BLOOD SALVAGE (1990) – The Dungeon Review!

Blood Salvage doesn’t exactly turn the redneck killer shtick on its head, but it does offer a few unique tidbits. Jake Pruitt, the film’s central baddie, is somewhat of an evil mastermind. Okay, mastermind is a bit strong, but he ain’t stupid and he is quite congenial. Blood Salvage is a peculiar mix of nasty, cruel, bizarrely funny, and completely ridiculous. I am surprised I never heard of Blood Salvage before this viewing. It clearly didn’t have a huge budget but they managed to lure John Saxon and Ray Walston. There is also an odd little cameo featuring boxer Evander Holyfield, who I noticed was also listed as executive producer.

A car is run off the road and as luck would have it a tow truck is right behind. It is no accident of course. Hiram runs them off the road and his dad Jake tows them back to the family salvage yard. Jake has a particular obsession with a wheelchair-bound beauty pageant contestant by the name of April Evans. His muse is travelling with her family in a motorhome on her way to a nearby town to attend a pageant. Jake Pruitt has had all manner of “guests” at the old salvage yard but wheelchair-bound April will prove to be more of a challenge than he could have imagined. If she only understood he just wants to help her!

blood salvage1This is April Evans; the feisty handicapped beauty pageant contestant. She is giving a speech on how nothing should hold you back from achieving your dreams. April does not win this beauty pageant.

blood salvage2This is Clifford, April’s dad. What a stroke of luck that this tow truck happens to be passing by. Jake offers to tow them to his yard and get them fixed right up.

blood salvage6This is Bobby, April’s little brother. Dad had a little accident and lost a tire. Bobby is pretty psyched they were in an accident and he can not wait to ride in that tow truck!

blood salvage3This is Pat, April’s mother. Here she is chatting with Jake who has convinced her she is needed inside the house. April is not pleased. “Mother can’t you see that stupid redneck is lying?”

bloodsalvageAfter being left alone for a spell April decides it might be a good idea to arm herself. Jake does eventually come out and attempts to convince her to come out of the motorhome. “Send my mom out!” She starts shooting at the place to let them know she is serious. They do get her out of the motorhome…eventually.

blood salvage11This is Jake. A religious man, a single father of two and a crazy mother-fucker.

blood salvage5This is Jake’s son Hiram. He is a mean, sneaky bastard who believes all women are whores and takes a little too much joy from helping pop with his “work” especially the part where he runs folks off the road. He is not the sharpest tool in the box but he is Einstein compared to his brother.

blood salvage7This is Jake’s son Roy. He is like a large child. He likes to cut the heads off of dolls which he carries around and speaks to. He does help with dad’s “work” but he is pretty docile otherwise.

blood salvage12This is Jake Pruitt’s pet gator.

blood salvage4This is Mr. Stone. He sells human organs on the black market.

What is it that Jake does with the people Hiram runs off the road? A little amateur surgery! There is even a story behind why he took up the lucrative hobby. He is a god-fearing, preaching pseudo-surgeon! You better hope they need your brain or heart because if they remove something you can live without, he keeps you alive! Furthermore, when Jake asks for an AMEN! You best give him an AMEN Sisters and brothers! There is an awkward mix of violence and humour and although some of it definitely gave me a laugh it was a bit sporadic. Pacing is the film’s more significant issue. They could have easily shaved 15 minutes from the runtime. That alone would have made the pace jauntier. This sucker really did drag at times. Some scenes are painfully long. I am sure they were going for suspense but I would have traded the suspense for laughs and gore. They are selling it as a horror-comedy after all. I’ll give them this; they sure do make Lori Birdsong who played April earn her paycheck! She has many scenes where she is forced to drag her body along the floor for extended periods of time.

There is nasty business going on in this salvage yard and that surgical area did not look very hygienic to me. The scenes in the surgery garage were a lot darker than the rest of the film but there wasn’t much for graphic violence really. Most of the organ removals are done off screen. The surgery garage was still pretty creepy just the same. There were a couple moments that surprised me and one in particular was kind of nasty! As grim as the surgery garage was this is also where the best laughs came from. It was amusing seeing these horribly abused patients answering Jake’s Amens! Well, I suppose that might depend on your sense of humour. Would it sweeten the deal if I told you one of them was an Elvis impersonator?

