No Fernando, no Lorenzo, but plenty of other llamas
Well, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it fifty times: they make the weirdest movies in Texas.
From Larry Buchanan (Mars Needs Women, The Naked Witch) to Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) to Hal Warren (Manos, the Hand of Fate), there’s something about that state that breeds weirdness.
This latest addition to the Texas pedigree hails from Austin and Dripping Springs (where?). Co-writer/director Kevin West combines the filmmaking sensibilities of John Waters and Doris Wishman, then injects the concoction with a generous dose of Night of the Lepus. Might as well throw in a dash of early Peter Jackson in there, too.
Enough references. On with the plot – or as near to the plot as I can decipher.
The film begins with an explanation of “Male Berzerk Syndrome” (MBS) by noted author/director Clive Barker. I’m not sure if Clive knows he’s in this film, since his dialogue is dubbed by someone else – the entire film is “dubbed in English”, shot MOS (Wishman style). Like David “The Rock” Nelson, West may have just used some footage of Barker and inserted him in the film.
Mad veterinarian Dr. Albert has been performing strange experiments – and stranger sex acts – with the local llama herds. Bessie, his favorite subject, escapes from the World of Wool ranch, easily eluding cripple redneck brothers Jug (West) and Gibby (co-writer/producer Kirk Hunter). Bessie manages to infect the whole herd with MBS.
Searching for his lost love, Albert runs into local one-hit rock star Bock (Earl Saathoff), who has been suckered into undergoing the doctor’s rejuvenation treatments at the World of Wool ‘spa’. Bock has promised fast food vixens at the Greezy Squeeze Janet (Lucinda Hinton) and Bea (Kirsten Carter, and occasionally Connie Campbell when Kirsten couldn’t make it) that they can be in his next music video. Meanwhile, just-passin’-through Toni (Lucinda Cruse) runs into a llama with her car. While Stuker (Fred Ellis) tries to fix it, Toni takes refuge in the World of Wool with everyone else.
Before long, everyone finds themselves under siege to the nightly rampages of angry, bloodthirsty llamas on the loose. Even the girls’ junkyard ninja skills fail to keep them at bay. After a couple attacks, the supply of victims needs replenishment, so a group of female pro bowlers drops in to have their balls polished and their “holes re-drilled”. One gets decapitated, but her head (kept alive by Dr. Albert) offers a clue to solving the gang’s di-llama, by discovering the contents of the surreal Duffel Bag of Destiny.
A lot of the humor has gone quickly stale in this mini-budget comedy (Marv Albert jokes anyone?), but a lot of it still holds up. There are also quite a few bits that are surely in-jokes for the locals that probably play better around Austin, but just look weird everywhere else. The entire concoction is so dad-burn silly that I got caught up in it. Either that, or someone was siphoning off my blood from my veins as I watched.
The most annoying factor is the dubbed voices . They sync with the images well, but some of the voices are grating after a while – particularly that of Gibby. However, most of the performances are good – at least on the level of those in Scary Movie.
The llamas are darn cute and personable, and look like they’d make swell pets. When not played by real llamas, the killer herd is portrayed by disturbing puppets. Shot in black & white, some parts are colorized in certain areas. It’s an odd technique that I’d be interested in seeing used in a more serious movie.
Certain scenes threatened to dive into uncomfortable territory – you can never tell with some of these unrated screeners – such as the scenes of carnal pleasure between hu-man and beast. However, nothing ever steps over the line too far. In all, this would make a fine video party tape even if you’re not from Texas, especially if there’s a jug o’ White Lightnin’ handy to wet your whistle.
For the latest info on Barn of the Blood Llama, check the official website.