BLOOD STALKERS (1976) Reviews and overview of Bigfoot-themed horror

  

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‘This motion picture will scare the hell out of you’

Blood Stalkers is a 1976 American backwoods horror film about two city couples that go on a vacation to a shack in the Florida everglades. Also known as The Night Daniel Died

Written and directed by Robert W. Morgan (scriptwriter for The Jaws of Death). Produced by Ben Morse.

The movie stars Kenny Miller (Attack of the Puppet People; Rockabilly Baby; I Was a Teenage Werewolf), Toni Crabtree, Jerry Albert, Celea Ann Cole, Herb Goldstein, Robert W. Morgan and John H. Meyer.

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“Tension is deflated by a passé TV movie soundtrack, boring direction from ex-1950s DJ Bob Morgan, and endless padding. But when that crescendo knocks you on your ass, the disorientation is so colossal that nothing else matters.” Bleeding Skull!

“Predictable as it may be, it all works perfectly. The tension mounts and in the end the blood flows like a dream come true. The Bloodstalkers stay just out of sight until the final attack. We get just enough glimpses and hints as to what is out there scaring the sh*t out of our happy campers.” Buried.com

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“It’s a long, long time before the killings get underway, and we spend that time watching the Yankees make out, go skinny dipping, and be idiots […] while I see what Morgan was trying to do by adding some unique audio/visual flair to a stale genre, there’s ultimately nothing here that makes up for the utter dullness of the first hour.” DVD Talk

“Eventually, the movie develops a queasy sort of tension because things get ultraviolent […] None of it makes much sense, but it’s hard to look away from bizarre scenes featuring slow-mo chases and cuts to gospel singers. (Don’t ask.) And while the onscreen Bigfoot stuff is a bit of a tease, the offscreen connection to Sasquatch lore is real.” Every ’70s Movie

“It’s not until the monsters go on the attack that the movie comes into its own, and it’s at its best when it’s at its most ambitious; in particular, the climax of the night attack sequence is very impressive, with some masterful editing and great use of music. It’s good this part works so well…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

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“Sadly, the budget didn’t seem to stretch to adequate lighting for the night scenes […] However, the film does transcend its limitations occasionally, most notably during a climactic scene when footage of a rapturous gospel choir is intercut with a mad dash to safety, for one character, and the eerily spooky demise of several others…” Hysteria Lives!

” …usurped ideas from other films have merely been shamefully woven into a tapestry of sh*t through which a few all too brief moments of original light shine.” Lost Video Archive

“Fans of Floridian horror films will get a particular kick out of this one as it has that same bright, cockeyed atmosphere found in the films of William Grefé It’s a fairly slow burn in the opening stretch as we get lots of chit chat with the couple and ominous warnings, but the film works up some solid atmosphere and climaxes…” Mondo Digital

” …beyond the very low budget and the shakey editing, it’s not a bad production. The actors are mostly doing fine and the script has a few entertaining twists which works if you feel for it, or just be disappointing if you’re in that mood. Robert W. Morgan has balls enough to not show us what would probably have been the most violent scene…” Ninja Dixon

” …once we hit the halfway mark, all bets are off and this one goes from hokey and comedic to dark and twisty. Morgan and company really ramp up the pace as the finale approaches […] the movie throws some great surprises at the audience, one of which (we’ll just call it the church scene so as not to spoil it) is genuinely harrowing and affecting.” Rock! Shock! Pop!

“This low budget regional horror flick is long on talk and short on horror.  To add insult to injury, the murders of the major characters happen offscreen.  At least the comeuppance of the bad guys is shown in full gory detail.  This brief highpoint, unfortunately, comes at the very end, and it’s not exactly worth the wait, but it does at least save it from being a total washout.” The Video Vacuum

” …once the film starts picking up speed and the main threat is revealed, Blood Stalkers becomes a rather excellent little horror movie. It’s difficult to stay angry about the slow, plodding first half of the film when it ends in such glorious fashion […] in its final act, it puts on one helluva good show.” You Have Died of Dysentry

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Choice dialogue:

Daniel [Kenny Miller]: “This place looks like it breeds snakes and mosquitos… And dingbats.”

Daniel [Kenny Miller]: “Nighty night time in the ol’ swamp-a-roony.”

Kim [Toni Crabtree] “Well, I can tell you this much. I have spent my very last night in the everglades.”

Blu-ray release:

Blood Stalkers was released on Blu-ray by GarageHouse Pictures on January 10th 2020. Special Features:

Audio commentary by Robert W. Morgan moderated by Jeff Stephan
Blood Stalkers Revisited 2017 documentary
On camera interviews w/ Robert W. Morgan
Still Gallery
Liner Notes by Robert W. Morgan on the making of Blood Stalkers
The Mansion of Terror – unproduced screenplay
Original theatrical trailer
GarageHouse Pictures trailers

Cast and characters:

Kenny Miller … Daniel
Toni Crabtree … Kim
Jerry Albert … Mike
Celea Ann Cole … Jeri
Herb Goldstein … The Old Man
Robert W. Morgan … Jarvis
John H. Meyer … Lester
David Faris Legge … Pip
Stan Webb … The Mute
Lane Chiles … Deputy
Joe Hilton … Preacher
Irv Rudley … First Man
Nina Baeza … First Woman
Jerry Wallson … Second Man
Karen Williams … Second Woman
Ted Ernst … Townsperson
Joanne Retieu … Townsperson
Michael Polesnek … Townsperson
Chuck Yates … Extra

Filming locations:

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Technical details:

1 hour 33 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Fun facts:

Writer-director Robert W. Morgan was also a dedicated Bigfoot enthusiast. He claimed to have first encountered Sasquatch in March 1957 and became involved in full-time research on Bigfoot in 1969. He subsequently participated in numerous expeditions to find Sasquatch and appeared in the films Bigfoot: Man or Beast? (1972), Monsters! Mysteries or Myths? (1974), The Mysterious Monsters (1975) and In Search of Bigfoot (1976).

Trailer [1080p HD]:

MOVIES and MANIA says:

Some admirers of Blood Stalkers have seemingly allowed their predilection for trash from a bygone era to cloud their critical judgement. Aside from a few mildly amusing moments during the first hour, the film is largely a turgid affair with too many poorly-lit night scenes.

Worse, some church-set gospel singing shots are jarringly juxtaposed with the onscreen mayhem (which simply negates the effect of the latter). Fleetingly glimpsed splattery deaths during the finale do not make up for the film’s protracted build-up or its slightly overlong running time.

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