People are getting murdered down under via a barbed wire noose and then their eyes are gouged out. There are a variety of suspects at a nearby girls boarding school including students, teachers, and a nun. We also follow a rivalry between the local surfer townies and a group of preppy guys from a local all-boys school. Written by
Not to be confused with Bloody Moon, Jesus Franco's gore feast of 1980; this Australian lensed slasher imitates the popular killer on campus' plotline that's so frequently used by its US counterparts. It's fairly amusing just how much Alec Mills tries to make this as American as he possibly can, but thankfully he refrains from asking the cast to perform unconvincing accents. As a matter of fact, the characters that are actually supposed to be from the States still speak in flawless Aus! Hmmm!
In the small town of Coopers Bay, there are two Hi-schools situated right next door to each other. There's Winchester, an all boys comprehensive and St Elizabeth's, a girl's only Catholic faculty. They are separated by woodland where pupils from both can meet and engage in things that they'd rather their teachers didn't witness! An unseen killer begins murdering the youngsters as they fornicate, strangling them with a length of barbed wire before removing their eyes and burying them under the soil. Mary, the daughter of a Hollywood movie actress, becomes involved when the killer targets her and Kevin, her boyfriend. But who is this twisted psychopath and why does he want to kill all the kids?
Blood Moon opens with a terrific score courtesy of Brian May and some superb cinematography. The dense woods in which the kids are pursued is brilliantly lighted and I was immediately rather impressed by the general production. After a couple of murders, were introduced to a predictable troupe of troublesome teens and our obvious final girl. There's an interesting subplot that sprouts as one of the local poor kids falls for Mary, the daughter of an actress. The rich Winchester boys hate the local working class, so it's almost like a homage to Romeo and Juliet or West side story but without the Rock and Roll (Instead we get reach for the earplugs' Heavy Metal!). Shakespeare and the slasher genre, what a combination! I bet the poor author would turn in his grave!
There's one really gruesome if not graphic murder, involving a desk, a young girl's head and a deranged killer! But aside from that, there's hardly any gore and most of the killings are left to our imagination (boo!). The performances are fairly poor throughout, although Leon Lissek gives a decidedly nasty portrayal. Although it mostly keeps things directly by the book, there are a few twists that you probably won't guess and we also get some background on the reasons for the killer's insanity.
British born Alec Mills' lackadaisical direction left a lot to be desired and he failed to generate as much suspense as was needed. He's better when he works as a camera man as he did on Return of the jedi and various James Bond movies through the seventies and eighties. It's a fairly slow-moving story, but when the killer is revealed things begin to perk up right up until it ends rather suddenly leaving one or two unanswered questions. Like what happened to Kevin? Did he survive? Even though the bodies start piling up toward the finale, the story certainly could have benefited from a few more excursions into the well-lighted woodland with the killer and his length of deadly barbed wire. As it stands, there was too little horror and an excessive amount of teen frolics that didn't really do the movie any favours.
You can ignore most of the bad reviews that slate Blood Moon; it really isn't all that bad. Its just that its not particularly memorable, the sort of film that you'll watch once and forget about immediately after. Perfect for some late-night slicing shenanigans on the TV, but hardly worth the effort of hunting down. As far as Australian slashers go, it manages not to feel as cack-handed as Houseboat Horror, To Become One or the over-rated Cut, but then that's still not much of a worthy compliment. Oh and make sure to place them earplugs back in as soon as you see the end credits. The last songs a killer: `Blood moon is rising, stay home tonight' and `Blood Moon arising over building and over hill, take care if you will!' You get the picture!
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