Blood Rage (1987) Poster

(1987)

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4/10
That is not cranberry sauce!
rooee21 November 2015
Variously known as Blood Rage (home video version), Slasher (original title card), and Nightmare at Shadow Woods (theatrical cut), this ropey hack-'em-up took four years to get a US release after having been filmed in 1983. It was hardly worth the wait but there's some fun to be had in its maniac twins setup.

To be fair, only one of the twins is actually maniacal. When they were kids, Terry butchered a mid-coitus stranger and blamed it on Todd. 10 years later, Todd escapes from his psychiatric unit, apparently on the rampage. But in reality it's just Terry again, all grown up and getting jealous and enraged about his mom's engagement. Someone is slaughtering folks in the neighbourhood, and now Terry has the perfect alibi.

Harking from a time when the mentally ill were definitely perpetrators rather than victims, here we have one of those slasher pictures where people are too busy going off into the woods alone to call the police and let them know a murderer is on the rampage.

There's some cracking gore, although the anxious editing in the theatrical cut means we often get only a glimpse before cutting away to some half-assed Freudian exchange or another teenager soaping in the shower. Stick with the so-called "hard" version (included in the Arrow Video boxset I saw) for the real deal.

While performances are consistently terrible, Mark Soper as the twins possesses an appropriately unsettling glare, and one-time Woody Allen fave Louise Lasser has an absolute ball as the cripplingly neurotic, boozing mother.

As a work of filmcraft it's a notch above Troma, but sadly not funny, well-made, or scary enough to land itself a place in a camp Halloween horror medley.

Possibly the film's greatest pull is the period. Locked in time by Richard Einhorn's elaborate synth score, the voluminous hair and bad sportswear are virtually sufficient in themselves to carry us through the 80-odd minutes.
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Very good and overlooked 80s slasher.
engagedtoprecious20 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Amid the slew of slasher films pumped out in the early 1980s, a few have been lost in the sands of time, available for years only in cut VHS form or rare DVDs (if they were lucky enough to even make the jump to that format) that have since gone out of print. Blood Rage (aka Nightmare at Shadow Woods) is one of those films. Currently available only on VHS and an expensive out of print DVD (which is heavily cut), it's a shame this wonderful little slasher film has to suffer anonymity while other (lesser) slasher films have been given the deluxe treatment with special edition DVD releases and some even making the transition to Blu-ray (I'm looking at you, The Dorm That Dripped Blood). The truth is, as an avid fan of these often-maligned films, Blood Rage is better than 80% of the so-called classics that have received better treatment in the area of home video.

What makes Blood Rage worthier than those other slashers and vastly underrated? Well for starters, the lead performance by Mark Soper who does a double take as the twins Terry and Todd, is among one of the better performances in slasher movie history. If you've read the plot description, you'd know that the movie is about two identical twins--one good, the other evil. Soper manages to play both roles seamlessly, which is surprising given the film's low budget origins and the genre. Each twin's facial expressions, body language, and mannerisms are contrasted perfectly to make it believable. Louise Lasser also hits the spot as the twins' mother, who slowly starts to lose it once she gets word that her son, Todd, has escaped his mental institution and may be on his way home for Thanksgiving. Little does she know that Todd is actually innocent of the crime that got him locked up as a boy--the brutal slaying of a teenage boy at a drive-in movie by way of a hatchet--and that Todd's evil brother, Terry, is actually the resident psychopath, living with her all these years undetected. It seems (or is at least assumed) that Terry's homicidal tendencies have remained dormant all these years until, one night, his mother announces her engagement and gets a phone call that Todd is on the loose. All of this is apparently enough incentive for Terry to have some fun again while probably assuming he can blame all of the new murders on the escaped Todd. And boy does he take advantage of his brother's escape. Terry hacks, stabs, and slices his way through most of the residents of the Shadow Woods apartment complex with much gusto. The gore effects in the uncut version are an 80s slasher fan's dream. The now out of print DVD edition titled Nightmare at Shadow Woods was a heavily cut presentation. We get multiple hatchet whacks to the head, an impaling, decapitations, severed limbs, bisections...the works.

The music is one of the best qualities about the film and one of the things that really sets it apart from most of its brethren. It really is one of the greater slasher scores I've heard, at times reminiscent of Halloween but with a more 80s vibe that you can really dig into.

We get the usual slasher movie conventions here and there--the kids throw a party in one of the apartments while some sneak off to have sex in certain areas of the complex which proves to be a very bad idea (stay away from that pool house). Eventually, as usual with these films, things dwindle down to the final girl, Karen--a likable enough actress who, while pretty, often makes some questionable decisions regarding her safety. But once the chase is on, we get several memorable set pieces that are at times genuinely suspenseful. Terry chases Karen all over the complex as she tries in vain to get help from the now mostly dead residents. This leads to lots of unopened doors and unanswered cries for help. There is one suspenseful scene in the apartment of a dead resident where Karen attempts to call for help while hiding behind a desk as we see Terry's bloodied machete slowly enter frame off to the side as Karen watches in horror as she looks up to see Terry towering over her. Speaking of Terry, he is really enjoying himself, jokes, smiles, and all.

