It’s widely known amongst my friends and family that I have absolutely zero interest in skiing. Who wants to be out in the cold weather freezing your ass off? I even hate how the word skiing is spelled because it always feels like I’m spelling it wrong. Why don’t we throw another i in there for good measure? As silly as I think the whole concept is, it does make for a pretty damn cool horror movie backdrop as seen in 2012’s Blood Lodge. BL was produced, co-written, and directed by Jersey born Kevin Orosz.
After hearing about Pembrook and Terror at Ten Acres, I knew I couldn’t miss Blood Lodge. Ever since meeting their crew several Monster Mania’s ago, I’ve been trying to get my hands on some of the Graffiti Playhouse Productions. For some reason they weren’t selling DVD’s of their movies when I ran into them. It all came together when I crossed paths with the accomplished indie filmmaker Orosz on Facebook of all places. I probably bothered them enough about having a screening closer in proximity to me. That hasn’t happened yet, but how about a Graffitti Playhouse Productions marathon at the Loew’s Jersey or the Forum Theatre in Metuchen? C’mon, do it! OK, enough of my chit chat.
What I like about Blood Lodge is that it’s very simple to sink your teeth into it: a group of kids from New Jersey take a trip to a ski lodge in Vermont that’s overrun with zombies. The film isn’t necessarily a scare-me-to-death pulse pounding thriller, but more of a horror-comedy which combines the best of both worlds.
It’s hard to be absolutely original when creating a zombie film, but Orosz incorporates some original elements. Once all the people in the lodge realize the place is surrounded by zombies, there’s a power struggle to see who will become the leader. That sort of thing happens often in zombie movies, but here it comes down to an interesting, ethnically charged twist. The movie also raises the interesting question: would you feed your spouse to zombies if they pissed you off too much?
As with many indie horror films, I usually roll my eyes and count the seconds until they’re over, but not with Blood Lodge. I was surprised at how natural some of the actors were for an indie film. I attribute this to the fact that the cast seemed to have a lot of fun making the film and their enthusiasm was apparent while watching. Considering the crew of players have mostly acted in a handful of indie films, they did a pretty awesome job at helping to bring this story to life. The cast features Michael McFadden, Matthew Imparato, Julie Ann Hamolko, Ed McKeever, and many more. One of my favorites was Steven Buccarelli who made me laugh as the trivia spewing Marty, who was a little bit Jon Lovitz and a little bit Clark Duke.
There’s always a grading curve for indie horror, but I really only had a couple of minor complaints. The first thing that struck me was that I went in not knowing what to expect. The opening credits began to run and showing underneath the credits were posterized still and motion shots of the actual zombies from scenes in the film. I felt like this sort of spoiled the reveal of the zombies when they appear in the film. But as I continued to watch and see that there was a pretty decent amount of humor in the film, I reconsidered and felt that it wasn’t too much of a big deal since the foremost intent wasn’t exactly to scare viewers, but to show viewers what they are in for.
Blood Lodge had a very real vibe going. I’ve watched indie horror movies with a much higher budget that had really awful acting and terrible effects to the point where I just turn it off completely. The effects in this were actually done well for a low budget movie. So, if you’re a fan of indie horror and you like to support New Jersey stuff, try to track down a copy of any one of Graffiti Playhouse’s productions including Blood Lodge on DVD or wait until they show them at nearby theater or horror con and get in on it! Even if you’re like me and would never go on ski trip, you’ll still dig Blood Lodge!
*Blood Lodge was filmed on location in New Jersey, P.A, and Stowe, Vermont.