Bloodmoon (1990)

Director Alec Mills
Writers Robert Brennan
Starring Leon Lissek, Christine Amor, Ian Williams, Helen Thomson, Craig Cronin, Hazel Howson
Genre Slasher
Tagline At St. Elizabeth's school for girls, getting good grades can be murder

Talk us through it

There's been an outbreak of serial eloping going on involving the all Girl's school, St Elizabeths, and the all Boy's school Winchester High School. Complicating matters is the open warfare between the Winchester Boys and the local town youth. Well at least that's what the local constabulary initially think; the audience are of course aware there's a psycho killer loose in the woods near St Elizabeths.

As the student body starts diminishing love blooms between townie Kevin and St Elizabeth student Mary, if only they had of sparkled and at least one of them had of been a vampire Bloodmoon could have been a major hit I tells ya.

When the Psycho turns his attention on to Kevin and Mary, can policeman Des save the day, and just what the hell is the Nun doing with the bottle of acid! All will be revealed in the gripping conclusion to Bloodmoon, slightly before we have another conclusion.

Ready to count how many gratuitous boob shots can be crammed into a movie?


"Don't you understand this is nightmare night!" - Virginia Sheffield

When Bloodmoon played local cinemas, yes it got a theatre release, someone had the bright idea to mimic William Castle and throw on a "Fright Break". What you got was a short intermission before the final block of the movie that gave Audience members a chance to walk a yellow line to the cinema's exit if the film was proving too frightening for them. And you even got your money back if you took the "Chicken Walk"! I figure that might have been a bad marketing ploy as sure as hell I would have been out of there clutching my cash rather than sit through to the end of this appallingly bad slasher. Well okay it does weave its "B" grade charms and almost had me lapping it up.

Director Alec Mills does start his movie well and fools you into thinking you might just have stumbled onto a rarity, an Aussie slasher that actually works. As the opening credits inform us of the people who worked on this movie and who then didn't go onto fame and fortune in Hollywood we pan down from the canopy of a tree, get ready for the first of many views of the moon here, for no apparent reason we then focus on a Wallaby and a spider spinning it's web in the moonlight. Mills closes his opening gambit with an effective shot of a rosary with blood dripping off it. We then have an excellent cut to the first of many scenes of the girls of St Elizabeths at chore practice. These gals love the religious singing, and going to mass, and, as we found out, later doing the wild thing in the woods that dripped blood. It's actually a pretty effective opening that has you sitting up and taking notice.

Not content with the stunning opening sequence, did I mention the blue filters and smoke machine get a work out there, Mills lays his credentials on the table early, we're in a slasher here folks and the Director knows exactly how these things work. We get a gratuitous girls shower room scene, full of boobs and believe it or not full frontals, leading into the setup and execution, pun intended, of the first "eloping" couple.

At this stage you really are fooled into thinking you might have just lucked out with what should be a classic horror flick. Mills not content with the shower room of heavenly delight, pretty much immediately after has another boob shot going down in what will become an ongoing motif in the movie. Mills sure does love him some dirty pillows. Writer Robert Brennan setups the first couple's disappearance well, they would appear to have eloped if you hadn't been on hand to witness their demise in the woods. Interesting take there, the Killer uses a loop of barbed wire and collects mementos in the form of eyes and fingers. Take note of that as it has a barring later in the movie.

Unfortunately things then proceed to go horrible wrong as the second act simply drops all pace, heads in an entirely different direction to what we expect, and quite frankly throws up a series of ideas that are never developed. We learn there's a rivalry between the Winchester upper crust and the local proletariat town youth. This is reinforced when a group of Winchester boys clash with local youths in the middle of town in a knock down fight that could be best described as "handbags at ten paces". Forget The Who and depictions of Mods and Rockers getting stuck in, Bloodmoon presents the local equivalent of a girl fight, sans pulling of hair and scratching. On the bright side we get to meet Des, a local police officer, who "breaks up" the fight. And also Kevin who spends his time surfing, working in his Dad's garage, and applying ozone destroying amounts of hair spray to his sculptured hair. Kevin, in a rare attempt at character insight, is against the whole Winchester versus Town thing, he even makes a sort of impassioned plea that I missed taking note of due to a gratuitous boob shoot, which surprisingly doesn't stop him taking part in a revenge raid on the Saturday night St Elizabeth dance. Only private school kids invited thank you very much.