The movie ends in the pool house with a little "twist" if you will (and given that the movie is about twins, no, it's probably not what you're thinking).

Overall, several factors in the film elevate it above the level of many of the 80s slashers that have received far more attention and care over the years. I wish some brave company would take a chance on releasing this in its uncut form sometime in the future so slasher fans can see it and appreciate it. I gave the film a 7 for sheer entertainment purposes. It IS a slasher movie, and yes, it often suffers from all of the flaws associated with these films, but pure fun can override your film snob sensibilities at times. Especially when a movie is this fun.
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6/10
Canadian DVD vs Prism VHS - Spoilers included
rabiddog673 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Legacy Entertainment's DVD is cut. Gore mostly, but the scene after the drive-in killing is of Louise Lasser visiting Todd at the hospital, which contains important exposition (Todd who has been catatonic and then unable to remember the slaying finally remembers that Terry committed the murder); the DVD shows Louise Lasser pulling up to the gate and then cuts to Terry and his friends playing football. The DVD does contain a scene missing in PRISIM'S VHS BLOOD RAGE (NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS was the title I saw this under in the theater back in 1987) - immediately after the football game, Terry and his friends go swimming and Andrea agrees to babysit for Julie. (why this is missing from the VHS is hard to say). The gore is seriously cut in the Canadian DVD. Terry kills the kid at the drive-in; the DVD shows one whack and then the naked girl running away - the VHS has multiple whacks and blood-stained popcorn. Lasser's fiancé gets his hand hacked off while drinking a beer in both versions, but the DVD is just a quick shot....same goes for Julie finding her date's head hanging in a closet....much more on VHS. Todd's doctor is literally cut in half....the DVD does not show her death throes or Todd finding her body later in the film. Terry sticks Artie in the neck with a fork...more gore on the VHS than the quick cutaway on the DVD.
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7/10
Blood Rage
Scarecrow-8826 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"Well, it's not cranberry sauce."

Terry and Todd are twin brothers. Terry is a psychopath who, as a child while his mom is making out with a boyfriend in his car at the drive-in, takes a hatchet to a victim screwing his lover in their vehicle for kicks. Terry smears some blood on Todd, rendered catatonic from shock at seeing his brother chop this young man's face numerous times, placing the hatchet in his hand. So mom thinks Todd is to blame, shipping the poor kid to an asylum. Meanwhile it's been ten years and Terry has behaved himself…but the question is for how long before Terry snaps again? Todd has told his psychiatrist over and over that it is Terry who killed that man, but she is not totally convinced (although she is suspicious of Terry, soon learning the hard way that Todd was correct). When Todd breaks out of the asylum, the news is told to his mom, Maddy (Louise Lasser, portraying this character as a bit on the edge, kind of nervy and seemingly uptight) and Terry. This seems to be the switch that turns Terry back into a sadistic, happy-go-lucky lunatic again, using an assortment of killing tools on his school mates and anyone else he is familiar with (including a couple who meet him while he is hanging out with a girl babysitting the single mother's baby).

Let's see: machete lopping off a hand, splitting open a head, pulled from a chest wound, impaling straight through a body, a fork stabbed into a throat, a decapitated head hanging from a cord, and a poor victim missing her lower torso and legs (which are a few feet away from her body thanks to the aforementioned machete). The gory kills in "Blood Rage" are not Rob Zombie's favorite kind of violence because they are definitely over the top and gratuitous. Mark Roper, as Terry and Todd, has performances all over the map. His Todd pretty much stays simple-minded and weak, while his Terry is vacant a personality, all smiles when he's wielding his trusty machete. What Julie Gordon's Karen ever sees in Terry is anybody's guess because we never see a side of this guy that is particularly likable or appealing. If you were wondering about nudity, "Blood Rage" also supplies the slasher audience with good news here: Jayne Bentzen is the uninhibited and free-spirited Julie, who smokes pot and likes sex. You know what that means, though, right? Yep, she's dead meat. Not before one of Terry's soon-to-be-dead friends gets a little loving from her first. And for our titillation, Bentzen has a shower scene, bathing her delicious naked flesh. "Blood Rage" is really a relatively unknown slasher that will be of interest only, I believe, to fans of the disreputable genre always in search for obscure "dead teenager" movies (to quote critics who hate slashers). It has all the ingredients and fulfills all the requirements. The characters and plot only service the killing formula, but at least the nutcase has an advantage that allows him an element of surprise on the victims who consider him the normal one and Todd the person to fear. Filmed in Florida, famed state of the great gore director HGL.
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2/10
A true Thanksgiving turkey
tomgillespie200219 May 2015
Made in 1983 but not released until 1987 until the title of Nightmare at Shadow Woods, Blood Rage is one of many forgotten slashers given a limited cinema run, only to be cut of a lot of its gore and released in various butchered versions on home video. Also like a lot of slashers, Blood Rage is terribly acted, badly written and features a plodding narrative in which we get to witness lots of boobs and blood- spraying. It's also an evil twin movie, beginning with two young identical siblings, Todd and Terry, escaping their car at a drive-in while their mum gets it on with a man in the front seat. Terry inexplicably hacks a young, dry-humping couple to death, wipes the blood on Todd, and blames his shell-shocked brother for the crime.

