Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blood Legend (2006)

Pack: Tomb of Terrors
Disc: 4

Subgenre(s): Witchcraft, Demonic, Slasher

Year: 2006

Rated: Unrated
Length: 75 minutes

Director: Rusty Nelson
Writers: Rusty Nelson, Jeremiah Campbell
Starring: Jeff Dylan Graham, Randal Malone, Syn DeVil

Synopsis: A young witch gathers her coven to methodically fulfil her uncle's demands to help resurrect a demon lover from centuries past.


25 years old and still trying to get their GEDs. The shame!

"So... do you come here often?"

"I can't believe what they are saying about us on Twitter!"

"Help! I'm being attacked by a hot blonde!"

Review: Blood Legend is yet another very Los Angeles based "B movie" from Brain Damage, but with a very good-looking cast and quite high production values overall.

Although it borrows heavily from The Craft (1996) for its style and Black Sunday (1960) for a great deal of its plot, Blood Legend is one of the better movies on disc 4 of the "Tombs of Terror" pack. Mind you, it doesn't have a lot of competition.

It was interesting for me to see a couple of my old MySpace "friends", Jeff Dylan Graham and Syn DeVil, in something at last. Jeff Dylan Graham, who plays Caleb, seems to be a fairly decent albeit somewhat limited actor, but I was probably right in thinking that Syn DeVil is little more than a big pair of boobs especially as she spends a lot of her screen time with those glorious orbs hanging out of her outfit.

Heather Jacobsen stands out the most as Diana not only because she looks a lot like a younger and slightly prettier version of Sarah Michelle Gellar. If anyone is looking for a Sarah Michelle Gellar "type", Heather Jacobsen should be at the top of their list. She's not a bad actress although she doesn't get the best lines. Her final scene in Blood Legend also lacks emotion and realism.

While the acting is borderline average throughout, Randal Malone camps up his part as creepy uncle Isaac way too much. I suppose he can't help it since he's clearly gay and inspired by Vincent Price, but it makes a mockery out of his obsessive love for Moira (Syn DeVil) which has spanned 300 years. They really don't make a believable couple. It doesn't help that Isaac can't even pronounce the name of "Moira" correctly as "Moyra" but calls her "Mora" (like "moron") instead. In fairness, it was probably changed in the script since nobody else can say her name properly either.

As for the "witch bitches", they don't really do a lot except play dress-up. It's no big deal or any surprise that they are underused. Part of the fun in Blood Legend is choosing which one you fancy the most then waiting for her to get killed off anyway. My favourite was Ashika Gogna who plays Isis. There are also some equally attractive girls in background roles who are still working (some quite successfully) in the movie industry so make a mental note of them for future reference.

The comic relief provided by the two redneck hunters is a bit out of place and leaves a huge plot hole wherein the most entertaining character, Brian (played by Erik Coffin), is allowed to escape. Once back in L.A., he would undoubtedly call the police about the murders and even immortal witches would end up getting charged for their crimes if they were silly enough to stick around. It's best not to overthink these things though.

The biggest problems in Blood Legend are the poor effects used. I'm sure somebody thought they had put together something fantastic with the demon/werewolf costume, but it looks so unrealistic and lets things down badly. The gory practical effects aren't bad for this kind of thing, but the superimposed flames on the burning scenes are absolutely ridiculous. Diana's final scene, in particular, is drawn out to such an extent that it looks embarrassing.

The camerawork and storytelling is otherwise competent, and there aren't any continuity errors worth mentioning apart from Diana's cloak at the start. One minute the cloak is on her shoulders, the next it's off, and then it's back on again. I'm surprised that wasn't noticed during the editing, but I've seen worse mistakes made in films with a much larger budget. Outside shots are slightly more amateur especially at night, and the flashback to the past is cheesily overlaid with a sepia tint which doesn't look good at all.

The sets are impressive and well lit. Isaac's house looks just right for a creepy old sorcerer who dyes his hair and eyebrows jet black while Caleb and Diana's apartment is beautifully clean and tidy. One thing I always get a kick out of is seeing inside other people's houses in low-budget horror films.

I quite enjoyed Blood Legend if only for a few moments of nostalgia. Seeing a Sony Vaio laptop (referred to as a mispronounced "labtop" at one point) instead of a de rigueur Apple product in today's movies amused me. Believe it or not, there really was a time when owning an expensive Vaio was a status symbol.

I'm not quite sure what Caleb's fate signifies at the end. I half-expected some soul transference from the creepy uncle to a more attractive younger body so it makes no sense. (Yes, Jeff Dylan Graham, if you are reading this, I am calling you an attractive man even though I'm not that way inclined.) Maybe Randal Malone wanted an ego boost and asked for it not to happen. Stranger things have occurred behind the scenes in B movies for sure.

Most Memorable Moment(s): The horribly cheap look of the demon/werewolf creature.

Originality: None. Reminiscent of The Craft in some places and, of course, Black Sunday in others.

Best Line(s): "Witchcraft? That's so freaking Hollywood."
Worst Line(s): "Blood is ever so much thicker than water."

Best Effect(s): Diana pulling Wayne's heart out and Mary's decapitation.
Worst Effect(s): The demon/werewolf costume. The fake flames.

Goriness (out of 10): 2
Sexiness (out of 10): 4
Profanities (out of 10): 2

Hottest Actor/Actress: Heather Jacobsen who plays Diana.

Not Buffy.

Picture Quality: Good
Audio Quality: Average

Rating (out of 10): 5


IMDb or Wiki:

Final Thoughts: Good production values and a nice-looking cast almost make up for the weak story.

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