Blood Hook Blu Ray Review (Vinegar Syndrome)
Blood Hook (aKa Muskie Madness & Carnada) is a 1986 horror film directed by Jim Mallon (Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV Series & Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie). Mallon was inspired to make his director’s debut after acquiring 400,000 feet of outdated news stock film from a local television station that had recently switched to videotape & they were just going to get rid of everything. Kevin Murphy from Mystery Science Theater 3000 & RiffTrax fame was a Key Grip on this film also. It was shot in 6 weeks on a $200,000 budget. Most of the cast never acted in a film again after this. It was distributed by Troma Entertainment. It appeared on episode 5 from Season 5 on the television show Parks and Recreation during their Pawnee City Hall scary movie night under a made up name. 17 years before, Peter’s grandfather went missing & it was a strange situation. No one could figure it out & it still remains a mystery.
Peter Van Clease (played by: Mark Jacobs from Days of Our Lives , Touch and Go, & Soul of the Demon) with his friends Ann (played by: Lisa Todd from The Usual, Casa Hollywood, Whiteboyz, & Playback), Rodney (played by: Patrick Danz), Kiersten (played by: Sara Hauser), & Finner (played by: Christopher Whiting) return to where it all started in Wisconsin. He inherited the family lake house & he going to participate in the annual Muskie Madness fishing competition while he’s there. It’s a huge tradition & a big deal in this small Midwestern town. Something isn’t right after he shows up to experience his heritage. He tries to warn everyone but no one believes him. Locals & tourists end up missing soon after so Peter decides to do his own investigation of this bizarre chain of events. He wants to find out the truth about his grandfather’s disappearance but it leads his to a dangerous threat with a fish hook. Can Peter survive this madness & solve his family’s mysterious past?
Blood Hook is a truly unique & stands out on it’s own when it comes to 80s slashers. How many other fishing slashers can you name from the sub-genre? You can joke all you want on how can Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy riff on bad movies on Mystery Science Theater 3000 when they made something like this? Honestly, I think it’s better than most stuff shown on that show. It has a nice mix of horror & comedy plus the characters in this are very memorable. So many wacky people are in this Wisconsinploitation gem. Yes, I made up that sub-genre just for this film. Blood Hook represents that state & community to the fullest degree. This is definitely one of the better Troma distributed films from back in the day. I bet that VHS couldn’t stay on the shelf at rental places with it’s original artwork during the home video craze. Mallon provides enough gore & murder to wet the appetite for any horror fan in this. Vinegar Syndrome resurrected the original version that’s never been seen in the states. There’s a big difference between the previous edited version including more bloodshed which is always appreciated by the horror & collector community but there’s much more than that in this extended cut. The additional 26 minutes gives Blood Hook more depth & it feels more complete with all the characters plus the story plays out better in this fully re-stored vision.
Let’s talk a little about it’s home video history & high definition presentation. Blood Hook has been released on VHS several times including from major studios like Paramount Home Entertainment. It was also released on 2004’s Troma Triple B-Header DVD set from Troma Entertainment. Honestly, it never really looked that good on any of those formats. Before this new blu ray, I’ve only seen the 85 minute cut on those past releases. Troma wanted the film to have a faster pace so they edited it down. This is the first time the original 111 minute version has been fully re-stored in America with additional gore & chaos! It’s a brand new 2K scan (1.67:1 aspect ratio) from the original 16mm camera negative approved by the cinematographer. HOLY SHIT!!!! If the longer cut doesn’t sell you on this, the difference is quality should because it’s one of the biggest improvements & upgrades that I’ve ever seen in high definition. The English DTS-HD MA mono track sounds pretty good for being a low budget 80s slasher. It also includes English SDH subtitles. You get the reversible cover art that most people are familiar with when it comes to this film. Plus a DVD copy is included on this release.
Now, let’s discuss the special features on this disc from Vinegar Syndrome. “Hook, Line and Sinker” is a 30 minute interview with director Jim Mallon. He covers a variety of topics including early film making experiences that got him more interested in cinema, how Blood Hook got started with producer David Herbert, & the problems during the making of the film which required changes to be made. He chats about how his directorial career didn’t go as planned which lead to a job at a Minneapolis UHF station. You talks about Mystery Science Theater 3000 also. Next, there’s an almost 19 minute “First Blood Hook!!” interview with actress Lisa Todd. She doesn’t seem to remember much about her experience on Blood Hook. She discusses the casting process for the film. She talks about the locations & mentions they had a summer camp vibe to them. She chats about her fellow cast members in Blood Hook. She mentions that didn’t get along with co-star Mark Jacobs after filming. They never talked off camera during the production. After that, there’s the 23 minute “What’s in the Tacklebox?” interview with special effects artist Jim Suthers. He tells you about his early inspirations on why he decided to do this as a profession. He talks about his experience working with Bill Rebane. He talks about working with Dale Kuippers & that he was the reason he got involved in various projects. He explains how he turned something into nothing with his limited budget for creating effects for Blood Hook. It really makes you appreciate his work more after seeing what he did with the gore & kills in this.
29 minute phone interview that features Vinegar Syndrome’s Joe Rubin chatting with editor & cinematographer Marsha Kahm that approved the transfer on this new release. She talks about her start in Nebraska. She chats about pulling double duty on this production. You get a more detailed discussion on the visuals on this. 48 second Still Gallery with all kinds of photos from Blood Hook. Last but not least, you get the theatrical trailer in high definition. I mean this in the nicest possible way but I wish Vinegar Syndrome would sub-license every Troma film & release it on blu ray! I own every collaboration between the two & Vinegar Syndrome brings all those older films to a completely mew level. It’s available everywhere right now, check it out. HIGHLY recommend for any 80s slasher or Troma fan!!!!