Blu-ray: Blood Harvest

During the late ’60s Tiny Tim was a cultural force. Which is amazing since who could imagine a guy with a ukulele and a falsetto? He rose to stardom on the early days of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. His rendition of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” became a Top 20 success. Over 40 million people tuned into The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson to see Tiny Tim marry Miss Vicki. Things kinda cooled off after that. By the mid-80s the star was the musical guest for a circus that traveled in a tent. In the midst of the three ring comeback, Tiny Tim was finally cast in a dramatic film. Although instead of Hollywood, he was getting his close up in Wisconsin for a horror flick called Blood Harvest.

Things aren’t going well in a small rural community as farmers keep losing their barns in foreclosure. Jill (Itonia Salchek) comes back home in order to see her folks since her father works for the bank and isn’t the most beloved guy as the auction hammer comes down on so many that toiled the land for decades. The return home isn’t happy as someone has spray painted the house in slurs and her parents are missing. She goes for answers from her old boyfriend Gary (Twister’s Revenge!‘s Dean West) and his brother Merv (Tiny Tim). Merv had an accident during his time with the circus and spends his days inhdon’t have any answers. Although Gary’s dad lost his farm and killed himself in the barn. All Gary has now is his troubled brother Mervo. Even the reunion with Jill goes bad when she admits she’s engaged. Things heat up quickly when a mystery man with a glove breaks into Jill’s house and tries to boil her in the shower. Shortly after that Mervo pops by the house to have a little tea. More trouble happens including abductions and bodies Ed Gein style. The killer even ties up an unconscious Jill and takes compromising Polaroids. While we’re supposed to believe Mervo is the culprit, there are other suspects lurking in the crops.

While the film didn’t quite make Tiny Tim a leading man in blockbusters, Blood Harvest introduced the world to Peter Krause. The Emmy nominated thespian would eventually star in Six Feet Under, Sports Night and currently on 9-1-1. The young Krause loses his shirt when he reunites with Jill at the house of her missing parents.

Blood Harvest is a slice of Wisconsin homegrown horror. Director Bill Rebane worked with Herschell Gordon Lewis on Monster a-Go Go and he learned from the Godfather of Gore. Rabane grasped what was important to be an indie director of genre films. He wasn’t going to sell out to the studio and instead made Twister’s Revenge!, The Demons of Ludlow, The Capture of Bigfoot and The Giant Spider Invasion. Those were titles that begged to be on the marquee of a slightly devastated drive-in off a lonely gravel road. Blood Harvest has Rebane doing his best to create a film that mixed enough nudity with fake blood to appeal to an audience that wasn’t interested in checking off a list of Oscar contenders. There are plenty of outrageous scenes you could describe to your pals to shock them. What a better marketing campaign could there be than a chance to glimpse Tiny Tim as a killer clown? Sadly the film didn’t play massive amounts of theaters and pretty much went straight to video. But thanks to the legacy of Tiny Tim, Blood Harvest grew in cult status and didn’t get lost at the bottom of a pile of pile of cheese curds.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the spookiness in seeing Tiny Tim walking around in clown makeup. He’s more horrific than It without having to eat children. The audio is DTS-HD MA mono. You’ll hear Tiny Tim singing and the night noises of the Wisconsin countryside clearly. The film is subtitled.

DVD has all features of Blu-ray.

Commentary Track has producer and co-writer Leszek Burzynski discuss the film and working with Tiny Tim.

Performance & Candid Interview (61:22) is Tiny Tim performing with the Circus in Nigara Falls back in 1987.

Every Critic Is Gonna Butcher It (3:05) is Tiny Tim letting a journalist know Blood Harvest is coming out.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Blood Harvest. Directed by Bill Rebane. Screenplay by: Ben Benson & Leszek Burzynski. Starring: Tiny Tim, Itonia Salchek, Dean West, Lori Minnetti & Peter Krause. Rated: Rated R. Running Time: 88 minutes. Released: October 30, 2018.

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