Greetings, Metafilter! You are interested in bad movies. The Food Fight
. The Star Wars Holiday Special
. The Unknown and the Mysterious. And now, for the first time, we are bringing you the full story of what happened. We are giving you all the evidence based only on the secret testimony of the miserable souls who survived this terrifying ordeal. Can your heart stand the shocking true story of the world’s only anti-drug, mutant-monster, born-again-Christian film, Blood Freak
?ACT I – the PETRIFYING PREAMBLE!
The first character in our drama is Steve Sipek
, a Croatian actor and body builder who emigrated to North America with high hopes for a career. After a name change to “Steve Hawke” and a stint in a handful of porn films, our hero caught his big break – the starring role in a Spanish-language Tarzan film.
Sipek, a lifelong fan of the first Movie Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller, eagerly agreed to star in a second such film, shooting on location in Florida in 1970. But unbeknownst to our hero, the producers had skimped on the insurance – so when a fire broke out on set one day, the cast and crew fled, leaving our hero tied to a set piece. But! A lion, trained to untie his bonds on cue, came to his rescue, and Sipek escaped – but not without suffering burns on 90% of his body. After a painful recuperation, Sipek needed to pay his medical bills – and fast.
Meanwhile, our other hero, Brad Grinter – was plying his own trade. Grinter was a simple teacher of filmmaking, who dared to take up the filmmaking mantle on his own. His first film, Devil Rider
, was a fairly routine biker-girl movie; he but he aimed higher with his next work, 1970’s Flesh Feast
, the tale of South American drug lords who’ve funded a mad scientists’ plot to use specially trained maggots in a scheme to revive Adolf Hitler. Grinter was even able to cast Hollywood legend Veronica Lake as the scientist with a plan of her own (as we see in the thrilling final scene
And thus, in 1972, Grinter was looking for his next big hit – and Sipek was looking for a way to recover from his wounds. And thus, they were drawn together inexorably by fate.
ACT II: the MORTIFYING MAIN EVENT!
As with Flesh Feast
, Grinter had only one “Name” in Blood Freak
– Sipek – and rounded out the cast with his students from his film school. He and Sipek collaborated on the script – that of a Vietnam vet caught in the thrall of a drug-using party girl, until a chance encounter with some experimental turkey meat turns him into a drug-addled turkey-headed monster who can only get high by killing other junkies and drinking their blood. Sipek starred as Herschell (named in tribute to Florida’s other schlock film master, Herschell Gordon Lewis), the hapless hero; Grinter took an occasional role as a Criswellian narrator, determined to deliver his lines even if he had to read them from cue cards or break for a coughing fit.
Midway through filming, alas, the producers jumped ship. But Sipek was too desperate to complete the film and recoup some pay, and offered to co-produce with Grinter to complete the film. Even after Grinter left himself, Sipek kept going, all hopes of financial mastery long since hopeless.
The film, sadly, is not posted in one piece, but appears here in six parts for your perusal –
Alas, history does not record any distribution or screening details, or critic's responses of the time (although contemporary
critique is another story
ACT III – the APPALLING AFTERMATH!
Grinter made a handful more films after Blood Freak
, all of which paid homage to Grinter’s latest passion – the nudist lifestyle. (Most notably was Never The Twain
, the tale of a judge at the Miss Nude USA pageant being possessed by the spirit of Mark Twain.) He turned the filmmaking reins over to his son Ray, a cameraman, and died peacefully in 1993.
Meanwhile, Sipek steeled himself for one more porn film
to recoup his money, and then retired from the career which had betrayed him so cruelly. Thinking of the heroism of his lion co-star, Sipek started a big-cat sanctuary
on the grounds of his Florida home, his peace briefly disturbed when one of his charges escaped in 2004 and was killed
. But a new pair of filmmakers recently launched their own project
– an biopic, meant to finally bring Sipek the credit he deserves.