HUNTER’S  BLOOD *** USA 1986 Dir: Robert C Haines. 97 mins

Five city guys head to Arkansas to do manly stuff on a big chunk of land they’ve leased, stopping by at the world’s most ominously named fuelling station: “Tobe’s Gas Stop”. One of them acts like an exaggerated caricature of every shit-witted city dude in a hillbilly horror movie by photographing the local rednecks, raving “Look at that image – it’s savage and weird, like something out of National Geographic!”
Things get a little hairy following an altercation in a bar, as the outsiders piss off a larger than usual gaggle of predatory rednecks – most of them played by familiar faces like Charles Cyphers, Billy Drago, Bruce Glover…and a young Billy Bob Thornton. A proficient variation on a familiar theme, this apes the ever-influential DELIVERANCE and the underrated, eerie RITUALS (complete with severed head shock moment) and lightly satirises its “Guys On A Guy Trip” protagonists (“It’s like your brains and your balls against whatever’s out there!”). It’s well made and showcases at least one startling gore reveal, though the tension is neutered by the cutaways to a predictably duff female character (Kim Delaney), who exists only she can be gratuitously threatened and tied to a chair in the final act.

Review by Steven West

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