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Bloodthirst: Legend of the Chupacabras

I think we can officially say at this point that Blockbuster Video will carry anything on its store’s shelves. When you have a film like Bloodthirst: Legend of the Chupacabras sharing space with Academy Award winners, you know the selection process can’t be too strict. Sadly, today’s feature was probably thrown into hundreds of stores based solely on its cover art, which admittedly is interesting. I’m sure many an unwary fellow would notice the clawed, menacing creature under the title and think to himself, “My, this looks positively frightening! I shall rent it for a good scare.” At the end of the night, of course, this said fellow would surely be disappointed.

Shot on what appears to be one third of one percent of a shoestring budget, Bloodthirst looks terrible from the very first shot. Every image is incredibly grainy and washed out, and lighting issues plague many an already dull scene. You can almost imagine director Jonathan Mumm hefting around a gigantic VHS camcorder, breathing roughly as he tried to get some semblance of a shot established. Granted, I would have let this film pass under the radar if it had only looked bad and featured a good story or cast, but I’m sure you can predict the quality of those two factors.

Mr. Mumm obviously had to pull a Robert Rodriguez when it came to making this movie, because not only did he direct this putrid DTV feature, he wrote, produced, created some of the music, and even edited the sucker. He also dragged a lot of his relatives down with him during production, including Roberta, John, Dan, and Jeff Mumm. They either helped out behind the camera or flashed their community theatre degrees in front of the lens, but I’m afraid even a heaping of Mumm couldn’t make this movie any better.

The main problem with Bloodthirst is it’s needlessly complicated story which features about three hundred characters. A good chunk of exposition takes place at the local bar, where a drunk, the bartender, a supposedly beautiful singer who is in actuality just a bit homely, a woman who’s actually attractive but never given the credit, and an old prospector (yes, an old prospector), are introduced. Along with these interesting folks there’s also our male protagonist, his mother (played by an actress who’s obviously and hilariously no older than her son), the greedy landlord who only cares for money, the bartender’s frumpy wife, a decidedly out-of-place Hispanic psychic named The Margo, and Grandpa, a loveable drunk who once was a vampire hunter…right.

Put all of these lads and lasses together and you have a truly confusing mess. Half the time I didn’t know what anyone’s name was much less what they were trying to accomplish, and since most of them were eventually axed by the vicious Chupacabras, I didn’t much care, either. Not a single actor on display can deliver the simplest line with conviction, making the experience all the more dreadful. I haven’t checked any of their IMDb filmographies, but instinct says none of them hit the big time.

Of course, like every b-movie I watch, there are some fun spots. For instance, the woman playing The Margo (which, as you all know, translates into The White Witch) is forced to wear a white wig which conspicuously appears and disappears from scene to scene. Like the best Ed Wood films, night turns into day almost instantly, leaving the film’s viewers without any sort of a realistic timeline. And to come back to the mother and son characters, their dialogue is truly priceless. Mr. Mumm must have known how similar they appeared in age, so their conversations literally read as such:

– Mom, we have to find some way to pay the rent!

– But son, I’ve just been laid off!

– Mother, don’t you think I can find a job?

– Oh, don’t be silly son!

The last thing I wanted to note was the movie’s score. I love it whenever a filmmaker chooses to saddle their film with keyboard music, and Bloodthirst has it out the wazoo. My favorite selection by far was the Comic Relief melody which played whenever a wacky character was onscreen. A good example is the scene which takes place in a newsroom where the reporters lounge about, tossing paper balls into trash cans and looking lazy. The music immediately kicks into goof mode, featuring warbling tones to accompany the slack jawed reporters. Ah, the sheer silliness of it all!

At a paltry eighty minutes, Jonathan Mumm’s magnum opus feels overly long and can get extremely boring at times. If you’re like myself and had a friend who already knew about the highlights, the journey can be much more rewarding, but to take a solo trip with this film would be a mistake. And if by some freak chance you actually feel like more Chupacabras action, check out the sequel, Bloodthirst 2: Revenge of the Chupacabras, which I’m sure is flying off Blockbuster shelves at the moment. Hey, it probably beats renting White Chicks, right?

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