[Editor’s Note: We missed posting yesterday, but our guest post from Tyler is easily worth two days of slaying! Thanks to Tyler Geis for hopping aboard this year’s 12 Slays event and we hope to have him back again soon!]
What do you get when you take a film about a girl headed to rural Wisconsin with her boyfriend to meet his family? And while she’s there, she is stalked and tormented by what we first think is a serial killer in the backwoods of the Midwest who actually ends up being the ghost of a supernatural samurai that seems to have taken possession of her body. We’re talking about Blood Beat. The 1983 movie is chalk full of moments that jar you and make you wonder, What in the blue hell am I watching?
Blood Beat isn’t necessarily a Christmas horror movie. A lot of films in this subgenre do their best to implement the mood and tone of the season. Blood Beat lets you know that it’s the holidays, but that really is all there is in it about Christmas. But don’t let that stop you. Put it on after your family departs on Christmas night and you’re finally alone. But just know that this horror movie kicks off feeling like another run-of-the-mill bad slasher knockoff, then shifts into uncharted territory almost every five minutes. There’s deer hunting, crazy color effects, psychic powers, and a samurai.
Blood Beat also kicks off with pretty decent cinematography. There’s well crafted composition for what feels like a regional, early 1980s horror film. Oddly enough, there had to be some sort of an organized process that went into making it. You don’t just hire a French director by the name of Fabrice-Ange Zaphiratos and have him go film it in Wisconsin. There had to be something going on behind the scenes that motivated all of this.
But then again, a killer samurai shows up possesing the lead character of the movie. And in the second act, they take physical form and hunt down anyone who stands in their way. We don’t get a lot of motivation behind that either. Maybe the script went out the window. Maybe part of the budget got pulled and they had to scramble. Blood Beat is a mystery; there’s not much behind-the-scenes news about it. Nobody has ever really interviewed any cast or crew. And that only adds to its legend of being an utterly bonkers piece of cult cinema that could rival something like 1981’s Possession. Yeah, the latter has shock value, but they both make for jaw-dropping first-time views.
Blood Beat is currently streaming on Tubi. It won’t necessarily get you in the holiday spirit, but just like the lead character in it, it sure will make you wonder if you’re being haunted by the spirit of something you have no lineage to.