Blood Salvage had an outrageous premise that was ripe for a horror-comedy. A good horror-comedy really should have a spicier pace which was hurt by the film’s unnecessarily long suspense segments. Just the same there were laughs to be had. The performances are actually not bad. I was particularly fond of Danny Nelson who played Jake Pruitt or Mad Jake as he is called in the film’s alternate title. He is definitely mad! John Saxon was also good as Clifford Evans. I have to admit I found the April character bitchy and not terribly likable but she grew on me by the end of the film. Lori Birdsong does a good job; and as I mentioned previously she certainly earns her paycheck with all that dragging herself around business. The finale is coo-coo and the trio of twists at the end was dumb but mildly amusing. The rousing Soul-Cleansing Blood of the Lamb sung by Jake and his two sons over the final credits is practically worth watching Blood Salvage for! I kind of gotta kick out of Blood Salvage, some serious tightening up in editing would have benefitted the film greatly, but it is certainly not without its memorable moments. Blood Salvage is lightly recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Tucker Johnston

Starring: Danny Nelson, Lori Birdsong, Christian Hesler, Ralph Pruitt Vaughn, John Saxon, Laura Whyte, Ray Walston, Andy Greenway, Dan Albright

20 Responses to “BLOOD SALVAGE (1990) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. I’ve seen this. I think I was ready for it to be over by the end!

    • Why did they fix the tire on the motorhome? When did they fix the tire on the motorhome? The place was an auto graveyard, they never fixed anything! Flawed is probably an understatement but I thought it had its moments….reminded me just a little bit of Motel Hell. Although I like Motel Hell better.

  2. Nice! Anything with Ray Walston and John Savage can’t be bad though. Happy Christmas, Gorey! 🙂

  3. Merry Christmas,Gore Girl! Blood Salvage reminds me a bit of 80’s films like Mountaintop Motel Massacre and others that have a wacky charm about them. But it does draaaaag in places and that is NAUGHTY! Naughty! Naughty! Naughty! Best wishes in 2013! I always look forward to your excellent reviews and they never fail to make me laugh! I wish I could vote for you somewhere on this here internet so you could win a major award(shameless reference to A Christmas Story). Seriously,your hard work and dedication deserves such a recognition. The massive 1960’s month,which included some all-nighters,is one of the best things I’ve read,and I’ve been around since Ben Franklin published a fanzine! : )

    • Thanks Conrad…I hope you had a Merry Christmas yourself! Christmas was a lot of fun! I went to see Django Unchained and had xmas dinner at the pub. Django Unchained was good…but didn’t rock my world. Franco Nero had a cameo and they played a piece of music from Day of Anger too. It was fun, although the music for the most part got on my final nerve. Bad use of music. I really hated it. Jamie Foxx was a good Django actually; rugged, handsome, bad-ass etc. Blood Salvage reminded me of Motel Hell…but yeah, I see the Mountain Motel Massacre, a little Eaten Alive too…and probably a few others.

      • I had a pretty good Christmas,too,thanks! Your Christmas sounds cool. I’m glad you enjoyed Django Unchained! I might venture forth from my dusty crypt to see this one on the big screen. I’m happy that Franco Nero had a cameo,and that’s neato about the Day of Anger music! Bummer though about the rest of the soundtrack. I think music is very important to a Western.

  4. Oh John Saxon, you’ll appear in anything.

    Good review GG! Merry Christmas!

    • I love John Saxon…bless his heart for making an always worthy appearance in less than worthy films.

      Hope you had an awesome Xmas Jason!!

  5. If John Saxon is in it then it must be worth watching ,,, at least once anyways.

  6. Ralph Pruitt Vaughn Says:

    Good review and thanks. There was to be Blood Salvage 2 but in-fighting with the writers and who own the right messed that up. just for your readers info Hiram (Christian Hesler) passed away befor the film was released. All the best for the new Year ! Roy(Ralph Pruitt Vaughn)

    • A sequel could have been a hell of a lot of fun! That is a shame about Christian Hesler, he was so young. Thanks for stopping by Roy and all the best to you in the New Year also.

      • ralph pruitt vaughn Says:

        I try t never miss one of your reviews. Sorry so long to reply but the Flu is bad here in the south.

        • There is one heck of a flu going around here too. A co-worker was off for a week and a half and came back yesterday only to leave after an hour. Four more people are out sick this week. Try to take it easy and get lots of rest!

  7. Been quite a while Ralph! I still get a kick out of the flick!

    • ralph pruitt vaughn Says:

      Glad you enjoyed the movie. Hope all is well and you’re doing well.

      • Doing great! I miss Seqouyah!!
        I’ve been living in the Mojave desert for around four years now in Joshua Tree.

        dottrot.net has my music for free 🙂 if you’d like to hear.
        All the great memories get me through, your super fun movies do too!
        Keep on keepin on, keep in touch…

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