Blood Voyage (1977)

Well, somebody was into boats. And boobs.

I love symmetry!

Psychiatrist Dr. Jules, spread-eagled on a pool float, is speaking to his naked daughter on the telephone. Thereafter, they’re joined on a mini-yacht by the Doc’s fiancee (naked), his lady patient (naked and crazy), a Vietnam vet (just crazy), and another mustache. The purpose? Technically, there’s supposed to be a wedding in Hawaii. But really, I’m not sure. Because a barefoot killer is maiming people with a machete. Finis!

Actually, that’s not true. There’s also heroin, an impromptu funeral-service-at-sea, and sexual innuendos that come nowhere close to being sexual innuendos, all seasoned with several thousand boat establishing shots and nudes galore.

Blood Voyage has the distinction of being the only slasher to take place exclusively on a boat. I like to think of it as a prelude to Island Of Blood — not only in tropical setting, but also in proportional structure. Like Island, the initial 30 minutes of Blood Voyage blitz by with chintzy-slasher delight (over-enunciation, absurd mannerisms, some fake blood). Then, the rug is promptly pulled out from under us by a thick wall of aimless conversation. Things drag. Someone says, “She’s flakier than grandma’s apple pies!” I stare at the floor. Before there’s a chance to fully comprehend the tedium, the movie climaxes. It’s a nice trick.

On all fronts, Blood Voyage is simply an amusing diversion. However, unlike the finite weariness of stuff like Funeral Home, the film has a few things going for it: 1. An 80 minute runtime, and 2. A certain sense of grimness. The sleaze is slight, but present enough to keep you transfixed without being aware of it. When combined with that bilateral equilibrium (30 minutes of hots/30 minutes of zzzs), the whole thing nudges past ambivalence, and heads straight for semi-satisfaction.

Imagine if they would’ve replaced the E-Z listening schmaltz with some four-track disco. We’d never want to leave this island.

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