Todd is locked away in a mental asylum, and years later, the grown up Terry (Mark Soper) is preparing for a Thanksgiving meal with his smothering mother Maddy (Louise Lasser), her new beau Brad (William Fuller) and his girlfriend Karen (Julie Gordon). They learn of Todd's escape and are soon joined by Dr. Berman (Marianne Kanter) and her assistant Jackie (Douglas Weiser) from the institute. Terry, seeing an opportunity to release his suppressed homicidal tendencies and frame Todd even more convincingly, embarks on a killing spree, stalking the estate and the surrounding wooded area with machete in hand, using his clean-cut mommy's-boy image to divert any attention from him.

There's a clear oedipal theme running throughout Blood Rage, similar to but not to the same extent as fellow obscure horror (and video nasty) Night Warning (1982), but this is not explored with any care or intelligence. Decent slasher movies are extremely difficult to come by, and this is no exception. The horror is particularly gory, and alarmingly frequent, especially in the early stages. The make- up and effects (by Oscar winner Ed French) are also quite decent, but in between these moments are the same stretched-out chase scenes and clunky dialogue seen in a thousand films of its ilk. Soper is equally terrible as Todd as he is as Terry, but special mention must go to Lasser (who actually had a half-decent career), whose frankly bizarre performance is so awful that it may cause your ears to bleed. A true Thanksgiving turkey.
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6/10
That's Not Cranberry Sauce!
gavin694226 November 2014
A man (Mark Soper) is blamed for murders actually committed by his evil twin (also Mark Soper).

This film is written by Bruce Rubin, the Oscar-winning creator of "Ghost" and "Jacob's Ladder", and stars Woody Allen's ex-wife Louise Lasser. Even Ted Raimi makes a small cameo towards the beginning.

This film, part of the 1980s slasher cycle, is awfully bloody and gory, but seems to be largely forgotten. It has not seen a proper release since the 1987 Prism Entertainment VHS, and now has to be viewed on CrypticTV or YouTube in less than great quality.

Who owns the rights? At this point, if a negative is available, it should be relatively cheap, and would be a solid investment for Scream Factory or a similar distributor.
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8/10
Surprisingly memorable lil' psycho melodrama
quridley16 June 2017
Off the bat, Lousie Lasser makes this movie. She plays the emotionally destroyed mother of twin sons who are severely screwed up. If you know anything about her history (and an infamous SNL incident that labeled her too crazy for showbiz), you know that the pain in her performance is real.

She elevates what, on its own, is a gory and clever slasher film that is above-average for its special effects and brilliant plot twist. De Palma pioneered this premise in "Sisters" (and someone probably inspired him), but I've never seen it used with slashers and its a PERFECT fit. The film is cheap and limited, but the story and crew are fantastic. Its shot and scored well. Besides some story lulls, its a good ride. And the ending is the cherry on top: brutal, poetic and satisfying. Quite ahead of the time in its cynical 80s humor.

This is a horror gem.
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8/10
Vastly entertaining and surprisingly rare slasher flick.
HumanoidOfFlesh7 January 2008
"Blood Rage" starts with one twin named Terry who butchers Maddy's boyfriend with an axe when he's ten years old.He puts the axe in his brother's Todd hand so he'll get the blame and so the good brother goes to mental asylum.I guess the good brother never bothered telling his side of the story,because ten years later he's still locked up.One day he escapes though and the evil Terry picks that day to wander around his apartment complex hacking teenagers up with a machete.This obscure slasher flick is quite gory.It is loaded with gratuitous nudity and really bloody murders,so I'm not complaining.The premise of is far-fetched and pretty weak,but if you are a real slasher fan give this one a look.8 out of 10.
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5/10
Kind of average
Tikkin3 June 2006
After hearing about the gore in Blood Rage I tracked it down on DVD under the title "Nightmare at Shadow Woods", and I'm a little underwhelmed. It started off looking promising with the kid attacking the couple at the drive-in. Then as usual, time is fast forwarded. The kid responsible for the drive-in deaths has framed his brother who is now locked away in a mental hospital. He escapes, whilst his brother kills people and blames it on him.

