Blood Harvest (1987)

Tiny Tim was an eccentric performer that had a few years of fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  His career never again reached the heights of that time, but he continued performing anywhere that would have him.  Although known mostly for a warbly version of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips", he had an encyclopedic knowledge of early 20th century music, and he wasn't above doing covers of modern songs as well.  For those of us who remember seeing him on variety shows and such he always had this aura of being a bit off-kilter.  

It was one of those times where he was performing where they would have him that he met Bill Rebane, an semi-famous and definitely infamous director of exploitation and cheap horror films based in Gleason, Wisconsin.  Rebane thought that Tiny Tim would be perfect for a role in a new horror film he was making despite the fact that Tiny Tim had no acting experience at the time.  Acting experience, or even ability, or the lack thereof was definitely not a deal-killer for Rebane, despite the fact he often got professional and semi-professional actors for his movies.  Blood Harvest had a limited release in 1987 before heading to video and received a bit of a new audience when presented by Joe Bob Briggs on his show on TMC in the early 1990s.

Jill (Itonia Salchek) returns home from college to find her parents missing.  Her father works for the bank, and the family is not popular in town due to him representing his employers in foreclosure proceedings.  Jill immediately becomes the target of this as well and arrives at her family's farmhouse to find it vandalized and a childhood friend named Merv (Tiny Tim), replete in clown makeup and calling himself Marvelous Mervo, hanging around.  It turns out he got away from his brother Gary (Dean West), Jill's one-time boyfriend.

Gary and Merv's parents have recently been murdered by an unknown person and Jill's father auctioned off the family's land, but Gary still tries to comfort her despite finding out that she has become engaged to Scott (Peter Krause), a boy she has met at school.  Soon everyone else Jill knows begins to disappear, and it appears that Merv may have some involvement.

This is pretty much a by-the-numbers horror film and it will be not hard to figure out who the killer is quite early.  It's really hard to call it a slasher because it barely has many of the '80s tropes, but rather harkens back to '70s films like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, even sharing inspiration from the crimes of Ed Gein.  This does have one somewhat imaginative twist toward the end when the truth about what happened to Gary and Merv's parents comes out, but beyond that everything is quite predictable.  It is, like most Rebane films, a tiny bit better than it should be, largely due to the performances and that Rebane at least has familiarity with what a movie is even if he's not great at making them.

Itonia Salchek does a decent job, and in recent years a bit of a mystery has risen about who she was and what happened to her.  From all accounts it appears she's still alive, but never had any acting ambitions beyond this and may have only been in this movie because Tiny Tim was in it.  As for Rebane's celebrity star, he gets to run around in clown makeup and act weird for a good portion of the movie, and it works.  Peter Krause plays the usual horny boyfriend one has seen in thousands of horror films, and he is the one newcomer that went on to bigger and better things after this.

Although Blood Harvest is definitely one of Rebane's better films the only reason to watch it is because it is Tiny Tim's only major screen appearance, although he later did a cameo in the Howard Stern biopic, Private Parts.  I would say that Salchek, who is in various states of undress throughout, is another reason, but she's usually in those states of undress due to some creepy situations that cancel out any titillation the nudity would normally have.  

Blood Harvest (1987)
Time: 88 minutes
Starring: Itonia Salchek, Tiny Tim, Dean West, Peter Krause, Lori Minneti
Director: Bill Rebane



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