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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Barn of the Blood Llama (review)

When Llamas Attack

Austin is home to some mighty strange folks. There’s the delightfully demented guys from the Austin Lounge Lizards, who will regale you will songs like “Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs,” “Love in a Refrigerator Box,” and “Leonard Cohen’s Day Job.” And there’s filmmaker Kevin West, who, with Barn of the Blood Llama, proves that he should be kept far from sharp objects and woolly creatures.

Barn of the Blood Llama — written (with Kirk Hunter) and directed by the Austin-based West — is the probably the most awful movie I’ve ever seen. I mean that in the best way possible. Shot on more film stocks than Oliver Stone ever dreamed of and “dubbed in English,” Barn is chock full of everything a Texas-size hunk of exploitation needs:

  • bestiality!
  • cheap trampy girls in a convertible!
  • rock-star hitchhikers!
  • fast food!
  • bad acting!
  • llama funerals!
  • brain transplantation!
  • haggis!*

Allow yourself to be drawn into a nightmare of wool ranching and cheesy filmmaking. Dr. Albert, the animal coroner and, er, animal lover, is conducting ungodly experiments out at the World of Wool llama ranch/bowling ball-buffing service run by redneck inbreds Jug and Gibby. In an unfortunate side effect of the good doctor’s scientific search for the formula for Day-Glo wool, the llamas are now suffering from male berserk syndrome, which doesn’t bear going into. Suffice to say it’s a great excuse for the llamas’ random attacks on young women and propensity for spitting toxic cud.

Of course, there are plenty of scantily clad young women around to be devoured in terrible FX sequences, as well as a washed-up, dumb-as-a-brick rock-star named Bock who foolishly allows Dr. Albert to experiment upon him.

Barn of the Blood Llama offers a public service as well — it’s filled with philosophy you can use, quotables you’ll find yourself spouting endlessly: “Rock stars: you can’t trust ’em as far as you can kick ’em.” “Kids today aren’t happy unless something’s on fire.” And of course, “Nothing like a cool glass of llama buttermilk on a hot day.”

Have I mentioned how bizarre this film is? The description above cannot truly convey the (intentionally) hilarious ridiculousness that is Barn of the Blood Llama. Even fans of Roger Corman and early Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) will not be prepared for it. The guys at Mystery Science Theater 3000 would shudder in gleeful horror.

Where can you, the unsuspecting film fan, see this movie? Well, you can’t — not yet. Maybe Gravy Films, West’s production company, is currently soliciting distribution offers. But you can get a taste at the film’s Web site, here. Check it out… if you dare.

*hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it

Amended 07.07.99
Kevin West reports that “we’ve managed to get a showing in Manchester, England in March 2000 and are about to sign with an Australian distributor,” so somebody’s gonna get to see Barn. For those of you not planning on flying to the U.K. or Down Under, you can check out a streaming version of the flick at The Bijou Cafe — you can also purchase a video copy there. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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viewed at home on a small screen

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