"Bleeders" Movie Review
I had trouble enjoying this film, even though it gives Rutger Hauer star billing. Rutger plays the quasi-alcoholic town doctor, but the scriptwriters didn't really give him much to do, aside from the (notably gross) mutant hermaphrodite autopsy. Other than that, he just sort of slouches around his grubby little office, harrumphing and muttering with a definite lack of the tradtional Rutger Hauer joie de vivre.
The real star of the movie is Kristin Lehman. Some of you may remember Kristin as Visigoth, the blonde star of the cyberpunk X-Files episode ("Twilight Time") written by William Gibson. And yes, she keeps her hair straight back in a ponytail the whole time here, too.
Those of you who feel compelled to collect everything related to The X-Files, no matter how tangential (you know who you are), may want to round out your collection by purchasing the movie for Lehman's topless sex scene. (Gotta give her credit for perkiness!)
Brief plot summary: Kristin is married to a man named John who was sent away to be raised by frogs. Odd health complaints prompt John's trip back to his homeland (a tiny island village in New Brunswick) to investigate his past.
Side note: John definitely wins the Robert Smith Lookalike contest this week. And I have to point out that there's a scene where -- I still don't believe this -- he POWDERS HIS FACE. With MAKEUP. From a little COMPACT. Using one of those flat little powderpuffs. THAT was actually pretty funny, but not enough to earn any points.
For the first hour of the movie they sort of wander around the island, getting creeped out by the locals while John suffers nose bleeds and grainy, black-and-white flashbacks.
Actually, the locals really aren't all that sinister, if you ask me. The weirdest thing about the movie is that the island is populated almost entirely by women (and, by the looks of it, vast quantities of peroxide bleach). Someone eventually explains that all the men are "away with the fishing fleet" but they never come back, and we never hear anything else about it. The only thing I can think is that at some point along the line, the movie draft included a lesbian sub-plot, or a man-eating cult or something, but it was cut before it made the final print.
What we're left with is wondering whether it wasn't the director's way of removing the competition for poor, shuffling Rutger. Most of those girls look like they could kick Rutger's ass, but there he is, rushing to the rescue while they flail and scream pitifully. It's kind of pathetic. 10 points subtracted for the whole manless thing.
Turns out John (played by Roy Dupuis of "Screamers" fame -- which is, by the way, an EXCELLENT movie) is the most recent in a long line of inbred freaks with a longstanding claim to the Dutch crown. Strangely enough, John Van Damme is (almost) perfectly normal, despite the fact that all his relations have evolved into fat... little... rubbery... legless.. hermaphroditic... monkey-men.
The Van Dammes USED to survive by eating corpses, but ever since the graveyard closed and they had to take away all the bodies (don't ask) they've had to turn to friskier prey. Let me be the first to point out that I never really get the feeling the Van Dammes (Jean Claude excluded) present much of a threat to the rest of us. Being legless mutants, they have to sort of waddle across the ground, and they're only about three feet tall at best. Plus their murder instrument of choice is something like a little tiny garden rake, which I thought was more cute than menacing. They wouldn't stand a CHANCE against the Peacock family.
It further devolves that John has inherited a genetic flaw that not only predisposes him to eating embalmed human flesh, it REQUIRES him to do so.
As another side note, there's a lot of talk about formaldehyde in this movie, even though everyone knows it's been outlawed for years. I don't remember exactly what it's been replaced with, but NO ONE uses formaldehyde now. 5 points subtracted for sloppiness in fact-checking.
Anyhoo, there's a big scene at the end where John has to decide whether to abandon his real family and live with his wife, or abandon his wife and live with his real family. And frankly, by that point I could not have cared LESS.
I'll (grudgingly) give "Bleeders" five points for the final voice-over: "And so it came to pass that John was reunited with the Van Damme family, and found that he, too, had a twin, and that although his sister could make love to herself, she welcomed her long-lost brother, and loved him, too." Family values, Dan O'Bannon style!
Final score: 40 points.
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