BLOOD HOOK (1986) Reviews and overview


‘You can’t worm your way out’

Blood Hook is a 1986 American horror film directed by James Mallon (co-creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000) from a screenplay by Larry Edgerton; it stars Mark Jacobs, Lisa Todd and Patrick Danz.

Seventeen years ago, Peter’s grandfather went missing under mysterious circumstances. Now, Peter and his friends have returned to the placid Wisconsin town to check out his inherited lake house and to partake in the annual ‘Muskie Madness’ fishing competition.

Soon after his arrival, Peter begins to sense that something isn’t quite right, but none of his friends, nor the local sheriff, will believe him. However, as townsfolk and tourists begin to disappear, Peter becomes determined to solve the mystery, as well as that of his grandfather’s disappearance, and soon finds himself facing off against a fish hook-wielding madman…

Blood Hook is released by Vinegar Syndrome on released on April 24, 201. The film has been newly restored from its original negative and presented in its much longer and never before released, director’s cut (which includes, among other things, nearly 30 seconds of additional gore), alongside fresh interviews with the cast and crew and a limited edition embossed slipcover.

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“The characters are so amazingly bland, even the wacky ones, that they slip from my mind having viewed the film only ten minutes beforehand. The only way I can even think of them is as stereotypes. They had the tramatized kid, the punk kid, the new age girl, the ditz, the burned out Viet Nam veteran, and the weird old guy.” Joel Mathis, Bad Movie Night

“Aside from the novelty of having a fisherman killer who treats his prey as the catch of the day, what makes this film slightly more entertaining than your average low budget mid-80s slasher is its humor and colorful supporting characters. It’s every bit as dumb as it sounds, but there are at least few laughs to be had here so it has that much going for it.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“Apparently, Blood Hook is a pseudo-slasher that is actually trying to be funny. Many a pun and punchline flop about, simulating the death throes of an earthbound carp. The whole thing may have worked better had it been played straight. After all, the horrors of the sea (or, in this case, a pond frequented by tourist schmucks) can be an effective overlay no matter the budget, and new wave poseurs (albeit retrospectively) are funny by their very existence.” Thomas Duke, Cinema Gonzo

Blood Hook is mostly bland but has a few good lines. The film does provide loveably ludicrous motivations for the killer, and the finale makes it quite clear the film is meant to be funny, but overall it’s too slow building to remain engaging in the earlier scenes.” Devon B., Digital Retribution

“While not the worst thing you’ll see in any horror, the characters are non-starters and absolutely no-one stands out except for the villain. There really isn’t much to enjoy here. There isn’t that much gore and the blood looks very fake. A scene that involves chopping up a body takes place mostly out of shot and the body parts are clearly mannequins. It’s also a really lengthy 92 minutes long!” Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

” …has some memorable imagery – such as the corpses’ cartoony but well-done appearance in their watery grave at the end and the sound design is exceptional for a film this low budget. Music is pretty good all-around, not a soundtrack I’d buy or acquire, but all listenable and the sound effect for the killer is effective […] The atmosphere is very well crafted…” Andrew F. Moncrieff, The Horror Addiction

Blood Hook obviously isn’t great on any level unless you compare it to movies that Mallon would one day lampoon on MST3K. Thankfully, this doesn’t quite sink to that level, as its few moments of peppered absurdity keep it afloat, but just barely. You can have a lot of fun with it, particularly trying to figure out if it’s meant to be funny.” Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!

” …there are enough red herrings to keep you guessing until the killer is revealed quite early in the runtime. Even though a set up involving a maniac catching unsuspecting victims with a treble hook sounds like it should be quite rightly awful, the director resists the temptation to fall into the realms of stupidity and if you ignore the physical impossibilities, it’s even quite creepy at times.” Luisito Joaquín González, a SLASH above…

” …an odd experience in terms of slasher films, entrenched in local custom, much of it is played for comedy […] and amusingly eccentric characters, not to mention some of the worst of 80s fashion.Despite low production values, little in the way of grue, and its eccentricities, caught in the right mood, Blood Hook is a fun little time waster.” Vegan Voorhees

“Mallon exhibits zero style behind the camera and all of the death scenes are thoroughly lame and interchangeable to boot. All of the “actors” are grating and annoying and will get on your damn nerves in record time. The inept gore effects are just as amateurish and are few and far between.” Mitch Lovell, The Video Vacuum

“This is the first (and only) fishing based slasher movie and it’s played completely unseriously (and has a mild sense of humour which works once and a while); but really there’s no other way they could have played it – and what’s left is neither good, nor bad; it’s just sort of “there”. And it reaches it’s pinnacle of sloppiness in the finale where they throw out lame twists about music and “metal plates” (you’ll see).” The Video Graveyard

Choice dialogue:

“If you feel comfortable killing me, that’s fine, I’m an adult, I understand!”

Cast and characters:

  • Mark Jacobs … Peter van Cleese
  • Lisa Todd … Ann Colbert
  • Patrick Danz … Rodney
  • Sara Hauser … Kiersten
  • Christopher Whiting … Tom ‘Finner’ Finnegan
  • Don Winters … Leroy Leudke
  • Paul Drake … Wayne Duerst
  • Bill Lowrie … Evelyn Duerst
  • Sandy Meuwissen … Beverly ‘Bev D.’ Duerst
  • Dale Dunham … Denny Dobyns
  • Paul Heckman … The Sheriff
  • Don Cosgrove … Roger Swain
  • Bonnie Lee … Shiela Swain
  • Greg Nienas … Irving ‘Irv’ Swain
  • Julie Vortanz … Ruth-Ann Swain
  • Donald Franke … Grandfather van Cleese
  • Ryan Franke … Young Peter van Cleese
  • Dana Remker … Dickie Duerst
  • John Galligan … Emcee
  • Ron Kaiser … Emcee

Filming locations:

Hayward, Wisconsin, USA; the town’s landmark giant fibreglass muskie is prominently featured in the film.


The film premiered at the MIFED Film Market in October 1986 and was released in the USA by Troma Entertainment in April 1987.

Blood Hook has been released on VHS by several companies including Paramount Home Entertainment and Troma Entertainment. It was released on DVD in 2004 as part of the Troma Triple B-Header alongside Blades and Zombie Island Massacre.

Buy DVD: |

Vinegar Syndrome is issuing a 1,000 only limited edition Blu-ray + DVD on April 24, 2018.

Fun Facts:

The movie was filmed as Muskie Madness

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