I grew up in the heart of Amish country in Western New York. The skies seemed to grow inconceivably dense above the tree swept hills there, turning black at night, the only light a cautious flecking of far-away stars. On evenings when I was left alone with my younger brother and sister, it seemed like anything could happen…like something sinister would surely unfold, all that space breeding uncertain wonder….and fear.
In Daniel Benedict’s incredibly creative and extremely ambitious The Bloody Man, a nostalgic horror offering, bar none, young Sam (a sympathetic David Daniel), the film’s troubled protagonist, actually does find something lurking in the shadowed recesses of his home and he and his siblings (the relatable Sam Hadden and the truly adorable Olivia Sanders) must band together and fight for their survival. With their mother recently killed in an accident and a new step mother tentatively trying to forge a bond with them, the odds seem against this emotionally damaged trio. But apprehensive viewers need only to recall that celluloid history is littered with iconic villains who have fallen due to a little familial ingenuity, so all hope may not be lost.
Nicely wearing his influences proudly on his sleeve, Benedict includes elements of superhero films, John Hughes coming-of-age comedies and delirious references to such anthology films as Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt here. A strong love for the works of Wes Craven and Fred Dekker also emerges as the proceedings unfold. Yet Benedict has tricks all of his own. The opening sequence featuring Sam trying to catch up with the morning school bus is a feat of ingenious planning, highlighting the director’s comic timing and intrepid filmmaking skills.
Fans will rejoice at the casting of Tuesday Knight and Lisa Wilcox, as well. While their connection to Craven and his iconic A Nightmare on Elm Street series makes their inclusion a natural one, these two seasoned performers definitely supply more than mere name value. They give detailed, heart filled performances in major roles. Knight also brings her rock n roll heart to the film’s beyond cool soundtrack, singing several of her own pop compositions – including a theme song that is reminiscent (in all the best ways) to Nightmare, her popular sonic contribution to the Dream Master’s opening moments.
Indie horror film fans will also be sure to rejoice upon discovering the presence of such homegrown terror stalwarts as Jason Crowe (Dead Moon Rising, The Bad Man), Roni Jonah (Shark Exorcist, The Legacy) and the always personable, scene stealing Mercedez Varble, the heroine of Benedict’s truly fun slasher throwback Bunni.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!