Blood Beat

Blood Beat ★★★★

Every year on Christmas I try to find a Christmas horror movie that I haven't seen. This is surprisingly easy because there are many obscure ones, and also people keep making them. Anyway, this year I missed a local double feature screening of The Dorm That Dripped Blood and The Oracle due to actual holiday obligations, so instead I watched Blood Beat, which is one of those 1980s U.S.-filmed movies shot in English by a French director and French crew, resulting in a uniquely surreal quality (see also: Nightmare Weekend. Really, you should see Nightmare Weekend).

For the first half of this movie, nothing happens and it's kind of just a depressing experimental drama, then the second half involves people being chased around by a flying, glowing samurai sword. Occasionally it cuts to a negative screen effect. Blood Beat is a very weird film, and I don't say that lightly. It's not very Christmas-y, either, although characters will occasionally mention that it's Christmas, which is helpful since there are otherwise few indications of this.

Apparently the blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome, which I own, contains a half hour edit of the film with all of its dialogue cut out that everyone says is the ideal version to watch. I can definitely believe that and plan to revisit it. For the record, the recent blu-ray transfer is from the original negatives and looks impeccable, but this also very much feels like a film meant to be watched and puzzled over on a glitchy VHS dub.

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