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Blood Link
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by Jack Sommersby

"Lame and Listless"
1 stars

Fared very poorly in its limited theatrical release, and it's not one of those "lost treasures," believe me.

Michael Moriarty can be such an engagingly eccentric actor that it’s a shame he fails to deliver in the slasher movie Blood Link, which, granted, doesn’t exactly possess the most intelligent of screenplays, but he still fails at coming up with anything memorable. Early in his career Moriarty managed to hold his own alongside Robert De Niro in the baseball drama Bang the Drum Slowly, and in just one scene in the Jack Nicholson star vehicle The Last Detail he managed to make a forceful, indelible impression. But A-list status in the leading-man category didn’t materialize, so he opted to star in two of B-movie director Larry Cohen’s schlock-fests, Q: The Winged Serpent and The Stuff, where he proved he could hold his own on the silver screen through imagination and technique even with ridiculous material. (He was also solid in a supporting role as the good-hearted gold miner in Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider.) In Blood Link he plays Siamese twins, Keith and Craig Mannings, the former a well-respected American doctor and the latter a sexual psychopath in Germany who’s overly fund of the knife and butchering women. Because of a psychic link he shares with his evil sibling (being able to see from Craig’s point-of-view as he slaughters his victims), Keith travels abroad to locate and stop a man he was told by his foster parents was dead yet who’s survived over the years with nothing even remotely resembling a conscience -- Craig takes merciless glee in the torturing of the women he first seduces and does away with. Predictably, the local police think the dead-ringer Keith is responsible for the murders because he matches the description given to them by eyewitnesses, and for the rest of the running time he has to convince them of his innocence. All of this should’ve resulted in a suspense-filled tale that unnerves and frightens, but the moviemakers, screenwriter Theodore Apstein and director Alberto De Martino, contribute mostly mediocre contributions: the dialogue is poor and the narrative structure slack; and the camerawork, which never manages a single expressive contribution, has the boxy TV-like quality of an industrial-training video. And its blatant misogyny is distasteful after a while -- there’s never a shortage of bare-breasted women on display just to meet the most unpleasant of violent fates. Moriarty is usually highly resourceful, but he’s both lackadaisical as the hero (his innate sense of decency is boringly rendered) and the villain (some much-needed stylization could’ve given the proceedings some kick), so the only performer who manages to come through is that veteran B-movie actor Cameron Mitchell (enjoyable as the host of the low-budget horror anthology Terror on Tape), who has just two scenes as an over-the-hill professional boxer and has more vivacity than anyone in the cast -- we emotionally yield to him, and when his untimely demise occurs, you feel a genuine sense of loss. He gives the pathetic Blood Link whatever weight it can hold.

The DVD is of ultra-low quality.

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originally posted: 01/08/15 13:17:06
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  10-Nov-1982 (R)



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