I don’t know how to adequately describe or review a film like Blood Beat; released in 1983, nearing the end of the slasher movie craze, Blood Beat is about a samurai spirit that begins killing residents in a Wisconsin town. That may sound like a typical supernatural slasher, but the movie is so much more than that. It is a confusing mess of a film: bad acting, bizarre musical cues and choices, strange shots, and camera perspectives, and features a scene where a samurai spirit manifests because of a girl’s orgasm. The girl in question is Sarah. Ted, who is dating Sarah, and his sister Dolly are visiting their mother, Cathy, and her boyfriend, Gary, for Christmas. Right from the start, Cathy notices something odd about Sarah, Cathy is an artist and a psychic whose power tips her off to Sarah’s dangers.
I am trying to think of themes or subtext that underlines the movie, but as I run the film back through my head trying to review it, I can’t seem to find an underlying message that the movie is trying to send. Like most slashers, there is a sexual link between death and violence. Sarah’s orgasms summon this spectral samurai slasher, but we spend so little time with her character that I don’t fully understand the link between sex and the samurai. Sarah seems to be a reincarnated spirit angry about the destruction of Japan during World War 2, which is vaguely alluded to through a brief flashback. The dialogue may have offered more hints but is unintelligible and drowned out by the bizarre score. Cathy, the mother, seems to have some connection with this spirit but spends most of the movie painting and shoving people out of her studio.
Even though the acting is terrible, the plot is messy, and the dialogue is hard to hear, I still thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie. There are plenty of unintentional laughs, and the film is incredibly amateur, but I admired the insanity. It feels like the director was going for a surreal, psychosexual euro horror tone, and I feel like he achieves some of that well. It is a movie with an identity all its own, and I can appreciate that, and that’s why I’m going to recommend this movie. Please, everyone, watch this movie about a samurai spirit summoned by orgasm; I implore you, it will bring you nothing but Holiday cheer.
*My enjoyment rating, I would fully understand someone who has watched the movie being confused by my scoring.