This wretched, sleazy and thoroughly grubby little film marked the debut (and, indeed, only) feature film appearance by Tiny Tim, a curious ukulele player/singer (possessed of an extraordinary if not especially aesthetically pleasing falsetto/vibrato vocal style which delivered him a chart hit with ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ in 1968) who enjoyed a brief period of freak show popularity in the late 1960s and into the 1970s. His career was well into its inevitable decline by the time Bill Lehane approached him in 1986 and offered him a leading role in his upcoming micro-budget horror film. Blood Harvest surfaced in 1987 on the back of the craze for vile and often misogynistic slasher movies and it remains an ugly, clumsy, voyeuristic example of a genre which often struggled for critical acclaim and appreciation.
The IMDb entry for this mess of a movie describes Blood Harvest with a perfunctory “In a small town, people are being murdered by having their throats cut” which probably tells you all you need to know – possibly more - about this shoddy train-wreck. In broader terms, Jill (Salcheck, appalling) returns to her rural homestead to find that the house is defaced with graffiti and her parents are missing, her bank supervisor father having invoked the ire of the local farming community whose properties he’s foreclosed upon. Jill’s not exactly made to feel welcome and her only admirer appears to be “Marvellous Mervo” (Tiny Tim), the local simpleton who spends his time wearing a shabby clown outfit and who has a habit of appearing in windows and fixing his rictus grin on the unwary and undeserving. As Jill starts to rekindle her relationship with ex-boyfriend Scott (Krause, later of TV’s Six Feet Under), her friends start to disappear, dragged into a nearby barn, hung upside down, their throats sliced open.
Blood Harvest is as uncomfortably close to unwatchable as we’re prepared to get and apart from its mercifully brief running time (it’s over and done with in under ninety minutes which is still roughly ninety minutes too long) we’re hard pressed to think of one redeeming feature to justify the ordeal of watching it. The acting is uniformly pitiful and Tiny Tim’s performance is almost painfully, cruelly inept. Rebane’s direction is shambolically flat and unimaginative (would that his script was as accomplished) and his camera only seems to come alive (in a predatory sense) in the grim and tacky sequences in which Jill’s clothes fall off and in one scene where the mysterious murderer (Who can it be? Who gives a damn?) drugs her, straps her to a bed and takes photographs of her near-naked body.
88 Films have done their best to make a silk purse out of this dead sow’s ear and lavished more care and attention on the disc’s presentation than the feature itself could ever deserve. The picture is bright and colourful but shot through with grain and flicker so while Blood Harvest itself might never have looked better it’s still the same shameful, artless crock it was when it sank without trace on its original release. No good can come of taking a chance on this one; avoid like a Tiny Tim Anthology CD boxset.
Special Features: Tiny Tim in Niagara Falls 1987 / Behind the scenes material / On set interview footage / Wrap Party performance footage / Alternative opening sequence / Reverse sleeve
BLOOD HARVEST / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: BILL REBANE / STARRING: TINY TIM, ITONIA SALCHECK, DEAN WEST, PETER KRAUSE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW