Directors: Michael Dugan, Robert Angus and Alan J. Levi

BCI’s latest “Exploitation Cinema” double feature brings us two gory 1980s outings that promise “demonic possession” and “a whistling psychopath.” Those guarantees are fulfilled here, but what the films more significantly offer is a trip back to the glory days of “mom and pop” video rental shops and a time where you could flip on the USA Network and was usually able to observe some kind of cultish classic or engulfing trashfest.

A young girl, traumatized after her mother dies, enters a mausoleum and becomes possessed by a demon as part of a family curse. Raised by her overbearing aunt (Laura Hippe), Susan Farrell (Bobbie Bresee) grows up to be a beautiful young woman, married to a successful businessman (Marjoe Gortner, THE FOOD OF THE GODS) and seems to have it all. But Susan’s demonic possession is taking its toll, causing her eyes to glow green as well as as frequent transformations into an ugly hellish creature, killing anyone who ticks her off in various gruesome manners. The family psychologist, Dr. Simon Andrews (Norman Burton, PLANET OF THE APES) at first doesn’t adhere to the family curse and its side effects, but when Susan speaks in an otherworld voice during a session, he begins to take notice and tries his best to help her.

With a ridiculously inept script which tends to lift things from a number of other movies, the main intent of MAUSOLEUM is obviously to promote the incredibly sexy and buxom Bobbie Bresee, a former Playboy Bunny in her first leading feature role. Often endorsed by monster mag editor Forry Ackerman, Bobbie became something of a scream queen in the 1980s, securing parts in such non-classics as GHOULIES, PRISON SHIP and SURF NAZIS MUST DIE. With her fantastic blonde pin-up looks and natural curves, the actress spends much of the running time here in the buff, whether is be to slowly seduce and destroy the horny accented gardener (Maurice Sherbanee) or indulging in a soothing, sudsy bath before doing likewise to her husband.

With some creative color lighting and hand-made gothic crypt sets, MAUSOLEUM often looks like a poor man’s Lucio Fulci production, with lumbering, uninspired direction and mostly ineffective acting from some paycheck-collecting pros. But the mixture of boobs and beasties have made this a home video cult item, thanks to the old VHS release by Embassy Home Entertainment. The demon make-up and gore effects where created by John Carl Buechler, who was sort of a Paul Blaisdell for the 1980s. His monstrous creations are very distinct, but the gory killings sometimes come off shoddy, raising the cheese factor a great deal. In an odd but funny bit of casting, LaWanda Page (Esther on “Sanford and Son”) plays an easily frightened maid, a stereotype character harking back to the glory days of Mantan Moreland.

In 1955, a young flute-playing boy witnesses his father murder his mother and her lover, immediately followed by him pointing the gun to himself. Years later in 1982, the now-adult Paul Foley (former teen idol and star of countless AIP films, Frankie Avalon) murders his way out of an asylum, and kills the owner of a cool black van which he assumes ownership of. In the meantime, a troubled teenage girl named Marion (Donna Wilkes, JAWS 2, ANGEL) who wears a leg brace, is having forewarning nightmares about ax murderer Foley, and although she believes these visions have a foot in reality, nobody pays her any attention. Soon enough, Marion encounters Foley when she witnesses him burying a female victim in the park; she manages to escape unharmed, but it’s the psycho’s intention to track her down and make her is next slaughter subject.

With a typically grating 1980s synth score and overall cut-rate production values, BLOOD SONG is by no means a masterpiece, but can certainly be an ok time waster. It offers a somewhat different approach to the slasher film, and although you would think Avalon to be seriously miscast here, he does a commendable job playing a relentless sicko (obsessed with playing “Go To Sleep” on a little wooden flute given to him by his late daddy) with creepy child-like mannerisms, who puts on the sleazy charm when need be. The supporting cast is pretty impressive for such an obscure low budget effort, and includes veteran TV actor Dane Clark, Antoinette Bower (DIE SISTER DIE, SUPERBEAST), Lenny Montana (“Luca Brasi” in THE GODFATHER) who was also one of the screenwriters, and the always excellent Richard Jaeckel as Marion’s overprotective, somewhat alcoholic father.

At one time intended to be released under the Code Red banner, BCI has instead decided to unleash MAUSOLEUM here as part of an “Exploitation Cinema” double feature. Presented anamorphic and letterboxed at 1.85:1, the transfer was made from a 35mm print that suffers from some abrasions, but it doesn’t look that bad on a whole. While colors are stable, some scenes look a bit soft or too dark, drowning out picture detail, and the mono audio is scratchy, an annoyance that’s very noticeable during quieter scenes. BLOOD SONG is presented full frame, and it's merely an old VHS transfer. While it’s perfectly watchable, it’s pretty much a soft, muddy visual affair with a decent mono audio track to accompany it.

MAUSOLEUM contains a full audio commentary with actress Bobbie Bresee, moderated by Lee Christian. The commentary is a lot of fun, even when it goes off topic, and Bobbie reveals a lot of interesting things about this film and her career in general, including her actual age when she shot the film, which would make her a lot older than her IMDB birth year dictates! The “grindhouse experience" here encompasses trailers for FINAL EXAM, NIGHTMARE (1981), THE BABYSITTER, SAVAGE STREETS, BEYOND THE DOOR and KILLER FISH. (George R. Reis)