There were some decent gore scenes early on, though for some reason most of the rest were cut out. This is a shame because the gore is what makes a film like this. On its own, it was kind of dull and uneventful, but with the gore in it would have been easier to sit through. If anyone knows where to find an uncut copy please do let me know, I wouldn't mind seeing it in the way god intended.

Recommended to 80's slasher fans if you can find the uncut version.
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Great Gore But That's About It
Michael_Elliott23 January 2016
Blood Rage (1987)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Terry commits a brutal murder at a drive-in but blames it on his twin Todd who is sent to a mental hospital. Flash forward ten years and Todd has broken out of the hospital and returns home where more bodies begin to pile up.

BLOOD RAGE was filmed in 1983 but it sat on a shelf for four years before it was finally released without too much fan fare. The film was pretty much forgotten but over the years it has gained a rather large cult following and it's not too hard to see why. Even though I thought the film was pretty bad, there's no question that it contains some rather campy moments at times and the gore level is quite high.

I think it's the gore that most people are going to be coming to the film for. The special effects aren't the greatest thing around and they certainly don't compare to the work of Tom Savini but they certainly have an appeal. It doesn't matter what happens to the victim you're going to see a ton of blood come flowing out. So if they're stabbed, shot or chopped...prepare for blood. There are some creative kills throughout including one poor woman who gets cut in half and another man who loses his head.

The biggest problem with the film is pretty much everything else. The movie is available in three different cuts but I went with the original VHS version that clocks in at 82 minutes. Those 82 minutes feel triple that time because this thing drags so often. Whenever someone isn't getting killed off we're basically watching some pretty poor acting in a rather bad story without much going for it. There's no mystery, no suspense, no humor and not much of anything.

Again, BLOOD RAGE is going to be remembered for its gore and I'd still recommend slasher fans check it out for this reason alone.
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6/10
"You're gonna hurt my kitty!"
drownnnsoda23 December 2015
"Blood Rage" begins with two twin adolescent boys at a drive-in with their mother on a date; the two slink off, and one of them murders a man in his car. Ten years later, the psycho twin is incarcerated in a mental institution. On Thanksgiving, the good twin and his mother go to visit, but find he has escaped. He returns to the woodsy community where his mother lives and begins carving up residents like turkeys.

Let's face it—evil twins are to horror films what pumpkin pie is to Thanksgiving. It just works. "Blood Rage," a little-known slasher filmed in the early 1980s, knows this, and takes full advantage of the trope. The film fell into obscurity and wasn't even released theatrically until 1987; it made it to small theaters and B-movie drive-ins, and all but disappeared. What's interesting is that the film actually offers all of the hallmarks that genre fans love about these films: a holiday setting, corny one-liners, young adults copulating, and some impressive special effects set to a pounding synth score. You'd think the film would have at least garnered a cult following, but the limited availability of it until Arrow Video's 2015 release prevented it from ever really catching on.

The film is admittedly a mess in areas; some of the performances are hammy and the dialogue contrived, while the pacing is certainly bizarre at times, but for a low-budget B slasher film, these are typically taken for granted, and if anything are part of the charm. Louise Lasser spends the majority of the film boozed out screaming into a telephone and eating Thanksgiving leftovers on her kitchen floor, while her good twin boy searches ruthlessly for his unhinged brother. Bodies start piling up, and elaborate gore effects take precedent over plot development at times. The script overall is vaguely sketched and doesn't completely feel rounded out, and the film does suffer from a frankly nonthreatening villain, but the final act is tongue-in-cheek and well handled.

Overall, the film is a nice slice of eighties slasher pie that somehow got left behind. It's not a great film by any means, but it's also not a bad one when pitted against the genre standards. The ending is rather grim, and Lasser's turn as the mentally destroyed mother is hammy, Oedipal, and at times poignant. In many ways, the film reminded me of "Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker," another eighties slasher that never really caught on, in both tone and thematics. "Blood Rage" is most definitely worth a look for genre fans, and is a hokey, gory effort if nothing else. 6/10.
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5/10
Forgotten gore flick that sits comfortably alongside Pieces et al
LuisitoJoaquinGonzalez19 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There's something uniquely satisfying about watching a gory film. Although it's impossible to put a finger on it, there's a reason why an uncut version of a splatter fest will always favour that of a censored print. Humans have a morbid curiosity and it's fun watching an actor getting his face cut in half with a bench saw when you know it's just a trick of the camera.

I have never been a believer that on-screen bloodshed can entice people to commit acts of violence in reality. Apart from a few teenage bust-ups, I have never been a violent individual and I have seen perhaps more horror films than the entire staff of the MPAA. I love a good gore flick as much as the next guy, but I'm certainly no psycho killer. I suspect however that if by some unfortunate twist of fate I became suspected of some heinous crime, my love of horror movies would certainly act as damning evidence against me. The media love to blame the entertainment industry for society's wrongs, which is why we had the pointless 'video nasty' phase of the early eighties.

