Blood Salvage – 1990 / Director: Tucker Johnston

“I made you walk and the first thing you do is run out on me!”

Blood Salvage is one-time director Tucker Johnston‘s flimsy “tribute” to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Capable enough, but otherwise depressingly disposable, it’s only true distinction is a perfunctory cameo from Evander Holyfield, who also (executively and bizarrely) produced it.

The opening credit sequence tells us everything we could ever possibly need to know about John Saxon‘s contribution to the film. The actor’s credit is thrown in at the very end of a dreary D List roll call, almost as an afterthought. The filmmaker’s appear to be saying: “and hey! We used a few additional (Holyfield) dollars to land John Saxon in a role! John, it’s great to have you here with us buddy!”

As if the above screen grab didn’t already give the game away, John Saxon appears as Clifford Evans. Yes, the Clifford Evans; doting family man, father to wheelchair bound Alice Evans (Lisa Birdsong) and cordial wearer of spectacles that could only ever denote that he’s going to be playing a strictly supporting role. John drives his disabled, competing daughter between Hicksville, USA Beauty Pageants in a trusty Winnebago. Trusty, that is, until a tampered wheel falls off and his family are left stranded in ol’ organ theft country, picked up by greasy tow-truck driver Jake Pruitt (Danny Nelson) and his intellectually challenged sons…

Saxon duly becomes a reluctant liver donor in the Pruitts’ amateur surgical enterprise, his wife has her eyeballs stolen and Alice is afforded the ability to walk again after the obsessive Jake pilfers her brother’s spinal fluid for the transplant. Or something.
As gross, and potentially great, as that may sound, the organ swapping antics of Johnston’s movie are actually pretty low key. This is very much a lightweight “Horror Comedy”, after all. Craggy character actor Ray Walston turns up to purchase Mom’s retinas and Alice uses her newly functioning legs to get up out of her wheelchair and make a run for it as “final girl”. The film’s flaws however are summed up by Johnston’s time-wasting fixation on a pointless crocodile subplot – going so far as to include some bizarre croc-POV photography and the world’s slowest, subsequent pursuit sequence which, like the rest of his meaningless, singular effort, ultimately goes nowhere of any real interest.