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Review: BLOOD TULIPS (2019)

Blood Tulips begins on a very serious note with footage of Nazis rounding up Jews during World War 2. This is accompanied by text telling how their possessions, including artwork, were looted and not returned even after the war. This had me expecting a serious, and given the plot, seriously sleazy, modern giallo. What I got was a film that veers back and forth between serious and genre parody.

Tess (Katie Kline) is taking a painting to Amsterdam for her uncle. She goes missing before she can deliver it. We know she’s been kidnapped and sold to brothel owner Madam Reeks (Linda Young). Her sister Starla (Bouvier, Surgikill), with whom she shares a telepathic bond, goes looking for her.

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With the help of local actor Oliver (Derrel Maury, Massacre At Central High) Starla finds her. But rescuing her won’t be easy. Especially as the Black Tulip Killer (co-director John Luksetich) on the loose.

Based on a story from star Bouvier and her late husband, the script by Jeffery Tung mixes serious messages about Antisemitism and human trafficking with stabs at actual horror and some obvious parody. As a result, Blood Tulips is a film that kept me off guard the whole time I was watching. Directors Randy Kent (Demons at Dawn and who’s also in the film playing café owner Jaap) and John Luksetich keep the film moving and serve everything up without any obvious winks to the audience.

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While that makes the humour funnier, it also poses a problem to me as a reviewer. Are the scenes where the dialogue doesn’t match the cast’s mouths the result of not being able to re-shoot a scene, or a jab at the horrible dubbing many of the original giallo received? Are scenes such as the one where a woman is supposed to be getting something shoved up her ass even though she’s clearly seen wearing panties bad editing, or a riff on the editing of some of the originals?

One thing that can’t be justified, however, is the awful CGI blood splatter that ruins more than one scene in Blood Tulips. By this point in time, there’s no excuse for it, everyone knows it looks like shit. Corn syrup blood sprayed from off-screen would look better.

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Blood Tulips made its world premiere as the closing film at this year’s Horror-On-Sea festival and earned a standing ovation. I can see where it would play better with an audience of genre fans. I liked it, but not quite that much. So I would suggest keeping an eye on the film’s website for future fest dates, which seems to be the optimal way to view this film.

Our Score
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