Nightmare at Shadow Woods has never been marketed as an out and out gore flick, which is a shame, because in its uncut form it certainly delivers on the red stuff. Yet another of the multitude of slashers that failed to grab a slice of the 'big-dollar pie' upon release - simply due to genre production overload - John Grissmer's widely unknown splatter effort includes enough of the vital ingredients to demand closer inspection.

We kick off at a drive in. A mother is far too busy making out with her lover to notice that her twin boys Terry and Todd have crept out of the car and headed out onto the forecourt. After a brief confrontation with a teenage viewer and his girlfriend, one of the twins hacks the unfortunate jock to death with a handy axe that he picked up on route. Clearly a quick thinker, Terry gives the hatchet to his dumb-founded brother and leaves him to face a life behind bars in an asylum for a crime that he did not commit.

Fast forward ten years and Todd, who has been in a catatonic state since that fateful night, begins to recollect the fact that it is actually his twin-brother that should be held accountable for the grisly murder and so armed with the truth, he escapes the hospital to clear his name and bring his sibling to justice. Meanwhile the news of Todd's escape, coupled with the uncomfortable fact that his mother is about to get married sends Terry back on a maniacal rampage.

Nightmare at Shadow Woods tries admirably hard to be an extraordinarily adventurous genre addition. John Grissmer obviously set out with the ambition to fill his feature with all the necessary ingredients for it to rival the likes of Friday the 13th and the hard-hitters of the horror market during that period. As I mentioned earlier, the gore is spread thick and fast throughout the runtime and there's no space left for sentimentality as the killer stalks his victims with a mean-spirited air of arrogance. In most traditional slasher films, the assassin is either an unknown entity with no other link to his victims than a lust for murder or more commonly it's a psychopathic colleague that's seeking revenge, but conceals his identity from those that he stalks. Grissmer's psycho however kills indiscriminately and revels in the fact that he is murdering those that look upon him as a friend. He taunts like a playground bully and has no apparent realisation of the grotesque acts he is committing.

Ed French's gore effects are heavily underrated and hold up well against some of the cycle's more renowned bloody features. My favourite of the bunch would have to be when Maddy discovers the corpse of her boyfriend in the apartment complex and unaware that he has been murdered, she prods him to ascertain why he is failing to answer her questioning. As his body falls forward, his head splits completely in half through the middle and its a decent and credibly handled scare. There are a few neat directorial flourishes on display and the final stalking scenes build a decent amount of tension. The budget restrictions are obvious, but the film never feels under produced.

There are two words that sum up all that's wrong with Nightmare at Shadow Woods and perhaps the reason why it has never been able to achieve the status of some of its peers. Louise Lasser. Her whining performance ranks amongst the worst I have ever seen and although none of the cast could consider themselves Academy Award quality, it was Lasser who grated the most. Things started badly with a horrendous piece of overacting and from then on her portrayal seemed to deteriorate from scene to scene as she sunk to new depths of heinous acting. Her incompetence reached a crescendo in one marvellously pathetic shot, which saw her sitting in a dressing gown on the kitchen floor eating scraps from the refrigerator and whimpering like a wounded rabbit from Watership Down .

It's also disappointing that Grissmer didn't make the most of an ambitious plot by adding a mystery element. We know from the start that Terry is the psychopathic sibling, but with a bit more adventurous script writing, we could have been left deciding which of the twins is the true killer until an archetypal revelation climax.

With that said, Woods still remains a decent splatter flick and is a good sister companion for Pieces from the same period. Don't buy the DVD however as it excludes all the fun gore effects.
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Standard Slasher Fare, But Not Bad
WritnGuy-230 January 2000
Pretty standard stuff, but still, not bad if you're looking for just the right movie.

Back when Terry and Todd were young, Terry killed someone at the drive-in, and blamed it on his oddball brother. They put Todd away, and Terry was allowed to roam free. Ten years later, their mother announces she is getting married to her boyfriend, and Terry goes on a killing spree in anger (I suppose, I couldn't figure any other reason) around the Florida apartment complex she lives, killing off friends and neighbors, and saying Terry, who broke free from the asylum, is responsible.

Not a bad movie, though there were some dull scenes. The gore is great, with some very gruesome deaths. One girl gets chopped in two, and is still alive, screaming. I think a guy gets a machete to the face. Maybe two of them do. And...well, you'll have to see them. They're all gory. And there are some genuine scares, some nudity, and a very twisted ending. The climax is pretty good, with Terry chasing Karen, the quintessential good girl, around the complex, a la Michael Myers, walking calmly while she runs like hell. As for the twisted ending--it's quite impressive. A nice note to end the movie on. Overall, a recommendation, though, it's not the best thing I've seen. Still, if you're looking for just standard slasher fare, this is perfect.
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Typical 1980s Horror Flick
MooVbuff-33 February 2000
I had completely forgotten this movie until I saw it at the local video store. I first saw this at the movie theater around Halloween 1987, and it was shown as "Nightmare At Shadow Woods." I had no idea it was aka "Blood Rage" and released in 1983. I did think the movie looked a little dated even for such as small gap between 1983 and 1987. I guess the film company wanted to bring it back under a new name to cash in better than its original release. Great gore scenes inserted between some pretty horrifying acting. A weak plot can destroy a movie, but for horror flicks it doesn't matter now does it? Recommended for those who favor more gore over suspense.
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2/10
Generic 80's slasher trash
badscene21 February 2019
You've seen this all before. I accept that this film has garnered some kind of cult status, but it has to be attributed to the gore and violence, because this film fails miserably elsewhere.

