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Case Number 04499: Small Claims Court

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Bloodmoon

Artisan // 1989 // 101 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // May 28th, 2004

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All Rise...

It makes you wonder...how does Judge Bill Gibron know what old dingo droppings smell like?

The Charge

The last full moon you'll ever see…and the last crappy slasher film, too.

The Case

We're in Australia, where everything's a fair dinkum. At an exclusive all-girl Catholic school, some strange shenanigans are going on (and we're not talking about the early sexual exploratory kind—dammit). The boarding school sweeties are disappearing left and right and someone is responsible (in direct contravention to those times when young women go missing and no one is involved…right?). Anyway, seems the all-boy branch of the humiliating home-away-from-home high school experience mixed with errant homoeroticism is also suffering from the same slew of absent arseholes. And once the campuses clarify the configurations of what is going on, they think they've got the goners all figured out. These elite educational institutions are obviously in the middle of a plague of planned elopements. Of course, they'd never guess that the abundant absenteeism is the result of a serial killer, who likes to use a barbed wire noose to necklace his victims to death. Oh, and the murderer also likes to take eyes and fingers as a kind of memento to mayhem. So while the local boys are basking in their own koala-scented testosterone and the Podunk police are having a hard time figuring out just what a crime actually is, a maniac is strolling through the lovers' lane in the local woods, hoping to show some smart aleck students the true meaning of the old school necktie.

Boy, does Bloodmoon blow. Now, it does not blow in a typical terrible movie manner. That would be too easy for this imported idiocy from the land that made Yahoo Serious a pseudo-celebrity. What Bloodmoon accomplishes is something far more fiendish, a type of trickery that is more rabid Russell Crowe in its cruelty. Like a borderline bad blind date, Bloodmoon promises to put out, to give you a good gore going-over and lift your hammered horror spirits to new heights of goosebumping before saying goodnight. Unfortunately, it barely offers any true terror camaraderie before packing it in and heading to the pub for a Fosters. It's all tease and no cockerel, and when it does try to deliver the bloody bird, it usually only ends up flipping you off. Someone needs to travel Downunder, find the nearest satellite TV signal, break out the pinking shears and snap the broadcast cable ASAP.

The reason for taking such an anti-glass teat position is obvious once you've watched this worthless wombat waste. From the way Bloodmoon is designed, the Aussies are evidently obsessed with the soap opera. Seems a daily diet of such lumbering long-form yarn whores as Number 96, Sons and Daughters, and the Sheilas in solitary Prisoner: Cell Block H, has turned the cinema of Sydney—especially in the genre of scary—into over-inflated serials. This movie has far too many planes of plot. At several points during the course of this crapathon, you half expect an announcer to come on, create a cornball cliffhanger, and then ask you to tune in next week as the sobering saga of school kids vs. a serial killer, Bloodmoon, continues. And now a word from our sponsor, Vegemite, right?

Bloodmoon is really nothing more than Peyton Place folded into a formulaic slasher flick, with the bad parts of both entities stinking up the screen like old dingo droppings. There is such a surplus of subplots and ancillary antics going on in the first 35 minutes of this movie that you feel like you've stepped into the middle of an especially silly sequence in that already laughably dumb supernatural daytime drool Passions. Who cares if there is a killer carving up coeds just a few feet from the exclusive campus of an elite prep school? We have to resolve Jackie's kleptomania and Brenda's battle with bisexual bulimia, before Chad and Butch come over to discuss why both guys are probably the father of Fran's foster kid. While such exaggerated entries in the aria of Ajax are not really part of this movie, there are actual elements equally as insane. The headmistress sleeps with students (again, only male—rats!). The stuck-up block jocks of the boys' school hate the local losers because…well, because they talk like James "the Angry Wombat" Lundy from TLC's In a Fix. And each female in the institution to estrogen is shrouded in the same old self-esteem and bad parenting paradoxes. Jerry Springer would have you believe that the majority of dysfunction lies in rural trailer park America. We can apparently add the Australian private school system to the "teens gone tawdry" mix of embarrassment.

Bloodmoon also seems completely bamboozled by the actual requirements of a flesh-rending terror treat. Most murders occur off screen, and lack that certain "liquid" element that makes gore so rich and gooey. Sure, there's nudity here; but the ladies asked to lose their shirts sport chests that only reinforce the notion of the Outback being a flat, barren wasteland. But the worst anti-anxious moment comes about 40 minutes into the movie. When the second couple is killed, the killer's face is revealed in what must have been an accidental manner (basically because all the suspense they set up in scenes later on would be practically destroyed if we knew who the slayer was). With this unplanned data in hand, we are left to wait until the cast and the script catch up with us. Even then, the reveal is less than fulfilling: one of those "Oops, look what I found" kind of flubs that would only happen in a movie.

For a film striving to mix the macabre with matriculation in hopes of frightening up some tutorials in terror, all we learn from Bloodmoon is that Aussies base a great deal of their ridiculous racism on whether or not you like really bad hair metal, and that teachers will turn into ravenous ritualistic killers when their wives withhold the poon (and you thought Mama Voorhees had some issues with sex…jeesh!). Bloodmoon wants to be melodramatic and terrifying at the same time. Someone should tell the Queenslanders that the systematic murder movie is all about the feces-eating, voice-hearing insanity, not the interpersonal dilemmas of the class struggles in exclusive schools. Bloodmoon needed more belfries and less bat guano.

Hello Artisan, long time, no DVD-based butt reaming. Continuing to show their overriding disrespect for digital disc film lovers everywhere, Bloodmoon is presented in a barebones, full frame fart of a package. This air biscuit bullskit is an affront to anyone who may be considering buying (or renting) this balderdash (and why they'd be queuing up for a whiff of this South Pole penguin poop is beyond explanation), and when the audio and video are so barking spider-ly bad, enjoying this human haunch heave is next to impossible. The 1.33:1 image is fuzzy, far too soft, and without a great deal of distinction. The Dolby Digital Stereo is equally irritating. It takes the whole notion of separation to ridiculous levels, occasionally losing lines of dialogue in channel-changing childishness.

If there is a sole glimmer of hope in this entire endless endeavor, it's that hopefully our ex-convict buddies in the Outback have learned a thing or two about how to make a horror movie since 1989, when Bloodmoon was created. Here's keeping fingers and toes and eyes crossed that they've learned about mood, atmosphere, suspense, tension, characterization, directing style, the mechanics of mise-en-scène, the proliferation of good gore effects, and the rejection of anything campy or kitschy, and have replaced their obvious class-based human hatred with something a little more fathomable, like anti-religious bias.

Bloodmoon is an example of how completely haywire a horror movie can go, and how some genres cannot be combined together to create a gripping suspense thriller. This film may have felt that plot was the one thing missing from most "maniac on the loose" movies, but after wallowing through the overstuffed story of Bloodmoon, it's clear that metric tons of tale-telling cannot salvage a stinky example of unexcitable excrement. This is one fright film that will air out your home theater with the teaming stench of a Tasmanian turd.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 15

Perp Profile

Studio: Artisan
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Genres:
• Bad
• Exploitation
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• None

Accomplices

• IMDb








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