Release Date(s)1972 (February 26, 2019)
Studio(s)The Farmer Company/NMD Film Distributing Company (Severin Films)
- Film/Program Grade: D+
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: C+
Shot in upstate New York by a group of know-nothing filmmakers, Invasion of the Blood Farmers is an infamous but memorable horror drive-in oddity with a minor cult following, particularly amongst genre veterans and deep-diving film fans interested in regional filmmaking. With a plot about a group of ancient druids appearing in modern times under the guise of farmers who steal the blood of the living in order to resurrect their queen, as well as the tagline “We warn you – don’t eat before seeing Invasion of the Blood Farmers, and you’ll have nothing to lose!,” it certainly made its mark.
When watching a locally-produced film like this, one must try and take stock in all of its positive aspects. For instance, the filmmakers seemed to have access to a lot of different locations, constantly cutting to new areas, which at least keeps things fresh visually. The way that it’s shot may not be all that interesting, but at least there’s some variety to be had instead of only a couple of rooms like a lot of low budget independent horror movies. The film also manages to live up to its title, and we do see “farmers” harvesting blood from their victims. So it’s exactly what it says it is, and at a mere 77 minutes, it’s over in a hurry, which is definite plus.
That all said, this is definitely a bad movie. The horror isn’t all that horrific and the performances are at the Ed Wood level of acting, which isn’t good at all, but charming in an honest and sincere way. The director would go on to co-write and produce one other film (Shriek of the Mutilated) and later quit the business soon afterwards. It’s also worth noting that one of the film’s assistant cameramen was Frederick Elmes, who would have a more respectable career as a cinematographer, shooting films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and The Ice Storm.
Invasion of the Blood Farmers comes to Blu-ray from Severin Films, featuring a transfer that’s been “scanned from the original negative” (though it could have been partially taken from a print, judging by the changeover cue around the 20-minute mark). Like most of Severin’s transfers, it’s a “warts and all” presentation, leaving behind scratches, staining, speckling, and occasional instability. However, the element used is in very good shape with excellent color reproduction, including strong reds, blues, and greens. Blacks are uneven, ranging from deep to bright, perhaps even crushed in a few places. However, contrast and clarity are both ideal.
The audio is presented in English 2.0 mono DTS-HD with optional subtitles in English SDH. Like its video counterpart, it too has plenty of leftover damage, including thumps, crackle, hiss, and occasional warbling. However, the dialogue is mostly clear, despite being poorly-recorded at times, while sound effects and score are mixed together well enough. There’s also some built-in distortion during the thunderstorm sound effects heard late in the film, but dropouts never occur.
Extras include an audio commentary with director Eddie Adlum, actress Ortrum Tippel, and moderator Kier-La Janisse; Nothin’ You’d Show Your Mom: Eddie Adlum’s Journey Through Exploitation, Coin-Op, & Rock ’n’ Roll, a 22-minute interview with the director; Harvesting the Dead, a 12-minute interview with actor Jack Neubeck; Painful Memories, a 5-minute interview with the aforementioned assistant cameraman Frederick Elmes; and the original theatrical trailer, presented in HD. Not carried over from the Code Red DVD release is a different audio commentary with director Eddie Adlum, which is moderated by Lee Christian.
Truth be told, Invasion of the Blood Farmers isn’t high class entertainment, which I know comes as a major shock (sarcasm). However, it’s certainly fun with a group of people, especially those of the riffing variety. Never on Blu-ray before, Severin Films debuts it with a decent transfer and some nice extras.
– Tim Salmons