The acting is the worst I've seen short of Troll 2, but at least it had me laughing. Louise Lasser as the mother is headscratchingly awful in one of the most bizarre performances I've ever seen, all pointing to a Director with no skill.

The sad thing is, if this movie knew it sucked and had a sense of humor about it, Blood Rage has all the recipes for a camp classic in the vein of early John Waters. Unfortunately, everything from the lack of story, god awful script, and miserable performances, coupled with the fact that it takes itself completely seriously make this film one big mess.
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7/10
Entertaining Thanksgiving Slasher
molemandavid25 August 2017
For some reason, there aren't all that many Thanksgiving-themed slasher flicks, but Blood Rage will definitely quench one's thirst for a decent one. It's easily the best out of the ones that are available (certainly way better than Home Sweet Home).

The story is full of twists, mistaken identities, drunken mothers, evil twins, and a whole lot of delicious soap operatics sprinkled in between a series of remarkably bloody and brutal murder set pieces. The acting, besides an inspired (and strange) turn by Louise Lasser, is mostly decent if unmemorable. The real star here is the special makeup effects which range from cheesy to disturbingly realistic.

The pacing can drag a bit here and there, but slasher and camp lovers should be more than satisfied with this one. The Arrow Blu-Ray release is the best way to go. The movie has never looked so good (and probably never will.)
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6/10
Showcase of gore FX does the job effectively enough
Leofwine_draca25 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
BLOOD RAGE is a fun '80s American slasher shot in Florida. The whole thing plays out as a special effects showcase in much the same way as a Friday the 13th sequel; there's zero time for plotting or characterisation, just one brutal kill following another. The movie was made in 1983 but not released for four years, although it's hard to see why it took so long; the effects are good enough to make this stand alongside the genre classics of the decade.

The story begins with a HALLOWEEN-style opening in which a kid bumps off a fornicating couple in a car in an extremely grisly fashion. It then cuts forward ten years when the killer escapes from an asylum to go on a rampage, but there's a twist: he has a twin brother. Cue lots of mistaken identity and at least one decent plot twist. Otherwise the characters are all dumb, token stereotypes, and random shower scenes are included for the nudity.

In the end, though, this is all about the gore and the blood really does flow freely here. Human bodies are impaled in various nasty ways and it all plays out in a realistic, occasionally rubbery fashion. The half body and hanging head are the stand-out effects, but really all of it is decent and it makes you eager to see what the FX technicians are going to deliver up for the next kill. BLOOD RAGE will win no awards for cinematic quality but slasher fans will find it a hoot, and at least it's never dull.
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6/10
Thanksgiving Turkey with a LOT of cranberry sauce!
Coventry10 July 2015
Being a sucker for old posters and VHS-covers, I have to start by stating that the cover image displayed here on the website does not correspond with the actual movie. The image is that of another movie named "Blood Rage", although that one is a misogynic exploitation/thriller from the year 1979 and directed by Joseph Zito; creator of "The Prowler and "Friday the 13th The Final Chapter". If you're interested, the most frequently seen poster for this "Blood Rage" features a Rambo knife with the reflection of a terrified and screaming woman in it. But anyways, on with the actual review…

