettes lend Blood Rage an earnestness it sorely needs.

Even when the over-the-top gore effects fall flat (see: Dr. Berman's torso & legs dismemberment in the woods), it's all agreeable splatter entertainment at a time when the subgenre had entered its true nadir.

Shot in Jacksonville, Florida. Also known as Nightmare at Shadow Woods.

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