No this is not the 1981 film starring Tom Skerritt. It is a low-budget indie horror film that takes inspiration from the demonic possession and slasher films of the eighties. As the film begins, you definitely get the feeling that it is just another slasher about teens in the woods. Later on, it turns into an Evil Dead-ish film about demons coming to shed their blood. The first film of this double feature tape was directed by Eric Stanze. His work on Ice From the Sun has been one of my favorite Vultra releases so far. He made this film a few years before, which is probably why it lacked the style of the later film. Despite the fact that this film lacked some of my favorite things about Ice From the Sun, it is still a great film to see in order to witness the humble beginnings of a present day cult sensation.
Savage Harvest does a nice job of combining aspects of genre favorites like Friday the 13th and Evil Dead. It has some pretty cool death scenes. These scenes are also accompanied by some good low-budget gore. The problem for me was the fact that it took too long to get there. The movie isn’t overly long, but feels like it moves slowly for some reason. Although it is little longer than it needs to be, it is still a fun watch for one major reason. Like other Vultra releases, it is a great film to watch so you can see where these horror movie masters started their film-making journeys. Just like in my review of Marcus Koch’s Bad Blood, I would urge fans of the filmmaker to find this film. A Vultra Video version will be pretty expensive for the common viewer to see this film. If they can find an affordable release, though, I think it is at least worth a watch. Fans of Eric Stanze can find his films by liking Wicked Pixel Cinema on Facebook.
Savage Harvest 2: October Blood was directed by Jason Christ. It stays true to the original film, continuing the story-line many years later. The main character in this film is a fairly successful indie filmmaker. This gives the viewer the opportunity to see some possible self-reflection on the part of the filmmaker. It may also be seen as a critique of the indie film world as a whole. This character is returning to his hometown to get away from a tragedy in his career. It is here, where he runs into people from his past. These people are also the same people connected to the demonic murders from the first film.
This movie has some nice comedic scenes, but seems to save a lot of the horror action for the end. Just like the first film, this movie moved slow for me. It is almost two hours long, which is quite the endeavor for a low-budget film. It seems that many of the Vultra releases are not more than eighty minutes long. That made this film feel like a chore at times. I am not sure if it was because I watched the films back-to-back, or what. This one just got to a point where it felt brutally slow. It does, however, hold value to the horror collector interested in the early works of an underground icon. Jason Christ is also deeply involved in Wicked Pixel films. He has had a hand in creating the underground gems Ice From the Sun, Ratline, and Deadwood Park.
Despite the fact that I am not raving about either one of these films, the value is there for a Vultra release. This single tape includes both films. When you are looking at spending thirty dollars or more for a tape, you probably want to know you will love the film. The gamble with Vultra is that you may not really know what you’re getting into when you order a film. For me, as a horror collector, there has only been one Vultra VHS that I purchased that has not been worth my money. That film, my friend, has not yet been reviewed. What probably saves this release, is the fact that there are two films on the tape. If I were to only get one of these films for thirty bucks, I may not be so apt to recommend it for purchase.