This obscure and initially shelved (between 1983 and 1987) '80s slasher may have an incredibly dumb storyline and may feature some of the most absurd plot-twists in cinematic history, but it's inarguably entertaining and delivers just what the target audience for this type of movies craves the most: extreme gore and gratuitous nudity! With sickening murder sequences and reasonably well-crafted make-up effects like these, I'm actually even surprised that the film wasn't released in 1983, as there definitely must have been a market for it. Who cares if the script is retarded when blooded machetes are fiercely swinging and chopped off heads are joyously rolling, right? Somewhere in the seventies, during a night out at the drive-in with their mother and her latest lover, the twin brothers Todd and Terry decide to go for a little walk between the cars and look at couples having sex. For no apparent reason, Terry hacks up a guy's face and then quickly puts the ax in the hands of his brother who is just standing there looking stupid. Todd spends the next ten years in a mental asylum (although his mother refers to it as a "special school"), until he suddenly decides on Thanksgiving Day that it is time to escape and tell the world that he's innocent. When Terry learns that his brother is loose, he starts butchering the entire neighborhood in order to uphold the idea that Todd is a maniac. So, before you ask: yes, we are supposed to believe that Todd never bothered to deny that he was the killer for ten long years, or that Terry is perfectly able to control his maniacal tendencies the entire time but then slaughters all his friends and relatives without any moral constraints. The film also never undertakes any attempts to build up suspense or mystery, what with the identity of the killer revealed straight from the beginning and it doesn't feature that typical "which one of the twin brother is this?" sub plot. Instead, there are a lot of dumb dialogs and quotes, for example Terry who keeps repeating "it's not cranberry sauce" whenever there's blood on his shirt, and an incredibly over- the-top hysterical performance of Louise Lasser. The body count is high and the murders are nice & nasty, with plenty of machete action and severed body parts flying around everywhere. Director John Grissmer didn't do a lot of film work apart from this one. He made the good but obscure and underrated plastic surgery thriller "Scalpel" (a.k.a. "False Face") and wrote the early 70s psycho- thriller "The House that Cried Murder". By the way, the latter is playing at the drive-in theater during the opening sequence of "Blood Rage".
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4/10
Hold onto your beer...
BandSAboutMovies24 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Identical blonde twins Todd and Terry are at the drive-in with their mother, who is making out with her boyfriend in the front seat. Seeing so many people having sex -- including his mom -- from the back seat flips out Terry, who starts killing people with a hatchet. He smears the blood all over his brother, because that's how forensics worked in the 1980's, and he escapes scot free. That's how Blood Rage -- one of the few films to be set on Thanksgiving -- begins.

Ten years later, Terry (Mark Soper in a dual role) lives with this mother (Mary Hartman, Mart Hartman star Louise Lasser). On the night of Thanksgiving, mom reveals that she's about to marry Brad and we also learn that Todd has escaped from the mental hospital. Terry doubles down to keep his brother locked up by killing Brad by chopping off his right hand -- which still clutches a can of Old Style -- before splitting his head in half with a machete.

Todd's doctor and her assistant are looking for him, but run into Terry, who stabs and dismembers both of them before hooking up with new neighbor Andrea who is planning a house party.

Meanwhile, mom is freaking out learning that Todd is getting closer, but Terry is the one we should be worried about. He's on a real year, wiping out all sorts of people, like a tennis-playing couple. All manner of mistaken identity occurs, ending with a swimming pool battle between the twin brothers and mom kills Terry when she really wanted to kill Todd. And oh yeah -- her incestual relationship with her son is revealed as the reason for his insanity. She blows her brains out and Todd just stands there as the police close in.

This movie is also Nightmare at Shadow Woods, with none of the gore left. You should avoid that one as the real reason to enjoy this -- I mean, unless you enjoy 1980's films about incest -- is the rampant gore.

Come for Ted Raimi as a condom salesman. Stay for hatchets to the face and a doctor's assistant sliced in half, as well as rampant synth music from Richard Einhorn, who also scored Shock Waves and Don't Go in the House. And it's directed by John Grissmer, who was also behind 1973's The Bride (Last House on Massacre Street).
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8/10
Missed opportunity, becomes just decent
kannibalcorpsegrinder19 November 2018
Years after a tragic accident, a serial killer escapes from a mental asylum and returns to his parents' apartment complex where his twin brother and his friends have gathered for Thanksgiving, and after learning about who's the real killer the slowly-dwindling group tries to stop the madman.

This here's not all that bad when it really tries. The main one that this one gets right is the slasher motifs that it plays upon since there's some great stalking in here that gets some nicely needed suspense in the film. This is mostly used from the ability to play off the true identities of the two brothers against the others, which is where this one manages to get some fantastic use out of pulling the double switch about which one's who. A lot of scenes work for that reason, as the playoff of which one's which drives up the confusion factor in the characters quite nicely, especially since the ruse is found out so early on and the majority of the film plays off that discovery as everyone goes around trying to find out the killer's true identity which is what results in the variety of kills in here. The first rampage scene in the apartment complex, where there are some great attempts at hiding from the killer and some wonderful confrontations before the final result comes out as the various workers confront the killer unknowingly only to end up getting hacked to pieces in exceptionally gory manners. There's several more that the film uses to trade off its twin gimmick, from the encounter with the older couple to the scenes with the friends partying in their apartment and the tennis court scene. The ending chase in the film is also really great, as there's plenty of full-on stalking and confrontations with the two involved, and it's a long, drawn-out one that's a lot better than what would normally be. As well as the exceptionally graphic and gory kills throughout here, these help to raise this one above the norm as there are some pretty big flaws about it. One of the biggest flaws with it is that there's way too unconventional an approach to the narrative structure. There's way too much skipping around to other areas that mean absolutely nothing which is just irritating. That affects the numerous scenes where one of the tenets in the apartment complex keeps trying to get out a phone call to a person that lives within the complex itself. It's a short walk over to the place where they're calling, yet the fact that half of the movie is the character calling is just plain ludicrous. It's so illogical that it's hard to take seriously, and thus really should've been dropped. The other really noticeable flaw in the film is that there's nothing given about the motive behind the killer. This one offers up nothing, and not even clues are hinted around. This here really kills most of the positive points, since that's a crucial area to handle and this one doesn't attempt one. That takes off most of the positive points itself and just leaves it feeling mediocre.

