The Bloody Man (2020)

Directed by Daniel Benedict (Bunni), who co-wrote the script with Casi Clark (they also worked on a short called Fall of Grayskull), The Bloody Man is an attempt to bring back the warm and gushy feelings of 80s horror. It stars Tuesday Knight (Kristen Parker in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master) and Lisa Wilcox (Alice Johnson in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child) to help you make that connection.

After the death of his mother, Sam (David Daniel) is having issues with his family, his friends, the bullies at his school, and most of all, the horrific Bloody Man, the comic book character that sustains him through bullying. In fact, his mother (Wilcox) gave him a Bloody Man action figure the very day she died in a car accident.

He also has to deal with Kim (Knight), his new stepmother, who he believes is slowly becoming possessed by his comic book antihero, an event that brings together his fractured family.

Between lengthy comic book animatics and plotting that keeps reminding us that Sam is being bullied at home and in school more than several times, the film drags at times. The closing — where the Bloody Man begins to imitate others — has some good tension, but it takes around two hours (!) to get there. That said, it’s fun seeing all the 80s toys and AEW/ROH wrestler Brian Cage as a copyright skirting He-Man character in a brief cameo (probably pulled from the aforementioned Fall of Grayskull short).

The Hold Steady may have sung, “I’ve survived the 80’s one time already and I don’t recall it all that fondly,” but it seems that so many films want to live in the past — trust me, I get it, slashers after 1983 are really hard for me to hold in any regard — versus moving toward the future. And the more you make a teen horror film with synth and blue/red gel lighting — well, at least on the poster — the more you’re going to get compared to Stranger Things than The Monster Squad.

That said — I did like The Lost Boys reference by calling the brothers Sam and Michael. With some pruning toward how much is in here, this would be a fine feature. As it is now, it’s not bad, but it does drag a bit before redeeming itself with a fun conclusion.

The Bloody Man is available on digital and VOD platforms now with a DVD release coming later in the year from Wild Eye.

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