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Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2: The History of Horror Made in Florida (2024) Review

Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2: The History of Horror Made in Florida, is the followup to Blood, Guts and Sunshine, which came out a couple of years ago. And like it, it takes a look and horror and exploitation films made in the Sunshine State by Floridian filmmakers Sean Donohue (Phobophobia, Die Die Delta Pi) and Chris Woods (Family Snapshot, Pandemic Thirst).

While the first film focused on filmmakers who worked extensively in the state from Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast, The Uh-Oh Show) and William Grefé (Sting of Death, Mako: Jaws of Death) to Tim Ritter (Truth or Dare?, Creep) and Joel D. Wynkoop (Joel D. Wynkoop’s Lost Faith, Fall of an Actor). This meant that for the sequel, Donohue and Woods had to expand the focus to any genre films shot in the state.

Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2 B

Indeed, the first film covered is Day of the Dead by George A. Romero, who is very much associated with Pittsburgh. It’s also where much of the film, apart from a few exteriors, was actually shot. And at its other end, Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2 finishes with a fairly long look at Jaws 3D that includes an interview with Eddie Steiner who worked as an extra on the film.

In between is a diverse group of films that range from major studio films like Edward Scissorhands to mainstream horror such as Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse which was set in the Midwest but shot at Universal’s Florida studios. There’s Doris Wishman’s (Double Agent 73, A Night to Dismember) bizarre Nude on the Moon, shot on video gems like Demon Queen and even the occasional international production like Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare Beach aka Welcome to Spring Break which featured John Saxon tracking down a killer with an electric chair on their motorcycle.

The films are presented in no apparent order, even films from the same filmmaker, Shock Waves and Eyes of a Stranger by Ken Wiederhorn or Fred Olen Ray’s first two features, Blood Leeches and The Alien Dead separated. This leads to some interesting segues, such as the first Hannibal Lecter film, Manhunter giving way to Frogs, a 70s nature on a rampage that’s become a cult film over the years, in part due to an early appearance by Sam Elliot.

Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2 A

Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2 however is at its best when it has the people who made the films on camera. Fred Olen Ray (Scalps, Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfolds) is on hand to talk about Blood Leeches and The Alien Dead, Donald Farmer (Hooker with a Hacksaw, Savage Vengeance) is interviewed about Demon Queen and most interesting to me, Robert J. Emery (Ride in a Pink Car, Dare the Devil) talking about My Brother Has Bad Dreams which is obscure enough I’d never heard of it before and looks interesting to say the least.

Unfortunately, the flip side of this is that several films such as Empire of the Ants, Jeepers Creepers, and even the notorious slasher Nightmares, aka Nightmares in a Damaged Brain have been covered so much over the years, there’s nothing really to add without having someone who can tell some behind the scenes tales. But with many of the people connected to older films having passed on or dropped out of sight, that’s an issue many films like this face.

Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2 C

That’s really the only thing I can really complain about, though. Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2 moves at a nice pace and is full of clips from the films it covers, and isn’t prudish or squeamish when it comes to those clips either. Granted, I would have preferred more films like Jack-O and My Brother Has Bad Dreams, but I still found Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2 immensely entertaining, and I’ll be hunting up a copy of the original to check it out as well.

Blood, Guts and Sunshine 2: The History of Horror Made in Florida should be available on DVD and Blu-ray in the near future. You can check the Gatorblade Films Facebook page for announcements.

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