Where Lust and Terror Run Rampant!
Three backwoods-dwelling brothers are fairly furious to learn that their separatist lifestyle is being threatened by land developers who are turning their parcel of untouched forest into a campground for tourists (the same basic plotline of another film, MEMORIAL VALLEY MASSACRE). Monroe, Ezra and Benny (William Kerwin, Daniel Schweitzer, and Sam Moree, respectively) are not about to go down without a fight, which is bad news for the construction workers and the few campers who show up early—especially the women among them.
GOD’S BLOODY ACRE is mostly a dull mess of a movie. The death scenes are laughable, the chase scenes without tension, and the entirety of the film is poorly lit and without scares. The acting is by turns wooden and over the top, and there’s not a likable character anywhere to be found. It is, on all fronts, a flop—but what can you expect for $22,500 and 16 days of shooting?
Boy, oh boy, what a cast of characters. Of the hillbilly brothers, it is Monroe who is the most put together. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, he just wants to be left alone. Ezra has never been with a woman (not many singles bars in the redwoods, I guess) and isn’t exactly the patient type when he spies the female form nearby. And Benny, with an Afro as comically large as his IQ is small, is too simple to be held accountable for his actions, and you get the feeling that Monroe could tell him to look at the rabbits at any moment.
Married couple Richard and Carol Rizzo (Robert Rosano and Suzanne Robinson) are on a getaway to try to put a little spice back into their dwindling marriage, but it doesn’t appear to be working. Carol is sexually dissatisfied, and Richard (erroneously called ‘Robert’ at the film’s IMDb page) is crass, brash, and decidedly racist. What a guy!
The other pair of hillbilly bait is made up of David and Leslie (Wayne Crawford and Jennifer Stock), who didn’t even know each other before all of this started unfolding, and being pursued by a trio of killers in the woods probably isn’t what they hoped for in a first date. David recently quit his engineering job for a firm that designs weapons for the defense department, and is on some poorly thought out spiritual journey, as he no longer wants to associate himself—no matter how distanced—with violence. And Leslie is basically just a bombshell who is tired of being thought of only as a sex object and is off on a journey of her own.
It probably goes without saying that none of these excursions go as planned.
Much more interesting than what GOD’S BLOODY ACRE is, is what it wants to be. It wants to go beyond being a low budget horror film and into full blown exploitation territory, a land where offensiveness and tastelessness are not only expected, but applauded. It sets itself up as if it’s going to make a few serious attempts at social consciousness, but then quickly (and, I presume, purposely) implodes upon itself in order to make its non-P.C. nature even more offensive by comparison. For instance:
When Richard is shocked to see a group of young black men in an expensive automobile, Carol quickly informs him that they are likely very nice people, and if they have a fancy car then they probably worked hard for it. A short time later, though, we learn that they are actually larcenous thugs who are looking to roll some honkies for their cash.
Also, Leslie may be tired of being treated like a sex object and wants to find a nice guy who likes her for her brains, but she’s not doing herself any favors by jumping in the sack with David almost immediately upon meeting him. And David (who has a girlfriend back home, by the way) isn’t shy about flipping the bitch switch on her when things start to get a little hairy.
Things turn really ugly when Carol is raped, but seems to enjoy it; and, to a lesser extent, when the pacifistic David is forced to get vicious in order to survive—both sentiments stolen from the controversial playbook of STRAW DOGS.
The cast and crew credits here are quite incestuous, and could be a bit confusing. Wayne Crawford not only played David (as Scott Lawrence) but was also credited as screenwriter and producer. Harry Kerwin was also credited as screenwriter and associate producer, and he directed this mess on top of it. Harry’s brother William Kerwin played Monroe (credited as Thomas Wood, a pseudonym likely taken from the fact that he was married to actress Laura Wood), and his sister Betty Kerwin acted as script supervisor. Andrew Lane was the final producer, and although that was his only role, it seems likely that the Anthony Lane, Gwenn Lane, and Lori Robin Lane (all of whom had bit parts as office workers) are related to him in some way. Andrew Lane and Wayne Crawford were longtime business partners and they collaborated on many films, including cult favorites like VALLEY GIRL (1983) and NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984).
Exploitation filmmaking. It’s a family affair.