Rated R: Graphic Violence, Full Nudity, a mild sex scene and Language.
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6/10
Missing parts
jadavix8 July 2018
"Blood Rage" is a slasher remembered only for its being quite a bit more gory than most other films of its endless subgenre.

I realised toward the end that, interestingly, most of this gore is actually only the aftermath of the violent acts the homicidal maniac commits: there is very little on-screen violence, but a lot of gruesome shots of damaged bodies.

This lack of real 'violence' sometimes features to amusing effect. Take for instance one of the movie's few memorable moments: a lady is approached in the woods by the slasher with a sword in his hand. The lady screams, recognizing the danger she's in. The camera cuts away to something much less interesting, and then cuts back a few seconds later, to the sight of the woman, or rather her top half, as she screams on the ground - as well she might, since her lower half is now over a few feet away from her.

Are we expected to believe that, in only a few moments, the not particularly strapping bad guy was able to cut her completely in half? The sword thing he's got doesn't even look that sharp or dangerous; I'm reminded of a much larger version of a butter knife.

The plot is something to do with a twin who kills someone when he is a child and frames his brother for the crime. Ten or so years later, the good twin escapes from prison, while the bad one starts thinking about killing again.

There's only one reason why they bother with the 'twin' angle: so you can be confused, at a climactic moment, about which is which. Even in 1987, was anyone surprised by that twist?
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5/10
Not Bad!
gwnightscream6 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This 1987 horror film begins with a woman, her boyfriend and twin sons at a drive-in theatre. Soon, the boys decide to sneak out of the car and one of them commits murder pinning it on the other. Ten years later, the framed twin escapes from the psych ward when his brother starts killing again. This isn't bad despite some cheesy acting and troubling ending, but there's good make-up effects by Ed French who makes an appearance and Ted Raimi (Darkman) also appears briefly. The film was originally shot in 1983 and is also known as "Slasher" and "Nightmare at Shadow Woods." If you're into slasher flicks, you could give this a try at least once.
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7/10
"That's not cranberry sauce..."
mpaulso3 January 2018
"That's not cranberry sauce..."

Blood Rage has some GREAT kill scenes and practical effects (machete through the back) and it's filled with 1980's nostalgia from the can-opener beer cans, drive in movies, old video games and short shorts.

I was really tempted to give this movie 4 stars. It has a cool unique story of a brother who framed his twin brother for a murder he committed and when his brother breaks out of the mental institution he see an opportunity for another killing spree to frame his brother and get him thrown back in the mental institution again.
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5/10
Plenty of Blood, not too much creativity
dvlnthebludrs26 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Not a bad movie. Still fun with PLENTY of blood... and lots of sex that would be fine for late night. I would have rated it higher, but there was very little creativity from the special effects and writing of the scenes to make them interesting. It's pretty much like Friday the 13th except for not as memorable or psychologically twisted. That being said, still one to have around if you want to see some straight bad acting, run-of-the-mill nudity, and basic bloodletting.
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6/10
seemingly overlooked slasher with OK plot and respectable gore
FieCrier14 April 2005
Two twins in the back of their mother's car at a drive-in movie sneak out while their mom is making out with her boyfriend. One of them, Terry, grabs a small axe and kills a couple making out in another car. He smears the blood on his silent brother Todd. Apparently nobody finds his fingerprints in the smeared blood, or notices the blood that's still on him. According to the drive-in marquee, the movie showing is The House That Cried Murder!, which had been written and produced by the director of this film, Blood Rage.

Todd gets committed for ten years, at which point he regains his memory of that night to some degree, as well as speaks a little. His therapist is inclined to believe he is innocent, but still wants to treat him so he is ready to rejoin society. His mother doesn't want to believe it.

The mother announces she will be getting married, and they learn Todd has escaped. This is apparently enough to start Terry killing again: his mother has found a man again, and he has his brother as a scapegoat again.

Terry starts killing people, and indeed people are inclined to believe Todd is responsible. Some of the killings are fairly gory, at least in the version titled Blood Rage. Nightmare at Shadow Woods is apparently a different cut of the movie with less gore.

Louise Lasser as the mother was pretty hard to take; I didn't care for her acting at all. Unfortunately, the director apparently did like it, and there are numerous long takes of her talking on the telephone and emoting. I didn't particularly care for Mark Soper as Terry either, though in the subdued role of Todd he was OK.
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