Awfully Good: Blood Rage

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Gobble gobble! Here's a Thanksgiving slasher that deserves a little love…


Blood Rage (1987)


Director: John Grissmer
Stars: Mark Soper, Louise Lasser, Julie Gordon

A psychotic child goes on a murder spree and frames his twin brother for the crime. Years later, the innocent twin escapes from a mental institution and heads home for Thanksgiving, prompting his evil brother to finish what he started.

There are horror films out there for pretty much every holiday. (I was going to make a joke about an Arbor Day scary movie, but I’m pretty sure M. Night Shyamalan’s THE HAPPENING counts). However, aside from THANKSKILLING and Eli Roth’s GRINDHOUSE trailer, it’s slim pickings when it comes to Turkey Day. So BLOOD RAGE (also released under the more generic titles SLASHER and NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS) gets points right off the bat for being a Thanksgiving-themed slasher, but it’s actually a solid, overlooked horror flick on its own.

Blood Rage Wine
When someone insists on having a phone call instead of texting.

If there’s one scary movie tradition BLOOD RAGE follows, it’s the time-honored rule that if you have sex, you obviously deserve to die. At least that seems to be the only motive for our killer Terry, who murders anyone who thinks about sex, wants to have sex, or actually does the deed. When the movie opens, Terry is at the drive-in with his twin brother Todd, his mom and her boyfriend. For some reason Mom begins to engage in coitus while her progeny are still in the back seat, understandably upsetting Terry to the point where he storms out of the car, finds a nearby ax (what kind of drive-in theater is this?) and murders two teenagers who are completely naked and going at it in their car in front of everyone. (Seriously, what kind of drive-in theater is this and where is it and is it still open?)

When the police come, Terry hands Todd the ax, which Todd takes and is immediately arrested for doing a Grade-A Jack Torrance impression. Todd spends the next couple of decades in a mental institution, where for some reason he waits until he's in his mid-20s to finally tell everyone it was actually his twin brother that committed all those murders. (Not the first time someone's tried that excuse, I'm sure.) When no one believes him, including his own mother, Todd escapes and makes his way home in time for Thanksgiving.

Blood Rage hand
What it takes to get a hipster to stop drinking PBR.

Unfortunately, this Thanksgiving just happens to be the same night their mother announces that she and her boyfriend are getting married and proceed to get handsy in front of their dinner guests. This sets off a series of fun kills as Terry goes on another killing spree and terrorizes their apartment complex, using a machete to carve up anyone with a functioning libido like a roasted turkey. Thankfully for us, this housing project seems to be comprised solely of really horny teenagers and adults alike, including a couple who come home to their babysitter trying to get some action and kick her out so they themselves can do it instead. Pretty much the only person safe is a girl who's technically still a virgin, although ironically she tried to do it with Terry but accidentally propositioned Todd thinking he was his brother.

Blood Rage Dismember
Gene's first kiss did not go how he imagined it would.

Given the subject matter, BLOOD RAGE boasts plenty of nudity and some good, albeit goofy-looking, gore. There are slashes and stabbings galore, but also a couple memorable decapitations and dismemberments, including a woman getting comically cut in half and having pretty much exactly the reaction you'd expect. And I have to really give props to the filmmakers for going the animatronic route with severed body parts flopping around after they've been relocated. We don't see that often enough and the extra effort is truly appreciated.

Blood Rage head
Good to know that Zach Braff's just been hanging around since Scrubs ended.

BLOOD RAGE may not be Awfully Good in the traditional sense but it has its moments. The actress who plays the mom gets progressively worse as the movie goes on, culminating in her ruining the films dark twist ending with her godawful performance. There's also an asshole little girl who locks the door and ignores a woman's cries for help because she's afraid the killer might hurt her cat and it's not worth the risk. And Mark Soper's portrayal of Terry is hilariously, gleefully psychotic. He taunts his would-be victims by toying with a dead body and making it clap. He takes a breather from his murder rampage so he can drop by the pool and jump on a diving board. And this may be the first time in a horror movie where we see the killer actually stop because he needs to go to the bathroom.

Blood Rage Ted Raimi
You know it's a good movie when Ted Raimi cameos as a guy selling condoms to teenagers.

And finally there's plenty of Thanksgiving-related goodness that makes this a fun holiday watch for the whole family. The mother has a cult-like reverence for the dinner, chanting "The turkey was perfect" like a zombie. When the murders start happening, her reaction is to chug wine and sit on the floor in front of the refrigerator and stuff turkey and all the trimmings in to her face by the handful. But perhaps the most memorable part of BLOOD RAGE, and something you can make use of in your own Turkey Day celebration, is Terry's bizarre catchphrase that he repeats every time he kills someone and sees their blood on his knife: "Well, it's not cranberry sauce!"

"It's not cranberry sauce…" and other winners.

The best kills and psychotic moments.

The killer gets set off any time he sees people having sex, so in this case all the random nudity is really important to the plot.

Not ready to go cold turkey? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Terry says, "It's not cranberry sauce"
  • Someone is murdered
  • Some weird Oedipal stuff happens
  • A woman is feeling amorous

Double shot if:

  • There’s a cameo by Ted Raimi or Yoda


Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone gets to chow down and munch on some grindage.


Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.


About the Author