Man, did I get suckered into this one. And I’ve got a fucking marketing degree! If I were Japanese, I’d be shamed enough to run a sword through my abdomen. But hey, my hat’s off to whoever designed the videobox art on BLEEDERS, they got me fair and square. And if I’d have paid one more penny for this thing, I might actually get upset. But $2.48 on Ebay isn’t so much to pay for a good lesson now, is it?
I remember the old days when Blockbuster Video shelves were lined with both VHS boxes and DVD cases. I know, I know, I'm dating myself. Not so much by mentioning VHS tapes, but by mentioning Blockbuster Video! BLEEDERS always stood out from the pack, what with that awesome plastic pouch filled with fake blood. The fucker actually bled, just like they said it would. Not only that, those horrifying little deformed creatures that occasionally poked their pig snouts out from under the blood - Were they the so-called bleeders? Or did they cause others to bleed? Or was this just a Japanese version of BREEDERS? Sorry, bad racial slur there. My 14-year-old horror-seeking heart pounded at the possibilities inside this cool as fuck blood pack box. This couldn't be any less than awesome, could it?
Well, turns out I never rented BLEEDERS back in the day, because my parents had the card and probably picked something shitty like WINGS OF THE DOVE or MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING or BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL instead. So a decade and a half later, I'm all grown up and now actually have the money to buy the fucker, groovy bleeding sac of hemoglobin intact (although no longer as fluid as it was back in 1997, oh well), and sat back finally to watch this veritable Plasma-Thon in all its gory glory.
And you know what? It sucks.
ERNEST BORGNINE IS NOT LOOKING WELL THESE DAYS.
Not even Rutger Hauer can save this one. That’s right, Rutger Fucking Hauer – Roy Batty himself – somehow got conned into starring in BLEEDERS. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. There’s also a crazy granny with a rifle (always a good thing), a nigh-albino lead actor who looks like a reject from LOST BOYS II, and a leading lady who’s actually kinda hot in a Faith Ford meets Ilsa the Wicked Warden way, although it takes forever for her to show the goods. In fact, that’s the problem with BLEEDERS in a nutshell. It takes forever for anything to happen. The actual Bleeders themselves, if that’s what the fuck they are, don’t show up until 56 minutes in, and even that one’s dead on a slabheap getting autopsied by Roy Batty. And if it ain’t bad enough Rutger’s gotta be in this crapheap, he’s gotta say things like “this thing’s got three stomachs,” or, worse yet, stick his Replicant fucking arm elbow-deep into a rubber monster and say “It’s a fully formed vagina!” Swear to God, that's an actual quote. And lemme tell you, that’s one hell of a long way away from “like tears…in the rain.”
Okay, so what I’m saying is, if you wanna go and just fast forward 55 and a half minutes in, feel free to do that. Because absolutely nothing happens before that. Seriously. At 1:06, an actual living, breathing, moving Bleeder kicks the living shit out of that overacting NRA rifle-toting Granny, so right off the bat, you kinda like the little guys. And the action – if you can call it that – literally all happens in the last ten minutes, when Rutger Fucking Hauer and Keifer Sutherland’s anorexic cousin and Faith Ford the Dominatrix all flee to a lighthouse while the Bleeders scramble up the rocks. Okay, “scramble” is a strong word here. The Bleeders, now clad in thrift store chic, kinda shuffle toward the lighthouse, and move so slow they kinda remind me of the Skeksis in DARK CRYSTAL. I mean, if this dumbass cast really wanted to get away from the Bleeders, a simple brisk walking pace would do. No, these guys decide to hole themselves inside a lighthouse, but even still they’re pretty easy targets for Rutger’s rifle or the giant lighthouse lantern (much like Crispin Glover, the Bleeders don’t seem to like light). But, as luck would have it, Rutger runs out of shells and a giant lightning bolt from fucking nowhere suddenly strikes the lighthouse and cuts all power. A sign from an angry God, who also purchased the blood pack VHS copy from Ebay for the BuyItNow price of $29.99, and is pissed like the rest of us. Rutger Hauer put it best when he once said, in a slightly better film, "Time to die."
If you’re still awake, or sober, you’ll notice the first Bleeder to get to the lighthouse door actually knocks – they’re polite little shits apparently. But no one answers so they kinda bust in anyway, and then the top floor of the lighthouse where everyone’s hiding kinda just conveniently caves in because, well, because otherwise it would take five fucking years for those slowpoke carnival freaks to waddle up the staircase for Christ’s sake. The Bleeders immediately make off with the annoying kid, then start pawing at the blonde, and those two things make ‘em heroes in my book so yeah, I’m rooting for them even more than I'm rooting for Rutger Fucking Hauer.
But before the blonde can get killed, or at least justifiably molested, some heretofore completely unseen mean ass lesbian chick jumps down into the fray and screams “No FUCKING WAY!” I don’t know who she is, where she came from, or why her only three words in the whole film don’t even make sense, but luckily she gets killed right away by the Bleeders, who I’m now openly cheering for. More fighting ensues, some people get away and others don’t, and then something else happens and the credits roll. Really, does it even matter?
As a thirty-minute episode of TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE or the long-lost Sci-Fi (sorry, it’s SyFy now right?) Channel series MONSTERS, BLEEDERS would’ve been pretty good, if somewhat vapid and non-eventful. As a 90-minute film, it blows big chunks of Skeksis feces, because a) it’s never scary, b) the blonde waits almost 80 minutes to show the goods, and c) it’s not even bloody. And it’s called BLEEDERS for fucks sake! If you do go out anyway and buy this videotape (it’s not on DVD), make sure you get the fancy limited-edition plastic blood pack version, because that’s the ONLY FUCKING BLOOD YOU’LL EVER SEE!
In short, rent. Fast forward. Fast forward again. Drink a bottle of vodka and enjoy. It’s like Rutger Fucking Hauer once said, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments…will be lost in time…like tears…in rain…Hey, it’s a fully-formed vagina!”
One out of five Kari's.
FAST FORWARDING TO THE GOOD PARTS:
0 – 56: Nothing. I already warned ya.
:56 – Doctor Rutger autopsies a Bleeder. It still doesn’t bleed.
1:06 – The most annoying Granny in modern cinema gets offed by a Bleeder. That Bleeder is now my favorite thing in life.
1:12 – Some toplessness, but it’s on a dead girl hanging upside down. Still, if that’s your thing…
1:20 – Our dominatrix blonde finally loses her shirt. Jesus, I’ve waited 80 fucking minutes for this gravity-defying moment of sheer awesomeness? Yeah, worth it.