We then descend into a teenage shenanigans movie that pretty much derails things. We get the punch spiked, though strangely Virginia Sheffield, head of St Elizabeths, notes this and doesn't do anything about it. More on that when we get to the final act, the reason took me by surprise. Some rock band belting out excruciating tunes, a little research finds the band's name was Vice. And a water attack by a group of town youth on the gullible Winchester crew. It would have probably been a lot more fun if we had of dialled in for a teen comedy. I guess we do get Kevin and Mary seeing each other across the dance floor, ahhh young love, oh and lots of gratuitous boob shots as the young ladies of St Elizabeths go humping in the woods. I was left wondering if they didn't splice in the second act from another movie by mistake. Hormones are running wild folks, and so is barbed wire boy who notches up another couple just to remind us that we are in a horror flick and not a remake of Porkies.

Strangely as the second act of the movie closes with the kids getting in their hotrods and heading to the local malt shop, we do have a few suspects on our list for the title of Psycho killer. Could it be Myles Sheffield the biology teacher, could it be the Nun driven mad by the all out bonking festival apparently taking over the woods, or could it be Virginia Sheffield, the head of St Elizabeths who likes to spend her Sunday afternoons getting hot and nekkid, need I say gratuitous boob shot, with students from Winchester. There's a whole "head" pun just wanting to explode there, but I don't want to be premature with that one.

The final act of the movie mercifully drives away from teen shenanigan city but in a surprise move doesn't head back into the slasher woods, we are on a collision course with a Hitchcock style suspense thriller here. Director Mills doesn't forget the gratuitous boob shots however, possibly fearing the "Fright Break" might see his audience melt away into the darkened streets.

For no apparent reason we learn who our resident Psycho is, and to be honest that comes as no surprise as soon as we start learning a bit more about the characters. On the bright side of the crucifix we also get one scene that Hitchcock himself would have been pleased with, look out for the stairway that dripped blood as Director Mills nails a well setup scene with a touch of dark humour, chick walking past with the boom box. Unfortunately that's as good as it gets with the resolution being dragged out a couple of scenes too long.

Before closing this one out I should note one of the more bizarre scenes you are ever likely to run across in a horror flick, and one that only makes sense in the context of the heavy influence Spielberg's Jaws had at the time. The local Mayor is refusing to close something, wasn't quite sure what, and for no apparent reason is at pains to point out the Police should have consulted him before applying for a search warrant. I might not be up on Police procedure but I sure as hell know that it's a State function in this Country not a municipal one. Why exactly would the Mayor be consulted? Meaningless scene that should have been jettison, admittedly if we started doing that half this movie would end up in the trash.

Leon Lissek (Myles Sheffield) is channelling someone, have no idea who, but he would have been right at home in a Hammer Horror film circa 1960. Christine Amor (Virginia Sheffield) just goes over ripe cougar, word 94 off my must use, and doesn't bother over extending herself. Ian Williams (Kevin Lynch) was woefully inept. Helen Thomson (Mary Huston) is all Aussie and doesn't bother acting. Craig Cronin (Matt Desmond) should have been left in the Neighbours sheltered workshop, thinking he must have appeared in the show at some stage or other. And Hazel Howson (Sister Mary-Ellen) plays an Irish Nun who in one wonderful scene lets the accent slip, outstanding!

Brian May, no not that one, once again turned in the score, this time it ranged from really twee to seriously good. Not May's best work by a long shot. Highlight was a reference to the Psycho score to underline Director Mills wink at the movie.

Summary Execution

Surprisingly even though I've rubbished the movie, the script is pants, I had a lot of fun with it. Solid "B" grade exploitation not stinting on the T&A and with some attempt at originality. Besides the middle block, that laboured under the misguided notion the movie was in another genre, I was pretty much entertained while realising I was watching something woefully bad. One of those "so bad it's good" films that serve to lighten the load from more serious disasters you just know you are going to end up watching.

With the current revival of Oz dark genre flicks Bloodmoon has become available, at least Down Under, on an R4 DVD release. Unfortunately Madman dropped the ball on this one and there's nothing much in the way of extras or bonus features. It's all priced pretty well with the disc available for around $20 at most outlets carrying the movie. Might I suggest JB HiFi as a kicking off point.

If you don't mind "B " grade slasher outings then dial into Bloodmoon, the movie on occasion threatens to bat above its station in the cinematic landscape but thankfully Director Mills stops that happening via dropping another boob shot on us. Yes it's poorly made, badly acted, and in reality makes no sense at all, but end of day Bloodmoon is wildly entertaining. Three movies in one, now how schizophrenic is that folks. Worth a look if you want to get your schlock on, you just may end up howling at the moon here.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

It's really bad but has a couple of positives.